A vanilla cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream, pink sprinkles and confetti-like quinns. Photo courtesy SaintCupcake.com.




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July 2010

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cookies, Cakes & Pastry

Recipe: Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

And Cream Cheese Frosting


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Some people like their cupcakes light and airy, some people prefer them dense. For us, it depends: With a very rich icing and filling, airy can be better. Try it and see which you prefer.

Also try different frostings. Here we have recipes for chocolate buttercream frosting and cream cheese frosting. But you can try coffee cream cheese frosting, peppermint buttercream or anything that suits you. When using extracts like mint, add a drop at a time and taste, since extracts vary by strength—as do individual preferences for the intensity of taste.

In terms of garnishing your cupcake: Check out our easy cupcake decorating ideas.

Vanilla, Chocolate or Coffee Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Frosts 12 cupcakes.


  • 1 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter,
  • 1 cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For chocolate buttercream: 4 ounces
  • For coffee buttercream: 1 teaspoon
    instant coffee




A dark chocolate cupcake topped with
coffee buttercream and bronze sanding sugar. Photo courtesy SaintCupcake.com
  1. Beat butter on low speed until smooth creamy. If using chocolate, melt over hot water with 1 tablespoon brewed coffee or water. Beat into butter. If using coffee, beat into butter.
  2. Beat in sugar a few tablespoons at a time.*
  3. Add milk and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container; remove several hours prior to use. Beat if necessary to soften and smooth.
  5. If using decorations, add immediately after frosting, before the buttercream hardens.

*Place a paper towel or clean dish towel over the mixing bowl to prevent confectioner’s sugar from blowing out of the bowl. Another technique is to stir the sugar into the butter before beating.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Frosts 12 cupcakes.


  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar


  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually beat in the sugar. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to spread, about 15 minutes.
  3. The frosting can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered so that it does not pick up flavors and aromas. Bring it to room temperature and beat until smooth before frosting the cupcakes.
  4. To tint the cream cheese frosting: Mix in a few of drops of food color, one at a time, until the desired color is achieved.


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