Buttercream and Frosting · Cupcakes

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

The best ever vanilla bean buttercream. Super creamy, fluffy and amazing swirled high on your favourite chocolate or vanilla cupcake! 

Want to learn how to make the fluffiest, most perfect vanilla bean buttercream? If so, you’re at the right place!

I finally have a new bake to share with you. I haven’t been baking much lately so ease myself back in gently I decided to put a spin on these vanilla cupcakes, a recipe that I can always count on to work. The cupcakes are named “perfect” for a reason and that recipe is a must try for baking beginners because it’s straightforward and doesn’t require any out of the ordinary ingredients.

This buttercream is one of first recipes I created for the blog way back when I first started it. I’d always loved making buttercream but I could never seem to get it super creamy and fluffy.

Good old-fashioned vanilla cupcakes are definitely a favourite cupcake flavour of mine. I don’t think you can really go wrong with the classics. This beautiful buttercream suits all kinds of cupcakes, my favourite way is to top vanilla cupcakes with the buttercream but it would also be well suited swirled onto a fudgy chocolate cupcake if you fancy doing that.

As I mentioned, for this buttercream I used my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe as a base. I took the opportunity to do some retesting and update the original recipe ever so slightly. The only changes I made was this time I used margarine in place of butter because I find it gives a more even rise and I also used cake flour instead of regular self-raising flour. Another step I did was I reduced the oven temperature slightly so the cupcakes would rise more evenly and not dome.

Baking is a real science and those adjustments made a definite improvement!

To make my buttercream a touch extra special and treated myself to some vanilla pods. I love adding Madagascan vanilla pods in all kinds of desserts, whether that’s homemade ice cream, cakes/cupcakes, cookies and of course, buttercream and frosting. I particularly love adding it to batches of buttercream because it adds a gorgeous natural vanilla flavour and also I think the flecks of vanilla beans look really beautiful.

I could easily devour this buttercream before decorating the cupcakes – it’s really difficult for someone like me with a massive sweet tooth to resist! 😉 The finished cupcakes taste exactly like something from a high-end bakery, give them a try and you’ll see!


150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened – leave it out overnight and allow to soften at room temperature

300g (3 cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Seeds scraped from 1 large vanilla pod

2 tablespoons double cream or milk, add extra if needed

1 x batch Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk or paddle attachment beat the softened butter for 2 minutes until creamy and pale in colour.
  2. Add the icing/confectioners’ sugar along with the vanilla extract and the scraped vanilla beans. Combine on a low speed and then turn the mixer up to medium speed and continue to beat for 5-7 minutes until fluffy and a light colour. Make sure you stop the mixer halfway through and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything gets incorporated evenly.
  3. Finally, add the cream or milk and continue to mix for another minute until it’s combined fully. Use the buttercream to decorate a layer cake or frost 12 standard sized cupcakes.

Recipe Notes:

  • To scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod, simply take a sharp kitchen knife and slice the vanilla bean directly down the middle and pull apart to open. Using the back of the knife, carefully scrape the seeds from the pod. I find this detailed post helpful. 🙂
  • Adjust the consistency of the buttercream with a couple of tablespoons of double/heavy cream or milk. I recommend picking cream over milk as the buttercream will have a more airy and creamier texture.
  • Recipe above yields enough buttercream to decorate 12 standard sized cupcakes or a small two-layer cake such as a Victoria sandwich. Depending on how much buttercream you use to decorate, you could possibly decorate a few more than 12 cupcakes.
  • If you can’t find vanilla pods where you live or they are too expensive for your budget, you can substitute the vanilla pod for an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract in this recipe.
  • If buttercream is too sweet for your liking try adding a pinch of salt or substituting the unsalted butter for salted.

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