Woman Icing a vanilla cupcake using a piping bag with a metal tip

Sweet and Simple Buttercream Icing

Whoever decided that the perfect finishing touch should be called, “the icing on the cake” must have just made this recipe! Rich, smooth, and creamy, but with a refreshing touch of lemon, it’s easy to work with and it’s ideal for topping off both cakes and cupcakes.


approximately 4 cups


10 minutes


For the turbinado syrup:

  • ¼ cup (50 g) Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed

For the buttercream:

  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3½ cups (420 g) Redpath® Icing Sugar
  • Turbinado syrup (recipe above)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp (3 g) salt


For the turbinado syrup:

In a small pot over medium heat, add the Redpath Simply Raw™ Turbinado Sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring mixture to a simmer while constantly stirring. When sugar has melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

For the simple buttercream:

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy and lightened in colour; 3 to 5 minutes. Begin adding the Redpath® Icing Sugar, 1 cup (120 grams) at a time, mixing in slowly at first then increasing the speed to high, beating until smooth after each addition. Scrape bowl often, to ensure everything is uniformly distributed.

Add in the turbinado syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend on low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until buttercream is smooth, light in colour, and fluffy. Use immediately or cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. If refrigerated, ensure the buttercream comes to room temperature and is whipped slightly before using.

A vanilla cupcake topped with buttercream icing on a striped tea towel


*If storing buttercream in the fridge, ensure it is stored in an airtight container away from strong-smelling foods as buttercream can readily absorb odours. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
*The vanilla extract can be exchanged for almond, citrus, orange blossom water, or any other desired flavour to change up the flavour profile of the buttercream.

Related recipe: Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes