1cup(2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter,softened to room temperature
4cups(520g) powdered sugar,sifted * see notes
4 to 6tablespoonsmilk or heavy cream** see notes
1teaspoonpure vanilla extract(optional)
Add your unsalted butter to a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, cream the butter on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it lightens in color and fluffs up slightly. (You can also do this by hand, but it'll be quite the workout!)
Add your powdered sugar to the butter and mix on low to incorporate. Once you no longer see dry sugar, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar well.
Add your salt, 2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream, and vanilla. Whip the mixture for another 1 to 2 minutes on high speed, or until it's light and fluffy. Take care not to over mix if using heavy cream as it can turn grainy. Mix in more milk/cream as needed to get your desired consistency.Pipe, spread, or spoon frosting on any dessert you like!
* While it still tastes great regardless, sifting is an important step to help you get a smooth buttercream.** You can substitute the heavy cream for milk if you prefer. Since milk has a thinner consistency than cream, you should start with 1 tablespoon and add more as needed to get your desired consistency. Frosting made with heavy cream tends to be richer and fluffier, while frosting made with milk is usually denser and almost fudgier (yum, and yum!)