Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Buttercream

June 3, 2011

I recently made cupcakes for a party and wanted a crowd-pleasing frosting recipe. I knew that Magnolia Bakery would come through for me and they did! I made their Vanilla Buttercream with a twist to make it Vanilla Bean Buttercream.

The recipe clarifies that this is not technically a buttercream, but is an old-fashioned confectioner’s sugar and butter frosting. That worked for me, because I was doing a lot of baking and did not want to fuss with a cooked frosting. This frosting was ultra smooth and creamy with a delicious vanilla flavor. Is it sweet? Yes, and that’s a good thing!


  • I substituted vanilla bean paste for vanilla extract. It gives the frosting a little bit of that vanilla bean speckled look, and I think it adds more vanilla flavor. The original recipe calls for an equal amount of vanilla extract.
  • I made this in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment. The original recipe says to use an electric mixer, with no further information about attachments. Covering the mixer with a towel will help prevent an explosion of powdered sugar in your kitchen!

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Adapted from Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6-8 cups confectioner’s sugar (also called powdered sugar)
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add 4 cups confectioner’s sugar and then the milk and vanilla bean paste. Cover the mixer with a clean towel and mix on low until the ingredients are combined. Remove the towel, increase the mixer to medium speed, and beat 3-5 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add more sugar 1 cup at a time, beating about two minutes after each addition, until the frosting is a good spreading consistency. You may not need to use all 8 cups of sugar.

Frosting will set it chilled; use and store at room temperature. Frosting can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Magnolia Bakery has several cookbooks, but the one that I used is called The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey’s Home Kitchen.

In a serious chocolate mood?

Try Magnolia Bakery’s Chocolate Cupcakes and Chocolate Buttercream!


  1. I have never used Vanilla Bean Paste–where do you purchase it at? Looks like it is something I need, I do love Vanilla. Your cupcakes look yummy.
    This frosting is similar to what we always made. Only recently (thanks Dorie) did I learn there were other delightful ways to make frosting. Think Swiss Butter Creme. I’ve learned so much from Ms. Greenspan!

    • Hi Cindy, I ordered the vanilla bean paste from King Arthur. I’m pretty sure you can also get it at Williams Sonoma. I think this type of frosting is classic comfort food!

  2. This frosting looks so luscious – wanna sink my teeth into one of those cupcakes.

  3. That frosting looks fantastic! This is totally making me want a cupcake right now. Isn’t vanilla bean paste great? I love the extra vanilla flavor it adds.

  4. I love that this buttercream recipe doesn’t start with bringing egg whites and granulated sugar up to a certain temperature on the stovetop-those types of buttercreams are WAY too grainy for me. I always love the buttercream recipes that include confectioner’s sugar, which dissolves so easily. Thank you for sharing this recipe-now I need to go and get some vanilla bean paste……:) And by the way, those were some VERY lucky party goers! Those cupcakes look awesome!

  5. Oh yum, chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting are my very favorite! Vanilla bean paste is such a great invention, I wish I remembered to use mine more often. Love the sprinkles on your cupcakes 🙂

  6. I use this frosting recipe a lot, so easy to make and pipe! the cupcakes look great

  7. This sounds like a yummy frosting and using vanilla paste was a great idea. Your cupcakes are adorable!!

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