$0.78 per cup 13% savings save $2.01 yearly
Ever since my first baby's first birthday, I have looked forward to making birthday cakes. I always ask my kids what kind of cake they want for their birthday, and I get some pretty fun (girly) answers:
"A rainbow cake with ponies on it!"
"A butterfly cake AND butterfly cupcakes!"
"A pink and purple and white flower cake with 'curlies'!"
"A pink and yellow and green cake with sprinkles and chocolate and lots of candy!"
While I'm not the best cake decorator out there, (not by a LONG shot) I love getting creative with frosting.
Now, before I go any further, let me address the numbers above: I know making your own frosting isn't going to save you much money, and it's more time-consuming than popping open a can. But SERIOUSLY, people. Canned frosting?! Blech. Also, eww. Let's take a look at the canned gunk:
Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean & Cottonseed Oil, Water, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Wheat Starch, Contains 1 Percent Or Less Of: Salt, Distilled Monoglycerides, Colored W/(Artificial Color Yellows 5&6), Polysorbate 60, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Acid, Pyrophosphate, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Nonfat Milk, Freshness, Preserved By Potassium Sorbate.
Homemade and canned are not even close to being in the same league. It's like comparing the World Series winning team to a 2-year old t-ball team. Not. Comparable.
Apart from decorating several birthday cakes, we also make frosted sugar cookies at least 3 times a year (Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day), so having a yummy, versatile, go-to frosting, is essential in our home, and good ol' traditional buttercream is the winner.
I've tried a few buttercream frosting recipes in my lifetime.
One used half shortening, half butter, for a very white frosting. (Looked pretty... tasted greasy)
One used less butter. (Too sugary)
One used a ton of butter. (Too buttery... you'd think I'd have guessed that before-hand)
Some recipes use salted butter. (The amount of salt in salted butter varies from brand to brand, and even batch to batch, which can result in overly-salty frosting)
Some say margarine is okay. (It most definitely is NOT okay... at least in my opinion)
So many recipes, so many "favorites," so many options.
I'm not here to discredit anyone else's favorite buttercream frosting recipe, but I will add mine to the list because it's easy, no-fail, tastes just how buttercream frosting should taste, works perfectly for decorating, and my family gives it two very enthusiastic thumbs up.
I know we do.
Vanilla Buttercream FrostingPrintable Version
*Makes approx. 2.75 cups
1 cup room-temp. unsalted butter (not slightly melted!... it will ruin your frosting consistency)
4 cups powdered (confectioner's) sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla (if you want really white frosting, use clear vanilla extract)
2-4 Tbsp. milk
Using either a hand mixer or standing mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and salt, and continue to mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla and 2 Tbsp. of milk, and beat for 2 more minutes.
If your frosting is too thick, add more milk 1 Tbsp. at a time until you reach the desired consistency. If it is too thin, add a little more sugar. For decorating purposes, a stiffer frosting is best (meaning a less milk, more sugar ratio). Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
~ Savings ~
1 lb. unsalted butter - $2.50 = 2 C = $1.25/C = $1.25
2 lb. powdered sugar - $1.48 = 7.5 C = $0.197/C = $0.788
26 oz. salt - $0.44 = 122.75 tsp = $0.003/tsp = $0.001
8 fl. oz. imitation vanilla - $0.98 = 48 tsp = $0.0204/tsp = $0.061
1 gallon milk - $2.99 = 256 T = $0.012/T = $0.036
Total Recipe Cost - $2.14
Cost Per Cup - $0.78
Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting (16 oz.) - $1.88
Per Cup - $0.90
"Over a year" scenario:
Make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting 6 times = $12.84
Use equivalent Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting = $14.85
Money Saved: $2.01