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Buttercream Frosting/Icing: The Topic


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#1 bripastryguy

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 12:00 PM

Can anyone post some tested tried and true quality buttercream recipes?
"Chocolate has no calories....
Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence
SWEET KARMA DESSERTS
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#2 Katherine

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 12:03 PM

What sort of buttercream are you looking for? The old-fashioned kind, with powdered sugar, or with meringue, or egg yolks?

#3 Elizabeth_11

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 07:43 PM

From Sebastien Canonne at the French Pastry School:

(rather small, but excellent recipe)

Butter 82% 250 g
whole eggs 50 g
egg yolk 20 g
water 25 g
sucrose 80 g

Method:

Whip butter (room temperature) with whisk attachment.
In another bowl, whip the eggs and yolk until VERY light and fluffy..
Boil the water and sucrose to 123 C/253 F
Pour the hot sugar syrup over eggs in large pours (pour a lot, then whip, pour a lot, then whip, etc.--NOT the small stream method)
Add in the butter piece by piece. (sometimes the butter will vary, use best judgement when it hits the right consistency.
Add flavorings.

I have another recipe that I've used from the Great Chefs website as well, it has always turned out great, but I'm fairly certain that it's almost identical to the one above.
-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.


#4 Ladybug

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 01:38 PM

I like Rose Levy Beranbaum's Neoclassic Buttercream. She uses corn syrup instead of boiling water and sugar together and the results are identical to her Classic Buttercream recipe, although the procedure is much simplified.

#5 chefette

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 09:42 AM

Elizabeth - after whipping the butter til it is very fluffy how do you manage to add it piece by piece?

#6 bripastryguy

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 10:31 AM

Chefette,

Do you and steve have a good working (and ofcourse tasting) buttercream that can hold up nice on display?
"Chocolate has no calories....
Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence
SWEET KARMA DESSERTS
www.sweetkarmadesserts.com
550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554
516-794-4478
Brian Fishman

#7 FireIslanddish

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 12:15 PM

Check out (I know) Martha Stewart's website for the Cupcake Cafe buttercream that is very popular in NYC

#8 alithea

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 12:28 PM

Martha Stewart also has a rum buttercream for her wedding cake featured in Baking with Julia. It calls for all yolks, I think it's 14 or 16 of them, and no egg whites, so it is a bit of a pain. But it's the best buttercream I've ever had, and the pale yellow color is so nice.

#9 TuWanda

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 04:07 PM

If you need something to hold up well, I second RLB's Neoclassic. It will hold up well to display, and it's simple to make. It's also delicious. Her Mousseline buttercream is also wonderful.

It will not hold up to the grasping hands of a 1 year old. :wink:

Edited by TuWanda, 12 August 2003 - 04:08 PM.


#10 PastryLady

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 06:17 AM

I always make swiss buttercream because I love the smooth texture and versatility to add other flavors later. My recipe is enormous though. I use a 40 qt bowl over the flame.

I can't recall the sugar amount, but will post it tomorrow after work. I know it is 15# butter and 5# whites.

You dissolve whites and sugar over medium flame while continuously stirring until you feel with your fingers that the mixture is no longer grainy (sugar has dissolved). Take off flame and put on medium speed for 30 seconds and then high for about 8 minutes until merangue is about trippled in volume and has a trac when you run your finger along it. Add butter slowly.

I am thinking it is 5# of sugar now. Obviously you can reduce this to fit your needs. I Add fine sea salt (a pinch) with my flavoring when re-whipping up the buttercream. This picks up the flavor, but often I leave out the salt as it could possibly group together in one area. Never use shortening as this is clearly disgusting in buttercream.
Debra Diller
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#11 nightscotsman

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 06:57 AM

If you are holding the cakes at room temp, an egg white butter cream (with either swiss or italian meringue) is the way to go. An egg yolk buttercream would spoil much sooner.

#12 Elizabeth_11

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 08:49 AM

Chefette--my directions stated to whip the eggs until light and fluffy, not the butter. The butter is just whipped till soft and pliable. I should have been more specific in the directions; sorry about that.

Edited by Elizabeth_11, 13 August 2003 - 08:50 AM.

-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.


#13 JFLinLA

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 10:29 AM

Clearly the eGCI needs to offer a course on everything one needs to know about buttercreams.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#14 TuWanda

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 11:12 AM

Martha Stewart also has a rum buttercream for her wedding cake featured in Baking with Julia. It calls for all yolks, I think it's 14 or 16 of them, and no egg whites, so it is a bit of a pain. But it's the best buttercream I've ever had, and the pale yellow color is so nice.

That's french buttercream, and I agree - the taste is superior to any buttercream going.

But - it's difficult as hell to work with, doesn't hold it's shape very well for piping, and is incredibly temperature sensitive and humidity sensitive.

For pure taste, though - french is the best thing ever... :smile:

#15 PastryLady

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 01:14 PM

Personally, I have never had a Martha Stewart recipe turn out. Keep her pictures, but ditch the recipies. :wink:
Debra Diller
"Sweet dreams are made of this" - Eurithmics

#16 Comfort Me

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 09:24 PM

OK -- so I'm making a shitload of a whilte buttercream -- the regular way -- egg whites beaten and cooked with a hot sugar syrup, then butter beaten in.

My recipe tells me to boil the syrup for a couple of mintues. Is there a temperature on a candy thermometer I should cook the syrup to?
Aidan

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#17 nightscotsman

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 04:15 AM

You want the soft ball stage. Let's see, that would be... 235-240 F. Or you could freak out everyone else in the kitchen and test with your bare hands. Get a bowl of very cold water and soak your fingers until they are chilled. Holding the bowl close to the pot of boiling sugar, quickly (but not too quickly) reach in and grab some syrup and plunge it into the cold water. It should set quickly and you will be able to tell what stage your sugar's at. You will feel the heat, but if done properly your fingers wont burn. This is the way we learned to do it in school, and the normal way we test in the pastry kitchen.

#18 Steve Klc

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 05:02 AM

I do a firmer ball sometimes, Aidan, in warm weather. Which book/magazine/recipe are you working from that doesn't mention temperature or how to test the proper stage and just says boil for a couple of minutes? Also, beside cooking to the right temperature, you'll get a better meringue if you gradually, slowly, pour the syrup onto the whipping whites.
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#19 kthull

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 06:46 AM

I go to 245 with my sugar syrup. And maybe I'll get the courage to use my fingers. :unsure:

Steve, I have a question on technique. I can never seem to get my syrup between the beaters and the side of the bowl (KA 6qt). So instead, I've resorted to hand whisking while I slowly add the syrup, all the while with the bowl still attached to the KA. Then, when it's all in, I pop the whisk attachment, beat a couple seconds on high, then switch to medium until it cools. This has been working, but am I limiting my results this way?

Edited by kthull, 05 May 2004 - 06:50 AM.


#20 NeroW

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 08:32 AM

DON'T test it with your bare hands. Don't listen to NSM. He operates on a different plane than most of the rest of us do :biggrin: And like kthull says, make sure to carefully pour the syrup between the beater and the side of the bowl (closer to the side than the beater).
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#21 chefette

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 09:26 AM

what plane would NSM be operating on that is so different from the rest of us? It is not as scary as it sounds to do the grab thing, but if you have never even seen it done I would not recommend that you just start - use a thermometer and work from there

Edited by chefette, 05 May 2004 - 09:32 AM.


#22 NeroW

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 09:35 AM

what plane would NSM be operating on that is so different from the rest of us? It is not as scary as it sounds to do the grab thing, but if you have never even seen it done I would not recommend that you just start - use a thermometer and work from there

Neil operates on the Awesome Plane, and I operate on the . . . Not Awesome Plane . . . and I've always been scared to try the grabbing thing.

I just use a thermometer :rolleyes:
Noise is music. All else is food.

#23 carp

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 09:44 AM

I go to 250 degrees.
Anyway...
If you are using the kitchen aid 6qt, you should buy the pouring shield. It is rarely useful to me for anything else except pouring boiling hot sugar into the bowl without hitting the beaters. But it's pretty cheap and definitely worth buying even if only for this purpose.
I try to avoid hitting the shield and go for the small area between the edge of the shield and the bowl. But it does have a spout and you can simply pour it onto the edge of the spout and the sugar will drip down onto the bowl without hitting the beaters.

#24 Lesley C

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 10:03 AM

Pouring shields are for sissies! :wink:

Just pour from a height and aim for the small ridge between the beater and the side of the bowl. And when you pour, pour the first third on high speed, the next two thirds on medium speed, and pour very slowly in as thin a stream as you can manage.

I cook it to 121 C, and I usually start beating my whites when the sugar reaches 115 C.

Also, once all your hot syrup is incorporated, remove the whisk in favour of the paddle. The meringue cools down much faster this way (especially when you're making large quantities). Just make sure to maintain medium speed.

Then change back to the whisk to beat in the butter.

God, we could do an entire thread on the ins and out of Italian meringue.

#25 carp

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 10:26 AM

Pouring shields are for sissies! :wink:

Just pour from a height and aim for the small ridge between the beater and the side of the bowl. And when you pour, pour the first third on high speed, the next two thirds on medium speed, and pour very slowly in as thin a stream as you can manage.

I cook it to 121 C, and I usually start beating my whites when the sugar reaches 115 C.

Also, once all your hot syrup is incorporated, remove the whisk in favour of the paddle. The meringue cools down much faster this way (especially when you're making large quantities). Just make sure to maintain medium speed.

Then change back to the whisk to beat in the butter.

God, we could do an entire thread on the ins and out of Italian meringue.

Hey, but it beats removing the whisk attachment and whisking in the sugar by hand. Not that I would ever do such a thing.
It's not that I'm scared, OK. It's just that I have the effin pouring shield because it came with the mixer and have nothing else to do with it. Now back off and leave my pouring shield out of this!
Now look what you did! I am crying... Are you happy?

#26 Lesley C

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 11:04 AM

The pouring shield is a bad habit. Ditch the pouring shield and train yourself to pour the sugar properly. Trust me on this one, you'll thank me one day.
And forget about whisking by hand. It's a waste of time and you need two people to do it properly. If you don't whisk fast enough, you risk cooking the whites and ending up with lumps in your buttercream.
As for using your fingers to determine the soft ball stage. I used to work with a young guy in France who always tested this way. But one night he was tired and talking to a guy on the other side of the room and he reversed the oder of things, dipping his fingers straight into the sugar, then into the water, then into the sugar again. Nice blisters the next day. :rolleyes:

#27 chefpeon

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 11:04 AM

:blink:
Ok......um.....maybe I'm doing it wrong or I don't know something, and if I don't I'm
sure you'll all tell what it is.......I think I can trust y'all to guide me.
BUT......

I've been making wedding cakes for 14 years. I've made all different kinds of buttercreams.
I've made small batches on Kitchenaid mixers and huge batches on 60 qt. mixers. I go through
buttercream like cars go through gas. If I were doing the "sugar syrup" method I would spend
WAY too much time making buttercream and it'd be harder to get anything else done.
My favorite buttercream, is of course, a meringue buttercream......it tastes the best, and I like
it's workability......but I've never had to make it with a hot sugar syrup. I've tried that method,
and the purpose of it is sort of lost on me. I mean, it just seems like it's doing it the hard way.
Since I do such a large amount of wedding work (among other things), my life is about finding
the easiest way to do something (without sacrificing quality, of course).

I have always made my meringue buttercream like this: (and it's so EASY)
Whisk my sugar and egg whites together, either directly in the mixer bowl, or in some
sort of double boiler. If I do a small batch on the Kitchenaid, I will mix the two together
and stick the whole bowl in a pot of simmering water, whisking often, until the whites and
sugar are nearly too hot to touch. Then I put the hot whites and sugar on the mixer
and whip to stiff peak. Then I add my cool butter in chunks and add vanilla. Voila!
Perfect buttercream with safely cooked whites and no sugar syrup hassles.

So my question is, why do you guys do the sugar syrup thing? I see no difference in the
finished product, when done my usual way in comparison to the sugar syrup way.
Is there something I don't know?

Annie :wub:

#28 Lesley C

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 11:19 AM

You're doing the Swiss meringue buttercream. No harm in that. Honestly I don't know the advantage of the Italian over the Swiss. Maybe the Italian holds up better because the sugar is cooked? But I'm guessing.
Actually my favourite buttercream is with yolks or whole eggs, making a pate a bombe for the base. The flavour is better, but it has a creamy yellow colour, not always ideal for wedding cakes.

#29 carp

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 11:27 AM

The pouring shield is a bad habit. Ditch the pouring shield and train yourself to pour the sugar properly. Trust me on this one, you'll thank me one day.
And forget about whisking by hand. It's a waste of time and you need two people to do it properly. If you don't whisk fast enough, you risk cooking the whites and ending up with lumps in your buttercream.
As for using your fingers to determine the soft ball stage. I used to work with a young guy in France who always tested this way. But one night he was tired and talking to a guy on the other side of the room and he reversed the oder of things, dipping his fingers straight into the sugar, then into the water, then into the sugar again. Nice blisters the next day. :rolleyes:

OK. Hold on a minute. Smoking crack and watching The View are bad habits, but using a pouring shield just makes good sense to me. Especially if I am making buttercream while smoking crack and watching The View. Occasionally I can get distracted by some witty comment made by Barbara Walters and absent the pouring shield I could get boling hot sugar all over my dome.
As I wrote earlier, I almost always pour the sugar right in the sweet spot, between the beater and the bowl. But the shield keeps the sugar from flying at me when I am distracted or shaking too much from laughter when Barbara says something characteristically hilarious. You can examine my shield... it hasn't a drop of soft-cracked sugar on it after most buttercream maneuvers.
My use of the shield is analogous to my use of seat belts.

#30 Lesley C

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Posted 05 May 2004 - 11:36 AM

OK, I think he's time to put the cards on the table and be brutally honest.
Carp, you have developed a pouring shield habit that must be broken.
But fear not! I hear they have a program at the Betty Ford Center for pouring shield addicts. They wrestle your pouring shield away from you at the front desk, then it's pouring shield cold turkey from then on in.
You can do it, I know you can.
They say Whitney Houston was in rehab for a drug habit, but my inside sources tell me she was really addicted to her pouring shield.
Get help -- fast! And don't forget, we're here to hold your shaky, sugar-syrup-coated hand if need be.