I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for REAL buttercream icing made with real butter. I hardly ever buy store-bought icing, unless I'm in an extreme time-crunch. I feel that real buttercream icing takes even the most average cake to delectable heights.
Therefore, I want to share this old family recipe with you. There's nothing particularly special about it. It's probably similar to many buttercream icing recipes out there, but this is the one handed down to me by my mom decades ago. In fact, I have it typed up in an old (and lovingly chocolate-stained) booklet of recipes I put together for a Home Ec project in junior high! This is one recipe I have turned to again and again over the years (especially now that I have kids!).
It's so good, you can make a batch just to dip cookies in. Or, use it to frost your favorite cake or cupcakes (or even as frosting inside whoopie pies). All it takes is one bowl and 5 ingredients (all of which you probably have on hand).
Our younger son is gluten free due to Celiac, so I typically use it atop gluten free cakes, cupcakes, or whoopie pies (which I, ironically, typically make from Betty Crocker's Devil's Food Cake Mix -- or Yellow Cake Mix ). I'm not above going store-bought on these mixes, since I have yet to find another mix or recipe that is quite as moist and tasty!
Here's the recipe for the One-Bowl Buttercream Frosting (I usually go for the "medium flavor" amount of cocoa):
- 6 tablespoons softened butter (or you can use margarine, if you must!)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (or use 1/3 cup for lighter flavor/color or 3/4 cup for darker flavor/color)
- 2 2/3 cups confectioner's sugar (unsifted)
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Directions: Using an electric mixer (stand or hand-held), cream softened butter in a mixing bowl. Mix in cocoa and confectioner's sugar alternately with milk until the icing reaches a spreading consistency. Add vanilla and mix. Decorate as desired.
Usually I keep it plain to fully savor the unadulterated buttercream flavor, but this time I went all-out and decorated it for my son's birthday with crushed (gluten free) chocolate sandwich cookies and Hershey's kisses.
Makes enough icing for ONE round cake or 12 cupcakes. If making a layer cake or 24 cupcakes, you will need to double the recipe.