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Buttercream question


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#1 ChocoChris

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 01:23 PM

Hi,
I am making a wedding cake for a wedding that will be outdoors on Sept. 17. To familiarize myself with the buttercream the bride requested, I've made it a couple of times and this brought up a couple of questions. First, the recipe in a nutshell...I cook a milk and flour mixture over a double boiler until thickened, cream the sugar and butter, add flavoring and then mix in the thickened flour/milk mixture. I'm sure many of you are familiar with this type of buttercream.

From what I've seen so far, this buttercream seems to melt very quickly once it starts to reach room temp. Is there any way to stabilize it, for example, adding in some shortening? If so, what ratio would you think would work? The basic recipe that I am working from makes about 4 1/2 c. of frosting and uses 1 1/2 c. butter. Would adding more butter help?

Also, is it ok to make this type of frosting at least a week ahead of time and keep it chilled in the fridge?

Thanks so much for any guidance.
Chris

#2 ladyyoung98

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 02:23 PM

actually ive never even heard of that combination for buttercream frosting..thats not to say such does not exist but to my knowledge it isnt the standard recipe..the buttercream recipes i use call for either butter or shortening (though ive never decided which one i like working with best) and it calls for lots of powdered sugar..but ive never even heard of a buttercream recipe where you cook any portion of it...any time ive ever used a frosting recipe that calls for cooking its generally been one made with egg whites with a hot syrup mixture added to it as you beat it into the already beaten egg whites..so given what you have said and without knowing the recipe or the steps involved..i could not even begin to suggest how to stabilize it..however the good news is that there are some very fine pastry chefs here on eg who have vast knowledge that i dont have and i freely admit my knowledge in the buttercream area is severely limited to what i know works for me..and generally when i find something that works i tend to stick with it..one thing i do know is that there are sabalizers out there that can be purchased but i cold not tell u what they are or where they are..trust me if ever i had to use one id be askign the folks here abotu them...good luck with the wedding
a recipe is merely a suggestion

#3 chefpeon

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 02:26 PM

I must say, I've never heard of that type of buttercream.

What function does the milk/flour mixture serve? That really puzzles me. :unsure:

To answer your question about shortening.......sure you can add it, and the fact that it has a higher melting point would certainly help with your "melting" problems, but wow......that would really mess with the taste. It most certainly would leave an unpleasant mouthfeel. And wouldn't the bride become upset if you tinkered with the recipe she requested?

If it were me:
I'd be dead honest with the bride and tell her I was having trouble with the stability of the buttercream. I'd tell her I was concerned about the cake holding up because of it. I would tell
her I would need to use a more stable buttercream in order to guarantee the success of her cake.
But that's me. A lot of brides don't understand "stability" issues. It's our job to educate them.

#4 K8memphis

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 02:47 PM

Now I make one with a cooked mixure of granulated sugar, milk and flour, let it cool completely then add the butter and vanilla and salt. Kinda sorta like yours. And it would be death and hell for an outside wedding.

Umm the only substance I know of to beef up icing for high humidity or something like that is cornstarch or flour like Wondra. It doesn't change the mouthfeel, but it changes the way it slides down your throat. But really it is un-noticeable when you are swallowing the cake with it. When you just get a dollop of icing and eat it, it's a little 'firm' going down y'know?

So yeah, have no reservations shooting straight with the bride. I think being clueless is prerequisite to wedding planning :laugh:

#5 lapasterie

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 04:26 PM

I have been using a recipe like this for years. Everyone loves it because it is light and fluffy and not sweet. It will get soft at room temp but I have used it for many wedding cakes . The following is 1x=8" cake which I just increase for larger cakes;

76g cake flour
242g milk
85g butter
92g cold shortening{I use Sweetex}
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
148g Sugar

I wisk together the flour, salt and the milk in a saucepan and cookover med heat stirring with a wooden spoon to thick like mashed potatoes.
Chill till cold
In a mixer with a paddle cream together the butter, shortening and sugar
Add the cold flour mixture and the vanilla
Keep mixing at med speed for about 20 minutes

#6 fiftydollars

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 04:51 PM

...buttercream with flour cooked on a double boiler... It's fluffy and not too sweet...

You guys are blowin' my effin' mind!

#7 abique

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 05:20 PM

fiftydollars,
My thoughts exactly!

#8 K8memphis

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 05:38 PM

...buttercream with flour cooked on a double boiler... It's fluffy and not too sweet...

You guys are blowin' my effin' mind!

View Post



fiftydollars,
My thoughts exactly!

View Post


Bwoo ahahahahaha

Except I do not use a double boiler I just use a heavy pan. My measurements are in cups. I've made this stuff for decades. Then I finally switched to Margaret Braun's Vanilla buttercream which is swiss meringue buttercream.

Mine is
one & a third cup granulated sugar
one half cup a.p. flour

combine well in heavy saucepan & add
one and a half cup of milk
half teaspoon salt

cook stirring constantly until it bubbles like lava

when it is completely cold add,
four sticks room temp butter
and a good two teaspoons of vanilla

beat well

--try it try it!! Yah gonna love it! :laugh:

#9 etalanian

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 06:19 PM

I have to agree...I've never heard of any kind of "buttercream" like this before, and I can't imagine what it would taste like. I guess like sweet, thick chicken gravy with out the chicken??? And why is it so popular if it melts so easily? Sorry, but I am mystified. :unsure:



edited for spelling error

Edited by etalanian, 06 September 2005 - 06:21 PM.

Eileen Talanian
[size="3"]HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com
HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com[/size]

[size="3"]As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow[/size]

#10 ChocoChris

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 06:43 PM

As I understand it, this is an old recipe. The flour/milk mixture is a thickener. I've heard people call it a custard based buttercream which makes no sense to me. When I first read the recipe I was baffled but it does come together quickly. It just doesn't stay together well in the heat.

It tastes better than I thought it would. A little sweeter than the usual Italian buttercream that I use. I'll have to try the recipes suggested here.

Thanks!!
Chris

#11 K8memphis

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 07:24 PM

I have to agree...I've never heard of any kind of "buttercream" like this before, and I can't imagine what it would taste like. I guess like sweet, thick chicken gravy with out the chicken??? And why is it so popular if it melts so easily? Sorry, but I am mystified. :unsure:



edited for spelling error

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It tastes kinda like a smb but made with flour instead of egg whites y'know? It melts as fast any other icing made with butter. I mean chicken gravy would not stick to the cake. I don't think it is all that popular as in well known, but it is a reasonable alternative to 'sweet' powdered sugar non-cooked buttercreams.

I mentioned it in the wedding cake demo I did about my kids wedding cake. You cook a paste and add butter. In a swiss mb you cook egg whites, beat to a meringue and add butter.

It tastes like ice cream, very rich.

edited to add: Like the smbc would be a 'clear' texture and mouth feel
the flour based bc would be a 'cloudy' texture and mouth feel, both very light.

Edited by K8memphis, 06 September 2005 - 07:27 PM.


#12 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 07:55 PM

This frosting is what's classically used to frost red cakes (although I've learned lots of people also use a cream cheese frosting with red cakes too). It's not far from a german buttercream, just not quite as rich.

I never had any problems with this being any more heat sensitive than any other all butter cream frosting. But the recipe I use isn't real agile when it comes to decorating with it. It feels alot like pastry cream when you spread it.

As to your bride.........this may be a family recipe that she'd rather make compromises on decor and how long it's out in the heat, then to scratch this and go with another frosting recipe. The people I know that like this frosting, love it... and don't like other buttercreams.

If worse came to worse you could compromise and use this frosting as your filling and then a buttercream you like better for the exterior.

#13 lapasterie

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 05:09 PM

Here is another BC recipe that comes from Rosemary Watson[If you are into cake decorating you will recognize her] She called it her "Almost Perfect BC"


1# butter
1# Crisco
85 g Dry milk powder
85 g Water
1 tsp Vanilla
2# 10X sugar
4oz Pasteurized Egg whites-thawed

Cream butter and Crisco 5 min till light
Combine dry milk powder, water and vanilla and add to above
Beat in the 10X and whites till fluffy


I used this to do a basket weave wedding cake that was out doors in the fall in NJ

#14 chefcyn

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 07:04 PM

Uh, guys and gals, this is French Buttercream, a very old classic recipe.
Just so you know :)
It's not the destination, but the journey!

#15 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 08:36 PM

O.k. I for one am confused.

The recipe of making a simple pastry cream (sans eggs) seems clearly different to me then the recipe posted by lapasterie, am I alone?

French buttercream involves eggs, not cooked flour and completely different techniques........I can't put any similarities together. Chefcyn could you post a reference/source or recipe where you learned that this is an old french butter cream recipe please?

#16 chefpeon

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 09:28 PM

Add me in on the confused list too.
I thought french buttercream involved egg yolks (or whole eggs) and a hot sugar syrup.

On another thread about German Buttercream, it seemed that one was very pastry-cream-ish.

Since this thread is the first I've come across a buttercream that involves milk and flour, I don't know what to call it, but I'm pretty sure it ain't french.

#17 KarenS

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Posted 07 September 2005 - 10:37 PM

I went to Pastry school in France. I never learned of any buttercream with flour in it (and certainly not crisco or sweetex). French buttercream is made with yolks, butter, and hot syrup. Italian meringue buttercream is made with whites, hot syrup, and butter.

#18 Ling

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 01:33 AM

I've heard of the adding butter to a custard-like base being referred to as a "buttercream", but I've always thought that a true buttercream was with butter, yolks, and hot syrup (like KarenS and others have said.)

Sorry to hijack this thread, but to make a caramel buttercream, can I just stream in hot caramel while beating the yolks?

Edited by Ling, 08 September 2005 - 02:38 AM.


#19 K8memphis

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 04:25 AM

Uh, guys and gals, this is French Buttercream, a very old classic recipe. 
Just so you know :)

View Post



O.k. I for one am confused.

The recipe of making a simple pastry cream (sans eggs) seems clearly different to me then the recipe posted by lapasterie, am I alone?

French buttercream involves eggs, not cooked flour and completely different techniques........I can't put any similarities together. Chefcyn could you post a reference/source or recipe where you learned that this is an old french butter cream recipe please?

View Post



Add me in on the confused list too.
I thought french buttercream involved egg yolks (or whole eggs) and a hot sugar syrup.

On another thread about German Buttercream, it seemed that one was very pastry-cream-ish.

Since this thread is the first I've come across a buttercream that involves milk and flour, I don't know what to call it, but I'm pretty sure it ain't french.

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I went to Pastry school in France. I never learned of any buttercream with flour in it (and certainly not crisco or sweetex). French buttercream is made with yolks, butter, and hot syrup. Italian meringue buttercream is made with whites, hot syrup, and butter.

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I've heard of the adding butter to a custard-like base being referred to as a "buttercream", but I've always thought that a true buttercream was with butter, yolks, and hot syrup (like KarenS and others have said.)

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Ding ding ding we have a winner :biggrin:

Chefcyn is correct. The confused posts that followed yours, Chefcyn, is why I did not name my recipe at the time I posted it. But I mentioned it and used this recipe in the wedding cake demo I did. I know that Wilton published this recipe as French Buttercream a million years ago. Check a yearbook from the 70's.

Folks, it truly is called French Buttercream and it has no eggs. It is also very good.

I think a 'true buttercream' would be something different to each of us.

#20 KarenS

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 11:36 AM

It is what WILTON calls "French buttercream". It is not French, or buttercream. If you enjoy it- that is what matters.

#21 abique

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 01:45 PM

Don't know that I would consider Wilton a source on French cuisine. They can call the recipe whatever they like, but it is most assuredly not a classic french buttercream!

#22 lapasterie

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 02:49 PM

Unfortunatly the term "buttercream" has lost it's true definition. Most of what people buy out there does not even have butter in it. Look at all the premade "stuff" that most bakeries use. Sweet grease I call that stuff.

#23 sanrensho

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 03:03 PM

I've heard of the adding butter to a custard-like base being referred to as a "buttercream", but I've always thought that a true buttercream was with butter, yolks, and hot syrup (like KarenS and others have said.)


I think classic/true buttercream can be made with yolks or whites.

Is one (French, IMBC, SMBC) considered the mother of all buttercreams?
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#24 K8memphis

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 06:43 PM

Yes it is. It's a published recipe. It's French Buttercream. It is a classic recipe. It is not classic French as far as I know. There's a difference. It is French Buttercream

#25 chefpeon

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 06:56 PM

First of all, we were discussing whether the Wilton recipe was classic french bc.....it's not.
That's what we were referring to. Any time you speak to a PC and you say French Buttercream,
they're not going to think "Wilton".....they're going to think, "Yolks, sugar syrup, butter......"

Terminology is important. Especially when we deal with clients. They say they want a particular thing, and we make it for them. Then they come back and say, "That's not what I ordered."
The reason for that? Because what I thought they ordered and what they thought they ordered were two different things. It's been a thorn in my side since I've been doing this. When a client says, "I want X" I can no longer assume they know what they are talking about, and I have to say, I believe X is this, is this what you mean also?

So I can see a bride asking for French Buttercream, having read the Wilton book, and I can see myself doing "yolks, sugar syrup, butter......" and then her having a cow because that's not what she wanted.........

So we're anal retentive.......there's a good reason forhat. :smile:

#26 JeanneCake

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 06:59 PM

Sorry to hijack this thread, but to make a caramel buttercream, can I just stream in hot caramel while beating the yolks?

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I've always added cooled caramel sauce to a finished buttercream; depending on the temp of the caramel when you're adding it, seems as if the yolks could scramble or worse (caramel is 300+ when hot vs a soft ball stage at 244). But I live on the edge and don't use a thermometer when I make caramel - I go by how dark it looks. So I don't know what the temp is after you add the warm or hot cream - maybe it could work. If you try it, let us know what happens :biggrin:

Back to the original icing recipe... I wonder if this is the sort of icing Mignardise was after for those cupcakes a while ago... I've never run across a recipe like this either, but the milk/flour is really just a roux, which would bind the rest of the stuff. How can you flavor this? Can you add purees or curds or compounds to it with out it breaking?

#27 Patrick S

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 07:21 PM

Okay, in biology, a subject with which I am more familiar than I am with buttercreams, there is a fairly easy way to resolve disputes like this. The name that is first assigned to a certain species has priority. Someone may come along and observe the same species and, not knowing the species has already been given a Linnean name, give it a new and different name. Eventually, when it is discovered that the same species has been given two different species names, the earlier name is given "priority," and the later name is regarded as an "invalid taxon," and discarded. The best example is Brontosaurus of Flintstones fame, which is now considered an invalid taxon for Apatosaurus.

So, applying this logic in a tenuous way to buttercreams, I would say this: if "French Buttercream" originally referred to a buttercream made with yolks, syrup and butter, I think it is arguably "invalid" for someone to later apply the very same name to a very different (maybe equally delicious) concoction, in the way that Wilton does. Do I really care? Not at all. But this kind of thing does breed confusion.
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#28 K8memphis

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 08:11 PM

Okay, in biology, a subject with which I am more familiar than I am with buttercreams, there is a fairly easy way to resolve disputes like this. The name that is first assigned to a certain species has priority.  Someone may come along and observe the same species and, not knowing the species has already been given a Linnean name, give it a new and different name. Eventually, when it is discovered that the same species has been given two different species names, the earlier name is given "priority," and the later name is regarded as an "invalid taxon," and discarded. The best example is Brontosaurus of Flintstones fame, which is now considered an invalid taxon for Apatosaurus. 

So, applying this logic in a tenuous way to buttercreams, I would say this: if "French Buttercream" originally referred to a buttercream made with yolks, syrup and butter, I think it is arguably "invalid" for someone to later apply the very same name to a very different (maybe equally delicious) concoction, in the way that Wilton does.  Do I really care? Not at all. But this kind of thing does breed confusion.

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What's in a name? That which we call a brontosaurus by any other name would smell as sweet. :huh: :laugh:

Can you add purees or curds or compounds to it with out it breaking?


Hmm, I'm not positive but don't think so. Chocolate yes. Like lemon curd or something, never tried it.

Edited by K8memphis, 09 September 2005 - 05:15 AM.


#29 KarenS

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 09:07 PM

I really don't think that a 30 year old Wilton recipe is going to upset the French. They have been doing pastry well with their "classic" recipes for a lot longer then that.

#30 ChocoChris

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 05:42 PM

Hi All,
I'm back to my original question but now with a twist to the story. The wedding is now a week away and the groom was in a bad accident last weekend so the couple are, needless to say, extremely stressed but still determined to have their wedding.

The reason I'm telling you this background info is that my quandry is whether I even give a bride in this situation even more to think about by telling her that I may "tweak" her recipe by using one of the variants posted here because of the stability issue. She seems so overwhelmed (I know her personally) and in light of their situation I don't know how I could interject a buttercream issue. So...should I just make the change?

Thanks!
Chris