French Buttercream Frosting

Growing up, I always preferred the slice of cake with the least amount of frosting on it.

I was the quiet one who waited for a center piece, while everyone else was fighting over the edge/corner/giant flower-frosting pieces.

I have changed.

I am now, thanks to my Mom, a frosting “snob”.

This is the single greatest buttercream frosting I’ve ever made.

Regular buttercream, which is butter, vanilla and sugar, just hasn’t been cutting it for me lately.

This buttercream picks up where the old recipe was lacking.

It is hands down wayyyyyyy more time consuming.

But way worth the extra time and patience!

French buttercream starts with egg yolks.

This frosting recipe goes really well with my white cake recipe too because it requires egg whites.  That way you don’t feel like you are wasting them, you can just save them for the cake!

So, while you’re beating the egg yolks, you combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan.

You cook that, using a candy thermometer, and let it simmer until it reaches 230-235 degrees F.

You then slooowwwlllyyyyy pour that into the eggs, making sure you don’t “scramble” them.

Once the sugar is in, you let that beat until it reaches room temperature (10-15 minutes).

Then you add the softened butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.

You then frost a cake, or cupcakes or whatever you feel like frosting…

In this case, I made a vanilla birthday cake…for the best father-in-law ever!!

Recipe: French Buttercream


6 Large Egg Yolks

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

2/3 Cups Light Corn Syrup

1/4 Cup Water

1 Pound Unsalted Butter (4 Sticks) Brought to room temperature

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg yolks until a light yellow color.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water with a candy thermometer attached.

Heat without stirring, until candy thermometer reaches 230-235 degrees F.

With the mixer on slow, very slowly pour a small stream of sugar mixture into the egg yolks.  If done slowly and correctly, the eggs will “cook” and not curdle/turn into scrambled eggs.

Once the sugar mixture is in, turn the mixer to high and beat mixture until the sides of the bowl are no longer hot and the mixture reaches room temperature.  About 10-15 minutes.

With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and very slowly add about 2 tablespoons at a time of butter.  Mixing well after each addition.

If the frosting is a bit too warm after all the butter has been added, you can place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before frosting your cupcakes or cake.

Bring up to room temperature before serving, about 1 hour.

This recipe frosted a 2 layer 9×9 cake with lots to go around.

I found this recipe through pinterest, on the everparent website.


20 thoughts on “French Buttercream Frosting

  1. This frosting looks fairly yellow, is it that color in person? It sounds amazing and delicious, but I’m looking for a very white frosting

    • Because it is french buttercream it has egg yolk and butter in it…both which have a yellow color to them. You would have to add food coloring if you wanted it to be anything aside from a bit yellow. I don’t remember it looking yellow once on the frosted cake but maybe next to that bright orange bowl in the pictures it looks more yellow? Good luck with your frosting either way!!!

    • It’s incredibly difficult to get a bright white color from French buttercream. Have you looked into Italian or Swiss Meringue buttercreams? They’re probably your best bet. They use egg whites, so they don’t end up yellow.

      1. I love that we have the same name. All the Bethanys I’ve ever met were bakers, too. We must just be awesome like that.
      2. It’s interesting to see you use corn syrup in a French buttercream. What does that do for the frosting? Does it make it more stable?
      3. Your photos are beautiful. 🙂

  2. Thanks for posting this. I grew up having Bouche de Noel every Christmas. My sister and I made the frosting and it was amazing. I’ve been searching for the recipe for the frosting with no luck, but this is it (aside from the fact that ours was chocolate). It had egg yolks, syrup, and tons of butter. Yum. Do you know how to adapt this to chocolate frosting?

    • I would just melt down some bittersweet or dark chocolate in a pan over very low heat and then super slowly pour that into the batter. Or, you could just add some cocoa powder and it would probably taste more like a milk chocolate. Hope that helps!

  3. Hello! Thank you for this wonderful recipe. A customer of mine has requested this French vanilla buttercream in between the cake layers of a 3 tier cake. Can this buttercream be kept out in room temp like American buttercream? If so how long can I keep it out? Would it melt into a big mess in between the layers? Sorry for all the questions – thank you!

    • It is similar to American buttercream. It does melt a bit faster, so I would be careful leaving it out for over an hour (in a warm area)just because it may start to melt. Perhaps make a half batch and see how it does? When I made it I did a layer cake and the frosting was super similar to regular buttercream! Hope this is helpful:/

  4. this sounds amazing! I have never heard of frosting made with yolks before! I make an Italian buttercream using egg whites/cream of tartar beat together, and cooking sugar and water together until 158 degrees and adding it to the egg whites like you do the egg yolks, then chopping in the butter until buttercream consistency is reached. Very similar, but with whites instead. I would like to try this and compare flavors. I am assuming the yolks would make it richer tasting. I am a frosting snob, too 🙂 I definitely am going to try this, it sounds wonderful! 😀

  5. Currently waiting for the egg mixture to cool down so I can add my vanilla and butter. I will let you know how it turns out!

  6. Pingback: A Dozen Uses For Leftover Egg Yolks

  7. This sounds amazing, I know you can buy white butter,and clear vanilla so that will help keep color more white.I am making 200 cupcakes for a wedding in july and would love to make this recipe hope it stands up to the heat.

Leave a Reply to mikeysinmykitchen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s