How To Make French Buttercream (video)

Chocolate Coffee Cake

Say ‘hello’ to your new favorite buttercream recipe, a new recipe from my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series! My easy recipe for French buttercream is silky smooth, luscious, flavorful and it holds its shape perfectly! It’s a less-sweet and more smooth alternative than my regular chocolate buttercream. If you’ve never tried making and using this version of buttercream before, you’re in for a real treat!

One batch of this frosting will work for 24 cupcakes or a two layer, 8-inch cake. This frosting recipe is great for cakes, cupcakes and any other dessert.

My French Buttercream Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step details on how to make French buttercream! Want new recipe notifications? Make sure to subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!

What is French Buttercream?

So what makes French buttercream so great? The method of preparation is quite different that any other frosting! It’s still made with butter but instead of confectioner’s sugar, it’s made with egg yolks, sugar syrup and butter. The egg yolks are whisked until pale, then super hot sugar syrup is added slowly, cooking the egg yolks and creating a thick custard.

The butter is added gradually in small amounts, until a fluffy and smooth buttercream forms. The egg yolks are fully cooked by the hot sugar syrup so no need to worry about raw yolks! The yolks add incredible flavor to the frosting, one you don’t get with other recipes.

Ingredients for Buttercream

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this smooth and creamy French frosting:

  • Egg Yolks: use organic, free-range eggs for the richest tasting buttercream.
  • Sugar & Water: for making the hot sugar syrup. This will cook the egg yolks immediately.
  • Unsalted Butter: soften the butter at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to using.
  • Extracts/Flavorings: this recipe can be flavored with just about anything! Add extracts, food coloring or even cocoa powder/chocolate.
a close up of French buttercream dollops on a tray

How to Make Chocolate French Buttercream

In my video tutorial, I make a chocolate version of this buttercream. It’s so delicious and pairs well with my Coffee Cake Recipe. You can make this buttercream without the chocolate, too!

  1. Place the egg yolks into a stand mixer bowl and whisk on medium-high speed for a few minutes until thick and pale. Meanwhile, combine the water and sugar in small saucepan. Heat the sugar, not stirring, over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 238F/115C, about 5 minutes. Keep the mixer running on medium speed and pour the hot syrup in a slow and steady stream into the egg yolks.
  2. Once all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes, until mixture is thick and pale in color. It also needs to be just lukewarm to touch. Begin adding the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing for about 15 to 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often to get all the butter mixed in well. The buttercream will start to thicken as more butter is added.
  3. After adding the butter, add the melted chocolate, salt and coffee extract. If adding a different flavor or no chocolate, adjust the recipe at this point. Mix again for a few minutes until a uniform and fluffy frosting forms.
a close up of buttercream in a jar, with chocolate

Recipe Flavor Variations

The beauty of this recipe is you can create an endless variety of flavors! For this video recipe, I created a coffee-chocolate version for my ‘Chocolate Coffee Cake’ (also from the cookbook!), using melted chocolate and coffee emulsion.

  • This recipe will work great with white chocolate or simply add any type of flavoring such as caramel/dulce de leche, vanilla, lavender oil or even strawberry emulsion!
  • You can even add a few tablespoons of berry preserves for a berry flavor. I recommend adding any flavor at the end of the recipe, once the buttercream is ready.

Chocolate Coffee Cake Recipe

For my video recipe and in my cookbook, I used this chocolate buttercream for my ‘Chocolate Coffee Cake’. This moist and rich chocolate cake is filled with a creamy coffee custard and frosted with a coffee-flavored chocolate frosting. If you love coffee and chocolate, you’re going to love this cake recipe! Make sure to check out this recipe, too!

A chocolate coffee cake sitting on a cake stand, with a cake slice on the table

Get My Cookbook!

This recipe is from my newly released book, ‘The European Cake Cookbook’. You’ll find this recipe used throughout my cookbook and on my blog! Make sure to get a copy of my new cookbook here! It’s available online on amazon.com and also in-stores, like Barnes&Noble! This cookbook contains 65, all-new cake recipes that are perfect for any occasion!

a cookbook sitting on a table

More Recipes!

Looking for more frosting and cake recipes? I have an entire ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series, showing you how to make simple, everyday recipes that you can mix and match to create your own cake recipe!

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a coffee cake sitting on a cake stand with text overlay \'French Buttercream + Chocolate Coffee Cake\'

Supplies & Tools

Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):

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Chocolate Coffee Cake on a cake stand
5 from 1 vote

How To Make French Buttercream (video)

25 mins prep + 5 mins cook
4 cups
Learn how to make the best French buttercream recipe using egg yolks, sugar syrup and butter. This frosting holds its shape very well and it's very smooth!

Ingredients 

For French Buttercream:

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coffee emulsion or extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Instructions

  • Place the egg yolks into a stand mixer bowl and whisk on medium-high speed for a few minutes until thick and pale.
  • Meanwhile, combine the water and sugar in small saucepan. Heat the sugar, not stirring, over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 238F/115C, about 5 minutes. Keep the mixer running on medium speed and pour the hot syrup in a slow and steady stream into the egg yolks.
  • Once all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes, until mixture is thick and pale in color. It also needs to be just lukewarm to touch. Begin adding the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing for about 15 to 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often to get all the butter mixed in well.
  • When you start adding the butter, the frosting is going to look like it's separated and ruined. Don't worry! The buttercream will start to thicken as more butter is added and it will come together!
  • After adding the butter, add the melted chocolate, salt and coffee extract. Mix again for a few minutes until a uniform and fluffy frosting forms.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 1340kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 115g | Saturated Fat: 70g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 32g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 491mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 308mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 67g | Vitamin A: 3183IU | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 4mg