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Frosting Recipe,

How to Make a Silky Buttercream with less sugar

by Katherine Walton on May 2, 2022 35 Comments

American buttercream is possibly the most widely used frosting for cake decorating. It’s very simple to make and colours beautifully in the brightest of shades you can find. It also tastes amazing when combined with just about any flavour. Nonetheless, it can be very sweet in flavour and gritty in texture, two qualities which can sometimes be disliked by some.

My Silky Buttercream has fifty percent less sugar than my regular Smooth Buttercream, which makes it a lot less sweet and hardly gritty in texture. It also pipes beautifully and because of its silky texture it’s perfect for frosting a smooth cake. You will find that this buttercream also doesn’t crust as much as a regular buttercream or even crust at all. This makes it perfect for those wanting a smooth frosting.

This silky buttercream only needs three key ingredients typically found in a traditional American Buttercream. A ratio of 1:1 of salted butter to icing sugar or powdered confectioner’s sugar and flavouring of choice. This ratio of ingredients makes this buttercream a soft to medium consistency frosting. It is stable in warm weather and perfect for those making it in cold winters where my Smooth Buttercream has been too stiff and thick to work with.

Now, you may wonder how can this simple buttercream be silky, stable, and taste delicious. The secret lies in the way I make this buttercream from the moment the butter is placed into the mixer bowl. Continue to read on and watch my full Step by Step Silky Buttercream Recipe video tutorial below and read along with the full written recipe below.


  • 500 grams (*equivalent to 2 metric cups) salted butter soft but not melted
  • 500 grams (4 metric cups) icing sugar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of flavouring


  1. Add soft (not melted) salted butter into the mixer bowl and attach the paddle attachment.
  2. Beat the butter on low to medium speed, then increase to the highest speed.
  3. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl well.
  4. Continue to mix and increase the speed of the mixer to the highest speed.
  5. Scrape the bowl as needed.
  6. Beat the butter again (3rd time) from low to medium to the highest speed for a few minutes. It is very important that the butter is beaten until it changes colour to a very pale almost white or ivory colour. (This is the secret to this perfect buttercream)
  7. Stop mixer and scrape the bowl.
  8. Add the icing sugar (confectioner’s/powdered sugar) in quarters or four batches. Mix on low speed when adding the icing sugar, then increase the speed. It is important that all of the icing sugar is fully incorporated into the butter. You must scrape the bowl as necessary. This is essential to achieve a smooth consistency.
  9. Add desired flavouring.
  10. Continue to mix at medium to high speed until smooth and silky. The longer you mix the better result.
  11. Store in an airtight container or bowl and cover to stop the buttercream from crusting.


How are the ingredients measured in this recipe?

In this recipe and in all of my recipes I provide all ingredients in grams and in mL (millilitres) where applicable. I also provide the ingredient quantities in METRIC cup measurements. However, be aware that cup measurements and spoon measurements vary in different countries. Therefore, I highly recommended the use of kitchen scales where applicable to measure the ingredients to achieve exactly what the recipe intends.

What is icing sugar and can I substitute it in this recipe?

Icing sugar is also known as powdered sugar and confectioners’ sugar. Not to be confused or replaced with caster sugar also known as super fine granulated sugar. The icing sugar in this recipe cannot be substituted.

What does soft but not melted butter mean?

The butter must be cool to the touch but soft. That means you should be able to press with your finger and make an indentation. If the butter looks like it is melting, you can put it back in the fridge until it feels cold to the touch again and firms up a little bit. Five minutes should suffice.

Why does this buttercream use salted butter and not unsalted butter? Can I substitute it?

In my Silky Buttercream recipe I use salted butter to enhance the flavours in this buttercream and at the same time reduce the sweetness that comes from the icing sugar. You may substitute the salted butter with unsalted butter and add a pinch of salt for added taste. Keep in mind that adding a pinch of salt may not completely dissolve and incorporate into the buttercream if not thoroughly mixed. Make sure the added salt is well mixed in or you may end with an unpleasant salty buttercream.

How to store this Buttercream and what is its shelf life?

Store the buttercream sealed in an airtight container. You may store in the fridge for up to 5 days and at room temperature for up to 3 days. If stored in the fridge bring to room temperature before using again. The buttercream will harden. You may re whip in a mixer or with a metal spoon.


The buttercream is too soft to work with. What can I do to fix it?

In some cases you may find that the buttercream is too soft to work with. In most circumstances this will be due to the temperature of the room the buttercream is being used in. In warm weather, this buttercream should be of a soft to medium consistency and stable enough to withstand warm temperatures but not extremely hot weather. However, if you still find that the buttercream is too soft, you may place the frosting in the fridge for five to ten minutes for it to firm up. Or you may want to try my Smooth Buttercream recipe which can withstand hot and humid weather.

Also, when piping you can place the whole piping bag in the fridge for five minutes at a time. This trick is useful and works well for those that get warm hands when piping.

Watch the full step by step video provided with this recipe for visual instructions. If you have any questions leave me a comment and I’ll be more than happy to guide you through.


  1. Hello, i live in coastal area near the ocean, and irs very hot and humid here, about 28 to 30degrees celcius. When we coat the cake first layer, then when we freeze the cake to coat the second layer, or if we wish to use stencil for making a design, i freeze the cake, but after i remove the cake from the freezer it starts sweating alot, how can i overcome this please.

    1. Hi 😊, Yes that’s very common for a cake to sweat and get condensation when removed from the fridge. I always use a tissue and gently apply it on the cake surface to absorb the moisture. I apply the tissue as soon as I see droplets of moisture on the cake surface, before the buttercream starts to go soft. Then you can apply the stencil. Let me know if that helps.

      1. Hi 😊, at what stage did the buttercream become grainy? Was it when you were making it or after?

    1. Hi 😊, Smooth Buttercream is best for hot weather. The icing sugar helps to make it stiff and stable.

    1. Hi 😊, yes it is fine for warm climates but not hot weather. You may only find it too soft if the room you’re using it in is too warm or hot. But once the decorations are made or piped and the cake is frosted, the buttercream will stay stable.

    1. Thank you for this recipe.
      I wanted to ask ; this recipe has no cream or milk in it, why?
      Also, as winter is approaching will it still be silky and not crust when put in the refrigerator?

      1. Hi 😊, you’re very welcome and thank you for trying it. It doesn’t have any milk or cream as it is not needed as an addition. You will find that it will be smooth enough without milk or cream. Any added liquids such as milk or cream will change its consistency and make it too soft especially in warm weather. This buttercream doesn’t crust either or in some cases it is not even noticeable because of the small ratio of icing sugar to butter (1:1 ratio). The buttercream will harden in the fridge just like any other American Buttercream so you will need to leave at room temperature to soften again to be to work with it.

    2. Hello thank you so much for wonderful recipes
      If I want to make chocolate butter cream so I can add cocoa powder or melted chocolate
      Please tell me both quantity also how much to add
      Thank you

      1. Loving your work! Came here from youtube, your buttercream looks so silky!

        Just for the sake of curiosity: what would happen if I make a buttercream with 500g of butter and half the sugar, 250g of sugar? Thank you!

      2. I made this icing and the putcome was exactly like the one you use in your video. Finally my icing was medium level not too hard not too soft just right thanks a lot for your help, I’ll see if i can share a picture for you since I dont know how to do it on YouTube’s comments section.

        1. Hi 😊, I used clear vanilla flavouring for both the cake and buttercream I used for this Unicorn Cake. You can use any flavouring you may wish.

          1. Hi Jess 😊! thank you so much for trying it, I’m so happy it worked for you. I have just seen your message on my YouTube Channel. I don’t think you can upload photos to YouTube on my Channel but you can to your own Channel and then share the link in the comments section or you can share a link to your social media if you post a photo on Instagram for example. Or you can message me on Instagram to my account. https://www.instagram.com/waltoncakeboutique/

  2. Pingback: How to make a Pink Unicorn/Alicorn Cake – Walton Cake Boutique
    1. Hi 😊, you can add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to any of my frosting recipes then adjust accordingly by adding an extra 1/4 cup. You can also use my chocolate ganache (follow the recipe instructions as shown) and add it once completely cooled (but before it hardens) and mix.

      1. Hi 😊! Thank you for coming here! In answering your question, depending on the temperature of the room you make the buttercream in (a warm room), you could end up with a very runny mixture by using a ratio of more butter than powdered sugar. In saying give it a try by adding the 250 grams and see if it looks too soft or runny then it will need more powdered sugar.

          1. Hi 😊, I used CSR soft icing mixture. It’s really soft and it doesn’t need any sifting.

  3. Is this buttercream suitable for stacking tiers? It won’t be too soft, will it? Also, I want to try to add a cream cheese flavoring to it instead of vanilla, because I know I can’t stack tiers using just cream cheese frosting!!

  4. I made this recipe for my niece’s birthday party. Hands down, it was the BEST buttercream we have ever tasted – an absolute dream! Some buttercream recipes are insanely sweet (4x more sugar than butter – yikes!) and some are too buttery, but this one hits the sweet spot. After making it, I literally threw out all my other buttercream recipes because this is the only one I will make from now on. Thank you so much for sharing this simple yet amazing recipe!

    1. Hi Michelle! 😊
      Thank you so much for trying my Buttercream recipe, I appreciate it. So happy to hear you made it for your niece and that you will be making it from now on!🌸

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