What Are Buttercream Cupcakes?

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  • Written By: Elizabeth West
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 29 May 2018
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Buttercream cupcakes are small cakes typically iced heavily with buttercream frosting. They are a very popular type of cupcake sold in specialty bakeries, with a huge variety of flavors and decorations. Some people make buttercream cupcakes in small, bite-sized portions, while others like a cupcake big enough for two people to share. Recipes for similar, healthier cupcakes can be found for those who like the sweet treats with a wholesome twist.

Cake decorators often use buttercream frosting for elaborate piping. The American version consists of powdered or confectioner's sugar, milk, butter and flavoring such as vanilla, and it can be tinted any color. Other flavorings are added per the client's request or the bakery's flavor specialties. Buttercream that contains eggs has a lower melting point than the milk and sugar version. These buttercream cupcakes must be kept refrigerated or the swirls of icing will collapse.

French, Swiss and Italian buttercreams start with a meringue of eggs, sugar and sugar syrup, with an emulsion of butter added in lumps. The butter should never be melted, or the frosting will turn out greasy. Ideally, the texture should be closer to ice cream, and the butter soft but not dripping. The frosting will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator and is easy to freeze.


Bakeries that specialize in buttercream cupcakes have taken advantage of their versatility to try out new and exotic tastes. Imaginative creations include green tea and caramel apple cupcakes, maple paired with bacon, and treats flavored with liquor. The base cupcake is usually the traditional chocolate, vanilla, citrus and red velvet cake, with the more unusual ingredients incorporated mostly into the frosting.

Many people watch their weight and sugar intake, so buttercream cupcakes may be a taboo diet item. There are a number of alternative recipes that are still delicious, but lower in fat and calories. Using shredded carrots and zucchini in cupcake recipes and choosing reduced-fat cream cheese and a recipe with less sugar will cut calories easily. Dieters may also consider garnishing them with fresh berries and a light skin of frosting and making mini-cupcakes in tiny portions, savoring only a couple at a time.

Once the cakes are baked and the frosting is made, the decorating begins. Decorating buttercream cupcakes is only limited to the imagination of the baker. They may be sprinkled with colored sugar and adorned with candy or chocolate leaves and figures. Tinted buttercream allows creative decorators to make designs in beautiful shapes and colors. For holidays, special occasions or just for everyday, buttercream cupcakes are a delicious and visually exciting treat.



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