Simply luscious: Buttercreams made with egg yolks take the richness factor up a few notches, turning it into a silky and sexy but not-too-sweet frosting. (Stock imageTMS)

Candy thermometer

Stand mixer (or hand mixer)

Measuring cups and spoons


Unwrap the butter and cut it into large pieces, about 8 per stick. Leave on counter. If your kitchen is particularly cool, you may want to do this about 15 minutes ahead of time. (If your butter is frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight before using.)

Combine the sugar and water in the small saucepan and place on the stove over a medium flame.

While the syrup is coming up to temperature, add the yolks and pinch of salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until pale and thick.

When the syrup reaches the softball stage (238 F), remove from heat. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the syrup to the yolks to avoid splattering the syrup on the beaters. Stop pouring every 10 seconds or so and increase the speed to high, then switch it to low and drizzle in more syrup. Do this until all the syrup is incorporated.

After all the syrup has been incorporated, beat on high speed until the mixture has cooled to room temperature. This can take about 10 minutes.

When the mixture and the bowl no longer feel warm, switch to the paddle attachment and start adding the butter one cube at a time, mixing well in-between each addition.

Add the vanilla (or other flavoring) and continue to beat until the buttercream is smooth and slightly stiff.


--You can add other flavorings besides vanilla, such as 2 tablespoons of brandy or strong coffee, peppermint extract, etc.

--For chocolate buttercream: Melt 1 cup of semi or bittersweet chocolate chips in 2 tablespoons of hot coffee or brandy. Stir to combine and cool to room temperature. Add to the buttercream and beat well.

(Dana Velden is a writer for, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to