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 a free account.

Buttercream Frosting/Icing: The Topic


bripastryguy
 Share

Recommended Posts

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!!

Some thoughts --

Was the meringue mixture totally cool when you started to add your butter and the butter at room temperature? You don't want to have a warm meringue melt the butter or the mix will separate.

To me -- and I'll defer to others -- it seems like a lot of sugar/corn syrup to egg whites. But, I've never made a buttercream using corn syrup in the syrup mixture (I'm assuming the corn syrup was heated with the sugar to 242F..)

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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!!

Don't give up on Italian buttercream! I haven't tried the FC recipe yet, but the one from The Cake Bible is very reliable, pipeable, and much more delicious than butter and 10x sugar. I have a picture in the What's for Dessert thread of a cake covered in flowers piped from Italian buttercream, if you want to see it in action.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought about posting on the Baking 101 thread, but I'm in the middle when it comes to baking. Not a novice, but certainly no professional either. Recently I made my first buttercream. I used a recipe from Flo Braker's The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, a book I have really enjoyed both for the variety of recipes and the great length of explanation and detailed instructions. Making the buttercream was no problem at all, and the end result looked wonderful. However, the taste....well, it mostly tasted like softened butter. It was almost not sweet at all, and didn't really seem like a frosting. I couldn't imagine putting this on a cake as is. Thankfully, I needed double that amount of frosting, so I figured I'd find another recipe and blend the two, making something that hopefully would work. I rummaged through my other cookbooks and pulled out my trusty Fannie Farmer. I made their buttercream ("Butter Frosting II"), and while it was sweeter than I would have liked, it was much better.

I wasn't 100% happy with either recipe, though the first just seems off in terms of proportions. Here are the two ingredients lists:

The Simple Art of Perfect Baking

1 lb. unsalted butter

8 egg yolks

1/3 cup water

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

Fannie Farmer

1 lb. unsalted butter

4 egg yolks

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

So what is your favorite classic buttercream recipe? additionally, how much chocolate (and what kinds) do you like to add for a chocolate buttercream?

Edited by Wendy DeBord (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This has been my favorite so far, but not the one I use the most. We also adapted this one and substituted a combination of reduced creme de cassis and black currant puree for half of the milk. That one was good...

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup whole milk

3 large eggs

1 tbs vanilla extract

2 pounds unsalted butter

The one I use most often is IMBC or SMBC of 1 part egg whites, 2 parts sugar and 2.5 to 3 parts butter. Addition of vanilla or liqueur of choice.

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm curious with the method with both of these.... are you cooking the whites with the sugar, or the sugar with the water, then using that syrup to cook the eggs? If it's the latter, that's a bit risky, food safety-wise.

For chocolate, I don't bother making chocolate buttercream anymore....just ganache. Different recipes for inside and outside a cake.

I'll post my buttercream later when I've got more time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm curious with the method with both of these.... are you cooking the whites with the sugar, or the sugar with the water, then using that syrup to cook the eggs? If it's the latter, that's a bit risky, food safety-wise.

If your yolks are hot when you add the syrup, you can easily push the mixture past 160F, which would be sufficient. If you wanted to be absolutely sure that your yolks are pasteurized, you could heat the yolks in a double boiler to 140 or so, so the syrup would just have to heat it up 20 more degrees.

"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
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what is your favorite classic buttercream recipe? additionally, how much chocolate (and what kinds) do you like to add for a chocolate buttercream?

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm curious with the method with both of these.... are you cooking the whites with the sugar, or the sugar with the water, then using that syrup to cook the eggs? If it's the latter, that's a bit risky, food safety-wise.

Both involved cooking the sugar and water together, then using the syrup to cook the eggs. I'm not overly concerned about the safety of the eggs I buy, but I'm also satisfied that this method cooks them well enough that it's not an issue.

SweetSide,I love the idea of Creme de Cassis as a flavoring. Have to try that.

Kerry, where do you get the chocolate flavour? Is that something I could order online?

Sugarella, how do you differ the ganache for filling versus frosting?

Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your yolks are hot when you add the syrup, you can easily push the mixture past 160F, which would be sufficient. If you wanted to be absolutely sure that your yolks are pasteurized, you could heat the yolks in a double boiler to 140 or so, so the syrup would just have to heat it up 20 more degrees.

D'oh! :blush: I read that wrong. :blush:

Both involved cooking the sugar and water together, then using the syrup to cook the eggs. I'm not overly concerned about the safety of the eggs I buy, but I'm also satisfied that this method cooks them well enough that it's not an issue.

Sugarella, how do you differ the ganache for filling versus frosting?

Don't say frosting!

Frosting: Comes in a can

Icing : Tastes good

See the difference? :laugh:

My filling ganches are usually made with heavy cream and are spreadable in varying consistencies and may have liqueurs or nut butters added; ganaches for icing the outside are made with sour cream and are poured. That's what I do, anyways.

Here's my buttercream; I said earlier I'd post it:

3/4 cup egg whites (about 5 large eggs)

1 1/2 cups / 300 g. granulated sugar

1 lb. / 454 g. salted butter, softened

2 tsp. Vanilla

Whisk whites and sugar together with a hand whisk and heat, whisking continuously, over the top of a double boiler until the mixture is HOT, about 130 degrees.

Remove bowl and beat egg mixture on MEDIUM speed until cooled down, about 5 minutes, until the eggs are forming stiff peaks and the mixture and bowl are cool to the touch.

On LOW speed, add butter in 10-12 additions until smooth and blended and mixture is light and fluffy.

Increase speed to HIGH and continue beating for another 5 minutes; the volume will double. When completed, add the vanilla or any other flavourings and just blend to incorporate.

-----> I use salted butter becaue I mainly do wedding cakes so I need the added life.... you can use unsalted but perhaps add a pinch of salt to the recipe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't say frosting!

Frosting: Comes in a can

Icing : Tastes good

See the difference? :laugh:

Ah, gotcha. Thanks for the icing tip, then ;-) Interesting to see how many buttercream variants there are out there. Now to make a bunch of cakes to test them all :biggrin:.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tejon -- I'm in the middle like you. I had many failed attempts at buttercream then I found the recipe for mousseline buttercream in RLB's Cake Bible. I like the taste and texture and the way it holds up and I've yet to screw it up.

Good luck.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite buttercream is Swiss buttercream. It is very easy to remember the proportions: 8 ounces egg whites (1 large egg has a 1 ounce white for all intents and purposes), 12 ounces granulated sugar, 20 ounces softened sweet butter and 2 tablespoons vanilla. Whisk the whites and sugar in a bowl, then whisk over a double boiler until frothy, steamy and until the temp. reaches about 150 degrees. Immediately put it into a mixer (with whip attachment if stand mixer) and beat on high speed until mixture comes down to room temperature. Lower speed to medium/low and gradually add butter and vanilla. I then switch to paddle on low speed to remove some air bubbles. I love this recipe-no need for a candy thermometer like you need for Italian buttercream. It is not overly sweet and adults really love it-especially compared to the very sugar-ry buttercreams. You may want to give it a try.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tejon -- I'm in the middle like you.  I had many failed attempts at buttercream then I found the recipe for mousseline buttercream in RLB's Cake Bible.  I like the taste and texture and the way it holds up and I've yet to screw it up.

Good luck.

If you haven't yet, try RLB's neoclassic buttercream as well (the one with yolks instead of whites). It doesn't pipe as well at the mousseline, but it has a richer flavor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the first recipe in the thread I often use a variation of for filling cupcakes or small layers - it can be made to the almost exact texture as Twinkie cream.

As far as the last buttercream question - often the icing will separate - or look kind of curdled, and can be brought back to a creamy texture by vigorous beating.

If you want an icing to withstand hot summer temps, you need to sub in more shortening instead of butter, and a hi-ratio shortening, like Alpine will hold up about the best, but no cake like super hot temperatures.

the meringue buttercreams are wonderful - but risky in summer.

adding meringue powder to the icing sugar can sometimes help with the crusting and holding factor.

Also - adding a tablespoon of meringue powder to your dry cake ingredients can help lift a too-dense cake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like it's time to get a copy of The Cake Bible, eh?

If you want to try the neoclassic buttercream but dont want to buy the book, you can find the recipe here.

"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
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like it's time to get a copy of The Cake Bible, eh?

It's a great reference book. A lot of bakers find her cakes overly sweet and on the dry side, but it's an invaluable resource for fillings, frostings, ingredient substitutions, and the like. I am constantly pulling it off the shelf, even when baking recipes from other sources.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
CaliPoutine............that's an amazingly small amount to make. It would be a challenge for anyone to make that small of a batch well. I don't think you can judge it at all in that quantity.

Ok, I feel like a failure and I'm ready to cry. I was hired for an event on Saturday night. I had to provide 60 cupcakes. I stupidly made this frosting at 5pm and it failed( once again). The first time I tried the recipe from Fine Cooking( which btw, it didnt work for Marlene either). This time I tried RLB's mouselline buttercream. I removed the sugar syrup when it reached 248f. I poured it into the pyrex dish as instructed. Here is what my mess looks like. I ended up throwing it in the fridge and making the standard buttercream of butter and 10x sugar.

gallery_25969_665_262233.jpg

gallery_25969_665_55154.jpg

gallery_25969_665_104560.jpg

These pics are from tonight, I tried to rewhip it to no avail.

What did I do wrong? I've wasted 2lbs of butter( 3.79lb). Is there anything I can do with this mess?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't tell from the first photo whether there's liquid in the bottom left corner or not.

When you added the hot syrup, how did you do it (slowly? quickly? what speed was the mixer at?) It may be that your meringue deflated/collapsed and so the butter didn't incorporate.

Do you have a blow torch? You could use it to warm up the sides of the bowl while the whip is on (speed 2 or 4) and see what happens. Or take some out and put it in a microwave safe container, and nuke it for 3-5 sec until soft and melt-y (like ice cream). Add this in a steady stream to the cold buttercream and let it go for a few minutes and see if it comes together. You can only do this once or twice before you end up with just butter in the bowl, though.

Edited to add: When I'm re-whipping buttercream, I use the paddle and try to have it as close to rm temp as I can (as long as it isn't ice cold)

Edited by JeanneCake (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't tell from the first photo whether there's liquid in the bottom left corner or not.

When you added the hot syrup, how did you do it (slowly? quickly? what speed was the mixer at?)  It may be that your meringue deflated/collapsed and so the butter didn't incorporate.

Do you have a blow torch?  You could use it to warm up the sides of the bowl while the whip is on (speed 2 or 4) and see what happens.  Or take some out and put it in a microwave safe container, and nuke it for 3-5 sec until soft and melt-y (like ice cream).  Add this in a steady stream to the cold buttercream  and let it go for a few minutes and see if it comes together.  You can only do this once or twice before you end up with just butter in the bowl, though.

Edited to add: When I'm re-whipping buttercream, I use the paddle and try to have it as close to rm temp as I can (as long as it isn't ice cold)

The whites were at stiff peaks and then I added the syrup with the mixer stopped. Then I turned it on for a few seconds, then added more sryup and then did the same thing. Then, it seemed ok. I started adding the room temp butter. I had taken the lb of butter and put it in a seperate bowl and mixed it for a minute. I started adding teaspoons. It just never came together

and yes, that is a syrup at the bottom.

I've had it in my fridge since saturday. No blow torch. Any other options? Can I just use the butter in a cookie recipe because basically thats all it resembles at this point.( plain lumpy butter)

Btw, I used fresh farm eggs, could that be a reason why? I also used some vanilla paste.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...