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very dark, too dense choc. frosting


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I'm wondering what to do to make a chocolate frosting that I already made not so dark and dense. It was made with butter, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and then I added 2 oz. of unsweeteed chocolate and 2 oz. of bittersweet chocolate. I'm sure I made a mistake by trying the added chocolate, but what can I do now to lighten the frosting up? I've made a 5 layer chocolate cake and I've filled it with chocolate buttercream that is nice and light. I thought the darker, richer frosting would be good, but this is ridiculous.

Can I add whipping cream before it is whipped to the frosting and just mix the 2 together and then beat it? I don't know the basics of when something like this curdles when mixed together.

Is there a resource for me to learn about when to mix, when to beat and for how long? When adding some ingredients, I have a fear from reading in past directions like, "Mix just until combined... don't be afraid to beat it for several minutes," etc. I would appreciate any help possible. Help!!! Lol. Thanks ahead of time. Toni

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Thank you, Lisa. That sounds interesting. I'm a little worried that it could make it too sweet, though. What do you think: I have about 4 cups of frosting. Should I add about 1 cube of butter and about 1/2 cup powdered sugar and what would happen if I just added more butter?

I'm surprised that you say that adding the cream wouldn't affect the flavor much. Some frostings are made up of whipping cream, sugar and the cocoa, right? Do you ever combine unsweetened cocoa and the chopped chocolate like I did? I don't know if I should ever do it again.

Thank you again for responding. I'll let you know what I do. Here's hoping...

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I think you are thinking of a ganache, toni. That's made with melted chocolate, sugar and cream.

I'd try what Lisa is suggesting. It sounds like you made an American buttercream and overcomplicated it a little.

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Maybe adding more powdered sugar would have been good. I was just thinking that it was so thick (dense) already, and I was worried it might end up even thicker by adding more powdered sugar and also be too sweet. But because it had so much chocolate, maybe it would have been okay to be a little sweeter. Annabelle, yes, I guess it was more like an American buttercream. I started making this frosting so many years ago, and I tend to want to improve or change things up. I remember wanting to make it more chocolatey a few years ago (and it was really quite chocolatey already) and I should have left it alone and not decided to add melted chocolate. You know that saying, a little...then a lot must be better...? Why did I think cocoa powder AND melted bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate would make this frosting the ultimate in taste

Okay, here is what I did: I took the frosting out of the refrigerator and let it set for a bit and then put the frosting in the KA mixer and mixed it a little bit. Then I added 2 TBSP of whipping cream as it mixed and continued adding 2 TBSP at a time as I watched it and probably ended at about 10-12 TBSP. The frosting softened quite a bit and then I added 1/2 of a cube of butter, 1 TBSP at a time. It was still quite rich, a little lighter in color, and it was yummy.

Next time I'm not sure if I will add the melted chocolate to the recipe. For sure, I won't add 2 TBSP each of unsweetened and bittersweet.

I would love to hear if any of you use only the unsweetened cocoa or if any of you use both the cocoa and the melted chocolate to make a buttercream-type of chocolate frosting. I don't make frostings enough to not be intimidated.

Thank you, everyone for your help. Just reading your responses gave me more confidence.

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Just an fyi - I make Toba Garrett's chocolate buttercream which is an American buttercream using butter, powdered sugar, and cocoa (and liquids and flavorings) but it also had ganache added - up to a cup for a regular batch. This addition makes the buttercream a beautiful texture. You can find her recipe at epicurious.com, I believe.

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Is there a resource for me to learn about when to mix, when to beat and for how long? When adding some ingredients, I have a fear from reading in past directions like, "Mix just until combined... don't be afraid to beat it for several minutes," etc. I would appreciate any help possible. Help!!! Lol. Thanks ahead of time. Toni

There are some things you have to be careful about beating for a long time. If you beat flours with gluten (such as wheat flour), the gluten will develop and be tough -- good for bread, not good for cakes or biscuits.

If you're adding something you want to stay light -- such as beaten egg whites -- you don't want to beat too much, because they'll deflate.

But beating a butter/sugar combo, well, you can go pretty much as long as you like.

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Just an fyi - I make Toba Garrett's chocolate buttercream which is an American buttercream using butter, powdered sugar, and cocoa (and liquids and flavorings) but it also had ganache added - up to a cup for a regular batch. This addition makes the buttercream a beautiful texture. You can find her recipe at epicurious.com, I believe.

I'm going right now to check that one out...and thank you!

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Is there a resource for me to learn about when to mix, when to beat and for how long? When adding some ingredients, I have a fear from reading in past directions like, "Mix just until combined... don't be afraid to beat it for several minutes," etc. I would appreciate any help possible. Help!!! Lol. Thanks ahead of time. Toni

There are some things you have to be careful about beating for a long time. If you beat flours with gluten (such as wheat flour), the gluten will develop and be tough -- good for bread, not good for cakes or biscuits.

If you're adding something you want to stay light -- such as beaten egg whites -- you don't want to beat too much, because they'll deflate.

But beating a butter/sugar combo, well, you can go pretty much as long as you like.

That is very helpful, thank you.

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toni, many years ago Time-Life put out a series of books called "The Good Cook". One of the volumes is devoted to cakes of all kinds. It covers the basics and advances to fancier preparations. The first third or so of the book is a pictorial and the last an index of recipes. It is out of print, but you may be able to find them in a used book store or on eBay.

If they are unavailable, I would look for other older texts that explain more about how ingredients react to each other and the proper techniques involved. Many newer cookbooks are too interested in being cute or are devoted to trendy items like cake pops. One of the most helpful books I have is "The American Woman's Cookbook" that was my mother's. It is also long out of print, but is good for meal planning and explaining what to make with extra egg whites and yolks and the like. Unfortunately, it assumes that most of the users are familiar with cooking times and what a low, medium and hot oven are without giving any temps. It's still a good home ec kind of a book.

Best of luck!

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toni, many years ago Time-Life put out a series of books called "The Good Cook". One of the volumes is devoted to cakes of all kinds. It covers the basics and advances to fancier preparations. The first third or so of the book is a pictorial and the last an index of recipes. It is out of print, but you may be able to find them in a used book store or on eBay.

If they are unavailable, I would look for other older texts that explain more about how ingredients react to each other and the proper techniques involved. Many newer cookbooks are too interested in being cute or are devoted to trendy items like cake pops. One of the most helpful books I have is "The American Woman's Cookbook" that was my mother's. It is also long out of print, but is good for meal planning and explaining what to make with extra egg whites and yolks and the like. Unfortunately, it assumes that most of the users are familiar with cooking times and what a low, medium and hot oven are without giving any temps. It's still a good home ec kind of a book.

Best of luck!

It is so sweet of you to take the time to give me this information, Annabelle. I will look in a used book store very soon for The Good Cook, and I thank you. It sounds very interesting.

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