This Not So Sweet Buttercream is stable, versatile, and not as sweet as traditional buttercream recipes. Leave the horrific comment of “this frosting is too sweet” behind you! This recipe is simple and easy to make. Plus, you can have it from the mixing bowl to decorating your sweet treats in less than 10 minutes!
Not So Sweet Buttercream
Find the chocolate version of my Not So Sweet Buttercream here, Not So Sweet Chocolate Buttercream.
I first developed this Not So Sweet Buttercream recipe for my boyfriend’s 30th birthday cake a few months ago. I was making him a layer cake and knew I needed something that would crust (harden) and keep it’s shape as I piped. He is not a huge fan of sweets and is definitely not a fan of traditional buttercream. Honestly, if you already have a treat that is sweet you don’t really want to pile more sweet on top of it. He was wanting a cream cheese frosting but I knew that would not hold up to the standard of a layer cake.
That was when I created a hybrid of American Buttercream and Cream Cheese Frosting! It is more on the buttercream side but does have a hint of cream cheese flavor. The primary reason cream cheese is used in this recipe is to tame the sweet. Cream cheese adds stability so we don’t need as much powdered sugar and tang so it cuts through the sweet a bit. We also add cornstarch and meringue powder to help with stability and overall texture of the buttercream.
Ingredients in Not So Sweet Buttercream
- Unsalted butter- Buttercream can’t exist without butter, but make sure it is at room temperature.
- Cream cheese- Cream cheese adds stability and tanginess to our buttercream. Again, make sure it is at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract- Where the flavor comes from!
- Powdered sugar- Acts as sweetener and a stabilizer. This ensures we are able to pipe our buttercream into pretty designs.
- Meringue powder- It is made of dried egg whites and adds stability to the buttercream. You can find it online or at large craft stores and grocery stores in the baking/cake decorating section.
- Cornstarch- Adds more stability.
You may be wondering, why so many “stable” ingredients?! Well, in order to get away with using less powdered sugar but still have a strong, pipeable buttercream we need those ingredients.
Whipping Up the Not So Sweet Buttercream
For this recipe you can use either a stand mixer, or a hand mixer. Whatever you prefer!
- Beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Make sure both are softened and at room temperature to get a really smooth and creamy mixture. You will beat it on medium speed for three to four minutes.
- Incorporate the vanilla extract. Do this on low speed for one minute.
- Sift together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and corn starch.
- Add your powdered sugar mixture one cup at a time. Do this on low to medium speed, scraping down the bowl between each cup. It takes about four to 5 minutes.
- Whip one final time. Turn up your mixer to medium high and whip for thirty to forty five seconds. This will give you a super creamy frosting.
Store your Not So Sweet Buttercream in the refrigerator or freezer covered. This can be in a bowl or piping bag that is in an airtight gallon bag.
TIP: When you are ready to use the buttercream, remove from the refrigerator or freezer and let the frosting come to a slightly cool-room temperature. Whip on medium speed with stand mixer or hand mixer until it is light and fluffy for three to four minutes. If it is in a piping bag you can massage it with your hands for a few minutes.
I Don’t Know How Much to Make
It can be so difficult trouble shooting how many batches of frosting to make. I always end up making a little more than what I needed so I have some wiggle room with design. For reference, one batch is this recipe as is. To make two batches you would need to double it and three batches means tripling it. I hope this helps!
- 6 cupcakes: half batch
- 12 cupcakes: one batches
- 6 inch layer cake: one batches
- 8 inch layer cake: two batches
- 8×8 sheet cake or brownies: one batch
- 13×9 sheet cake or brownies: two batches
- Filling 12 whoopie pies or cookies: one batches
Ideas for Flavor Combinations
I love this recipe because it tastes delicious with so many different flavors. Some of my favorite variations are:
- Fruity- use 2 tablespoons of powdered freeze- dried fruit per batch. Add this in after your buttercream is done. My favorites have been strawberry and blueberry. I shy away from adding fresh fruits to this because the cornstarch and water content in fruit makes a gummy and stringy consistency.
- Caramel- beat in 1-3 tablespoons of jarred caramel per batch. Add this in at the end. If the buttercream loosens from your caramel add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until thickened.
- Any flavor emulsion- Mint, coconut, butter pecan, maple, almond, marshmallow, cotton candy. Add between one half teaspoon and one tablespoon per batch. I start with one half teaspoon and taste test until I get the flavor strength I am looking for.
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Not So Sweet Buttercream
- 1 stick unsalted butter; room temperature
- ½ block cream cheese; full fat
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoons meringue powder
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- On medium speed, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Add vanilla extract, beat until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl sift together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and corn starch.
- On low to medium speed, add 1 cup of the powdered sugar mixture to the cream cheese mixture at a time, scraping down the bowl between each cup.
- Once all the powdered sugar mixture is incorporated, turn mixer to medium high and beat for 30-45 seconds.
- Covered in refrigerator for up to seven days.
- Covered and frozen for up to two months.
If you make my Not So Sweet Buttercream, don’t forget to leave this recipe a rating, comment, or like. Tag me on social media using the hashtag #EntirelyElizabeth when sharing your own personal photos making this recipe. I would love to see your version and know your thoughts!