The Best Way To Determine How Much Buttercream To Make For Your Cakes

homemade buttercream frosting
homemade buttercream frosting - Nicolasmccomber/Getty Images

If you've ever mixed and matched recipes to make a cake or cupcakes with a different frosting, chances are you have quickly realized you might not have enough buttercream to cover your baked treats. This begs the question: How much homemade buttercream do you actually need? Before you start slathering on the sweet coating, let's break it down like a pro.

To answer this question, it all comes down to a bit of buttercream math and the size of the cake or quantity of cupcakes you plan to bake. Most standard cakes are no more than two or three layers tall (to avoid becoming too heavy). For an 8- to 9-inch cake, you will need at least 3 to 4 cups of a medium consistency buttercream. Similarly, for a larger sheet cake, you will need roughly 3 cups of frosting. Finally, plan for about 2 to 3 tablespoons of frosting per cupcake — or about 2 cups of frosting per dozen cupcakes — when using a spoon or spatula to spread the frosting.

Not all buttercream frostings are the same, however, so take this into consideration. A thicker style of buttercream will not go as far as a thinner one. To play it safe, you can always make 1 ½ or 2 times the amount of frosting you think you need to ensure you will have plenty for additional decorations. If you're unsure about the style of buttercream, try sticking with a beginner-friendly buttercream that can be spread or piped.

Read more: 30 Types Of Cake, Explained

You'll Need Even More If You Plan To Pipe Buttercream

buttercream in piping bag
buttercream in piping bag - this_baker/Shutterstock

The method you use to spread the frosting will also affect how far your buttercream will go toward coating a cake. When it comes to piping versus spreading frosting, density plays a key role. Piping icing onto a cake or cupcakes requires twice as much buttercream as spooning or spreading it. Why? Because piping the buttercream presses any air pockets out of the frosting, forcing it to become denser than simply scooping it from the mixing bowl onto the cake.

Now, let's talk about ingredients. Be sure to stock up on plenty of butter and sugar before making your buttercream. To whip up a batch of a typical frosting, you'll need unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and liquid — be it heavy cream or milk. Adjust the quantities as needed based on the amount of frosting you require. Armed with this buttercream know-how and the right amount of frosting, you're ready to conquer any baking adventure that comes your way. So go ahead, grab your piping bag and spatula, and let your rest assured you won't need to whip up another batch of frosting halfway through decorating.

Read the original article on Tasting Table