Buttercream is one of the finer things in life. Rich, creamy, sugary—it's everything and more, honestly. Cakes and cupcakes were destined to be topped by buttercream frosting. If you prefer whipped cream frosting, I just want you to know you're wrong. We can still be friends, but you're wrong.

Here's the thing though—if I asked you how to make buttercream frosting, I'm betting you couldn't tell me. Hell, I couldn't tell me. Like seriously, WTF is buttercream? It's freaking delicious, but I need the details here. I decided to solve this problem for all of us and do a little research.

Simple Buttercream

goody, doughnut, pastry, candy, chocolate, sweet, cream, sprinkles, cake
Lauren Goldstein

Buttercream, as we are all aware, is a type of frosting. Thank you Captain Obvious, I know, but let me lay the foundation here. It's made by mixing together some type of fat (usually butter, but sometimes margarine or shortening), confectioner's sugar, and milk or cream until the mixture is fluffy and smooth.

Additional flavors can also be added, such as chocolate, extracts (such as vanilla or peppermint), or fruit puree. Whatever floats your buttercream boat. Quote me on that line when Gambino uses it. 

This is known as a simple, or an American, buttercream. Other types of buttercream include meringue-based buttercream, French buttercream, custard-based buttercream, and rolled buttercream.

Meringue-Based Buttercream

sweet, cake, meringue, tart, cream, pie
Lara Schwieger

There are two kinds of meringue-based buttercream: Swiss and Italian. Swiss buttercream is a combination of egg whites, sugar, butter, and extracts. Italian buttercream is a mixture of egg whites, sugar syrup, butter, and extracts.

Meringue-based buttercream is known for having the same creaminess as simple buttercream, but it is a lighter, less rich alternative. It is most often used in pies and macarons.

French Buttercream

French buttercream is the mixture of egg yolks, sugar syrup, butter, and flavorings. It's known for melting faster than other buttercream because of the high fat content, but it is light, smooth, and rich.

This buttercream is best for cake filling or frosting, but it isn't recommended for decorations.

Custard-Based Buttercream

Also known as German buttercream, this type of buttercream is a mixture of a custard—pastry cream—butter, and confectioner's sugar.

While this version of the frosting is recommended simply for frosting desserts, there's another version that works for decorations. For this version, use an egg-less, cornstarch-based custard in place of the pastry cream.

Rolled Buttercream

Rolled buttercream is often compared to fondant, but its soft texture and low elasticity make it good for icing cookies only—it's not for cakes or decorations. 

This type of buttercream is made by combining a large amount of confectioner's sugar with corn syrup or vegetable shortening. The icing is so thick that it must be kneaded instead of stirred or mixed. The end product can be rolled out and cut into shapes. 

Now that you're a buttercream connoisseur (aka bougie af), I suggest that you get to baking some last minute Christmas cookies. That rolled buttercream tho. Mmm.