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RLB's Neoclassic Buttercream


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9 replies to this topic

#1 SethG

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 09:51 AM

I've made the Neoclassic Buttercream from The Cake Bible several times, and every time it comes out thinner than I'd like. Usually I'm adding chocolate, so the thinness is not a problem; it actually allows me to add more chocolate! But when I made a coffee buttercream using the recipe I got unacceptably thin results.

RLB's buttercream replaces some of the sugar and all the water in classic buttercream with light corn syrup, which reduces technical difficulties in making the hot syrup and also allows you to forget the thermometer. She has you simply bring the sugar/corn syrup mixture to a rolling boil, and then take it off the heat, and beat it into the egg yolks.

I try to measure accurately, and I'm using a pyrex liquid measure for the corn syrup. I'm also trying to be scrupulous about waiting for the mixture to come to a real rolling boil. I'm starting to suspect that my dry measuring cups aren't accurate, and that I'm adding too much or too little sugar. Could this be the cause of the problem? Which one, too much or too little sugar? I'm thinking too little sugar would make the syrup contain too much water and therefore make it too thin. Right?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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#2 JeanneCake

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 10:22 AM

In making this over the years, I've learned for this recipe, the butter should be cool (not cold) and just barely malleable, not soft. The softer the butter is, the thinner the final buttercream. You do have to let it come to a full rolling boil, and I usually let it boil for about a minute just to be sure.

I use pasteurized yolks and I found that when I beat the living daylights out of them (a long time), so they are nice and thick, I get a firmer buttercream (but this could also be a function of the pasteurized yolks, because when I use them for curds, the curd is thinner than with shell eggs).

#3 RuthWells

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 08:53 AM

I've made the Neoclassic Buttercream from The Cake Bible several times, and every time it comes out thinner than I'd like.  Usually I'm adding chocolate, so the thinness is not a problem; it actually allows me to add more chocolate!  But when I made a coffee buttercream using the recipe I got unacceptably thin results.

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Hi Seth,

If I remember correctly, Rose's buttercream recipes call for up to 2 oz of liquid as flavoring (liquors, extracts, etc.) and I have always found this to be too much liquid. Are you adding any liquid flavorings to your base recipe? If so, I suggest using half the amount that she lists, which works for me. (I'm a huge devotee of her buttercreams and make them often.)

#4 SethG

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 12:14 PM

Well, sounds like my butter was too warm-- I tend to let it soften a lot. I don't understand why that would make the final buttercream thinner, though. I'll also try boiling the syrup a little longer.

I haven't been adding other liquids, but thanks for the advice, Ruth.

Another question: I know the syrup is quite hot, but I suspect it doesn't bring the raw egg yolks to a high enough temperature to kill salmonella. Beranbaum doesn't say one word about the issue. Anybody have an opinion about that?

Edited by SethG, 30 January 2006 - 12:15 PM.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;
but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

#5 Patrick S

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 12:59 PM

Another question:  I know the syrup is quite hot, but I suspect it doesn't bring the raw egg yolks to a high enough temperature to kill salmonella.  Beranbaum doesn't say one word about the issue.  Anybody have an opinion about that?

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It would depend on a number of things, including how warm the yolks are to start with. My understanding is that Salmonella is basically eliminated instantly at 160F, but 145F will give the same result after 3 minutes. If you start with yolks that are heated in a water bath and add a cup of 220F syrup, you're a lot more likely to reach 160F than if you start with yolks right out of the fridge. I don't know how hot neoclassic buttercream gets right after you add the syrup. Next time I make it, I'll note the temp of the yolks, the syrup, and the mixture, and let you know what I find.
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#6 SethG

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 01:19 PM

I don't know how hot neoclassic buttercream gets right after you add the syrup. Next time I make it, I'll note the temp of the yolks, the syrup, and the mixture, and let you know what I find.

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I thought about trying that too, but I worried that in the time it would take to measure the temperature your yolks would partially curdle from the contact with the hot syrup. Beranbaum advises you to add a small bit of syrup and beat right away, then to repeat with more syrup.

Edited by SethG, 30 January 2006 - 01:19 PM.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;
but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

#7 Patrick S

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 01:32 PM

I don't know how hot neoclassic buttercream gets right after you add the syrup. Next time I make it, I'll note the temp of the yolks, the syrup, and the mixture, and let you know what I find.

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I thought about trying that too, but I worried that in the time it would take to measure the temperature your yolks would partially curdle from the contact with the hot syrup. Beranbaum advises you to add a small bit of syrup and beat right away, then to repeat with more syrup.

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What I have in mind is sticking the thermometer probe down into the mixer bowl after the syrup has been added, while the mixer is operating. You wouldn't want to try this if you are using a newer mixer, becasue the probe will get hit with the beater. My mixer, however, is an older model, with stationary beaters and a rotating bowl, so its easy for me to take the temp without stopping the mixer.

Edited by Patrick S, 30 January 2006 - 01:33 PM.

"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#8 sanrensho

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 01:56 PM

Another question:  I know the syrup is quite hot, but I suspect it doesn't bring the raw egg yolks to a high enough temperature to kill salmonella.  Beranbaum doesn't say one word about the issue.  Anybody have an opinion about that?

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If you're not in a hurry, you could also pose both your questions to RLB herself, via her blog.
Baker of "impaired" cakes...

#9 ElsieD

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 11:38 AM

I am Planning on making the RoseLevy Bernabaum Neo-classical Buttercream. I have white corn syrup and I'm wondering if I can use that or if I need the darker (yellow?) corn syrup?

Thank you.

#10 JeanneCake

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 02:21 PM

white corn syrup is fine. be sure to pay attention to how long to beat the yolks and the temp of the butter; if your buttercream is thin it could be the butter was too soft or the yolks not beaten sufficiently.