Vanilla Frosting Recipe

A simple, 5 ingredient recipe for Vanilla Frosting. Use it to top off your favorite cake or cupcake recipe. This recipe generously tops 12 cupcakes, modestly covers 24, or will cover an 8″ or 9″ layer cake or 9×13 sheet cake.

Happy Spring! Does it look like Spring where you are, yet? Because yesterday/the first day of “Spring” was also the beginning of the first big snowstorm we’ve had all year.

My car is buried beneath half a foot of snow, Zach is taking a snow day because none of the roads are plowed, and eventually one of us is going to have to break down and actually go outside to shovel out our driveway, so despite what the calendar might say it doesn’t exactly feel Spring-y around here!

Fortunately, snow days make for perfect baking days, and today I plan on baking myself a batch of from-scratch chocolate cupcakes and topping them off with today’s recipe for vanilla frosting.

And sprinkles too, of course.

Today’s recipe is simple to make and is a staple icing recipe that every home baker or cake decorator should have on hand. It’s easily pipeable and does a great job of holding its shape, is easy to customize with different extracts (though I always reach for the vanilla), and does well under fondant.

It’s also incredibly hard to mess up, if your frosting becomes too thin you simply add more sugar, and if it’s too stiff an extra splash of heavy cream or even milk will work. Let’s go over a few frequently asked questions that I get about making vanilla buttercream.

How long can I store vanilla frosting?

You can make vanilla frosting in advance and store it for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. It will firm u when cold, so let it soften at room temperature a bit before piping or spreading on to your cake.

Can I leave vanilla buttercream frosting at room temperature?

Yes! There is heavy cream in this recipe, but it is stabilized by the generous amount of sugar that we are using. You can frost your cake or cupcakes with this frosting and it will be good for 2-3 days at room temperature (it will keep longer in the refrigerator, for about 1-2 weeks).

What goes well with vanilla frosting?

I’ve tried it and loved it on my funfetti cake (check out those colorful decorations — all of them made with this same recipe!), chocolate cake, chocolate cupcakes, and vanilla cake, just to name a few!

I have a new-ish cupcake (pictured above) that I’m excited to share with you on Friday, and I’ll also be showing you how to add the neat colorful swirls to your frosting (it’s easy, you just need a small paintbrush).


If vanilla buttercream isn’t quite your thing, be sure to check out my less sweet chocolate frosting or cream cheese frosting, instead!

How to Make Vanilla Frosting

Vanilla Frosting

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Servings 12 generously iced cupcakes

Calories 266 kcal


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature 226g
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar 375g
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Sprinkle salt over butter and stir again to combine.
  2. Gradually, about 1/2 cup at a time, add powdered sugar, waiting until each cup is completely mixed before adding more.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time. Once ingredients are well incorporated, gradually increase speed to high and beat for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add vanilla extract and stir well.
  5. Pipe or spread frosting over cooled cupcakes. Top with sprinkles, if desired. This frosting will be fine at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerated in an airtight container for about a week.

Nutrition Facts

Vanilla Frosting

Amount Per Serving (1 /12th)

Calories 266

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Vanilla Frosting Recipe Vanilla Frosting Recipe Reviewed by Cake Lover on March 21, 2018 Rating: 5
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