French Buttercream

Makes 2 cups


1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 sticks (24 tbsp) room temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or flavorings of choice up to 1 tbsp)


  • small saucepan
  • candy thermometer
  • stand mixer with whip & paddle attachments


Make Sugar Syrup & Whisk Yolks

  1. Bring water and sugar to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear
  2. Cook to soft-ball stage (235º - 245º), or until the sugar pulls a thread. This will take about 5 minutes. It is sometimes hard to get an accurate temperature read with such a small amount of syrup. Another test is to drop a bit of the mixture into cold water. If it forms a “soft ball,” then it is at the correct stage
  3. Place egg yolks in a stand mixer. Beat on high with whip attachment until fluffy and yellow (for a couple of minutes – you can’t over-beat them)

Combine Yolks, Syrup & Butter

  1. With the mixer turned off, pour half of the sugar mixture into the yolks. Turn on the mixer to medium speed and beat until just combined
  2. With the mixer turned off, add the remaining sugar mixture.  Beat at medium speed until the bowl of the mixer feels cool to the touch, 5-10 minutes
  3. Add a third of the butter, and mix on medium speed until combined
  4. Scrape down the bowl, change to a paddle attachment, and slowly add the remaining butter, mixing on medium speed

Add Flavoring

  1. Add vanilla extract or flavoring of choice, mix to combine.
  2. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an air-tight container.  Stir before using