THE BEST VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- 1 cup (16 tablespoons, 8 ounces) butter, softened to room temperature (see note)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups (16 ounces) powdered sugar
- 2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and vanilla extract until the butter is light in color and creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Add the powdered sugar gradually, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing completely after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl often.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and continue mixing while adding the heavy cream (start with the lesser amount and add more as needed until the desired consistency is reached). Add more powdered sugar for a thicker frosting.
- Whip until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- If using food coloring, add it now (gel coloring is preferred so it doesn't thin out the frosting), and mix until combined.