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pastryjen

Cake Fondant

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I have a question for Steve Klc.  Once a cake is covered with rolled fondant, can it then be refrigerated, or will it become sticky and absorb odors?  And can you give any recommendations on how to cover, decorate and safely deliver a six tier wedding cake?

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Hi pastryjen--yes, you can technically put a rolled fondant covered cake tier back in the fridge.  Cover it with plastic wrap, when you remove it from the fridge, allow it to thaw to room temp with the plastic wrap on--whatever moisture condenses will condense on the plastic.  This is more of an issue in humid environments at certain times of the year.  But your instincts are right about rolled fondant--it contains sugar and any sugar product wouldn't do well in the fridge uncovered.  (For non-bakers and home decorators--rolled fondant is a type of malleable, soft cake covering or "icing" that is rolled out thinly like pie dough, draped over a cake and smoothed out to leave a very refined, elegant surface.)  

Another way to approach this question is to ask why do you want to put the cake back in the fridge in the first place?  You could design a cake and filling that doesn't need to be in the fridge--or design it in such a way that your decoration can be removeable and placed on later rather than requiring hours and days of piping on the actual cake.  Choose ganaches, buttercreams, gelees, even acidic curds can sit out a long time.  Depending on your level of skill, it usually isn't a problem covering your cake tiers with rolled fondant on the morning of the event.  The day before, make sure all tiers are built and closed with buttercream and let them sit overnight in the fridge.  There have been times when I've covered cakes the last thing the night before and left them out it in a cool or air conditioned room.  Personally, I'd avoid messing with the fridge unless you absolutely have to for food safety reasons--like if you have a "creme brulee" type filling in the cake.  In that case it needs to stay in the fridge until the last possible moment.

Delivery is the more serious issue. It's sustained high-stress--as stressful as working on any line during crunch time. It's one of little things pros never teach or talk about or put in their books--because, well, then anyone could do it, right? There's no substitute for experience in developing confidence and this is one of the best reasons for hiring a large cake specialist. Are you worried about how to deliver--i.e. drive a 6-tier cake?  It shouldn't be any different than a smaller 3-tiered cake--it just is heavier and you'd need help--i.e. extra bodies and hands--if you try to deliver it in one piece, whole.  Either that, or you design a cake which can be assembled on site--meaning bring the 6 individual tiers covered in rf and then build it with dowel rods there, including piping your royal icing shell or bead borders there, put the decor on there, etc.

Obviously, transporting something like this is even more complicated in warm/hot weather.

Another option is to design a separated tier cake where each tier is on its own base--with dowel rods extending an inch above each tier--and then stacked on site. In this case it's pretty easy to put each tier in its own insulated box even with a little gel pack if necessary.

Give me some more specifics about what you've committed to do for your client, how far you have to drive, if the reception is in or outdoors and what else you're concerned about specifically and I'll talk you through it so you don't take an unnecessary risk. Is some of this beyond your level--do you need me to go over how to roll out fondant?  Have you done it before?

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I had to make this cake way ahead of time (I really did!), and I won't need it for another 11 days. I have frozen decorated fondant cakes before, with good results, but this cake is my masterpiece...I'm the one who double-posted about rolled fondant figures...instead of making these ahead, and attaching them last-minute to the 3-layer, marzipan-and-fondant-covered cake, I decided (for my son's 21st birthday) to make the four members of his band as having had too much champagne - they are sprawled all over the top of the "bed" decorated cake with bottles strewn about. The figures, being fondant, are fused to the cake surface and are now part of it. It looks just as I hoped it would - no, better! - and I am loathe to ruin it by freezing. (I used commercial Wilton fondant.)

I know if I had a fruitcake I would be ok to leave it out, but it is a 3-layer buttercake...(no perishable fillings) I know I can't refrigerate it- it will sweat and go gummy. What do you think? Do I plastic-wrap and foil-wrap it, freeze it and hope for the best? I know marzipan and the icing will provide a sort of "seal" for a cake, but for how long? I don't want it to go mouldy!

This is such a showcase cake that I doubt it will be eaten anyway. If I have to choose between leaving it out somewhere cool and freezing/losing quality, I choose the first.

Sorry to sound so ignorant, but I am desperate not to ruin it. (Added dilemma - it weighs a ton and has to go on an 8-hr journey..if I do freeze, how long to thaw before I box it for transporting? or do I take it frozen?)

Doesn't anybody besides me ever have to complete a showcase cake way ahead of time?

If anyone can help me, I would be so thankful.

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so you're telling us that you have one mega big freezer with lots of available space - we will all be right over with things to freeze. :laugh::laugh::laugh:

You should be able to freeze your cake. Personally I would not have decorated it first, but... Wrap it up as tightly as you can in plastic or a box if it will fit in your freezer. Remove it and keep it sealed. Sounds like the drive should do it allowing it to come to room temp before unsealing or unwrapping.

I would not underestimate the desire of people to dig in and eat up this cake regardless of its showcasability. cake is cake after all.

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Thanks so much!

I will wait till fondant is completely dried and then wrap it up...and I don't have a huge empty freezer, but I do have two of them so that helps :smile:

I wouldn't ordinarily decorate a cake first either, but in this case, the "decorations," the Barbie and Ken-sized, anatomically correct caricaturized four figures, are part and parcel of the cake now. One of the reasons I planned ahead and did it was because I was afraid it wouldn't work out as I wanted it to..it was pretty ambitious for me...and I didn't want to be furiously baking/decorating another birthday cake the day before the trip.

Anyway, I appreciate the advice.

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Hi there!

In my experience, you can freeze fondant covered cakes. It's the thawing that poses the challenge. You have to thaw it in the refridgerator about 2 days ahead. If you go from freezer to countertop, you'll have a skating rink and you'll have to wait another couple of days for it to dry out on its own.

Hope this helps. :smile:

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Thanks for the tip. I am a little confused though about defrosting in the fridge...I have read (and always done this) that refrigeration of fondant icing will cause too much condensation, even if the cake is still wrapped well, and goes very gummy. Whether this is true when it is going from frozen to thawed is another question. I have always read (and again, done this) that the best way to thaw is at cool room temperature with original wrapping still in place, to pick up any condensation.

Would be interested to hear anyone else's comments.

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If refrigeration would cause too much condensation, then what would freezing do? :wink: When I thaw in the fridge, I take the wrapping off,. I think thawing in the fridge allows the temperature to rise more gradually as opposed to going from frozen to room temperature, which would definitely cause the cake to break a sweat! :biggrin:

But then again..others will likely have different ideas. :smile:

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I notice that this section is for Pastry & Baking. Does it cover Cake-Decorating? If not, can you pls move this to the appropriate section? Thank you.

My question is - sometimes I notice some sagging on a fondant-covered cake on the next day. I usually decorate the day before required. Is it due to the cake settling? Is there any way of avoiding this? TIA!

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I would also like to ask if you are refrigerating the cake. The humidity could soften the fondant and cause it to sag.

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Hi TP......

:laugh: hee hee.....I figure if I'm an expert on ANYTHING in this life, it's a fondant covered

cake.....I must have done MILLIONS of them....truly.

BUT.....after posting for just a few weeks in this wonderful forum, I have found out how little

I DO know. I'm humbled, but grateful to have found such a wonderful bunch of pros to nosh

with!

I'm lucky where I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.....I don't have to deal with humidity or heat. It's nice and cool pretty much all the time here, except for a couple days/weeks in July and August (which is of course, peak wedding season). So I have experienced a few heat related problems, but never as severe as other parts of the world. When it comes to heat and humidity combined I always appreciate the advice of other bakers who deal with it on a daily basis. I'm sure I use a lot of decorating techniques that work great up here but would be complete failures in a different climate. Yes, I'm very fortunate!

I worked with a wonderful pastry chef who moved here from Virginia. She told me that using fondant there was a completely different thing, and on hot humid days she said it had a tendency to kind of "melt off". I don't know EXACTLY what she meant by that, but perhaps that melting off gave the fondant a "sagging" effect. Just guessing.

Questions:

I assume you cover a cold cake with the fondant, decorate it, then put it back in refrigeration

when you are done. Do you notice this sagging the next day, after it's been in refrigeration

all night?

Or do you not refrigerate it after you decorate it to avoid sweating problems? I would imagine

with the heat you have down there that not refrigerating it is sort of not an option.

What kind of fillings do you use in your cakes, and are you generous with the fillings, or do you just spread a thin layer between each layer? fiftydollars asked a good question about whether it

was the fondant that was sagging, or if it was the cake itself. You know that if your cake was a bit taller going in and shorter coming out, then you have a settling problem. Even if it's a couple millimeters.

I personally have never had any sagging problems due to refrigeration, but then, like I say,

I work in an easy climate. The only thing I hate about refrigerating a fondant covered cake

is the sweating, but I really have no choice....I have to refrigerate my cakes.

When I teach newbies how to cover cakes in fondant, I have noticed they tend to roll out their

fondant kind of on the thick side. They would get all frustrated that the fondant would start to sag and tear on the sides before they were able to finish smoothing it out. When I asked why they rolled it so thick, they'd tell me that the thicker fondant looked smoother on the cake, which is true, but the weight of the fondant pulled itself down and created a lot more problems than not.

It's key to roll out the fondant to just the right thickness.....thick enough so that it doesn't show minor bumps and flaws on the cake, and thin enough so that it doesn't stretch itself out before you've smoothed and adhered it to the sides. Fondant that's too thick and heavy WILL pull itself down even after you've had a chance to adhere it in some cases. My ideal fondant thickness is approximately just under a quarter inch or 5 millimeters.

Also the type of fondant you are using could be the cause. I have noticed major behavior differences in varying brands. And I don't know whether you are buying commercially made fondant there in Malaysia and if it's a brand similar or the same as US brands, or if you're making your fondant yourself. There are so many variables!

These are my thoughts.....hmmm....not sure if I've helped or confused you more!

:wacko: Annie

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Is the fondant sagging in the center of the cake? If so then it's the cake settling.

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You people are so lucky you don't have to deal with this heat and humidity problem! Currently, it's 102 degF outside!

I normally freeze my cakes for better handling (for sculpting). After 2 hours out, I fill it with 4 mm thick buttercream (usually SMBC). Then I smear as thinly as I can a crumb-coat or rather a coat to use as adhesive. Press the cake down a little. I then let the cake settle down for another hour. While I'm covering the cake with 5 mm of fondant, the cake is still cold with beads of condensation. Everything looks fine until the next day I see the fondant sagging. Round layer cakes (3" high) don't seem to have that problem, but cakes which are shaped and higher than 3" like this one sagged so badly that the sides are not straight anymore. I had to take the pic from this angle to avoid the sag showing, but, hey, that wasn't such a bad idea coz the cake doesn't look too bad from this angle. :biggrin:

i6782.jpg

BTW, I make my own fondant using The Cake Bible's recipe, but I had to reduce the glucose syrup slightly and add 1/2 tablespoon gelatin. I found the original recipe's elasticity just wasn't enough. Our stores don't sell fondant or gumpaste or tylose powder or CMC or....you get the drift.


Edited by TP(M'sia) (log)

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It's key to roll out the fondant to just the right thickness.....thick enough so that it doesn't show minor bumps and flaws on the cake, and thin enough so that it doesn't stretch itself out before you've smoothed and adhered it to the sides. Fondant that's too thick and heavy WILL pull itself down even after you've had a chance to adhere it in some cases. My ideal fondant thickness is approximately just under a quarter inch or 5 millimeters.

Also the type of fondant you are using could be the cause. I have noticed major behavior differences in varying brands. And I don't know whether you are buying commercially made fondant there in Malaysia and if it's a brand similar or the same as US brands, or if you're making your fondant yourself. There are so many variables!

I agree strongly with Annies points. It's important to be thin because the weight of the fondant pulls itself downward. I also have noticed considerable differences in brands of fondant. Since your making yours you may need to do more adjustin in your recipe.

You wrote you only do a thin pre-coat of frosting under the fondant. I don't use a thick coating but I definately use more buttercream than a pre-coat. I think if your frosting is too thin, then your fondant might not be ahearing as well as it should to the sides of the cake-so that would allow gravity to drag it down like your experiencing.

I've dealt with horrible condensation problems with refriderated cakes, but I've never had my fondant sage because of the humity....it can sort of melt-but thats different.

I can understand not wanting to pay the expense of shipping purchased fondant, but it's so wondeful to have conviently ready at hand all the time. You can buy all the special ingredients you need over the internet from several very good sources, do you need leads?

Do you have a website, I'm really enjoying looking at your cakes, I'd love to see more?

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Ok ...a question for all you fondant users :) .......

I've done fondant cakes before and they LOOK beautiful .........but I've found they mostly don't TASTE very good.

Anyone have any tips or secrets they would care to share for better tasting fondant? Any suggestions for a good ready-made brand or a recipe?

Thanks!

--Jan

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I make my own, because I developed a formula, which I am happy with, have used it for years, it is consistent and I can flavor it with any complementing flavor of the cake, I am covering it with. I make it in 16-20# batches (better texture control). Sometimes I mix it with marzipan for an almond fondant and white chocolate plastique for white chocolate flavor. This you can roll pretty thin.

That said, some commercial brands taste better than others..however fondant is a personal taste thing...either you like it or you don't! Great decorating medium though! Very little middle ground here..

Satin Ice is one of the more popular brands, Wiltons - Yuk! but to each its own! Cal Java has a great white Chocolate & white chocolate raspberry one. Pettinice, there has been mixed reviews about this one lately but some people swear by it.

Albert Uster carries one that is Masa Tacino so does Patis France, which is similar to the British commercial sugarpaste Regalice. Then there is ChocoPan..a bit pricey but very flavorful and can be rolled very thin too, a bit soft to work with.

Rolling it thin really helps with the sagging. Fondant can be very heavy

Wendy, have you tried using a fan on it after you have pulled it out of the refrigerator? That helps sometimes

Yes..it is great to have some at hand...so I keep some extra in the freezer!

HTH


Edited by crc (log)

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I've been thinking about your sagging problem a lot today.

I really can't say for SURE what could be causing it, because that has never happened to

me.....well, it has, but my fondant would sag right away because I rolled it too thick or whatever.

I've never covered a cake and then had the fondant sag hours later.

My fondant always stays put.

I'm INCLINED to think that your recipe produces a very soft fondant.....am I right?

This could explain the sagging, especially with heat and humidity.

I've always used commercially made fondant, because I go through SO MUCH of it. I don't have the time to make it myself. Pettinice is what I usually use and it's pretty good. You gotta work really fast with it though because it's starts to "crust up" pretty quickly.

A lot of people don't like to work with a fondant that is that unforgiving. People who don't do fondant a lot, like to feel they have enough time from roll-out to covering. In my case, I've done

so many and do it so fast that working with unforgiving fondant is sort of a non-issue.

So, in conclusion, my best rootin' tootin' troubleshootin' guess is that it's your recipe, and maybe you should try tweaking it a bit more, and see if it makes a difference.

So there is no bakery supplier in Malaysia that stocks ready-made fondant? :huh:

Cheers! :laugh: Annie

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I've been thinking about your sagging problem a lot today.

:wacko: LOL! That's not a pretty thought!

Thanks, everyone, for your help. Yes, I think the problem lies with my fondant, and sometimes the thickness. I usually just estimate the amount of glucose syrup to add...it's so yucky to handle...so I think on days when I add too much, it makes the fondant heavier and wetter...so much so that the wetness cannot be treated by adding more confectioner's sugar. Will try to be a good girl and measure properly next time.

Fondant is not available in our shops, mainly becoz, fondant cakes are not "seen" here. Everywhere I bring my cakes, it seems like it's the 1st time anyone has seen them. And, yes, you either love it ir hate it, so I tell people to feel free to peel it off if they don't care for the extreme sweetness. I don't think my fondant tastes too bad...as I flavor it according to the flavor of the cake. Oh, that brings me to another don't-have. Can't find clear vanilla here too. One day, I'll bite the bullet and get these stuff online, but, fondant, I think not, since it's so heavy and will really add to the shipping costs. I've tried marshmallow fondant, but don't really find much difference to the fondant I make.


Edited by TP(M'sia) (log)

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Not sure if you knew......

but clear vanilla is artificial flavor. If you're a vanilla purist, and you don't want

to add color to icings, etc.....it's better to use vanilla powder.

:wub: Annie

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Thanks, Annie! I didn't know that. I've a LOT to learn. :rolleyes: Do you mean to say, vanilla powder can be added to fondant? And, is vanillin powder the same as vanilla powder? TIA.


Edited by TP(M'sia) (log)

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Artificial vanillin simulates 1 flavor component out of over 250 different flavor components found in natural vanilla. It is a by product of the wood industry or is produced from petro-chemicals.

No, vanillin powder and vanilla powder are not the same. When you see the word "vanillin" as a primary ingredient in your vanilla product, that's a pretty good indicator that it's artificial in nature.

No reason you couldn't use vanilla powder in fondant!

:laugh: Annie

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I have a question for Steve Klc.  Once a cake is covered with rolled fondant, can it then be refrigerated, or will it become sticky and absorb odors?  And can you give any recommendations on how to cover, decorate and safely deliver a six tier wedding cake?

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Pastry Jen:

More thoughts on rolled fondant covered cakes.

You may like to know that you can freeze crumb-coated rolled fondant covered cakes with non perishable fillings. Cakes should be boxed then inserted into plastic bags, frozen and when needed defrosted overnight. Do not pipe or add side or top decorations until the cake is restored to room temperature. If you have a busy bakery and need to bake early in the week it frees one's time for the decorative aspects when the pressure is on for weekend weddings.

Best,

Kerry Vincent

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Wow am I glad I decided to come to this site when I did.

I am an enthusiastic if not necessarily skilled home cake baker. I would say my skill is more in picking recipes I can manage. I have pretty good home tools, including a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer (the light of my life, really) but not a lot of specialized stuff.

In a moment of weakness and shocking ambition, I offered to bake my best friend's wedding cake. We have decided on a recipe which seems eminently doable for the small (20-person) party (Rose Levy Beranbaum chocolate truffle cake: chocolate, eggs, and butter) due to the small number of ingredients, and fairly simple prep. I have gotten three or four good wedding cake books (including Dede Wilson's) and have come up with a plan to cover it with fondant and modelled ivy leaves (one 10-in. tier with one 6-in tier on top, not separated with columns, something like Rose Levy Berenbaum's Art Deco Cake, if anyone is familiar with that, and we're making it big for the number of people so we can all have seconds)...so basically pretty simple as my decorating skills, in particular, are not anything to write home about. It will be served with a raspberry coulis and Chantilly and some IQF raspberries if I can find 'em.

Historically, I have beginner's luck in all manner of cooking, so I am relying on that to see me through. The second wedding cake I attempt to make will probably be a disaster, but I expect the first to turn out OK. That's why I'm not making a practice one (that, and the cost of good chocolate).

The wedding is January 22, in Whistler. I live in Vancouver, and the cake will have to be transported up there in a car; I am already collecting boxes. My major concern at the moment is timing: it seems as though this particular cake can easily wait four or five days to be served, and it probably will have to as I am also maid of honour and have other things I need to do, but can anyone offer tips as far as how long I can expect it to take me to put fondant on, whether I should roll or use the other kind (I think not as I think cool temps are important to this cake, I don't want to have it melt all over my counter--is that a valid worry?) and is store-bought fondant really OK, especially if you have no confidence in being able to make it!!! and is it OK to store it assembled like that, refrigerated, for a few days and then stick on the leaves on the day?

I plan to bake on the 18th, assemble and put fondant on the 19th, have the 20th in case of emergencies, and then it will be brought up to the site on the 21st.

I would be really grateful for any tips anyone could provide.

Thanks in advance :smile:

Deborah


Edited by *Deborah* (log)

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      I started by weighing the ingredients for the crème onctueuse au chocolat. This was straightforward and was the perfect task to give me confidence on the first day.
       
       
      However, I was quite – and happily – surprised when the manager told me to go with Simon to decorate the Ispahan entremets.
       
       
      The Ispahan entremets are definitely one of the it-pastries at Pierre Hermé, so I was really excited to know that I was about to decorate them.
       
       
      This part was overwhelming – first I had to arrange raspberries on the rose-flavoured buttercream, fill with chopped and fragrant litchis, and then decorate the top macaron by piping a drop of glucose on rose petals and then sticking them, along with some raspberries, on the macaron.
       
       
      Assembling the Emotions was also a great job. Emotions are Pierre Hermé's signature desserts presented in glasses and eaten with a spoon - well unless you like to lick your fingers!
       
       
      I had the chance to make both Emotions Mosaic (griotte jelly, pistachio jelly, pistachio mascarpone cream) and Celeste (rhubarb compote, fresh strawberries, passion fruit and mascarpone mousse, passion fruit marshmallows).
       
       

       
       
      These are entertaining to make (basically I piped a fixed quantity of jelly with a piston into glasses - see Sensations below for more details) and are really yummy. I must say I have a weak spot for the passion fruit guimauves, even though it was a really-teeny (don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I am not) pain when I had to separate hundreds of them and roll them in icing sugar.
       
       
      As you might imagine I was happy to get to make so many different things and I was really proud when they actually let me make a whole batch of Sensation Celeste. Sensations are glasses filled with different jellies and generally topped with a macaron.
       
       
      First, I had to make the rhubarb compote: gelatine, rhubarb purée, lemon juice and sugar, pour a fixed quantity of it into small glasses with a piston, and allow to set before doing the same with both strawberry and passion fruit jellies.
       
       
      On the same note, I also piped some banana and strawberry jelly into small round shapes for the entremet Désiré, which is totally delicious by the say.
       
       

       
       
      However, I couldn't do just what I had to and couldn't restrain myself from peeking here and there. Anna, who I didn't really get to work with, is responsible for all the treats that have to go through the oven step. Hence, she makes all the brioches, croissants and other yeasty treats. But she also makes the cannelés and millefeuilles.
       
       
      The cannelés are probably the best ones I've ever had: fresh, soft and fragrant.
       
       

       
       
      As for the millefeuille I picked a Mosaic millefeuille because I love the pistachio-cherry combination. This was a real winner: the slight tanginess of the griottes nicely balances the creaminess of the pistachio cream. I can't wait to work in the dough team because their feuilletage is excellent! Hopefully in two weeks...
       
       

       
       
      Next week: c'est la folie des macarons [it's all about macarons].
       
    • By pastrygirl
      Something I wonder about but have yet to attempt ...
       
      i usually make Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream with egg whites. Occasionally I make egg yolk buttercream if I have excess yolks. 
       
      Is there any reason why one couldn’t make whole egg buttercream?  Whole eggs whip up plenty fluffy for genoise, what if you added hot syrup and cool butter? 🤔
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