Cake Decorating Basics, Frosting, Uncategorized

5 Buttercream Types



Having a good cake or cupcake is the base for a good dessert. Now adding the frosting, in this case, the buttercream can transform a good cake to a great dessert in my opinion.

What I love the most about buttercream is how versatile it is. You can add purees, flavoring, spices, color and at the end you have a gorgeous luscious buttercream to top off your cake. You can choose from a good variety of buttercreams, here are 5 of those varieties. Most of them start with a meringue.

5 types of buttercream:

  1. Swiss Buttercream
  2. Italian Buttercream
  3. French Buttercream
  4. American Buttercream
  5. Easiest Meringue Buttercream

The common denominators are the butter, vanilla, and sugar; and to some extent eggs at least to 4 of these types and different parts of it.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Main ingredients: Sugar, Egg Whites, Butter, and flavoring.

By far this is the one I like the most. Its silky texture makes this an excellent frosting to decorate any cake. Its flavor is unique, spreading a very delicate and delectable taste to any pastry or cake.

A meringue is formed first, by whipping the egg whites and the dissolved sugar. The meringue helps by stabilizing the buttercream. Once the meringue has reached stiff peaks incorporate the butter slowly as well as the flavoring.  You can add some real fruit reduction if you are trying to make a fruity buttercream for a summer cake. You can do the same with the Italian Meringue buttercream. Here are the recipe and a video to see how you can make the SMBC.


Behind the cake - Swiss meringue buttercream recipe from scratch.

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Italian Meringue Buttercream.

Main ingredients: Sugar, Egg Whites, Butter, and flavoring.

The Italian meringue buttercream is made pretty much the same way as the SMBC (Swiss Meringue Buttercream). The difference is that hot simple syrup is used to pasteurize the egg white. This syrup is poured on the beaten egg whites before the butter is added.

Some cakers say that IMBC is a little bit sweeter, with a stronger structure that behaves better on warmer climate. Now, remember what this frosting is made of, butter, so it will melt on hot weather.

If you choose to make this buttercream make sure your syrup does not recrystallize by washing the sides of your pot when making the syrup.


Photo credit: Pink Sugar Pastries ( My friend’s cake)  You can see how she made it HERE.⇓


French Buttercream.

Main ingredients: Sugar, Egg Yolks, Butter and flavoring

French buttercream is very rich in flavor, it has a higher content of fat from the yolks, very yellow in color. It is also said that the structure is wicker than the ones using egg whites. And since it uses egg yolks the time to keep it stored is reduced considerably when compared to the SMBC and the IMBC.

The process to make it is pretty much the same as the SMBC. Mix the egg yolks and the sugar, heat them up until sugar is dissolved, whisk on high, add butter and flavoring. Pretty straight forward.

French buttercream can be used as a filling but it is not recommended to be used to decorate cakes.


French Buttercream Frosting Recipe

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik] Get the recipe HERE


American Buttercream.

Main ingredients: Powder Sugar, Butter and flavoring.

From the 5 types of buttercream, this is the easiest one to make.

It is way sweeter than any of the other four, also it is more stable and can be used to make flowers easier due to its consistency. You just add more powdered sugar.

Also, this is what is called crusting buttercream. In cake decorating, crusting buttercreams are used often when learning to decorate since it can be smoothed out easily by using techniques like the viva paper towel technique or the warm spatula. Here is the recipe.


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The Easiest Meringue Buttercream

Main ingredients: Powder Sugar, Egg Whites, Butter.

This type of buttercream is as easy as making the ABC, with the difference that meringue is used as a base.

So from the meringue-based buttercream, I have to say this is the easiest and fastest to make. Using pasteurized egg whites from a carton is what saves the time.

In my opinion, the texture and the density of the buttercream are perfect for pretty much any project. It holds up very well, it is light, smooth and with a very good flavor.

Start with the egg whites, salt, and powdered sugar to form a meringue. Add the butter and the flavoring and your buttercream is done!

You see this is the easiest one to make. Here is the recipe for this easiest meringue buttercream where you can see a video on how to make it too.

If you want to know if it is safe to use raw egg whites to make the buttercream you can research it / google it. That is what I did before I made it the very first time. I had my peace of mind.


As you can see all of them are a good complement to a great cake or pastry. All depends on which one you can work best with and which is your favorite.

I hope you found the 5 types of buttercream useful and you find your go-to recipe for buttercream.

Let me know in the comments which is your favorite one. You have a wonderful day.

Take care, Vero.