Buttercream! Buttercream! My favorite 11 letter word. It's this magical thing that goes on cakes and cupcakes and cookie sandwiches and french macarons. It can make or break your dessert. Really, buttercream that is too sweet or not sweet enough can absolutely take over a good base dessert.
Here is my recipe. It is a pretty standard recipe, you can find it just about anywhere, but I have a few tricks that I use that may be helpful.
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted.
1 cup european butter, unsalted and left at room temp for an hour prior to mixing
1 tbsp vanilla or other flavor
a tbsp ice cold water
Unless I am making a large batch of buttercream, I always mix by hand with a fork and spatula. I like to feel the consistency and need to add more water or more sugar. YOu can use a mixer, I suppose it doesn't make much of a difference. I also hate to dirty my mixer if I am making a tiny batch of buttercream for macarons. I start by breaking the butter down with flavor and water and color. Add the confectioners sugar slowly as you get the thickness you want. Bitter cream isn't a science, it's an art and you can add and subtract as you see fit. Pop your buttercream in the frigde once it's combined for a bit so that it can settle and then you're good to go. Easy peasy.
And, OH MY GOD. It's a video of me making a small batch buttercream. Cool. Enjoy.
PS That song is the Magnetic Fields Absolutely Cuckoo. You can buy it here.