Time to butter up - with buttercream

Buttercream cakes are absolutely delicious. And despite their high butter content, they taste creamy and light. This all-rounder is so simple to make at home.

Buttercream cakes such as the Frankfurt Crown Cake are classics in the world of cream cakes. The towers of buttercream clouds make a real impression on the cake, taste delicious and creamy and, despite the butter, are both fluffy and light. The cream is versatile and can take on a wide range of flavours by adding just a few ingredients. That’s what makes this all-rounder so popular - also among home bakers.

An ode to buttercream

That’s rich. When it comes to tasty cakes, this cream is never far from the scene: the fluffiest, softest and airiest buttercream. It is popular as a filling or topping among those with a sweet tooth and is well-known from classic cakes such as the Donauwelle cake, the Frankfurt Crown Cake or the Black Forest Gateau. It comes in many variants, some lighter, some thicker, and can take on an infinite number of different flavours. Whether it’s the German, French, Italian or English cream, they all have something in common: They all contain tasty butter. Most recipes also contain other ingredients, such as sugar or icing sugar, eggs and at least one pinch of salt. Other differences can be found in the use of vanilla extract or pulp or even cream or pudding powder for aroma.

English, French, German? These are the differences

Both the German and the English buttercream contain pudding or vanilla cream, such as English custard. Hence why it is also known as buttercream pudding in England. You can either make the pudding yourself using milk, cornflour and a vanilla pod or, for the sake of simplicity, you can use powdered custard and turn it into pudding using milk.

The Italian cream is made from butter, beaten egg and sugar, i.e. meringue. The French opt for pure butter and use only whole eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt for their cream. The French cream is among the ‘lighter’ of the variants, as it can be whipped up into a very fluffy cream. But enough buttering you up - all of these make for rich, wonderful and tasty buttercream. 

Then there is the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which is prepared similar to the Italian one with Meringue, also called “baiser”. Both creams taste less buttery and heavy than the other buttercreams, but they are just as versatile in their flavours.

Buttercream as an all-rounder

Buttercream is made to fill tasty cakes or to coat and garnish them. The simple French buttercream is a good alternative to a ‘thick’ ganache made from a cream coating. As it contains no milk, it is the perfect basis for fondant cakes.


It is also very versatile and easy to flavour, for example by adding liqueur. Other possible ingredients for a tasteful final touch include:

  • Ground nuts
  • Pureed fruit
  • Fruit juice
  • Melted chocolate
  • Lemon curd
  • Jams
  • Coffee
  • Brandy and liqueur


German buttercream can be made using different types of pudding and by no means does this have to be a classic custard. You can add variety to the cream quickly and with ease by using these pudding types:

  • Cream pudding
  • Caramel pudding
  • Chocolate pudding


Stir your choice of flavouring into the cream. And whether the cream takes the form of towering, fluffy butter mountains or a smooth coating for a cake, there will be something to suit every taste and brighten up any coffee date.

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