Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe and How To Ice A Cupcake

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While my first love is cookies, I also enjoy decorating a cupcake with a simple 1M swirl every once in a while. I’ve posted this buttercream recipe on my blog before, but this time I made a video to go along with it. This tutorial is a collaboration with Lainey of Simply Bakings. Her YouTube channel has lots of baking tutorials and recipes, including a chocolate cupcake recipe that goes perfectly with this vanilla bean buttercream.
Buttercream Recipe
This buttercream is made using a Swiss meringue and it’s super smooth and creamy. I sometimes get cravings for that powdered sugar/shortening icing that’s on the cupcakes in the Starbucks cafe at Barnes and Noble, but this is not like that. If you’re not familiar with Swiss meringue buttercream, you should know that it is not too sweet, but it is buttery (not much of a surprise there!), so it might not be suitable for everyone’s taste. However, I’ve been told by one 6-1/2 year old (and we all know that 6-1/2 year olds are the most honest people on the planet when it comes to their opinions on food) that it tastes like ice cream. Best compliment ever! The recipe isn’t too complicated and it only uses a few ingredients, so give it a try.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe
4 large egg whites (save those yolks for bread pudding!)
1 cup sugar
3 sticks (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 pinch salt
1/2 Vanilla Bean, scraped
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can change up the flavorings. I like to add fresh orange zest sometimes, like I did here.
Depending on how much icing you like on your cupcakes, you’ll be able to ice 18-24 cupcakes with this recipe. You can double it to be safe. Then, if you have some leftover, you can just eat it with a spoon. Like ice cream 🙂
Watch this video to see how it’s made:
A note about the temperature of the meringue: If you are concerned about egg safety, you can use pasteurized egg whites from a carton. I’ve seen in other recipes that the eggs are brought up to 160 degrees. I’ve never done this, but do whatever makes you the most comfortable.
Store the icing in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Before using the icing, let it come to room temperature and then re-whip it on the mixer to bring it back to life.
After you’ve iced your cupcakes you can store them in the refrigerator. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
Buttercream Recipe
The gold star sprinkles that I used to decorate these cupcakes were given to me by a friend in Hong Kong. I found a similar product at Cake Craft Shop. You could also try these shimmering Gold Stars from Wilton.
Don’t forget to visit Simply Bakings for her chocolate cupcake recipe!
Buttercream Recipe
Click on the images below for more tutorials!    
Meringue 3 resized Meringue-Cookie-1 SweetAmbs-Meringue-Cookies2

33 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe and How To Ice A Cupcake

  1. The biggest problem I have with buttercream is when adding coloring it usually separates. Do you have any recommendations on how to add coloring to it without it separating?

  2. You make it look too easy!! OK…I think I’m over my fear of trying to make buttercream. Every time I have attempted to make it before it wouldn’t be right…in my opinion. Thank you…

  3. Oh my SweetAmbs!! This is sooo easy!! I must give it a try!!!
    Question thou………..What if I don’t have Vanilla Beans? I do have in my pantry Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste. If so, how many teaspoons do you recommend??

    • You can use 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in place of the 1/2 vanilla bean. I haven’t used vanilla bean paste, but I’d recommend starting out with 1/2 teaspoon and see how that works 🙂

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