Ices 18 to 24 cupcakes depending on your icing style (piped or spread)
• 1 cup (240 ml/220 g) butter, softened
• 6 cups (1,440 ml) powdered sugar
• 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
• 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
Here's the great old luscious VANILLA BUTTERCREAM ICING that tops the Vanilla Cupcakes and turns them into the renowned "Vanilla-Vanilla Cupcakes" that have made the Magnolia Bakery famous. And now they can be yours too...
I've mentioned before that these are our best-selling flavor in the shop, and a personal favorite of my kids, and all those around them... You'll have your kids hanging around the kitchen to lick the mixing spoons and bowls with this one. If there was a flavor to America - half of it would be this... You'll have to look through my other recipes to find the other signature flavor of America, if you don't already know it... ;-).
This icing gets whipped up really quick, but getting the texture right is all about how long you beat, and the speed at which you do, so do make sure to beat for the times indicated. First put your softened butter into the mixing bowl, add the milk and vanilla extract about half the powdered sugar (3 to 4 cups). You'll need a to mix slowly at first to make sure the sugar doesn't fly everywhere, then increase the speed gradually to medium speed. Beat at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Gradually add the remaining sugar, one cup at a time, and continue to beat until the sugar is combined. Be sure not to beat too fast, or the butter will start to melt and the mixture will not fill with air. You should have no clumps and the texture should be creamy. Now, the more sugar you'll add, the stiffer the icing will be. If you plan on spreading it with an icing knife, you won't want it to be too stiff. but if you are piping, it does need to be a little bit stiffer or it will start to "fall" once its piped.
If you plan on coloring your icing (you'll have noticed that my favorite for the Vanilla-Vanilla Cupcake is to have them a light shade of pink, but any other color can do...) you can either add a few drops of food coloring into the icing at the end. But I think the best way to get the right color, without over-beating, is to add the food coloring to the milk BEFORE you mix it into the sugar and butter. That way you can see the effect the drops will have on the volume of milk, which is a pretty good rendition of the end color of your icing.
Decorate away - let the kids join in the fun (remind them of course, that less is more ;-)))). And M-Joy!