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

    • Hi Nena! I don’t make cakes very often, so I can’t say for sure if this buttercream would hold up for 6 hours at room temp. Visit Kara’s Couture Cakes for advice on cake decorating 🙂

  1. I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried using meringue powder instead of the egg whites for this recipe. Or if you have advice on how to go about it.

  2. I just have a quick question.
    Can I use Vanilla Bean powder for this recipe and if so how much would you suggest?
    Thank you for all of your wonderful tips and recipes.
    Makes me want to get in the kitchen and be Suzie Homemaker!!!

  3. Hello Amber,

    Can you please tell me how to make buttercream frosting without vanilla bean. Is it the same just hold the vanilla bean…or what do you use? Mine usually comes off of the cakes and cupcakes. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. Please and Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Debra! You can replace the vanilla bean with a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract. I’m not sure why your frosting would be falling off the cakes and cupcakes. Are you using a meringue based buttercream?

      • I usually use the Wilton Recipe

        1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

        1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened

        1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

        4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.)

        2 tablespoons milk

        I’m thinking of trying your recipe and replacing the vanilla bean with a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract like you said.

        Thank you!

  4. I think I’ve attempted basically this recipe many times but when it gets to that “soupy” stage while adding the butter/flavor in, I think I broke it the mixture. I would give up. Next time I’ll try to let it keep mixing thanks for that tip!

  5. Hi, thanks so much for the demo, it looks so yummy. Wanna ask if I have some leftover buttercream, how many days I can store them in the fridge? Also, can this buttercream suitable to frost a cake? Cheers

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