Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Prepare as directed, except add 3 Tbsp. heavy cream with the vanilla, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder with the 3 cups powdered sugar, and 2 Tbsp. heavy cream before beating on high 1 minute more. Makes 4 cups.
Almond Buttercream Frosting
Add 1/4 tsp. almond extract with the vanilla. Top frosted cake with toasted sliced almonds.
Citrus Buttercream Frosting
Beat in 1 to 2 tsp. lemon, lime, or orange zest with the butter. Top frosted cake with additional zest or quartered citrus slices.
Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Beat in 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals with the vanilla. Top frosted cake with chocolate-covered coffee beans.
Strawberry Jam Buttercream Frosting
Beat 3 Tbsp. strawberry jam (large pieces snipped) into butter before adding powdered sugar. Top frosted cake with fresh strawberries.
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
Substitute 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract for the vanilla. If desired, tint pink with red food coloring. Top frosted cake with crushed peppermint candies; press additional candies onto sides of cake.
Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
Substitute 1/4 cup peanut butter for 1/4 cup of the butter. Sprinkle cake with chopped peanuts.