Sunday, January 27, 2013

How much buttercream do I need?

I LOVE Swiss-Meringue Buttercream!  If you've been a fan of my blog for any amount of time, you probably know that!  It's like heaven on a spoon...well...not really because Heaven will be a million times more amazing than Swiss-Meringue Buttercream...but, it's like heaven for my taste buds I guess! :)  It's light, creamy, buttery and just plain AH-mazing!!

I've been making cakes for a while now and for some reason, like I mentioned in my "How much ganache" post, I hardly keep records of what I use in my cakes.  I guess it might because I just don't make very many, so when I do make one, I'm just in the zone and don't take the time to write it all down.  So, today was the day to give me some clarity and hopefully help you all out too! - because I LOVE being able to give you all tips to make your lives easier too!  
I had some yummy vanilla SMBC in the freezer, so after thawing it out and re-whipping it, I used a whole bunch of various sized cake boards to mimic a cake layer so that I could spread that heavenly stuff out and weigh it to see just how much I actually use!!!

Now, I love lots of, you'll need to take that in consideration.  I used the Ateco tip #6 to pipe about a 1/2" thick slab of buttercream on my boards.  That's pretty standard for me.  I use 1" thick cakes (most of the time), so that gives me a beautiful 1:2 ratio of buttercream to cake!!  Some of it squishes out when things are settling, so these amounts below are generous.

Here's how the buttercream measured out...

Round Cakes:
6" Diameter: 5 oz
8" Diameter: 12 oz
10" Diameter: 20 oz

Square Cakes:
6":  7 oz
8":  15 oz
10": 23 oz

So, if you like a thinner layer of buttercream, you can adjust these amounts accordingly.

When I make a batch of Swiss-Meringue Buttercream (see recipe under this post .  Scroll down to "What buttercream do you use?"), I use a 1 to 2 to 2.5 ratio of egg whites to sugar to butter.  Then, add in my flavorings.  So, let's pretend I'm making a four layer 8" round cake.  Using my ounces above, I'll have three layers with 12oz of buttercream.  That's 36oz total.  Using my 1:2:3 ratio for ingredients, I would need 7oz of egg whites, 13oz of sugar and 16oz of butter.  That will give me my 36oz of buttercream!!  
Now, you can obviously make a bit more to make sure there's enough...but that helps me to know what I'll need and can save myself the added calories of having to eat up the left over buttercream!! :)  I would be comfortable using the ounce weights above almost exact because anything around 1/2" of buttercream is great!!  Now, remember, after making a batch of buttercream, weigh it out and divide it evenly into how many layers you'll need so that in case there is a bit less than you thought, all the layers will have an equal amount.  And, if you don't have a kitchen scale...invest in one! :)  I use mine ALL the time!!! :)
I hope that helps you all!  I know it's wonderful for me to have this down on paper now!!  Sorry I didn't do anything larger than 10"...I never make anything larger than 10".  But, you could probably use the proportions from 6" to 8" to 10" to figure out about how many more ounces you'll need for a say a 12"!

Also, one more fun thing to mention!!!  I just got back from filming my tutorials and they're going to be amazing!!!  I had SUCH a fun time!!  They should be out the end of February at the latest, so stay tuned for more updates as it gets closer!!!  YEAH! :)  Thanks for all your patience! - it'll be worth it! :)

God bless you all!!  Happy buttercreaming! :)
OH, and I'll have one more post on crumb coats and how many ounces you'll need for those!! :)  Stay tuned!

Photo above from:


  1. This is soooo helpful! Thank you!!!
    I always make too much because I'm so scared of not having enough and then... ya... I eat the leftovers. (Hangs head in shame)
    I'll thank you this summer when my shorts fit!
    Thank you!! :)

  2. Thanks for the tip. I always end up making more than i should, actually a lot more. It just saves me the hassle of making another batch in case i get short of it. Will keep reading your blog.

  3. Thank you for taking the time of measuring and weighing and writing this post AND being such a great help to all other cakers with it :)

  4. I love this too but I wonder, after you use this on the cakes and then ganache over the top and begin to fondant - is this good to then stay out of the fridge?!
    I worry because of the eggs but equally know fondant shouldnt be put in the fridge :/
    Blessings x

  5. Thank you so much for this! This is so so helpful! I always err on the side of caution but that usually means ending up with about twice as much frosting as I need! Again, your blog is just post after post of perfectly helpful information!

  6. Great post - thanks! I normally end up with much more than I need!

  7. Thanks for posting your buttercream information. This is very helpful. :-)

  8. It's very important post!
    Thank you so much Jessica.
    By the way, i'm writing from Turkey and i love your blog :)

  9. Hi Jessica, I've popped onto your blog many times for tips and inspiration. Your cakes are always so flawless and original. I've decided that I need to just start from the beginning and read everything that you've posted because I think I will learn so much from you! Thank you for sharing all of your lessons learned, "no nos" instead of "how tos" are often the advice I look for.
    Ben Moore paint deck....check! Im also any interior designer and am thankful that I can use my professional skills to enhance my love for sugar art. I love that you use CAD to sketch out your cakes, it really takes the guess work and stress out of that last minute decision making in decorating.
    One question I have for you is about your cake structure and icing base. Do you always ganache instead of BC? Do you feel that a cake with fondant over BC will never be as perfect? (sorry if this is already answered in your FAQs)

    1. Hey Nikki!!
      YEAH, I'm glad you're finding helpful info here!! :) That's what it's here for!!

      I actually work just fine with buttercream, especially since I've figured out a new way to get sharp fondant edges. Ganache is MUCH easier for me and less time consuming because you can work with the cake at room temp and condensation doesn't become an issue. When I work with buttercream as the crumb coat, I have to wait out the condensation's just trickier.

      By the way, I have a long tutorial video coming out the end of the month with tons of tricks (including this new one when working with buttercream), stay tuned for a post about it! There will be a small charge for it, but honestly it'll be SO worth it!! There's lots of tips and tricks I share that I've recently come up with!! :)


  10. Hi Jessica,
    I'm glad that I found this blog, so that I can get some helpful advices. I haven't seen any blogs giving this accurate measurements for frosting needed for icing cakes... Great work and patience...I need your advice on something, please help... I've some cup cakes to make, for 300 guests, for my son's baptism and I would like to know how much frosting you think will be needed for making basic cup cake swirls on standard sized as well as small sized cup cakes. Or how much cup cakes (small and medium) can be done with one cup of frosting in basic swirl design?


    1. Hi there! In my notes I have written down that 72oz of buttercream was perfect for 4 dozen cupcakes. So, less or more depending on how you like to swirl them. So, that's 13oz of egg whites, 26oz of sugar and 33oz of butter. Blessings!

  11. Thank you for this article, it was a life saver :-)
    I was terrified of either not making enough or making way too much, and using your tips made 23oz to frost a 10x3-inches round cake - not much left over :-)

  12. Thank you Jessica, your formula is a keeper :-)

    Based on your ratio, I made 31oz of buttercream for an 13"x4" 8-petals cake. It was plenty to crumb coat it, apply a thick smooth layer of BC on the top, decorate the sides with ombre roses and pipe swirls on the top edges plus flowers and a message on the top of the cake. I had left about 2.5 cups of BC.

    For filling I used 2 cups of orange curd.

  13. Hi Jessica! I have a question for you. Can I use 3 cups of butter and 3 cups of shortening instead to make this buttercream a crusting icing? Do you think adding butter extract will help to give a more buttery flavor?

    1.'s not the shortening that makes a crusting buttercream's the powdered sugar and shortening ratio. Meringue buttercreams don't crust. You'll have to use an American style buttercream with powdered sugar. Blessings!