Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
PaulaJK

Chocolate Buttercream help needed

Recommended Posts

Made a chocolate buttercream

10 whole eggs + 1 1/2 c sugar +1.5 lbs BS chcolate +

18 tab butter.

BUT, mistakenly added 2 tab water to egg & sugar mix.

Results:

1.egg & sugar didn't thicken as well as usual

2.final mix is less thick than usual...somewhere between

glaze and usual buttercream

Am now refridgerating mix to see if it thickens.

Two questions:

a.Do I need to re-whip [fluff] the buttercream

because I refridgerated it?

b.If it's still too thin, can I add something to thicken

it---more chocolate or egg?--and how do I proceed

with this.

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The buttercream recipe I use has powdered sugar in the recipe. If I am trying to get the right consistency, I adjust with sugar to thicken or some kind of liquid (water, milk or corn syrup depending on the recipe) to thin. I think you could add a little sugar to even things out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No no no....adding more sugar will NOT thicken it. You'll end up with soup if you do that.

I'm assuming of course, that you are making a french buttercream.....?

You're making a sugar syrup and adding it in a thin stream to your thickened eggs, right?

Or not?

Sounds like a weird recipe.....whole eggs? Usually french buttercreams use yolks only.

Anyway, if you want to thicken it, bring it out to room temp and re-whip. As you are doing so,

add room temp butter in chunks until it's the fluffy consistency you want. You should be fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the same problem with a swiss meringue chocolate buttercream, which used only egg whites. It never got quite soupy, but was definitely not as stable and thick as I would have liked. I tried chilling it, bringing it back to room temp, and adding softened chunks of butter, but the more butter I added, the thinner it got! So I stopped and just went with it the way it was. Tasted great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a George Perrier/Le Bec Fin/ recipe.

I've made it a few times and it's been

v. good tasting. Guess I'll try to re-whip,

adding small amts of butter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buttercream can be thickened safely with powdered sugar. Fold it in to achieve the desired consistency.

I made French Meringue Chocolate Buttercream two days ago to ice a custom-order cake. For the icing, I used my tried-&-true 4-egg-white meringue with sieved superfine sugar, and beat in the softened butter & cooled tempered chocolate until just incorporated. It firmed up admirably and had no separation mishaps -- which is simply to underscore my conviction that if a method/technique functions dependably, then the outcome of your performance will follow suit. For my needs, a classic Swiss-meringue preparation is thoroughly dependable for flavouring with, e.g., maple syrup, Cointreau, and chocolate.

I agree with chefpeon that using whole eggs sounds peculiar for buttercream. Nevertheless, I do use 2 whole eggs + I yolk in my basic formula for an Italian-Meringue Caramel-Brandy Buttercream (made with a combination of granulated sugar & light corn syrup or liquid glucose in a ratio of 2¼ oz. sugar to ½ fl. oz. glucose). Often, only yolks are used in an Italian meringue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm... I've never made an Italian meringue with yolks- only whites. I don't understand how it would be considered a meringue with yolks in it. These days I pretty much only use Italian meringue buttercream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Often, only yolks are used in an Italian meringue.

If that statement is true, then I need to go back to school, 'cause I know NUTHIN'!

:raz:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My non-schooled opinion is that a yolk mixture with hot sugar whipped up is a pate bombe and a egg whites only mixture with hot sugar is a meringue.

I made the coffee buttercream recipe from Dorie Greenspans book Paris Sweets, this morning. In Dalloyau's Opera Cake recipe they use whole eggs and yolks to make bombe. Quite frankly I prefer buttercream recipes that include yolks. I like the richness yolks add to buttercreams (isn't that a German method?) verses an all whites buttercream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, it is not German. The French and the English use yolks/ whole eggs. I just think it is too much with the butter and cake too. That is just my opinion though

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I need to fix this chocolate frosting problem....

I made two cakes, last weekend and this, that were the Woolley recipe for cake - torted - and filled with a 1) chocolate buttercream made with powdered sugar, milk, butter, cocoa, vanilla or 2) a Swiss meringue buttercream with added 5 ounces or so of milk chocolate and some cocoa. Both times the cake slumped with the frosting in between the layers practically melting and the cake falling over on itself. They were both covered in fondant.

Today's cake was a 9" hexagon with a 6" round tier on top. The top tier was a Wendy's banana cake with a caramel buttercream and this cake sliced perfectly and stayed together just fine. The buttercream base was from the exact same bowl as the milk chocolate so I guess the milk chocolate made it too soft? I'm hard pressed to figure out how I can add 8 oz of liquid caramel to the buttercream and it stays together but the chocolate solids melt!!

Here's the buttercream recipe:

1 lb butter plus 6T (I have the grams somewhere but it's too late to go look it up)

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 oz egg whites (I use the Pappetti)

2 T vanilla paste

I beat the butter to soften and add the vanilla. Heat the sugar and egg whites together to melt the sugar. Beat until it's a medium stiff meringue. Add the butter. Tastes fabulous even in a puddle.

So what do I do? Help!!!! My goal is to have layers that stay together, moist and filled with a recognizable layer of filling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sorry to hear about your mishap. I am not sure what it could be. Was the butter very soft? When I make meringue buttercream, I add slightly chilled butter to the meringue. The butter is soft on the outside, but still chilled.

Another question, was your chocolate too warm? Did you allow it to cool slightly before adding it to the meringue?

Another question, you mentioned that you use Pappetti Foods. Do you use the Whippin Whites or the regular All Whites? I am on the hunt for Whippin Whites. I can no longer find them in my area.


Edited by BROWNSUGA (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I highly recommend the mousseline buttercream recipe from The Cake Bible. It's light,spreads smooth,extremely stable & can have a variety of flavors added to it..such as lemon curd,chocolate..etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, I might be on the track for figuring this out. Here is the cake that I had the problem on....

gallery_22153_506_87104.jpg

When I dumped my pictures from my camera I really noticed the difference in the slant of those top turrets from the time I put them on and took a picture until I cut the cake. And I noticed that the slices on the girls' plates were holding together - from the outside of the cake. Once I put that together I think I know where part of my problem is. When I added those turrets I just stuck three long dowels into the top tier and popped the turrets over them with some royal icing to stick them to the fondant. I was worried about them toppling but hadn't thought about the added weight on all that sugar compressing down from the top tier to the bottom. I should have made some sort of plaque to put them on and then doweled underneath that. Duh! I still think the chocolate buttercream needs some work and will take some of the suggestions Keith and I emailed on today to see what I can do to improve its stability. But I think I just made it goo when I added too much weight to the top of the cake.

I'm now testing out a chocolate caramel ganache and a caramel buttercream on the chocolate cake layers. It's sitting out in fairly warm weather and I've encased it in plastic to try and simulate being encased in fondant. If that still holds up tomorrow then it's chocolate buttercream again for the same test. If that holds up then it's chocolate buttercream, fondant and something heavy on top with no support. If I get goo, then I know I've solved my problem and know how to fix these tiered cakes architecturally. And people wonder why these damn things cost so much!

Any other ideas with this new info?

I have tried the RLB mousseline and will do so again to see if the IB recipe holds up better. I checked in Toba Garrett's book as well and she adds 1/2 of high ratio shortening - Keith had to tell me what that is! - to get it to hold up better. That's on my test list as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hum...........maybe I'm not totally sure I understand..........to me the issue doesn't seem like your having problems with your buttercreams stability so much. In too much heat, nothing holds up great. Thats part of the reasoning why some people use frostings that contain shortening and xxxsugar verses french buttercream. Real butter melts at a lower temp. then shortening.

When I've encountered a wet (that word used because I can't think of a better one) or soft buttercream I wouldn't have been able to get the fondant holding onto the sides of my cakes as your photos shows yours does. The weight of the fondant makes the buttercream slide off the cake, literally.

The only corrections I see that could happen are: more supports internally and a cooler room or cooler frosting.

By the way, your cake is absolutely adorable!! I REALLY like how you designed it to represent a brick castle yet it remains totally feminine and frilly, you also have the crown feeling happening.......that's really excellent design imo!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The frozen whites are not ideal for a swiss buttercream. The addition of all that sugar before whipping prevents it from becoming a real meringe. Fresh egg whites are much better for this style of buttercream, but make sure you heat them up enough!!

If you want to use the frozen, then perhaps you'd consider an Italian buttercream. Same flavor as Swiss, but different method, and much stiffer. Here, the frozen whites work perfectly. If you haven't worked with an Italian bcrm before, it's a different experience, and will take some getting used to, but remember that it is essentially stiffer than what you're used to.

Now-- What to do with the soupy buttercream...?

I actualy LIKE working with a super soft buttercream as a final coat because it contains very little air bubbles, and winds up very smooth. However, your crumb coat needs to be very well set before you apply a soft icing. Make sure you chill your fully iced cake for at least an hour before you enrobe it, and you'll find that your edges keep their shape.

BTW, I don't see much slumping, and your cake is lovely!


Edited by cakesuite (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It wasn't so much the fondant coming off the sides but the filling in between the layers just oozed out instead of staying in a nice firm layer. That's what caused the cake to just fall over on itself once I started to cut it. Probably what held it together was the fondant and the dowels.

When I made the buttercream with the Papetti egg white only product (not frozen) I was able to get a medium stiff meringue and added the butter and had a product that was the right consistency. Same when I added the chocolate - it was a good weight and seemed to hold on the cake. I put it in the fridge for a while to firm up. That very same buttercream base held fine with the addition of the caramel so I'm still not sure what caused my problems. The temp here is in the 70's. The room was not excessively warm. Do you think the layer of fondant could be causing the filling to melt?

My caramel buttercream (exact same container of base buttercream as the castle ) and chocolate caramel ganache are pretty much right where they were last night in my experiment cake. I have the cake sliced in half so I can watch how the layers look over time (um, we ate the other half for science sake!) The caramel buttercream is holding up better than the ganache which is softening slightly and bulging out of the layer a bit. Maybe it's my chocolate?

I have made IB before so it's off to try that again. Would any of you cake experts care to post what you make for a chocolate buttercream? I'm not sure what you mean by a cooler frosting.

Thanks for noticing the design, Wendy. I was quite influenced by the castle at Disney last week. My girls were enthralled with all the princess paraphernalia so they loved this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your filled cake is chilled, the buttercream should stiffen up fine. 70 degrees shouldn't make your filling ooze, if it's been previously chilled in the cake.

To make a chocolate buttercream, I add cooled melted chocolate to room temp. buttercream. It may often the buttercream slightly, but once chilled will set up beautifully. Caramel, on the other hand, may loosen up your icing, depending on how much you add, and how liquid the caramel is to begin with.

No, your layer of fondant wouldn't cause your icing to melt.


Edited by cakesuite (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have noticed that my chocolate buttercream gets softer and "soupier" as it sits between the cake layers. Usually I consider this a positive sign, but there have been cases in the summer where cakes have slid because of how much the icing softens. Like you, I use cocoa, not chocolate. I'm not sure why this happens, since the icing stays very firm when it's not sandwiched between two layers of cake, and the only thing we've done to deal with it is reduce the amount of liquid in the summer and make sure the cakes are thoroughly chilled when they go out the door.

I too thought your cake was adorable. Most cake artists I know are their own worst critics--I'm sure your clients were thrilled.

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a buttercream made with an italian meringue will last longer in hotter temperatures than the swiss method. basically, you heat the melt the sugar (with water), above soft ball stage, whip your egg whites & after they've reached volume, slowly add the hot sugar. makes a more stable meringue, and in turn, a stable buttercream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mkfradin, Bingo! That's exactly what's happening. The chocolate, whether cocoa chocolate or a mixture, is very soft between the layers of cake. That's what's causing my problem. I guess if I fill and frost, put on the fondant and then into the fridge until a couple hours before I need it that should solve my problem. All decor will just have to go on at the last minute.

But why is only chocolate going soupy? The caramel and the vanilla are still both quite nice after 24 hours out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know those chocolate covered cherries that you make by wrapping in fondant, dipping in chocolate, and the fondant liquifies? I'm guessing something like that is going on here. Or else, the cocoa takes a while to absorb into the buttercream (I used to add way too much milk when I first made this), but maybe once it gets going, it just keeps absorbing--moisture from the butter, milk, and even from the cake. B/c we don't do a lot of fondant, and certainly not on the scale you are , it's not a huge problem for us, but I would be very interested in learning exactly why this happens, just from a food science standpoint. So if anyone has any further insight, please let us know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

after you fill and crumb coat your shold chill to set - then add successive layers of buttercream chilling to set in between until you have enough buttercream on (maybe 3 coats?) then you do a final smoothing and cover with fondant then decorate.

It is tough to cover a cake that hasn't been set/chilled because ut is soft and slippery

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't use any cocoa in my chocolate buttercream. I'm not sure if that makes much of a difference, but it sets up nicely.

How about using a chocolate whipped cream between the layers instead of the buttercream?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would be be so kind as to post your caramel buttercream recipe. That sounds like it is absolutely delicious!

Thank you.

BTW-- your cake is so precious, what a great idea.

Kelli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By anonymouse
      I've been working with the Boiron purée recipe tables (chocolate and PdF, ice cream) - some good successes.  However the document is very terse and I wondered whether anyone who is experienced with these formulae might clarify what the expected result is:
       
      - "Fruit ganaches" and "Fruit and caramel ganaches".  I think these are supposed to produce a ganache for cutting and enrobing, although when I tried it came out far too soft to be dipped???
       
      - "Ganaches to be combined with fruit pastes" - I think these are to be layered above PdF and enrobed - is that right?
       
      - "Chocolate molded sweets" - Are these intended to be served as is, ie moulded without a layer of couverture going into the mould first? However the instructions talk about pouring into a frame.
       
      - "Fruity delight" - looks like a fairly light dessert to go into a parfait glass.  Has anyone done these and how do they turn out?  How do they compare to the sabayon-based ones in the Boiron ice cream book?
       
      I'm going to start working through some of the ice creams next week and it will be interesting to see how these turn out.
       
      Thanks for any advice.
       
    • By anonymouse
      As a newbie here I thought, before piling in with my own questions, I'd pull together some of the things I've learned in my first months of chocolate making - in case this helps others who embark on the same path.  
       
      Many of these learnings came from eGullet, some from elsewhere, and I'm very grateful for all the many sources of experience and insight.  Cooking technique is quite personal so of course not everyone will agree with my idiosyncratic list of course.
       
      Most useful equipment so far
       
      Cooking isn't really about the equipment - you can make fine chocolates with hardly any equipment - but here are the things which have helped me the most.
       
      1. Small tempering machine.  This got me started on chocolate making with a superb easy path.  The ChocoVision Rev 2B (with the "holey baffle" which increases its capacity) just gets the tempering perfect every time.  Yes, I could temper in the microwave or on a slab, but it's great to take away any uncertainty about the final finish, by using this great machine.  Downsides: continuously noisy, doesn't have the capacity for large batches.
       
      2. Plenty of silicon baking mats (Silpat clones).  I use these not just for ganache and inverting moulds onto, but also just to keep the kitchen clean!  Working at home, I create a lot of mess and found I could reduce the risk of divorce by spreading large sheets (60x40cm size) across the work surface.  So much easier to clean, and I can scrape unused chocolate back into the supply for next time.  
      I get mine directly from China through AliExpress where they are about 1/3 of the local price.  Then, for a further cost saving I ordered a couple of sheets of stainless steel at exactly the same 40x30 size, from a hobbyist place, and stuck some rubber feet underneath. The silicon mat + steel sheet can then easily be carried to the cool room. I got metal bars made up by another hobbyist place (an eGullet suggestion) which was a cheap alternative to caramel bars.
       
      3. Scrapers.  Life got better when I stopped trying to scrape moulds with a regular palette knife.  I found we had two Japanese okomoniyaki spatulas from Japanese cooking which were perfect!
       
      4. Polycarbonate moulds.  Again in order to afford a bunch of these, I get them from China via AliExpress where they are £5-£7 each (including shipping) rather than £18 (+£10 shipping) locally.  If I were starting again I'd buy little squares and half-spheres first, because these are easy to decorate with transfer sheets and cocoa butter respectively; plus a bar mould for quickly using up some extra chocolate or making a snack for the family.  Magnetic moulds are not in my view essential for the beginner because you can just apply the transfers manually - but they are very easy to use.
       
      5. Hot air gun - little Bosch paint stripper from Amazon.  Always kept to hand to sort out anything which crystallises too quickly in the bowl or on my equipment.
       
      6. Fancy packaging.  We got some little boxes in bright colours with silver lining - great to turn your experiments into gifts. Quite expensive because you have to buy quantities, but worth it we felt.
       
      If I were working at scale I think my top 5 would also include a vibrating table, but that's beyond my means.

      Best sources of learning so far (apart from eGullet of course)
       
      1. Callebaut website - fabulous range of videos showing how a master does the basic techniques.  Also Keylink (harder to find on their website - look in "knowledge bank") which is refreshingly straightforward.
       
      2. Several books recommended on this forum.  Once I got past the basics, I delved into two masterpieces: Wybauw ("The Ultimate Fine Chocolates", a revised compilation of his previous books) and Greweling ("Chocolates and Confections"). These are just awe inspiring.

      Most useful ingredients so far
       
      1. Callebaut couverture "callets" in 2.5kg bags - quick to measure, easy to re-seal.  Everyone should start with 811 and 823, the "standards" ... but I soon moved to more exotic flavours.  Current favourites are Cacao Barry Alunga (rich milk), Callebaut Velvet (white but not as cloying as the usual one; lovely mouthfeel), and half a dozen Cocoa Barry dark chocolates which go with particular ingredients.
       
      2. Boiron frozen fruit purees. These are just amazing.  I struggled with lots of different approaches to fruit flavouring until I discovered these.  The problem is that most liquid purees have a short life span and are quite expensive if you only need a little quantity - whereas the Boiron ones just live in a neat, stackable tub in the freezer.  Grab a flavour, pop it out onto a chopping board, slice off what you need, return the rest to the freezer.  And the range is fabulous.  So far I've particularly enjoyed raspberry, passion fruit, kalamansi (wow!) blackcurrant, and Morello cherry.  (I'm experimenting with banana but most banana chocolate recipes seem to need caramel which I don't find so easy to perfect.)
       
      3. IBC "Power Flowers" so I can mix my own coloured white chocolate with a wide palette of colours, for brushing or piping into moulds as decoration.  Quite tricky to scale down to the tiny amounts I need, but I found this far better than heating little bottles of cocoa butter and being restricted to the colours I had.
       
      4. Marc de Champagne 60% - great for truffles.  My supplier sends it in a little chemical bottle which is a little un-champagne-like, but never mind.  Rose drops (oil-based) were also useful for truffles if you like that sort of thing.

      Suggestions for learners (aka things I wish I had got right)
       
      1. Start learning in winter.  There is a HUGE amount of cooling needed in chocolate making; once we had cold weather we could close off a room, turn off its heating, and create a cool room.  Made a big difference to productivity (and quality!).
       
      2. Don't do anything involving caramel, marshmallows, turkish delight, or other temperature-critical sugar work until you are confident with everything else - or you will get demoralised quickly.  Or maybe I'm just rubbish at these techniques.
       
      3. Learn simple decoration (cocoa butter colour, texture sheets etc) early on.  These make a big difference to how everyone will react to your work.
       
      4. Don't rush.  Chocolate making takes a lot of (elapsed) time.  Give things time to crystallise properly.  I find there is always an endless amount of cleaning-up to do while I wait :-)
       
       
    • By JohnT
      I have heard over the years of bakers using beetroot in chocolate cakes to "enrich" them. I have never done this and I am not too fond of beetroot in its various forms (a childhood "thing"). However, I have been requested to bake a chocolate cake using "beetroot juice" in the recipe - the person requesting the cake even supplied me with the recipe!
       
      Right, this is a first time for me doing this and I need to make a sample cake to make sure it results in an edible cake. The recipe calls for 250ml (a metric cup) beetroot juice. So my question is, how would I produce a cup of this beetroot juice? Just wiz a few raw beets in a blender and strain out the juice? Do I boil the beets first or use them raw? Ignorance is sometimes bliss - but sometimes not.
       
      Help with this dilemma would be appreciated for this beet ignorant sod in "Darkest Africa".
      John.
    • By Kasia
      MILLET GROATS CHOCOLATE CREME WITH CRANBERRY MOUSSE
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for the best chocolate crème I have ever eaten. It is thick, smooth and very chocolaty in flavour and colour. Despite the chocolate, the dessert isn't too sweet. But if somebody thinks that it is, I recommend serving it with slightly sour fruit mousse. You can use cherries, currants or cranberries. You will make an unusually yummy arrangement and your dessert will look beautiful.

      My children were delighted with this dessert. I told them about the fact it had been made with millet groats after they had eaten it, and ... they didn't believe me. Next time I will prepare the millet groats crème with a double portion of ingredients.

      Ingredients (for 4 people)
      chocolate crème
      100g of millet groats
      200g of dark chocolate
      1 tablespoon of dark cocoa
      250ml of almond milk
      fruit mousse
      250g of fresh cranberries
      juice and peel of one orange
      half a teaspoon of grated ginger
      4 tablespoons of brown sugar

      Boil the millet groats in salty water and drain them. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Blend the millet groats, chocolate, cocoa and milk very thoroughly until you have very smooth crème. Pour the milk in gradually to make the right consistency of your desert. Prepare the fruit mousse. Put the washed cranberries, ginger, juice orange peel and sugar into a pot. Boil until the fruits are soft. Blend. Put the chocolate crème into some small bowls. Put the fruit mousse on top. Decorate with peppermint leaves. Serve at once or chilled.

      Enjoy your meal!


    • By ChristysConfections
      I am trying to find boxes like these pictured below, with matching candy trays and candy pads. They are about the size of a piece of paper and about 2-2 1/2 inches high. Haven’t had any luck finding them domestically. Anyone else use something like these? How do you store/package your bulk chocolates?
       


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×