Alton brown buttercream frosting Recipe

Any classic cake, be it Anne of Cleves Cake, kit kat cake with strawberries, strawberry shortcake cheesecake with golden Oreos, or of whatever type, feels incomplete without an attractive layer of frosting. The layer of frosting must also be hefty! That’s why every cake lover has to pay special attention to prepare the frosting. If you are a cake lover like me, out today’s recipe, Alton brown buttercream frosting is for you.

No other frosting is as versatile, or beloved as buttercream frosting. Yes, it is also often misunderstood as well because there are almost endless ways to prepare the buttercream frosting. But all recipes call for almost the same types of ingredients including a few very common ones, e.g., butter, sugar, eggs, etc.

But to get the optimal result, you have to apply the right formula that you going to get today. This recipe only takes 5 ingredients and is a bit different from the original formula as the original one is often disliked. So, without wasting more time, let’s hit it…]


  • Unsalted butter (4 sticks; around 454 grams)
  • Granulated sugar (1 cup; around 223 grams)
  • Large eggs and egg whites (3 large eggs and 3 more large egg whites)
  • Light corn syrup (1/2 cup; around 157 grams)
  • Kosher salt (3-finger pinch)

Special Equipment

  • Measuring cups
  • Knife, whisk, large pot, large plate
  • Rubber spatula, kitchen towel (must be 4-inches-deep)
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Instant-read digital thermometer
  • Whisk attachment capable electric stand mixer


  • At first, cut the butter into pieces (not more than 1/2-inch-thick) and set it aside on the counter on a plate.
  • Keep the plate on the counter and wait till the temperature of the butter gets to 62-65 degrees Fahrenheit. It would take 40-45 minutes. But if the temperature is more than 65 degrees Fahrenheit, keep the plate in the refrigerator temporarily.
  • Meanwhile, as the butter keeps heating up, take a wide pot resembling a Dutch oven, and set a kitchen towel, fully folded, on the bottom of such pot.
  • Then add water (2.5 inches) and heat to 190 degrees Fahrenheit to bring to a bare simmer.
  • Whisk finely, the sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and eggs whites using the work bowl of your stand mixer. Then place the bowl on top of the water of the wide bowl and whisk the mixture continuously, for 5- minutes, until the sugar vanishes and the mixture temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • At this point, take the bowl and set on the whisk adjustable and fitted stand mixer, and beat the ingredients for 12-15 minutes, or more, on high speed, until the mixture feels thick and the temperature gets down to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Then, after setting the speed to medium, keep adding the butter pieces one by one. But make sure the current piece is fully blended before adding another.
  • When you have finished beating, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Again, set the speed to high, and after adding salt, beat for 2 more minutes and make the mixture creamy and smooth as per your desire.

Now you have finished preparing the Alton brown buttercream frosting. You can use it immediately or store it for suing later.

How to store Alton brown buttercream frosting

To store this, place the frosting in an airtight container or cover it tightly using anything else and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. But, if the frosting is chilled, don’t forget to bring the frosting back to room temperature. Then use a stand mixer again to re-whip it and make it fluffy. Then use it the way you like on your classical cakes or anything.

Recipe notes

  • While adding the butter slices, the mixture may feel likely to curdle, but it eventually comes together if you keep adding the butter and beat them nicely.
  • You can use coconut oil if you want a hint of coconut flavor, which will make a great pair with any type of vanilla cake.
  • If you want to use any shortening, go ahead and use it. But I prefer it without any shortening. You can even use lard in this recipe instead of butter or shortening.

Tips and Tricks

The icing of this frosting offers one of the smoothest textures ever. It has a satisfying mouth-feel along with delicious flavor. Yet it is neither so buttery nor so sweet.

This frosting, for me, is most suited for, a denser cake as the icing of the frosting is comparatively heavy compared to another frosting. I used it for denser poundcake textured vanilla cakes.

Nutritional Information

One of the lots of reasons of buttercream frosting’s being so popular frosting item is its nutritional value. Let’s be honest with you, there is no other frosting that is as healthy as the Alton brown buttercream frosting.

Serving (each serving)Nutritional ValueDaily Value
Calories1091 (4400.56 kJ)
Total Fat34 g 57%
Saturated Fat05 g38%
Monounsaturated Fat0.67 g
Polyunsaturated Fat
Sodium127 mg13%
Potassium36 mg09%
Calcium5.7 mg 2%
Cholesterol120 mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate23 g 12%
Sugars45g 59%
Added Sugars15g 34%
Protein4.67 g
Note:  Daily Value percentage is based on a 2,000-calorie diet a day.

If you have prepared any classic cake, the first thing you are going to miss is a layer of frosting. If you know what I already mean, you would also get what difference this Alton brown buttercream frosting makes.

It’s such impressive and versatile that I have to prepare it for every occasion whenever I prepare a cake. Consequently, Alton brown buttercream frosting recipe remains one of the most used recipes on my list. And, you know what, at end of the day, nothing matters more than seeing the smiling faces of the dearest ones!

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