I love to bake, but I have to keep the recipes REALLY simple. Like foolproof simple. This passion started over a decade ago when I took a single 2 hour course on cake decorating. We learned an icing recipe using Crisco which at the time I didn’t even know what that was. While I have since abandoned that recipe , I discovered how easy it was to make a cake that was far superior to any store bought cake. I just found a recipe I loved, adapted it to make it simpler and wala! The best vanilla buttercream recipe was born.
BTW I still can’t make frosting flowers!
Here is my cake with open sides. You can get more details here.
Tips and tricks for a simple cake with buttercream frosting
You really don’t need too many tips, but I have made this so many times. I have little things I have learned.
How to choose a boxed cake: I saw on America’s test kitchen, that the best boxed cake mixes were those that required oil. Sometimes I buy a fancier cake mix, but if I buy the one at the grocery store I always follow this tip. The pre-made mixes that require oil taste great are often under $2.
My party guests are always telling me how my cupcakes are soooo good. Now my secret it out. The secret is a moist box cake made with oil, and an AMAZING, vanilla buttercream frosting.
Working with room temperature butter: It is important that your butter be soft and not melted. Usually you will leave your butter out on the counter for a few hours or more. If you forgot, you can cut it into little squares and it will defrost from the refrigerator faster.
Some hacks say that you can cut it into small squares and put it in the microwave for 10 seconds. However as long as you set it out and cut it up when you start your cake you should be ready when it’s done.
Adorable cupcake frosting… need I say more?
The Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (but not melted!)
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk
The Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Instructions:
Beat butter with a mixer on medium speed. Add 3-4 cups of powdered sugar at a slow speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. After the sugar and butter are creamy, set mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. Add up to a cup of powdered sugar or a tablespoon of milk until you reached the right consistency.
Plan for a batch of frosting for each cake mix.