Making frosting for my cuppies has always been a challenge for me. I tend to dismiss all frosting as being too tooth-decayingly sweet. Those that eat my cuppies (minus the roomies) tend to disagree. I know I have been doing a lot of Martha praising recently, but her recipe for Swiss meringue buttercream is amazing. I used it for the grass in my ladybug post. That kind of buttercream (versus one that is made with confectioner's sugar) takes a fair amount of work, but I believe that the end product is well worth it.
This buttercream recipe is perfect for decorating and is a great palate for adding flavor. Plain, it doesn't really taste much like anything except for, well, slightly sweetened butter.
For the above cupcakes, I added fresh raspberries. The result? Well, let's just say that I ate several of the end products (whereas I normally just have one). It tastes very raspberry and still works well with a pastry bag. I used the 1M tip above. The parts of the raspberries that are slightly bigger than the space allowed by the tip will burst a little, so just be aware if you are decorating while wearing white!
Basically, I just followed Martha's recipe. She uses one of those fancy Kitchen-Aid mixers. I just use my $20 hand mixer and the frosting comes out just fine. The main difference with a regular mixer is that when you just put a heatproof bowl over a pan or pot of simmering water, making sure that the bowl does not touch the water. I use a regular attachment for the entire recipe and it came out yummy.
To make what I call Dreamy Creamy Raspberry Buttermilk Frosting, simply add 1-2 cartons of raspberries to the frosting and beat until well mixed. It will turn into a pretty pink color.