How to Make Butter Icing/buttercream

Butter icing is the perfect accompaniment for your easy sponge cake recipe. Spreading one half of the sponge with raspberry jam and the other with butter icing will make your cake taste even more sweet and delicious. Buttercream is also a perfect topping for vanilla cupcakes.

What’s The Difference Between Butter Icing and Buttercream?

Generally they are the same thing although some make buttercream with egg yolks cooked in sugar syrup whilst whisking before adding to the other ingredients. This classic french recipe is called “creme au beurre” and is a much creamier version often favoured by patisserie chefs. If you wish to stay away from egg yolks, this version of butter icing works perfectly well.

How to make smooth buttercream

Providing you whip the ingredients thoroughly and then some, you should end up with a smooth, creamy and milky coloured cream. The secret to perfect buttercream is to keep whisking. 


For 12 cupcakes simply double the ingredients below.

Ingredients For 1 20cm Sponge Cake Filling:

  • 50g Soft unsalted Butter
  • 175g Icing Sugar
  • 1-3 tbs Milk (depending on how fluid you want it)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  1. Place butter into a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until soft, creamy and almost white in colour. Should take a good 5 minutes.
  2. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl
  3. Add the vanilla extract
  4. Start whisking with an electric whisk or food mixer until completely combined
  5. Gradually add the milk. Do not add it all in one go, but gradually until the mixture becomes soft and smooth. 10 minutes is a good guide.

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Simply omit the vanilla extract and add and one tablespoon of cocoa powder to your mixture and thoroughly mix everything until well combined. Test taste first to see if it stands up to your requirements, maybe you prefer more cocoa powder, in which case just add another teaspoon. The choice is yours. Chocolate buttercream can be used for the cake filling and decoration of chocolate cake.

Baking Tips

Now spread the butter icing onto the base of the cake using a palette knife or put into a pipping bag and use to decorate your cake. Spread the other half of your Victoria sponge cake with jam and sandwich the two together for a really tasty classic sponge.

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