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Buttercream Frosting/Icing: The Topic


bripastryguy
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I agree with Canadian.

Most often while making a buttercream, there comes a point where the buttercream looks like it has separated. It has, warm it gently over warm water and then beat it well and it will come together and work beautifully.

Edited by YoChefGregg (log)

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Water Boils Roughly

Cold Eggs Coagulating

Egg Salad On Rye

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I may leave the buttercream to the pros from now on.

I urge you to get yourself a good book and keep trying. The Cake Bible has some good buttercream recipes and excellent instructions. I usually use RLB's mousseline BC from that book. I'm only a home baker, but have never had a problem making that particular recipe.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Don't give up! I concur that most separated buttercreams can be fixed by beating them. I find that beating them on medium or medium-high speed usually does the trick.

Eileen Talanian

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As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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  • 1 month later...

I'm making a 3-d airplane cake this weekend and need some tips on applying buttercream to the wooden part of the cake board. The wheels, wings and nose of the plane will be wood with a light coating of frosting and the body of the plane will be cake. To cover the wings with buttercream, do I first cover it in foil and then apply the buttercream? Will I have any problems with it sliding off? I was going to use IMBC. I'm worried that it will slide right off the vertical tail wing because I won't be able to put it in the fridge to let it "set". It's too big. I'm in Hawaii, so it's pretty hot here. Do you think it will be ok? I have finally perfected my IMBC thanks to everyone's help here, but I'm nervous because it won't be going into the fridge to harden up a bit. If all goes well, this cake will have a rotating propeller and flashing red lights. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

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Does it have to be covered? Chefette did a demo some months ago of planes in pastillage, and while you'd be playing with time to get it to dry (especially in all the humidity), maybe doing it in pastillage might be easier than covering the wood sections with bcrm. If not, I'd add some veg shortening for stability - it's not going to be eaten so the taste won't have to be a concern. (or if you have a copy of the Cake Bible, there's a recipe for a practice buttercream that's all veg shortening in there). People serving the cake will know what parts are inedible, right? Take pictures and let us know how it worked out!

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I wanted to post a picture of the wooden cake board, but I don't see a file attatchment here. Is it here or am I missing it? Picture an airplane....the only part that's cake will be the fuselage. The rest of the plane needs to look like it's cake, so it will be covered in icing. So my question is how do I apply IMBC to the dummy part of the cake board? Do I cover it in foil first then frost? Is there something special I need to do before applying the icing to the wooden part? I'm afraid it will just slide right off the dummy part of the board! It might not be an issue at all, it's just that I've never done anything like this before and there's no room for mistakes. I've never iced a cake with IMBC and then left it at room temp. I've always thrown it in the fridge to set up, so I'm worried it will be so soft it's all going to slide off in a huge messy pile! Someone please calm my nerves!

I can't use royal icing because the frosting covering the dummy part of the board needs to smoothly blend into the edible part of the cake. I don't think I can make the two different icings look the same. I loved the demo on pastillage, but it won't work in this case.

Edited by freddurf (log)
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The butter in the buttercream will absorb into the wood, but since it isn't edible, it won't be a problem. You could try to cover the wings, etc with foil - maybe that new plastic sheeting stuff that you press together to seal would be good, I've never used it, but it seems that you could simply put the wing between the plastic, seal it, and then trim it. I don't think the buttercream will slide off the wood, it might slide off the plastic or foil, though. Do you have time to test this (wrap something in foil and see how long the bcrm lasts at rm temp)?

How are you attaching the wings to the cake? Are you building the fuselage around a long piece of wood shaped like the wing? Or is it two pieces? I don't think covering wood with buttercream will be a problem, I suspect it would be harder to secure the pieces and not mess up the buttercream while handling it.

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What about a very thin "splotchy" layer of royal icing on the wooden parts, let that dry and it can be a rough base for the butter cream to grab onto....

My husband would flip over an airplane cake.

tracey

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gallery_31287_2477_17279.jpg

I hope this picture post. As you can see (hopefully) it is all one piece. I like the idea of applying R.I. to the dummy part first to give the IMBC something to cling onto. I think I'll try that. I wish I had time to test it, but I don't. I'll just have to go for it and keep my fingers crossed!

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  • 3 weeks later...

since i have to do lots of buttercream from now on i tried to flavor it different ways. i use an old family recipe. its basically making an egg custard with eggs an d sugar, then beat the mixture in a cold waterbath to room temp, next whis in butter same temp. if the mixture separates it can be fixed in no time by beating it in a warm waterbath. so far so good this stuff is easy to make and quite tasty. it can be loaded with as much melted chocolate as you like. also one or two caps of grand marnier concentrate are tolerated without harm. next thing i wanted to try was a frosting for my plum cupcakes, i reduced some plum juice to a sirup and incorporated this ( and some cassis) into the buttercream. for a moment everything looked cool but then the mixture started "gliding" in the bowl and moments later it kind of semi seperated...

can a buttercream only tolerate so much of a "watery phase" ??

i thought it works like in a mayonnaise where i can add as much water as i like and only affect the viscosity....

what about the laduree folks and their raspberry buttercream which is bright red and taste like raspberry... ?? :blink:

help is very much appreciated...

cheers

t.

Edited by schneich (log)

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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When a dog walks on its hind legs, the wonder is not that he does it awkwardly but that he does it at all.

Buttercream is like that dog: That you have been able to make it stand up at all is already plenty amazing.

I tried to make buttercream once, from 'Mastering'. I followed the recipe very carefully and ended up with a yellow liquid with the viscosity of cream. Then I got desperate and started improvising. I did this and that. Finally I just put it in the freezer for most of an hour and then beat it over ice. Finally I got something light yellow and about like whipped cream. That's the way it got used, and I never tried buttercream again.

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R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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for a moment everything looked cool but then the mixture started "gliding" in the bowl and moments later it kind of semi seperated... 

can a buttercream only tolerate so much of a "watery phase" ??

i thought it works like in a mayonnaise where i can add as much water as i like and only affect the viscosity....

what about the laduree folks and their raspberry buttercream which is bright red and taste like raspberry... ?? :blink:

help is very much appreciated...

cheers

t.

Did you stop beating when it started separating? If you did, I would bring it back to room temp and try beating it on low for a couple minutes to see if it comes back together.

Hopefully some of our experts will chime in.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I would suggest to keep beating it for a while, and see if it comes together... I find that when I add vanilla into my BC is starts to do that whole spinning thing because it seems that the vanilla forms a coat between the BC and the bowl - making everything spin around, but if you keep beating it it'll come together... good luck!!

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

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also, warming it up ever so slightly while beating will bring it back together. i've added fruit purees until my buttercream broke and just kept whisking and it all magically came back together. don't give up hope until all avenues have been taken!

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thats what i did...

i know that you can save a broken bc by warming it up a bit, the weird thing was that it DID come together again in the bain marie, but only to separate again a minute or two later. it just didnt seem to be able to hold itself in shape....

it didnt completely seperate, it just wasnt smooth anymore.....

what about acidicity ???

whats the recipe for the red raspberry buttercream in those macarons as they are sold at laduree, anyone have the recipe ???

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just came across this old topic on one of my perusals and found it at exactly the right moment!

I just had to make this buttercream for the first time. Since it was the first time I made it I wanted to check with others...

My buttercream seems slightly "spongy" and I swear I can taste a slight undertone of the flour. I'm just so used to meringue or French (of the non-Wilton nomenclature... :wink: ) buttercreams, that I was really expecting this to be "fluffy" as described by others.

The formula was

2 c milk

6 T flour

cooked until "bubbling and thick". (I could see the pot bottom as I stirred with the spatula.) Cool. (when cool this was a medium firm mass)

Cream 1 1/2 c sugar and 2 c butter until fluffy. Add 2 t vanilla and beat until combined.

Add the cooled milk/flour mixture and beat until fluffy. I beat for about 15 minutes on KA 8 between the butter/sugar and the whole combined frosting.

My kitchen is only about 65F. Was my buttercream spongy because it was cool? Definitely had no melting/softness problems.

Other seem to like it -- was a big hit...

Thanks!

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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It sounds like the typical frosting for a red cake. I wouldn't really call it buttercream..........more like a variation of one.

When I make similar, I can tell it has flour in it too. Theres no way around that. It's not a browned roux. And it's texture is 'different'/fluffy, that's because you're using the roux.

If you wanted something very similar you could use a pastry cream of your liking that had cornstarch not flour as the thickener. Sub out equal weights and continue the recipe as written.

Alot of people like this frosting because it seems less sweet and not rich.

* ps...........I don't know why I'm calling the cooked flour and milk a "roux"........it's something my Mom called it. Is there a proper name for that? Could I be spelling that wrong is it Roo? Roux is traditionally butter and flour................

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* ps...........I don't know why I'm calling the cooked flour and milk a "roux"........it's something my Mom called it. Is there a proper name for that? Could I be spelling that wrong is it Roo? Roux is traditionally butter and flour................

Yup, you got it right, it's a roux. Roux is any flour and fat mixture cooked into a paste to use as thickener.... technically milk has fat so I think the term is still correct in this instance.

Edited to add: Do those of you who use these icings actually like them and/or prefer them? I'm curious about them.... I use Nick Maglieri's buttercream and really prefer its taste and texture; previous to that I was using Sylvia Weinstock's, both of which I think are much better than RLB's Mousseline. If the flour leaves a taste in these icings, could you possibly sub something like potato starch or even rice flour????? I'm wondering if a flour icing could be modified so that it did hold together.......

Edited by Sugarella (log)
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It sounds like the typical frosting for a red cake. I wouldn't really call it buttercream..........more like a variation of one.

When I make similar, I can tell it has flour in it too. Theres no way around that. It's not a browned roux. And it's texture is 'different'/fluffy, that's because you're using the roux.

If you wanted something very similar you could use a pastry cream of your liking that had cornstarch not flour as the thickener. Sub out equal weights and continue the recipe as written.

Alot of people like this frosting because it seems less sweet and not rich.

* ps...........I don't know why I'm calling the cooked flour and milk a "roux"........it's something my Mom called it. Is there a proper name for that? Could I be spelling that wrong is it Roo? Roux is traditionally butter and flour................

Wendy, You got it -- I'm frosting a red velvet cake, and I've not done one before. Since it was such a big hit with the people it was given to, especially the frosting, I'll not make any changes to it.

I think a part of the problem was the cold temperature of my kitchen as well and by warming the frosting I could have fluffed it up a bit more. The part I didn't like the most was how it was spreading.

* ps...........I don't know why I'm calling the cooked flour and milk a "roux"........it's something my Mom called it. Is there a proper name for that? Could I be spelling that wrong is it Roo? Roux is traditionally butter and flour................

Yup, you got it right, it's a roux. Roux is any flour and fat mixture cooked into a paste to use as thickener.... technically milk has fat so I think the term is still correct in this instance.

Edited to add: Do those of you who use these icings actually like them and/or prefer them? I'm curious about them.... I use Nick Maglieri's buttercream and really prefer its taste and texture; previous to that I was using Sylvia Weinstock's, both of which I think are much better than RLB's Mousseline. If the flour leaves a taste in these icings, could you possibly sub something like potato starch or even rice flour????? I'm wondering if a flour icing could be modified so that it did hold together.......

Sugarella, I haven't used any of the buttercreams you mention above, but just looked up Nick Malgieri's in Perfect Cakes. Looks like the typical swiss meringue buttercream that I use, which is my preferred buttercream at home.

I don't like to make IMBC much -- which seems to be more of a standard -- so I use SMBC. At home, with my mixer, the amount I need to make of the IMBC for one cake does not have enough meringue to really fill the mixer, so when I pour the sugar in, no matter how much care I take, it hits the shoulders of the whip and sprays around the bowl. If I dribble it down the side of the bowl, it leave a streak and clump of sugar syrup. No problems at school when I was making gobs of the stuff.

But those people who I give cakes to think the SMBC and IMBC are very rich. My husband called the icing I referenced above "not as greasy".

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
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The formula that I have used forever, is cook the milk, sugar and flour, then add the other stuff. In fact, the original says to add small pieces of real cold butter to the completely cooled cooked mixture. I would always refrigerate or freeze the cooked mixture and then add room temp butter. Mine tastes like ice cream, it is rich and less sweet than regular American buttercream. I never detected a 'made with flour' note in mine. I guess the sugar helps change the texture well enough.

Curious is that when you goggle french buttercream you get a variety of recipes including several of this variety and several offshoots and some with the yolks. This recipe is a buttercream as are the other ones. It is part of our cooking fabric.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a question about an Italian buttercream I made the other day.

I used the recipe in the latest issue of Fine Cooking, but I cut it in half.

I used

2 1/2 egg whites

1/2 plus 1/8 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups butter

1/4 cup plus 1tbls corn syrup.

Everything seemed to go ok, I dribbled in the sryup after whipping the whites. Then I incorporated the butter and added some vanilla paste and then at the last minute I added some homeade vanilla extract.

So then I tried to pipe it on my cupcake's using a star tip and it wasnt that stiff. Ok, no problem. I stuck the entire pastry bag in a glass and back in the freezer. I was able to pipe it, but it still wasnt that thick and it was flat.

I threw the rest in a tupperware and pulled it out that evening to frost a couple more and it looked really unattractive, it totally separated.

The client did hire me and I have to frost 60 cupcakes for a cupcake tree. Should I give up on the Italian buttercream and just go with a regular butter/powdered sugar deal or does anyone have a better suggestion?

Thanks!!

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
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I threw the rest in a tupperware and pulled it out that evening to frost a couple more and it looked really unattractive, it totally separated.   

Did you try rebeating it at room temp? I've had some separation occur with IMBC after refrigeration.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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