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Frosting Recipe,

Smooth Buttercream American Frosting for hot weather

by Katherine Walton on May 18, 2022 72 Comments

Imagine a tradition American Buttercream that is silky smooth, stable in warm weather, tastes delicious and has the ability to enhance the brightest of colours in your cake and cupcake decorations. If this is what you’re looking for, keep reading and watch my full step by step how to video.


  • 250 grams (*equivalent to 1 metric cup) salted butter at cool room temperature but soft
  • 500 grams (4 metric cups) icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract or other flavouring (I use Wilton’s Clear Vanilla Flavouring)
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk (room temperature)


  1. Add cool but soft salted butter to mixer, beat on medium speed, then scrape the bowl as necessary.
  2. Continue to mix and increase speed to highest. It is very important that the butter is beaten until it changes colour to a very pale almost white or ivory colour.
  3. Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Add icing sugar in small batches at a time. 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.
  5. Add milk and vanilla extract or other flavouring. I use a clear vanilla flavouring to retain a pale as possible natural colour in the buttercream.
  6. Continue to mix at medium to high speed until smooth.
  7. Add desired gel food colouring.
  8. Store in an airtight container or bowl and cover immediately 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 scales where applicable to measure 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 cool but soft butter mean?

The butter must be cold 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 or too soft, 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 Smooth 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 stiff and hard to work with. What can I do to fix it?

The consistency of this buttercream can change from medium to stiff depending on the room temperature the frosting is made in and left at after making. In cold weather this buttercream will become stiff in which case you may add extra milk to make it thinner and easier to work with. Add small amounts of milk at a time, about 1/2 a teaspoon per two cups of frosting. Adding too much liquid can separate the frosting, making it frothy and ruin 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 hot or warm weather, this buttercream should be of a medium consistency and stable enough to withstand warm temperatures. 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.

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. Why does my buttercream remain grainy?
    How long do u need to beat it?
    Does beating the buttercream for a long time change the texture?
    Need help here😔

    1. Hi Chandarani,

      I’m happy to help here 😊. When you say your buttercream remains grainy, do you mean it feels gritty in texture? Or is the colour in the buttercream that changes and becomes grainy?

      The more you beat the butter first for your buttercream the better result you will achieve. You have to beat the butter for at least 10 minutes or more. You will know your butter is ready when it changes in colour to an almost white/ivory colour. Then you can add the icing sugar (powdered sugar). Then once all the icing has incorporated into the butter you continue to mix until the frosting is smooth. The more you beat the better. A must is to also always scrape the bowl throughout the process.

      Does that help?

  2. Is powdered sugar, the normal sugar made in powder? & for a 1 kg of cake frosting should I double this recipe ?

    1. Hi ☺️
      Yes technically it is standard sugar that has been made into a fine powdered form. Also yes double up the recipe. It will yield 1.5 kilos so you will have a little left over.

  3. Hi , can i decrease the amount of powder suger?
    Would you please give me a butter cream or cream cheese frosting reciepe low in calorie?


    1. Hi Sahar ☺️

      Yes you can, however you may find that the buttercream will become a softer frosting. The icing sugar (powdered sugar) gives it structure along with the butter. Not enough icing sugar and you may end up with a runny frosting. I don’t have any low calorie recipes to offer at the moment. But certainly something to look for in the future.

      1. Thanks for the answer😘

        I love every thing on your page and follow you.
        I enjoy every single post about cup cakes 😍

  4. Hi.. I enjoy all your post. Thank you for sharing. Would like to ask how do you colour the buttercream. I attempted red colour buttercream using chefmaster red gel. Ended up with pastel red..or rather pink.

    1. Hi Nosha,

      Thank you so much. I use the brand Rainbow Dust ProGel especially for colours such as reds and blacks and browns. They don’t have an aftertaste and you don’t need to use much of it. It’s very concentrated.

    1. Hi ☺️, yes it certainly is. I would recommend to chop up the butter beforehand into small pieces so that it makes it easier to mix. Then to scrape the bowl as needed to ensure all the butter is beaten. Also if you can, beat it a max speed with your hand mixer. It may just take a bit longer than it would with a stand mixer. That’s all.

  5. Hi!
    I love all of your recipes and it is fun to watch 🌸
    I almost 5 or 6 times tried the butter cream recipes ( 3 times with your recipes and the others were other recipes) but I never able to do buttercream. In my final trial, I could taste each grain of powdered sugar. Also it was too sugary and liquid. Can you help me?

    1. Hi Hazal,

      Thank you 😊.

      Yes I can certainly help. American buttercream does have that gritty or grainy texture. However, you can reduce by sifting the icing sugar before adding it to the butter. It also helps to add the small amount of milk at the end which softens it.
      May I ask when does the buttercream become liquid? At what stage? The icing sugar should make it quite thick and stiff. So I’m trying to think what could have made it runny.

      1. In the last stage it was too runny. Maybe i did add a little bit more milk. Because when i add sugar it was too stiff so i add tiny amount of milk.

        1. Yes I see it could be extra bit of milk. If you live in a warm environment you could also try to see if the buttercream softens on its own. Here in summer mine tends to be softer but in winter I tend to add a little extra milk. Only about 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon extra. In saying all that take into account if you’re adding extra flavouring as that will count as extra liquid into the buttercream which can soften it even more.

  6. When trying to pipe my frosting I notice it’s a bit soft. Do you chill your frosting between making it and piping? I’m using a hand mixer at the moment while living with the MIL and my buttercream is just not right like it when I use my beloved kitchen aid. Not sure if it’s the tools causing my flat butter cream or if it’s me.

    1. Hi Amanda,

      I can think of a few things that could be making the buttercream softer. The first one is always warmth, which could come from the environment itself you’re making the buttercream in or piping it. Other things could be the bowl you’re making the buttercream in is warm. Lastly, could also be warm hands. In which case you can put the piping bag with the frosting inside the fridge for 5 minutes before piping.

      The other reason I can think of is perhaps the use of a hand mixer, which may stop you from achieving the creamy, almost white appearance for the buttercream before adding the icing sugar.

      Lastly, the amount of liquid added to the buttercream can also affect it. This could be in the form of the flavouring as 1 extra teaspoon of it can make it softer and also the amount of milk added at the end. If for any chance you are in a warm environment you can always not add the milk at the end to see if that makes a difference. I find that here in Sydney in winter I actually add an extra half tablespoon of milk to the buttercream as the cold weather makes it even more stiff.

      Let me know if any of that helps. ☺️

  7. Hi there. Is there any way of making a less sweet buttercream? Most of the buttercream recipes I found uses unsalted butter. Is there a reason why you use salted? Does it counter the sweetness in the buttercream a little? Thank you for your help on this.

    1. Hi Azreena ☺️,

      I use salted butter in my Smooth Buttercream recipe as it takes away the need to have to add salt to the buttercream if using unsalted butter to begin with. When you add salt to buttercream (as some recipes ask to do), you risk the salt not mixing in well for an overall even taste. I use salted butter to also enhance the flavours in the buttercream, however at the same time reduce some of the natural sweetness found in frostings that use large amounts of icing sugar (powdered sugar). In saying that American buttercream is quite a rich and sweet frosting. If you’re after a much less sweet frosting you can always try something like Swiss meringue buttercream or Italian buttercream which doesn’t use icing sugar. They are delicate and silky and they don’t have that gritty texture you can get with traditional American buttercream.

      I hope all that helps.

  8. Thanks a lot wilton, I will do it.im from Africa the weather is soo hot naturally shd I add on Leon juice n icing sugar on your recipe n come up with good results

    1. You’re very welcome ☺️. The buttercream is stiff and perfect for hot weather. We sometimes have over 40 degrees Celsius here in Sydney in summer. You can extra things such as flavouring and even things like chocolate powder to make it a chocolate icing.

  9. Hi,thank’s a lot for sharing with us your recipes also I would like to ask you if it is possible to add Nutella to do nutella buttercream?
    Thank you so much
    Happy baking 👩‍🍳😍😊😘

    1. Hi Vania ☺️,

      Yes you certainly can! You can add as much as you desire for taste. Check the buttercream consistency throughout so that it doesn’t become a soft or runny frosting. Otherwise it will be delicious.

  10. Thank you for the recipe …..I’ve read the feedbacks and shared the same concerns regarding the grittiness from the powdered sugar…..so….if we beat it for a long length of time tge grittiness will go away?


    1. Hi ☺️,

      Yes that is one of the main things that’s most of an issue with buttercream. The grittiness that naturally comes from the icing sugar and also the sweetness as well. There are a few things you can try.
      One could be to change the brand or type of icing sugar (powdered sugar). Here in Australia we have icing sugar that it’s super refined perfect for frosting. It is finer than your regular icing sugar.
      You can also reduce the amount of icing sugar in the recipe to see if that makes a difference. Just keep in mind that the icing sugar is there to give the frosting structure. Therefore less icing sugar will make it softer. In that case you can omit the milk completely.
      Also, you can beat the frosting for a longer period of time.
      All these things will reduce the grittiness but will not completely remove it as buttercream naturally has that from the icing sugar.
      In saying that, have you tried Swiss meringue buttercream? It’s very silky and there is no grittiness at all. I use it when I want something that’s delicate and very smooth.
      Let me know how you go. 😊

    1. Hi 😊,

      No I haven’t actually replaced the powdered sugar with condensed milk. I have added condensed milk to the whole buttercream overall though. Have you replaced the powdered sugar with condensed milk?

  11. This looks awesome! When beating the butter is it possible to overbeat it? I want to make sure I don’t mess up my frosting 😀

    1. Hi☺️, Thank You. I doubt it very much. In fact the more you beat it the better in this recipe. I have beaten mine for up to 10-15 minutes. When the butter changes colour to a pale cream, you will know you can stop beating the butter. Then, when you add the icing sugar (powdered sugar) in, the more you beat the better for this recipe as well.

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  14. Will this buttercream hold up in our Aussie climate? I’m going to make it for an outdoor party in Feb, which happens to be the hottest month.

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  20. Can you use margarine for cakes, vegetable type? The fat in butter here is only 40 percent, can’t use in anything

    1. Hi 😊, Yes you certainly can. Use the same quantity. If you do use margarine or a spread, make sure it is straight out of the fridge as they tend to be softer than butter.

  21. Hi! Dear,
    Can you please guide me about what buttercream goes well with the chocolate cake and how can I make chocolate buttercream ?

    1. Hi Somya ☺️, I would use my Silky Buttercream to go with a chocolate cake as it’s less sweet than my smooth buttercream. https://waltoncakeboutique.com
      Otherwise you’ll find the buttercream overtakes the chocolate cake flavour. To make chocolate buttercream I always use my chocolate ganache https://waltoncakeboutique.com/chocolate-ganache/ and mix it into the buttercream. You have to make sure the Ganache has cooled but it still looks melted. If it goes hard you will end up with chocolate bits in the buttercream. Add 1/4 cup of chocolate ganache first and check for taste and consistency then add more if desired. You can also add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder at a time and check for taste and consistency.

    1. Good day…. When you said add milk.. May i know what kind of milk? Can i use evaporated milk? Or condensed milk? Won’t condensed milk make my frosting too sweet?

      1. This is a great recipe for beginners and definitely stands up to more hotter room temperatures. The swirls on my cake have held up beautifully even through a very hot 36 degree day.
        Will be recommending this recipe to all my friends…100% a personal favourite which I will be bringing out year after year!

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    1. Hi 😊, I use standard full fat cow’s milk. You can also use other types such as low fat or skim milk. It is mainly to change to consistency of the frosting and make it softer and more spreadable to seal in the crumbs of the cake.

      1. Hi Ashley, thank you for trying out this recipe! This recipe will be perfect for the forecast. I have used it here in Sydney for my children’s birthdays in 40 plus degrees Celsius days. I would make a double batch of the recipe to make sure you have enough to layer and cover both tiers. One batch is plenty for a 6 inch by 5 inch cake to layer and frost and do minimal piping work. I always think it’s better to have a little extra in case you decide to make any changes to cake as well. Let me how you go!

      2. Thank you! It turned out beautifully! We had a unseasonably cool day (normally it’s 35° C or more here in Northern California) staying about 25° during the party. Everyone enjoyed the cake! I added a bit of peppermint and chocolate chips to the cream between the layers and it tasted so yummy! Definitely a recipe I’ll be using again.

        1. Hi Ashley! It makes me so happy to hear it turned out beautifully and everyone enjoyed it! It must have been delicious with peppermint! 🤩

  23. I’m looking forward to trying it this recipe! My daughter’s birthday party will be outside and it’s forecasted to be 84°F (29°C). Question, how much cake should this cover? I’m hoping to do a two tiered cake (bottom tier is 8 inches, top is 7 inches, both will be two layers).

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