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Buttercream Frosting/Icing: The Topic


bripastryguy
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I went to Pastry school in France. I never learned of any buttercream with flour in it (and certainly not crisco or sweetex). French buttercream is made with yolks, butter, and hot syrup. Italian meringue buttercream is made with whites, hot syrup, and butter.

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I've heard of the adding butter to a custard-like base being referred to as a "buttercream", but I've always thought that a true buttercream was with butter, yolks, and hot syrup (like KarenS and others have said.)

Sorry to hijack this thread, but to make a caramel buttercream, can I just stream in hot caramel while beating the yolks?

Edited by Ling (log)
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Uh, guys and gals, this is French Buttercream, a very old classic recipe. 

Just so you know :)

O.k. I for one am confused.

The recipe of making a simple pastry cream (sans eggs) seems clearly different to me then the recipe posted by lapasterie, am I alone?

French buttercream involves eggs, not cooked flour and completely different techniques........I can't put any similarities together. Chefcyn could you post a reference/source or recipe where you learned that this is an old french butter cream recipe please?

Add me in on the confused list too.

I thought french buttercream involved egg yolks (or whole eggs) and a hot sugar syrup.

On another thread about German Buttercream, it seemed that one was very pastry-cream-ish.

Since this thread is the first I've come across a buttercream that involves milk and flour, I don't know what to call it, but I'm pretty sure it ain't french.

I went to Pastry school in France. I never learned of any buttercream with flour in it (and certainly not crisco or sweetex). French buttercream is made with yolks, butter, and hot syrup. Italian meringue buttercream is made with whites, hot syrup, and butter.

I've heard of the adding butter to a custard-like base being referred to as a "buttercream", but I've always thought that a true buttercream was with butter, yolks, and hot syrup (like KarenS and others have said.)

Ding ding ding we have a winner :biggrin:

Chefcyn is correct. The confused posts that followed yours, Chefcyn, is why I did not name my recipe at the time I posted it. But I mentioned it and used this recipe in the wedding cake demo I did. I know that Wilton published this recipe as French Buttercream a million years ago. Check a yearbook from the 70's.

Folks, it truly is called French Buttercream and it has no eggs. It is also very good.

I think a 'true buttercream' would be something different to each of us.

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I've heard of the adding butter to a custard-like base being referred to as a "buttercream", but I've always thought that a true buttercream was with butter, yolks, and hot syrup (like KarenS and others have said.)

I think classic/true buttercream can be made with yolks or whites.

Is one (French, IMBC, SMBC) considered the mother of all buttercreams?

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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First of all, we were discussing whether the Wilton recipe was classic french bc.....it's not.

That's what we were referring to. Any time you speak to a PC and you say French Buttercream,

they're not going to think "Wilton".....they're going to think, "Yolks, sugar syrup, butter......"

Terminology is important. Especially when we deal with clients. They say they want a particular thing, and we make it for them. Then they come back and say, "That's not what I ordered."

The reason for that? Because what I thought they ordered and what they thought they ordered were two different things. It's been a thorn in my side since I've been doing this. When a client says, "I want X" I can no longer assume they know what they are talking about, and I have to say, I believe X is this, is this what you mean also?

So I can see a bride asking for French Buttercream, having read the Wilton book, and I can see myself doing "yolks, sugar syrup, butter......" and then her having a cow because that's not what she wanted.........

So we're anal retentive.......there's a good reason forhat. :smile:

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Sorry to hijack this thread, but to make a caramel buttercream, can I just stream in hot caramel while beating the yolks?

I've always added cooled caramel sauce to a finished buttercream; depending on the temp of the caramel when you're adding it, seems as if the yolks could scramble or worse (caramel is 300+ when hot vs a soft ball stage at 244). But I live on the edge and don't use a thermometer when I make caramel - I go by how dark it looks. So I don't know what the temp is after you add the warm or hot cream - maybe it could work. If you try it, let us know what happens :biggrin:

Back to the original icing recipe... I wonder if this is the sort of icing Mignardise was after for those cupcakes a while ago... I've never run across a recipe like this either, but the milk/flour is really just a roux, which would bind the rest of the stuff. How can you flavor this? Can you add purees or curds or compounds to it with out it breaking?

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Okay, in biology, a subject with which I am more familiar than I am with buttercreams, there is a fairly easy way to resolve disputes like this. The name that is first assigned to a certain species has priority. Someone may come along and observe the same species and, not knowing the species has already been given a Linnean name, give it a new and different name. Eventually, when it is discovered that the same species has been given two different species names, the earlier name is given "priority," and the later name is regarded as an "invalid taxon," and discarded. The best example is Brontosaurus of Flintstones fame, which is now considered an invalid taxon for Apatosaurus.

So, applying this logic in a tenuous way to buttercreams, I would say this: if "French Buttercream" originally referred to a buttercream made with yolks, syrup and butter, I think it is arguably "invalid" for someone to later apply the very same name to a very different (maybe equally delicious) concoction, in the way that Wilton does. Do I really care? Not at all. But this kind of thing does breed confusion.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Okay, in biology, a subject with which I am more familiar than I am with buttercreams, there is a fairly easy way to resolve disputes like this. The name that is first assigned to a certain species has priority.  Someone may come along and observe the same species and, not knowing the species has already been given a Linnean name, give it a new and different name. Eventually, when it is discovered that the same species has been given two different species names, the earlier name is given "priority," and the later name is regarded as an "invalid taxon," and discarded. The best example is Brontosaurus of Flintstones fame, which is now considered an invalid taxon for Apatosaurus. 

So, applying this logic in a tenuous way to buttercreams, I would say this: if "French Buttercream" originally referred to a buttercream made with yolks, syrup and butter, I think it is arguably "invalid" for someone to later apply the very same name to a very different (maybe equally delicious) concoction, in the way that Wilton does.  Do I really care? Not at all. But this kind of thing does breed confusion.

What's in a name? That which we call a brontosaurus by any other name would smell as sweet. :huh::laugh:

Can you add purees or curds or compounds to it with out it breaking?

Hmm, I'm not positive but don't think so. Chocolate yes. Like lemon curd or something, never tried it.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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Hi All,

I'm back to my original question but now with a twist to the story. The wedding is now a week away and the groom was in a bad accident last weekend so the couple are, needless to say, extremely stressed but still determined to have their wedding.

The reason I'm telling you this background info is that my quandry is whether I even give a bride in this situation even more to think about by telling her that I may "tweak" her recipe by using one of the variants posted here because of the stability issue. She seems so overwhelmed (I know her personally) and in light of their situation I don't know how I could interject a buttercream issue. So...should I just make the change?

Thanks!

Chris

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Ooooh....tough call, since I always like to be totally honest with clients, and not sneak anything past them.

But, like you said, she's overwhelmed. In all likelihood, you could probably tweak it and she won't even notice....I mean, brides usually take the first bite of cake with the groom, then spend the rest of the time mingling and such.

But I always lean toward honesty, because when you do, you always know you're in the right.

In her overwhelmed state, you could state your case like this:

"Hey, I know you're totally stressed....I don't want you to have to worry about the cake on top of everything else you're worrying about. I'm having problems with your buttercream recipe because of stability factors, but I know a couple tweaks that will totally solve the problem....it won't affect the taste. I just wanted to ok it with you."

And she'll probably say, "Yeah, sure OK....thanks for telling me."

I'll betcha. :wink:

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I'm very familiar with this recipe because it's an old family favorite. We always have called it Waldorf frosting and it tends to separate and look a bit curdled after sitting at room temp too long. I've had really good luck whipping it for 5 to 7 minutes until it resembles a very stiff whipped cream, adding 2 tsp whipped cream stabilizer and whipping for another minute. If you can't find the stabilizer you can use 1/4 cup powdered sugar OR 2 T cornstarch instead. I prefer the stabilizer because it doesn't change the taste.

I'm not sure I'd trust Waldorf for wedding tiers though unless you can keep it chilled until shortly before the reception begins. It's held up well on sheet cakes so when a couple requests it for a wedding I suggest they use it on sheets. I realize sheets are used more commonly in areas like mine where weddings are large so that may not be a good option for you. Another option I've given couples is to frost the cake in another icing and left a bowl of Waldorf to be served with the cake similar to adding whipped cream at the last minute. Most wedding slices don't have a lot of frosting anyway and Waldorf is so good they'll be happier with a big spoonful.

Our family always used it for chocolate loaf cake - buttermilk pound cake baked and sliced like bread and smothered in Waldorf frosting. Its also used for red velvet cake in the midwest. I'd never heard of cream cheese on red velvet until I found the internet.

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Chris, just wanted to say, let us all know how this plays out for you.

Best of the best to you.

Thanks so much and thanks to all of you for your suggestions. I did tell the bride of the bc issue. She was ok with the idea of tweaking but not an entire replacement with a different bc. Unfortunately, she equates bc with the stuff that a grocery store puts on their cakes so she thinks of it as super sweet. As I don't have time to convince her otherwise and she doesn't have time either, I plan on using one of the variations posted here.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Chris

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Would it be out of the question for you to make a small cake, of whatever variety she's going to be using, and frost it with whatever icing would make you happy but still be close to what the bride thinks she wants, and deliver that to the bride? (As far as decoration, I'd do either nothing or just a very simple border.) That way she would know what she's getting, and if there's been an accident, food is always good to have around.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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  • 3 months later...

Made a buche de noel for my wife's Christmas party at work. She saw a receipe for a mocha buttercream. I have had mixed results making buttercream and this one was not good. It called for heating 4 egg whites with a cup of sugar over simmering water until the sugar melted. Than to whip the egg whites until they cooled. Than to beat in the three sticks of softend unsalted butter. At this point it looked ok. Than to add two tablespoons of espresso powder disolved in two tablespoons of brandy. This is when it got ugly. The whole thing seperated into an ugly mass of stuff I was not spreading on any cake. Went to back up plan and made ganache. Any thoughts on what may have happended?

many thanks

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Did you try chilling it and beating it again?

There are a bunch of icing recipes here and I have used many with excellent results. The cream cheese frostings I have tried are exceptional.

some are big recipes for professionals but some are small batches.

I have used the coffee cream icing -adding a tablespoon or so of sweetened cocoa for a mocha flavor.

Adding liquor to some mixtures can cause curdling.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Maybe you got this result because the mixture of the fat and non fat didn't want to mix. Perhaps you could try sitting the bowl of buttercream in another bowl of hot water so that some of the BC melts down, and then try to re whip it. Good luck.

Don't waste your time or time will waste you - Muse

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I forgot to mention that I beat in the softened butter a tablespoon at a time for small batches, for large batches it should be only a fraction of the total volume added and completely beaten in (on high speed) before more is added.

You didn't mention how you incorporated it -

When I make a buttercream with whole eggs, I do heat the mixture after I have added the syrup to the beaten eggs and continue beating over simmering water until thick, and about 160 degrees F. I then continue beating until it is at room temp then add the flavorings. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

However I seldom use this type of icing now, since there are easier methods for home baking.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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However I seldom use this type of icing now, since there are easier methods for home baking.

I agree 100% and I am a home baker not a professional. The ganache I made and whipped up a bit did a wonderful job. I may leave the buttercream to the pros from now on. Thanks to all for the replies.

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