Confectioners’ Sugar Frosting for Cake Balls

This is a very easy frosting and probably the kind you loved when you were a child. It is the most commonly used in home baking and has that nostalgia factor. Confectioners’ sugar–based frostings require a bit of leeway. If the frosting is too thin, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar; if too thick, add a little milk. The key to making this silky smooth and creamy is to beat it for a long time, until it’s ultrasmooth. This recipe halves easily for those recipes where a half batch is called for.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces

5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus extra as needed

4 1/2 tablespoons whole milk, plus extra as needed

1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add the remaining 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, the milk, and the vanilla, and beat on high speed until silky smooth. The frosting is ready to use. It is best if used immediately, but it may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. (Bring to room temperature and rebeat before using.)