4 Main Types of Buttercream

August 3, 2019

Greetings foodies and baker,


Cakes, and cupcakes, are highly consumed in the summer time. Why? From weddings to showers to graduations to birthdays, cakes are happily consumed with smiles.  What makes these cakes, and cupcakes, over the top and one of a kind? The frosting of course! Buttercream is one of the most popular frostings for cakes, cupcakes, and fillings for cookie sammies.


What is buttercream? A frosting made of all the good stuff: fat (like butter) and sugar (powdered or white), plus other ingredients. Other popular frostings are cream cheese, whipped cream, and ganache. 



Here are the top 4 buttercreams and how they are different:


1) American: Powered sugar + softened butter + milk + vanilla extract

A super-duper easy frosting to make, perfect for beginners. Most high volume bakeries will use American buttercream due to ease of producing it. The downfall: it tends to be the sweetest buttercream on the market. 


2) Swiss: Egg whites + light corn syrup + white sugar + soften butter + shortening (optional)

A very light (my personal fave!) buttercream. Egg whites and sugar are whipped over a bain marie (AKA water bath) then soften butter is slowly added. This buttcream ends up to be very glossy and sheen!


3) French: Egg yolks + sugar syrup + softened butter

A pale yellow, delicate buttercream that is made by add sugar syrup to whipping egg yolks, then adding softened butter. Out of all the buttercream, this melts the easiest, so save it for cold weather baking. 


4) Italian: Sugar Syrup + egg whites + white sugar + softened butter

Similar to french buttercream, sugar syrup is added to whipping egg whites and sugar, then softened butter is added. It is easy to mess this up since you have to cook the sugar syrup and add it at an exact time. The end result is similar to swiss buttercream, glossy and light. 


Shortening is an optional ingredient, primarly in Swiss and American buttercream, to make it more shelf stable and avoid any melt downs in the heat. 

Looking to add flavors? Add it to the end! The most popular add in's for buttercreams are: citrus zest, chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, fruit powder, and fruit jams (be careful, too much liquid will make your buttercream runny and thin; Add jam slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time)


Happy baking,







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