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German Buttercream

I grew up on German Buttercream although I had no idea it was called German Buttercream till few years ago. In Slovakia we call it Pudding Buttercream.


How to make Vanilla German Buttercream

If you are not a fan of heavy, or overly sweet buttercream you really need to try this buttercream. German Buttercream it’s light, silky smooth with a subtle sweetness. You can use it to fill cream puffs, cakes or pastries. And it also pipes beautifully on cupcakes and cakes.


As the pudding buttercream name suggests German Buttercream is a custard / pudding based buttercream.

Ingredients you need to make this buttercream are simple : milk, egg yolks, sugar, flour, cornstarch, unsalted butter, vanilla, and pinch of salt.

If you like to play with different buttercream flavors try infusing milk. You can try coffee beans, mint, vanilla bean or even lavender.

For example, simmer milk with coffee beans for 10 minutes, cover and let it steep for another 10 minutes or so.

In the past I’ve made Vanilla, Caramel, Coffee and Chocolate German Buttercream. They are all equally delicious and really easy to make. Today I’m going to share my vanilla version.


In a sauce pan whisk together milk, sugar and egg yolks. Pour about 1/2 cup of mixture into a smaller dish. Then whisk in all the cornstarch, flour and salt. Whisk well so there are no lumps.

Whisk both liquids together and cook on medium heat. Stirring constantly, mixture will gradually thicken. Once it starts to boil reduce the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes.

As soon as you take it of the heat pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve. Use a flexible silicone spatula to press it through. Discard the cooked egg bits caught by the sieve.

Immediately cover custard with a plastic wrap. Wrap should be touching custard surface. This will prevent skin from forming.


How to cool pudding

Before we can beat custard and butter together, custard has to cool to room temperature. To accelerate the cooling process I use cold water bath. You can also put covered custard into the fridge to cool. Let it cool overnight in the fridge.


If there is one thing that I’ve learned over the years of making this buttercream is that butter and custard, both need to be at room temperature. It is a key to a delicately smooth buttercream texture.

Cream room temperature unsalted butter with powdered sugar and then gradually add room temperature custard. Use a wire beater to mix buttercream. Lastly, I like to add Vanilla Extract and if I have some Vanilla Bean Paste I also add that, too.

How do you bring refrigerated custard to room temperature? I usually microwave it on high in 5 second intervals. Stirring gently after each heating, until it’s at room temperature. It doesn’t take that long and it works. It usually takes 10 seconds, make sure to stir halfway, though.

delicious buttercream


German Buttercream can be made ahead of time. It can be frozen in a freezer safe container for up 3 months. Let it defrost on the counter overnight. Remix and use as desired.

It keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Let it come to room temperature before using.

It’s fine to keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days.


As I have mentioned before this buttercream pipes beautifully onto cakes.

Just like with any other buttercream that contains butter heat will make German Buttercream softer. If you notice buttercream is getting softer as you are piping with it place it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.

You can color German Buttercream with gel food colors and use wide range of piping tips to create pretty piped designs.

Pipe swirls with German Buttercream

German Buttercream can be used to ice the outside of the cake. Though I have to say it is a bit different to work with than Swiss Buttercream. I’d say it is more elastic. Nevertheless it can be done. I’ve used it to ice my Brushstroke Ghost Cake few years back.

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German Buttercream has a creamy color with a yellow tint. Personally it doesn’t bother me. But I know that on occasion you might want a pure white buttercream instead.

You can either add White food coloring or if you are brave enough you can add a minuscule amount of Violet or Purple. By minuscule I mean a tip of a toothpick dipped in food coloring.

First and foremost, if you are planning on neutralizing yellow with purple test it out on a small portion of buttercream first. Since I don’t have a purple coloring I use sky blue and electric pink instead.

You can see my results in the picture above. Notice whiter buttercream in the middle?

Recipe for basic Vanilla German Buttercream

Whipped Vanilla German Buttercream in a bowl
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5 from 4 votes

German Buttercream

Makes 4-5 cups of buttercream
Course Dessert, Frosting
Cuisine American, Slovak
Keyword buttercream, custard, frosting
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling 2 hours
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 5 cups
Author Hani Bacova




    • 2 cups milk
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 3 tbsp cornstarch
    • 3 tbsp flour
    • 1/8 tsp salt


    • 2 cups room temperature butter
    • 1 cup powdered sugar use more for sweeter buttercream
    • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste



    • In a sauce pan whisk together milk (2cups), egg yolks (4) and sugar (3/4cup) and salt (1/8tsp). Pour about 1/2 of this mixture into a dish. Into it then add starch (3tbsp) and flour (3tbsp). Whisk well so there are no lumps. Pour flour/starch mixture into the remaining milk mixture into a sauce pan.
    • Cook on medium heat stirring constantly. Custard will gradually thicken.  I find it’s best to use a whisk. Once you see bubble to pop, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
    • Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature.
    • To speed up cooling you can use a cold water bath. Or if you plan on making buttercream next day you can refrigerate covered custard overnight.
      If refrigerating let custard come to room temperature before mixing with butter.  I like to microwave it on high in 5 second intervals, stirring gently after each heating.


    • Beat room temperature unsalted butter (2cups, 4sticks) for 15 seconds. Then add powdered sugar (1cup, or use more if you prefer sweeter buttercream) and beat on low until fully incorporated into the butter. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds.
    • Gradually add room temperature custard to butter, creaming well after each addition.
      Once fully blended, beat in Vanilla Extract and/or Vanilla Bean Paste.
      Beat on high for 10 seconds. German buttercream is ready.


    German Buttercream Storage
    It’s okay to leave it at room temperature. It’s a fully cooked buttercream. Leave it at room temperature for up to 2 days.
    Store in the fridge for up to a 10 days. Let it come to room temperature and remix till smooth.
    Freeze for up to 3 months. Let defrost, and remix before using.
    German Buttercream Uses
    • Filling for cream puff, cakes.
    • Piped swirls on cupcakes, cakes etc.
    • It pipes beautifully on cakes and cupcakes.
    • If needed you can also ice the cake on the outside with this buttercream. I’ve done this in the past though I find it a bit more elastic than Swiss Buttercream. 
    Can I color German Buttercream?
    Yes you can color this buttercream. I use gel food colors.

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    1. Hi! I was just wondering whether this buttercream tends to form a crust due to the cornstarch in the custard? Thanks

    2. I had an issue with the custard. First of all, it got so thick that it was very difficult to get it to “bubble” without burning it. It was also too thick for the sieve. I swirled it around through the sieve for a long time and had a very hard time getting it to go through. Basically, it was just too thick. Would you suggest I reduce the cornstarch next time?

      1. Hi Dina,
        I wonder what happened. If it’s that thick, yes I’d suggest reducing the amount of starch. The custard should be quite thick. If you have any pictures, please don’t hesitate to email them to me to have a look. Thank you.

        1. Can I turn this into chocolate buttercream? If so…what do I need to add??
          Thanks You!!!

        2. Hi Brad,
          For the chocolate version, I start with a chocolate custard/pudding. I like to add 1/4 to 1/3 cup cocoa powder to the custard mix, up the granulated sugar to 1 cup, add chopped chocolate once it thickens, about a cup. And up the powdered sugar to your liking when mixing the butter. Hope it helps. I shall have a full recipe for Chocolate German Buttercream up in a day or two.

    3. Hi Hani,

      Big fan of your work . Lots of love from the Caribbean.

      I am pretty much self taught when it comes to baking and I have heard fellow bakers in my region use shortening in their butter cream because of the extremely warm climate.

      I am eager to try this recipe and was wondering if this is some thing that can be used in this recipe? Like a mix of butter and shortening And say a butter flavoured emulsion added for flavour? Thanks for your comments.

    4. Hi
      It’s yummy recipe. I tried it and loved it. Can I uses this frosting for the fondant cake? Will it affect the fondant if stays in kitchen counter for overnight?
      Thanks in advance

      1. Hi, I personally haven’t tried it recently under fondant, I know other bakers that have, with no issues. Be sure to chill the cake well before covering with fondant

      1. I’m not sure sure. You could use margarine instead but cream cheese I think buttercream will have a different properties and won’t harden when refrigerated.

    5. Can you make a chocolate version and what type and amount of chocolate to use. I’m assuming it would be added in the custard process

      1. Yes, you can make a chocolate version. It’s super easy.

        I recommend using both, chocolate and cocoa powder to make German Chocolate Buttercream.

        I like to use dark Ghirardelli 60% Chocolate Chips and Cocoa Powder. But any dark chocolate will work.
        Both are added when making custard.

        Cocoa powder(1/4cup, but you are welcome to use more to your liking) is whisked in with flour and starch. Chocolate I add when custard starts to simmer. Just be sure to stir it as chocolate (2/3 cup to a 1cup) it melting so it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the pot and doesn’t burn.

        You can in addition to that beat cocoa powder to butter and sugar. Or add little bit of coffee into the custard to enhance chocolate flavor.

        Lastly you’ll most likely need to up powdered sugar or if you don’t have powdered sugar you can sweeten custard instead a bit so it’s not too bitter for your taste as dark chocolate and cocoa powder are not very sweet. Hope it helps.

        Happy Baking.

    6. Hi,
      I had made this German buttercream for my grand-daughter unicorn cake. It was abosultely delicious and this is validated by many

      1. I, myself prefer butter because of the taste and also I find margarine buttercream doesn’t harden as much as butter. It’s important when decorating a cake with German Buttercream.

    7. Love the look of this very involved German buttercream. I was wondering how this would go as the filling for German Beestuing cake, or would it be a bit to rich.? Thankyou in advance

    8. Hey Hani,
      Could you please let me know the weight of your custard after it is ready? I would like to make a shortcut with my instant custard.
      Thank you so much

        1. This is not so much ” German ” but more european i would say.I,m Dutch and this is the buttercream we know.Its easy to make all kinds of flavoures like coffee flavour used for dutch
          ” Moccataart ”
          Just ad two table spoons of instantcoffee with one table spoon of hot milk let it cool and then mix it in verry gently,otherwise it might curdle.

        2. Hi Jenneke,
          absolutely, I totally agree, I’m not really sure why it’s called German. I also grew up on this type of buttercream and it’s one of my favorites. Thanks for your tip about coffee flavored buttercream.

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