French Buttercream
French Buttercream

Creamy, airy and silky is the best way to describe this French buttercream. It will be your new go-to frosting for cupcakes, cakes and more.

French buttercream is a creamy, light icing used to decorate cakes, cupcakes, and other similar desserts.

It’s rich and creamy with egg yolks and sweet, unsalted butter giving this buttercream a beautiful ivory color.

What is french buttercream?

French buttercream is a meringue-based frosting, often made with whole eggs or just egg yolks, sweetened with liquid sugar, and topped with softened unsalted butter.

The end result is a very smooth, airy buttercream with an excellent mouthfeel. This French buttercream requires no shortening or margarine, both of which tend to coat the mouth with oil when used in frosting recipes. Its beautiful hue makes it a very popular frosting for wedding cakes, although its butter content makes it spirited in warmer settings.

How to make french buttercream

My version of French buttercream is made with egg yolks. These are beaten until they look very fluffy and almost pale yellow.

During whipping, a simple sugar mixture (water and sugar) is boiled to 115°C (240°F). Once the sugar has reached the temperature, it is slow drizzled into the beating egg yolk to heat it up and add even more volume. This will also cook the eggs so they are safe to eat. Beat the egg and sugar mixture until the outside of the bowl is cool to the touch.

Finally, softened butter is gradually added to the sugar and egg mixture and beaten, leaving you with a luxurious and fluffy glaze.

How to Flavor French Buttercream

French buttercream can be flavored in a variety of ways. I’m keeping this recipe simple and only flavoring it with vanilla extract, but feel free to experiment and swap out the vanilla extract for any of the following options:

  • lemon curd
  • fruit jam
  • nut butter
  • Various liqueurs or extracts such as coffee liqueur or amaretto

How to Color French Buttercream

Gel food coloring is the best way to tint your French buttercream. Avoid using the small bottles of liquid food coloring you find at the grocery store; They are unpredictable in how they will change the consistency of your buttercream.

Instead, add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of the gel color to the finished buttercream and mix by hand. That way you don’t risk breaking the buttercream from over-beating.

How to store french buttercream

French buttercream freezes beautifully at room temperature for up to 2 hours, then simply transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for up to 7 days.

You can also freeze French buttercream. The buttercream needs to be warmed up before it can regain its fluffy consistency.

The easiest way to reheat and fluff the frosting is to break the chilled buttercream into chunks and place the chunks in a metal mixing bowl. I hit the outside of my mixing bowl with my butane torch while I whip the buttercream in the bowl with a whisk attachment.

If you don’t have a butane gas torch, set up a double boiler and set the mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and allow to heat for 4-5 minutes. You can then put it in your stand mixer to whip it until fluffy. Remember, you don’t want to melt the butter here; You just want to loosen it up a bit before attempting to whip it.

If you are fluffing frozen buttercream, you must first thaw it completely in the refrigerator before proceeding as above.

French buttercream troubleshooting tips

Learning to bake and experimenting with recipes always involves trial and error. I anticipated a few issues you might have when making the recipe for the first time. Hopefully these suggestions will help you solve any unexpected frosting crisis.

  • Broken Buttercream: Broken buttercream looks like curdled milk. To fix it, use the same gentle warming method as above (warming over a water bath). This will melt those milk fat lumps and you can mix the mixture back together.
  • Butter that is added to the egg mixture too cold can also cause the buttercream to crack. Make sure your butter is soft but not runny. It should yield to the pressure of your thumb as you add it to the egg and sugar mixture.
  • Grainy Texture: This is most likely due to your sugar not having melted enough. As you stir the water and sugar together, be sure to brush any sugar off the sides of your saucepan. Any sugar crystals that aren’t submerged in the water will cause crystallization, which will make your buttercream grainy.
  • If your butter melts as it’s being added to the egg mixture, it means the eggs are still too hot. Stop adding the butter and beat the yolks 3-4 minutes longer to cool.
  • If your finished buttercream is too soft, you can refrigerate the buttercream to allow the butter solids to set a little. Be sure to hit it well before using it.

Frosting Snapshot

  • Taste: easily customizable to any flavor you want to give it. As a vanilla buttercream, it’s rich and tastes like custard.
  • Texture: airy, silky and has a luxurious mouthfeel
  • Piping: ideal for spreading and piping simple borders. It can be used to spray roses, but they must be cooled sufficiently after spraying to ensure they do not melt or become too soft.
  • Works best on: Layer cakes, sheet cakes, cupcakes or as a dessert filling

Cons of French Buttercream

  • Not stable for hot outdoor environment
  • As I mentioned above, once refrigerated or frozen, the buttercream needs to be brought to room temperature and whipped again before using.

french buttercream

preparation time
15 minutes

cooking time
6 minutes

total time
21 minutes

16 servings

4 cups frosting

This recipe makes enough French buttercream to glaze a two-layer 9-inch cake with enough leftovers for an easy border. Or a 9×13 inch single layer sheet cake.


  • 1 1/4 cups (300G) granulated sugar

  • 1/4 Cup water

  • 6 large (95G) egg yolkat room temperature

  • prize kosher salt

  • 1 1/4 cups (340G) unsalted butterRoom temperature, diced into 1 tablespoon pieces

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

special equipment

  • candy thermometer

  • blender


  1. Mix sugar and water:

    In a small saucepan, mix together the sugar and water. Once the mixture resembles melted sand, place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Use a damp pastry brush to brush away any scattered sugar crystals around the rim and sides of the pot.

  2. Boil sugar:

    Without stirring, bring the sugar mixture to a gentle boil and use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. The sugar must reach 115 °C. This shouldn’t take longer than 6 minutes.

  3. Beat the yolk:

    While the sugar is coming up to temperature, get to work with the yolks.

    Place the egg yolks and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the yolks on medium speed until very light yellow in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the beaten egg yolks:

    Once the sugar has reached 115°C, add it to the beaten yolk. Pour the sugar into the bowl in a thin, even stream, being careful to avoid the sides of the bowl and the whisk.

  5. Continue beating egg yolk and sugar mixture:

    After all the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and continue beating the egg and sugar mixture until the outside of the bowl is just room temperature.

    An excellent way to test this is to place the bottom of your forearm on the bottom of the bowl. When it is no longer warm, you can start adding the butter.

  6. Add butter:

    Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and then begin adding the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time. I like to pinch the butter bits before adding them to the bowl; this will help them blend better into the egg mixture.

    Allow each batch of butter to fully incorporate into the egg and sugar mixture before adding the next piece.

    The buttercream will drain from being very bulky to halfway through adding butter. The volume will be restored once all the butter has been added. This step shouldn’t take more than 6 minutes.

  7. Add the vanilla extract:

    After the butter is added, scrape the bowl and add the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer back on to medium-high speed and beat the buttercream for another 3 minutes.

    The buttercream should be ivory in color and look airy and fluffy.

  8. Storing Buttercream:

    Use the buttercream immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, depending on your preference.

nutritional information (per serving)
246 calories
19g Fat
19g carbohydrates
1g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!