Easy French Buttercream Recipe

America's Best New Pastry Chefs by Food & Wine. She was the pastry editor at Serious Eats from năm 2016 to 2019." data-inline-tooltip="true">Stella Parks

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

The mixture may look a little strange at first, but as the butter is incorporated, it will eventually become glossy, smooth, & thick enough khổng lồ hold stiff peaks.

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Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Troubleshooting the Texture

Buttercream is the least mysterious recipe lớn troubleshoot. If it"s soupy or thin, it"s too hot. If it"s curdled or greasy, it"s too cold. Either problem is easily solved by warming or cooling the buttercream, so there"s never any reason lớn panic or despair. If your buttercream isn"t the perfect consistency for spreading over a cake, justfollow my troubleshooting guide for Swiss buttercream. French buttercream may start with different ingredients, but its backbone is still butter, so it can be fixed in exactly the same way.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Properly made, French buttercream should weigh about six và a quarter ounces per cup. If yours turns out even lighter, that's fantastic, but if it's significantly denser, that's a sure sign the buttercream was too cold khổng lồ be properly whipped. Again, this is easily remedied by warming and re-whipping the buttercream, per the troubleshooting guide.

Once it"s been whipped khổng lồ the perfect consistency, French buttercream is light & silky, with a dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. It"s wonderful as is, but also easily customized with ingredients like melted chocolate, peanut butter, ground nuts, or spices—with cinnamon and nutmeg to lớn play off the brandy, it"s also the perfect eggnog-flavored frosting. Pair it with anything fromclassic vanilla butter caketochocolate cherry cake, or evena carrot cakefor those who aren"t keen on cream cheese frosting.

5 1/2 ounces egg yolk (shy 2/3 cup; 155g), from about 10 large eggs

1 ounce bourbon, brandy, rum, tea, or coffee (about 2 tablespoons; 30g)

1/4 ounce vanilla extract (1 1/2 teaspoons; 7g)

1/2 teaspoon (2g) diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight

16 ounces unsalted butter (4 sticks; 455g), softened khổng lồ about 65°F (18°C)

Fill a wide pot with at least 1 một nửa inches water, with a thick ring of crumpled aluminum foil placed on the bottom lớn act as a "booster seat" that will prevent the bowl from touching the bottom of the pot. Place over high heat until steaming-hot, then adjust temperature lớn maintain a gentle simmer. Combine egg yolks, sugar, bourbon or other liquid ingredient, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Place bowl over steaming water, stirring và scraping constantly with a flexible spatula, until egg yolk syrup reaches 155°F (68°C). This should take only about 5 minutes; if the process seems khổng lồ be moving slowly, simply turn up the heat. Once it's ready, transfer to lớn a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment & whip at high tốc độ until mixture is fluffy, stiff, & beginning lớn ball up around the whisk, about 8 minutes.

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With mixer still running, showroom butter 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, waiting only a second or two between additions. In the end, the buttercream should be thick, creamy, và soft but not runny, around 72°F (22°C).

Use buttercream right away, or transfer to a large zipper-lock bag, press out the air, và seal. Buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks & frozen for up to lớn several months. (The main issue with longer storage in the freezer is odor absorption, not spoilage.) Rewarm to 72°F & re-whip before using.

Troubleshooting: If warmer than 74°F (23°C), the buttercream will be soft and loose; pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes and re-whip lớn help it thicken and cool. If colder than 68°F (20°C), the buttercream will be firm and dense, making it difficult khổng lồ spread over cakes & slow to lớn melt on the tongue, creating a greasy mouthfeel. To lớn warm, briefly mix over a pan of steaming water, just until you see the edges melting slightly, then re-whip lớn help it soften và warm. French buttercream can be fixed according khổng lồ the same rules for Swiss buttercream. For more information, see the troubleshooting guide and video clip here.


Though technically optional, using quick-toasted sugar will dramatically tame the sweetness of this buttercream, while also adding subtle depth of flavor. It"s a lovely cảm ứng for basic vanilla, but not nearly as vital when stronger flavors, lượt thích chocolate or spices, come into play.

Make-Ahead và Storage

Use buttercream right away, or transfer lớn a large zipper-lock bag, press out the air, và seal. Buttercream can be refrigerated for up khổng lồ 2 weeks và frozen for up to several months. (The main issue with longer storage in the freezer is odor absorption, not spoilage.) Rewarm khổng lồ 72°F & re-whip before using.