What Is Lemon Buttercream Frosting?

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  • Written By: Tiffany Manley
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 29 May 2018
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Lemon buttercream frosting is generally used to ice a variety of desserts such as cupcakes, cakes, and cookies. It is generally made by combining a fat such as butter or shortening, sugar, and lemon flavoring. Icing is a term that might be used in some regions instead of frosting, but they are typically the same thing. Lemon buttercream frosting can be either commercially prepared or homemade.

The addition of lemon flavoring is what distinguishes this buttercream frosting from others. This flavor might be derived from a variety of sources such as extract, oil, or zest. In some recipes lemon juice is added in place of other liquids to flavor the mixture. A combination of two or more of these ingredients might yield a more intense lemon taste, although care should be taken to avoid creating an extremely tart product.

Recipes for lemon buttercream frosting are available in cookbooks, magazines, and on the Internet. While many differ slightly, they all generally start with the use of butter or shortening. One or both of these are beaten at a high speed to make them creamy and to incorporate air, which makes the frosting fluffy. Icing sugar, also known as powdered sugar, is then added to the mixture. The final step generally consists of the addition of any flavorings.


Lemon buttercream frosting can be made to have a tart or sweet taste. This is generally determined by the amount of sugar and type of flavoring used. Natural products, such as fresh lemons, will usually create a more natural tart flavor that can typically be balanced well with sugar. Artificial flavorings tend to produce a sweeter lemon taste. The tartness of a lemon buttercream frosting is usually determined by personal taste and the type of dessert it will be used on.

Commercially prepared frostings are sometimes preferred over homemade ones for a variety of reasons, including a need to save time or the preferred taste of a specific brand. Since flavors vary among brands, someone using this type of product will generally want to test them before serving to ensure the taste is pleasant. Some purchased products can be enhanced to create a more desirable product by adding things such as lemon zest, oil, or juice.

Generally fresh products create the best lemon buttercream frosting. Powdered or bottled lemon can usually be used if necessary, but they typically do not taste the same as fresh. If a prepared product must be used, individuals should generally try to use a high quality one to help ensure the best possible flavor.



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