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failed buttercream


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54 replies to this topic

#31 mignardise

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 05:25 PM

Just curious on Cream of Tartar added to the Italian Meringue Buttercream.............and what do most of you do, use it or not?
What's your thoughts on added stability?
I know it stabilizes/increase volume of the beaten egg whites, but do you notice a difference when making an IMBC?
I looked back at my old school recipes, all are w/out. My normal go to recipe is w/out. Noticed...... RLB uses the cream of tartar.

#32 chefpeon

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 05:57 PM

I figure if the cream of tartar adds the extra stability, why not?
Not really sure whether it makes a big diff or not, but I add it.......doesn't hurt anything.

#33 DragonflyDesserts

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 06:17 PM

I have only made an italian buttercream once. Do most of you prefer that over French?
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#34 JeanneCake

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 12:25 AM

Re cream of tartar... I used to use it all the time to prevent the whites from being overbeaten, but when I forgot once, it didn't make any difference so I stopped using it in the IMBC.

Re French vs IMBC (vs Swiss) - I like the egg white meringue for stability and longevity at rm temp (I can keep IMBC at rm temp for 1-2 days - not in the heat of summer, but most of the year it's fine.) A whole egg or yolks only buttercream doesn't have the same storage at rm temp which is why I don't use it.

I do go back and forth about whether I should switch from IMBC to a Swiss meringue - I could use frozen whites rather than having to separate shell eggs (and there's only so much yellow cake and curd I can make with the yolks!) I know a lot of people use Swiss meringue, but I don't know whether it can be stored for as long as IMBC or not. Anybody?

#35 Ling

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 02:16 AM

I have only made an italian buttercream once. Do most of you prefer that over French?

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I prefer Italian buttercream over French buttercream. The amount of butter used is rich enough--it needs the egg whites to lighten it. I don't like the heavy feeling of butter coating my tongue. Also, a rich cake with French buttercream seems like overkill to me.

#36 RuthWells

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 06:37 AM

I have only made an italian buttercream once. Do most of you prefer that over French?

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I prefer the flavor of French, but when I'm doing lots of piping, the Italian holds up much better. 'Specially in hot weather.

#37 Sweet Kate

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 09:31 AM

has anyone tried making an italian meringue cream cheese buttercream? i have a fabulous carrot cake recipe but cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, butter, 10x) just isn't to my taste. i have tried adding philadephia brand to my italian meringue buttercream after adding the butter, but the mixture separates. i am going to try a brand with less water content. Any other suggestions?

#38 K8memphis

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 09:52 AM

has anyone tried making an italian meringue cream cheese buttercream?  i have a fabulous carrot cake recipe but cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, butter, 10x) just isn't to my taste.  i have tried adding philadephia brand to my italian meringue buttercream after adding the butter, but the mixture separates.  i am going to try a brand with less water content.  Any other suggestions?

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Well, just an obvious idea you probably have already discarded is to get some cream chese flavor and add that. Or add the cheese to the butter??? Don't know how that would work. Or combine cream cheese icing with the completed meringue icing. Just brainstorm type ideas--have no idea how it would work.

Actually what I would totally do is lightly season the cream cheese with lemon juice and vanilla and a bit of powdered sugar and fill the cake with that & frost it with the meringue stuff.

However the real reason I'm posting is to welcome you to egullet--you have a wonderful name!!!! :wub:

#39 Sugarella

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 10:33 AM

has anyone tried making an italian meringue cream cheese buttercream?  i have a fabulous carrot cake recipe but cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, butter, 10x) just isn't to my taste.  i have tried adding philadephia brand to my italian meringue buttercream after adding the butter, but the mixture separates.  i am going to try a brand with less water content.  Any other suggestions?

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This is my standard cream cheese buttercream, done with both Italian and Swiss meringues. I use Philly... just whip 250g seperately then beat that into the buttercream. I then add 1 Tbsp. almond extract to accentuate the flavour of the cheese.

#40 chefpeon

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 03:59 PM

I do go back and forth about whether I should switch from IMBC to a Swiss meringue - I could use frozen whites rather than having to separate shell eggs (and there's only so much yellow cake and curd I can make with the yolks!) I know a lot of people use Swiss meringue, but I don't know whether it can be stored for as long as IMBC or not. Anybody?


Swiss meringue BC can be stored as long as Italian. However, Italian is a little bit more stable at room temp than Swiss....that's what I've discovered anyway.

I sort of don't understand what you wrote about switching from Italian to Swiss so you could use frozen whites. If you're not able to use frozen whites for Italian, why would you be able to use them for Swiss? :unsure:

#41 JeanneCake

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 03:35 AM

Swiss meringue BC can be stored as long as Italian. However, Italian is a little bit more stable at room temp than Swiss....that's what I've discovered anyway.

I sort of don't understand what you wrote about switching from Italian to Swiss so you could use frozen whites. If you're not able to use frozen whites for Italian, why would you be able to use them for Swiss? :unsure:

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If I use all frozen whites in my IMBC, they collapse when I add the sugar syrup (it doesn't matter which brand - Papetti, sysco, the no name brands that various distributors carry). I found I can get away with using them for some percentage (not more than 30% of the total weight, my usual batch is 30 oz whites, of which not more than 10 oz can be the frozen ones or they collapse). So, I was wondering since Swiss Meringue has the sugar and whites heated first before whipping and no hot syrup added, I could use the frozen whites for that. I've never made Swiss meringue bcrm so this might not work either!

#42 RuthWells

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 06:10 AM

If I use all frozen whites in my IMBC, they collapse when I add the sugar syrup (it doesn't matter which brand - Papetti, sysco, the no name brands that various distributors carry). 

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I make perfect IMBC out of frozen egg whites all the time, so I don't think the freezing is the issue -- are you buying pasturized egg whites in bulk? Maybe pasturization is the culprit?

#43 JeanneCake

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 04:51 PM

If I use all frozen whites in my IMBC, they collapse when I add the sugar syrup (it doesn't matter which brand - Papetti, sysco, the no name brands that various distributors carry).  

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I make perfect IMBC out of frozen egg whites all the time, so I don't think the freezing is the issue -- are you buying pasturized egg whites in bulk? Maybe pasturization is the culprit?

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Sorry for any confusion, I'm not talking about shell eggs that I've separated (that's what I'm doing) but I'm referring to the commercially available egg whites such as Papetti and all of them are pasteurized. Some of the ones I've bought come frozen, others like sysco's inhouse brand are not; but no matter which brand it is, it doesn't work. It's something about these whites - whether it is the pasteurization process or the additives I don't know. I was hoping that Swiss Meringue would work using this type of commercial whites.

#44 JamericanDiva

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 10:08 PM

If I use all frozen whites in my IMBC, they collapse when I add the sugar syrup (it doesn't matter which brand - Papetti, sysco, the no name brands that various distributors carry).  

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I make perfect IMBC out of frozen egg whites all the time, so I don't think the freezing is the issue -- are you buying pasturized egg whites in bulk? Maybe pasturization is the culprit?

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Sorry for any confusion, I'm not talking about shell eggs that I've separated (that's what I'm doing) but I'm referring to the commercially available egg whites such as Papetti and all of them are pasteurized. Some of the ones I've bought come frozen, others like sysco's inhouse brand are not; but no matter which brand it is, it doesn't work. It's something about these whites - whether it is the pasteurization process or the additives I don't know. I was hoping that Swiss Meringue would work using this type of commercial whites.

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I've experienced this as well with a boxed egg product that just happened to be pasteurized. After I ended up with whites that would not get stiff, I decided to read the box. It had something on there stating it was not for use with meringues and other items that required any sort of whipping and instead I should use their whipping whites. :unsure:
Diva

#45 JamericanDiva

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 10:12 PM

Do you beat this with the paddle or the whip on your KitchenAid?

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Hi,

Not sure who you were asking, but I always use the paddle to avoid excess air bubbles.

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I use the whip from start to finish...
Diva

#46 freddurf

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 11:20 PM

I finally had my first successful batch of IMB! I changed two things. I poured the sugar syrup into a Pyrex cup to stop the cooking and I made sure the butter was still pretty cold. I used RLB's Mousseline Buttercream with the cream of tarter. I don't know how much that contributed to the success. BTW what is the difference between IMBC and Mousseline? Is it the cream of tarter? Thanks for everyones help!

#47 etalanian

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 01:02 PM

would it help to surround the bowl in ice packs?


I am often running against the clock when I bake, and I have been known to press handfuls of ice against the mixer bowl while the whites/sugar syrup mixture is cooling. It helps. You can also jimmy a wider, shallow bowl so it sits around the workbowl and fill it with ice and a little water. It doesn't matter to the end product if it cools quickly or slowly; but I find that if you add the butter when the whites are still warm, the butter melts. (Butter melts at around 95 degrees, so I try to get the temp down to just below that before I add the butter in.

I always use soft butter. I usually have butter laying around the kitchen counter because I bake every day. I've never had a problem using soft butter.
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#48 freddurf

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 02:36 PM

would it help to surround the bowl in ice packs?


I am often running against the clock when I bake, and I have been known to press handfuls of ice against the mixer bowl while the whites/sugar syrup mixture is cooling. It helps. You can also jimmy a wider, shallow bowl so it sits around the workbowl and fill it with ice and a little water. It doesn't matter to the end product if it cools quickly or slowly; but I find that if you add the butter when the whites are still warm, the butter melts. (Butter melts at around 95 degrees, so I try to get the temp down to just below that before I add the butter in.

I always use soft butter. I usually have butter laying around the kitchen counter because I bake every day. I've never had a problem using soft butter.

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When I poured the sugar directly from the hot pan, my egg white mixture was sooo hot for the longest time, so naturally when I added the soft butter, it just turned to liquid. I'm amazed that by just trasfering the sugar to a glass contain it would change the outcome that much, but it really did cool down much faster than before. If I had a third hand, I'd be curious to take the temp. of the sugar syrup as I was pouring it, just to see how much higher the temp. goes when leaving it in the container it was cooked in.

#49 sanrensho

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 10:07 PM

On RLB's mousseline buttercream: I always pour the syrup straight into the meringue once it reaches the desired temp. Never had a problem this way, and never had a problem with the butter melting. This is using room temp butter (in our cool PNW climate). Works perfectly for me every time.

I gave up on the extra pyrex step after the first time I made the recipe.
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#50 laniloa

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 06:10 AM

Thanks to all for the words of wisdom and encouragement in this thread. This weekend I attempted my first buttercream in years. I'd been avoiding it after having several batches be "ruined" and get that cottage cheese look, not knowing that was just one step on the road to success. My officemates will be enjoying caramel Italian meringue buttercream frosted cupcakes with lunch. I started with Ling's recipe and decided I wanted more caramel punch so made a quick caramel syrup to mix in. Fabulous.

#51 RuthWells

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 09:55 AM

I finally had my first successful batch of IMB!  I changed two things.  I poured the sugar syrup into a Pyrex cup to stop the cooking and I made sure the butter was still pretty cold.  I used RLB's Mousseline Buttercream with the cream of tarter.  I don't know how much that contributed to the success.  BTW what is the difference between IMBC and Mousseline?  Is it the cream of tarter?  Thanks for everyones help!

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Yay Fred!! I'm sorry I didn't/haven't gotten around to doing a demo -- I got sick a few weeks ago and got behind on everything.

Once you get really familiar with how the temperatures and textures interact, you'll gain in confidence and be less ruled by the particulars of a recipe and more trusting of what "looks right".

#52 freddurf

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 01:16 AM

I finally had my first successful batch of IMB!   I changed two things.  I poured the sugar syrup into a Pyrex cup to stop the cooking and I made sure the butter was still pretty cold.  I used RLB's Mousseline Buttercream with the cream of tarter.  I don't know how much that contributed to the success.  BTW what is the difference between IMBC and Mousseline?  Is it the cream of tarter?  Thanks for everyones help!

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Yay Fred!! I'm sorry I didn't/haven't gotten around to doing a demo -- I got sick a few weeks ago and got behind on everything.

Once you get really familiar with how the temperatures and textures interact, you'll gain in confidence and be less ruled by the particulars of a recipe and more trusting of what "looks right".

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No worries! With all the great advice posted here, I was able to make a successful batch. I feel like I've concurred Mt. Everest! Yippee!

#53 takomabaker

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 10:21 AM

I am SO grateful for the professional advice here because I've been having trouble with buttercreams as well.

When I was taught Italian buttercream in a pastry course, we learned to tell if the syrup was ready when it reached soft ball stage and we didn't use a thermometer -- just a cup of ice. Although my buttercream was perfect in class, I have never been able to duplicate it. I always thought the problem was most likely in the temperature of my syrup because achieving the perfect soft ball stage of the syrup AND getting it into the meringue is tricky. I either undershot it and the syrup had not reached the correct temp or I overshot it and the syrup had gone past the correct stage. Either way, I ended up with meringue soup.

Then I took a cake decorating/finishing course in which we made and used Swiss meringue. When I asked the instructor why we used Swiss meringue rather than Italian or French, he told me that Swiss meringue is easier to make and the focus of the class was on the decorating and finishing and he didn't want it to turn into a class on buttercream. This made sense, and I have been successful with Swiss BC, but I find it does not have the firmness or the stamina of Italian or French.

So, here I go again. This time armed with a thermometer and the indispensable
advice here. I'm very excited. I'm thinking Halloween cupcakes for my office!

THANK YOU!!!!!

#54 Paula Jonvik

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 11:01 AM

This is a fab thread! I have bookmarked it for future reference! The combined knowledge, wisdom and experience on eGullet is worth more than all of the cooking/baking books out there...
Real time experience and feedback. I love this site!!!

Cheers!
Paula Jonvik
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#55 freddurf

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 03:11 PM

This is a fab thread! I have bookmarked it for future reference! The combined knowledge, wisdom and experience on eGullet is worth more than all of the cooking/baking books out there...
Real time experience and feedback. I love this site!!!

Cheers!
Paula Jonvik

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I second that!