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Recipe File

Buttercream Frosting (American)

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Although, essentially just butter, sugar, and egg, there are many ways to prepare buttercream. Italian buttercream begins with a simple syrup heated to the soft-ball stage and then whipped into an egg white foam before adding butter. A French buttercream is prepared by whipping a solution of heated egg yolks and sugar into a thick foam followed by the incorporation of butter. This recipe is one of many recipes that can be considered American buttercream.

To prepare enough buttercream to frost a two layer 9-in. round cake (or a three layer 8-in. round cake), you'll need one pound (450 g) unsalted butter, four large eggs, 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) table salt, and 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract.


Start by cracking all four eggs into the metal bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract to the bowl.


Whisk until the eggs, sugar, salt, and extract are evenly combined.


Find a pot that the mixing bowl can sit on without touching the bottom of the pan. Pour about 1/2-in. (about 1 cm) water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and place the mixing bowl over the water pot to form a double boiler. This will allow us to heat the eggs slowly, minimizing the chances that the egg proteins will tighten up (forming scrambled eggs). Whisk continuously over the steaming water until the eggs reach 160°F as measured by an instant read thermometer.


Once the mixture reaches 160°F, take it off the heat and beat on medium-high with the flat beater attachment for five minutes. The egg mixture will turn light yellow and fluffy. The mixture should have cooled by this time. Touch the side of the mixing bowl to check the temperature. If the mixture is too warm, it will melt the butter while you add it and the buttercream might not come together.

Reduce the mixer's speed to low and begin cutting pieces of butter into the mixer, waiting for ten to fifteen seconds before adding the next piece. One pound of butter should be cut into about 16 to 20 pieces (about 2 Tbs. per piece). During this process, the mixture will become lumpy, but don't worry about it, continue to cut pieces of butter into the mix until all the butter has been incorporated.


After all the butter has mixed in, continue to run the mixer until the mixture turns smooth and silky.



The final buttercream should be easy to spread onto the cake and should taste distinctly of sweet butter without any lumps or grittiness.


Buttercream frosting (yields frosting for a two layer 9-in. round cake)
4 large (200 g) eggswhiskwhisk over double boiler until 160°Fbeat on medium-high speed 5 min.beat butter in on low speedbeat until smooth and silky
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 tsp. (10 mL) vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. (3 g) table salt
1 lb. (450 g) unsalted buttercut into 16 to 20 pieces

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Written by Michael Chu
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152 comments on Buttercream Frosting (American):(Post a comment)

On May 10, 2006 at 07:48 AM, Michael Chu said...
I had some trouble with this last weekend when I made a batch of buttercream in the San Francisco Bay Area, refrigerated it, and brought it up to Lake Tahoe (an alpine lake at the California and Nevada border) to frost a birthday cake I would make up there. Typically, buttercream refrigerates well - only requiring a return to room temperature and brief beating with the flat beater to return to a smooth, silky, and spreadable consistency. This time, however, parts of the buttercream never softened up and after a bit of beating with the stand mixer, the buttercream began to weep what seemed to be a mixture of simple syrup and egg. I gave up on that batch of buttercream and made another batch. This batch never came together as smoothly as buttercream should. The buttercream had a tendency to slip and slide over itself as I worked with it. Because of this, it was very difficult to produce a uniform surface on the final cake, and I ended up sprinkling chocolate shavings over the surface to mask the imperfect frosting. Those who ate the cake loved the frosting, so the taste and final texture were pleasing to the mouth - but the buttercream was very difficult to work with.

I still don't know the reason why this happened - but it could be a combination of the high altitude (over 6000 ft. above sea level) and fairly warm temperature in the house (a bit above 75°F). I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else has trouble with this buttercream - especially since it always comes together perfectly when I'm at home. Even if the buttercream comes together funny (like it did for my in Tahoe), I guarantee the taste will be great.


On May 10, 2006 at 02:21 PM, Nick said...
If you've got weepy buttercream, it will normally come back if you just keep on mixing and add a bit of heat. Remember that if you beat butter enough, it can be soft while still being cold. Coming right of a refrigerator, I break it up into a Kitchen Aid bowl, dunk the bowl in hot water to melt a bit of it, and start beating slowly. It normally takes another dunk or two, and then I warm the bottom and sides of the bowl with my hands while the mixer is on. Then just beat until it's ready.

If you're getting pieces that don't incorporate, it's probably too cold.

Buttercream is a lot like chocolate in that you're completely on its time--trying to rush it before it's ready doesn't really pays off. I've never had buttercream that didn't come back with the right amount of heat and mixing (assuming it was made right in the first place, no broken meringue), even with lots of excess water from fruits and purees, so stay with it!

HTH


On May 10, 2006 at 05:00 PM, spacial_k (guest) said...
Subject: American Buttercream
Just so you know, the above recipe is totally WRONG. I graduated from culinary school so I know how to make buttercream. First off, buttercream frosting NEVER contains egg yolks. The intro at the beginning mentions French buttercream being a heated mixture of yolks and sugar, and I have seen a few recipes calling for whole eggs, but that isn't traditional. Buttercream is defined by the type of meringue used to make it. There are three types of meringue (egg white) buttercreams -- Italian where a simple syrup is beaten into the whites -- the most stable buttercream, Swiss where whites and sugar are heated together which is mid-level stable, and French where no heat is applied and egg whites are whipped up with the sugar and butter is just added in. French is the least stable variety and is considered raw as far as the eggs go. Now I have seen some French buttercream recipes that called for whole eggs, but this wasn't what they taught us in school, so I'm sticking to the above information, since I know it works every time. For frosting, I recommend the Swiss or Italian version since they are more stable and will hold their shape on the cake longer. They are also safer from a health standpoint.


On May 10, 2006 at 05:44 PM, cinco de mayo (guest) said...
are you sure that tastes ok? all the frostings ive made at home tasted HORRIBLE... too buttery.
and this has eggs so I'm guessing it'll taste worse.
Am I wrong?


On May 10, 2006 at 06:07 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Buttercream frosting has eggs?
I do not claim to be an expert...but buttercream frosting has been a family favorite for years. Mom & I have since given up on using a recipe but I believe our method originated from either the Better Crocker cookbook or Better Homes and Gardens...one of those standards. Anyway, our recipe has always been simply powdered (confectioner's) sugar, butter (I believe 2:1 sugar to butter but it's been a while) and enough vanilla (or other flavoring) and milk to make it a nice frosting consistancy. Neither Mom nor I has ever heated nor added eggs to the recipe...nor have a seen a buttercream frosting recipe that requires it...odd...
*shrug*


On May 10, 2006 at 06:20 PM, Michael Chu said...
cinco de mayo wrote:
are you sure that tastes ok? all the frostings ive made at home tasted HORRIBLE... too buttery.
and this has eggs so I'm guessing it'll taste worse.

Usually when people buy cakes with a buttercream frosting serve it at a party, all the plates left over have lumps of buttercream pushed to one side because no one wants to eat it. I am always surprised to find that no one leaves buttercream on the plate from one of my cakes and I routinely get compliments about the flavor and consistency of this buttercream. Give it a try, if it doesn't taste good to you, let us know and tell us what you dislike - I've got more buttercream recipes that yeild different flavors and textures. :)

spacial_k wrote:
Just so you know, the above recipe is totally WRONG. I graduated from culinary school so I know how to make buttercream. First off, buttercream frosting NEVER contains egg yolks. The intro at the beginning mentions French buttercream being a heated mixture of yolks and sugar, and I have seen a few recipes calling for whole eggs, but that isn't traditional.

spacial_k sounded so certain that I did a sanity check and looked up several buttercream recipes - this time from culinary school texts - and I stand by the statements I made in this article.


On May 10, 2006 at 07:10 PM, McDee said...
I'm in a pastry course at culinary school now (just got home from my pastry mid-term) and our most commonly used buttercream is a whole egg mixture like above except:

sugar and water (4:1) are brought to soft ball stage
whole eggs are whipped to ribbon stage
sugar mixture is drizzled into the eggs (down the side of the bowl while mixer is running) which cooks the eggs
mixture is kept moving while it cools (we've been using an ice-bath under the 20qt mixer to cool it more quickly)
chunked butter is added

Proceed as above.

Having hated cake frostings my whole life, I can honestly say that I enjoy this frosting. It's not too sweet, nor too buttery.


On May 10, 2006 at 09:25 PM, Alexandra said...
Subject: Too buttery?
Umm, buttercream is supposed to taste buttery. That's they joy of it! Don't eat real buttercream and expect it to taste like the frostings from cheaper bakeries that taste of only shortening and sugar. Real buttercream tastes buttery and not too sweet. Another problem is overapplication- I find that a relatively thin layer of buttercream suffices b/c it's so rich.


On May 11, 2006 at 01:49 PM, Patrick (guest) said...
Special_k,

If you think buttercreams are never made with yolks only, you apparently didn't learn much about buttercreams in culinary school. Just do the teeniest, tiniest little bit of research, and you'll see that French buttercream is made with yolks. Also, as a general piece of advice, its a good idea to check your facts before you accuse someone of getting them wrong - otherwise you make yourself look foolish.


On May 11, 2006 at 04:00 PM, rittaknapp (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream question
I love buttercream but I stopped making it more than 10 years ago with my fear of salmonella. There are just too many children and grandparents around when we have cake. So the question. Can you make a decent buttercream with powdered egg whites (meringue powder)?


On May 11, 2006 at 06:33 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Buttercream question
rittaknapp wrote:
I love buttercream but I stopped making it more than 10 years ago with my fear of salmonella. There are just too many children and grandparents around when we have cake. So the question. Can you make a decent buttercream with powdered egg whites (meringue powder)?

This buttercream recipe cooks the eggs - salmonella risk is greatly reduced.


On May 11, 2006 at 06:55 PM, Patrick (guest) said...
rittaknapp,

As Michael says, the eggs in this recipe are pasteurized (bringing the eggs to 160F for 15 seconds reduced the number of microbes to like 0.0001 of that originally present). However, I don't see why you couldn't make an Italian meringue buttercream with powdered egg whites -- I've made just about everything with them, and never had a problem.


On May 12, 2006 at 06:38 AM, Nick said...
Quote:
First off, buttercream frosting NEVER contains egg yolks.

That's simply not true. Pate a bombe, which is whipped egg yolks and soft ball sugar, is a traditional base as well as the various meringues.

(I hate to do the whip out and compare thing, but in this case I feel I should back my statement up: I apprenticed growing up in the kitchen of a classic French/Danish restaurant, have a degree in pastry from the French Culinary Institute, and have worked as a pastry chef (chef, not cook).)


Quote:
Usually when people buy cakes with a buttercream frosting serve it at a party, all the plates left over have lumps of buttercream pushed to one side because no one wants to eat it.

I think that's because whipped Crisco + caster sugar does not in any way equal buttercream, even though that what most supermarket and standard-issue bakeries use.


On May 13, 2006 at 05:07 PM, kayenne (guest) said...
Subject: culinary school snobs
hmm.. just a thought, just because someone came from a culinary school doesn't mean that he is better than those who didn't. or that his method is correct and other(non-culinary school) methods are not. a school should be there to guide and inspire creativity, not to make haughty robots out of graduates. following escoffier's methods down to the last pinch is no longer the epitome of fine dining. new trends are in! even escoffier can learn a thing or two.

-kayenne


On May 14, 2006 at 08:22 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: A variation?
My grandma had a recipe for frosting that I absolutely adored, and have since lost. It probably doesn't qualify as buttercream, but I thought I'd ask here anyway. The base was milk and flour, cooked together until creamy. Then you beat sugar and butter for about 10 minutes, until the sugar was incorporated into the butter. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat again. I recall that you could add vanilla, jam or cocoa as well to flavor it.

It made a really light, delicate icing, but without the worry about salmonella. Has anyone heard of something similar? I've wanted to make it again but haven't found a similar recipe.


On May 15, 2006 at 02:10 AM, Shalmanese said...
"The Professional Pastry Chef" by Bo Friberg lists French Buttercream (p477) as containing 12 egg yolks and no egg whites


On May 18, 2006 at 04:54 AM, Bride to Be (guest) said...
Subject: Danish Buttercream???
Can anybody tell me the difference between "Classic Buttercream" and "Danish Buttercream," in terms of wedding cakes? I have a culinary background (trained at a culinary school, worked in catering for awhile), but it has been over 15 years since I left the field. I am familiar with Italian, Swiss, and French buttercreams, but I have never heard of Danish.

I am getting married this summer and have to pick out 4 cake samples (I get to choose the cake, fillings, and icings for each) to try out at my cake tasting appointment. The bakery offers (among 9 different icing choices) both "Classic Buttercream" and "Danish Buttercream." I've already decided to try the Rolled Fondant and the Marizapan (my top 2 choices), but I am now trying to decide if it is worthwhile trying both the buttercream options.


On May 18, 2006 at 03:20 PM, Janka (guest) said...
Subject: forsting using butter and pudding
Quote:
The base was milk and flour, cooked together until creamy. Then you beat sugar and butter for about 10 minutes, until the sugar was incorporated into the butter. Add the cooled milk mixture and beat again.


My familiy uses this kind of filling. However, I don't have the family recipe on hand. We use vanilla pudding powder.
2 cups milk
2 packages vanilla pudding powder (one package calling for 2 cups milk, so you get a thick custard)
- cook until thick, let cool completely
1 cup butter
5-6 oz sugar
- beat the butter and the sugar, then add the custard SLOWLY, until everything combines. The custard must be cold.
Note: I did not try this recipe myself. You can add cocoa or vanilla flavor (if not using vanilla pudding). You'll need to adjust the amounts if using preserves or nuts, I suppose. Corn starch can also be used (see package for amounts).
This spreads very well, and is not as "heavy" as only butter+sugar frosting.


On May 18, 2006 at 06:00 PM, shirewoman2 (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream
Two things:
1. Spacial K -- chill out. No one like a know-it-all, and no one especially likes an angry know-it-all.

2. In regards to the earlier post about buttercream being made with confectioners' sugar and butter, yes, I've seen that in a lot of places, too, but I get the impression that this is more like the quick version, sort of a pseudo-buttercream. Try the recipe with the eggs -- it's FABULOUS! It's more time-consuming to prepare, but it is a thousand-fold (or 1E03 for you engineers ;-D ) better than the version using confectioners' sugar. The confectioners' sugar version does have a couple of advantages, though, so don't completely forget about it. It takes less time to make, and as it sits, it dries out a bit, making the frosting kind of hard, which is nice for decorating. I like it for decorating cookies. Buttercream made with eggs is a little more heat sensitive and gets a bit droopy when it sits out.

Thanks for the great blog!!!


On May 19, 2006 at 08:40 PM, Buttercream Lover (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream Blues
I had a similar problem with buttercream "weeping" and it was solved by warming it slightly. I tried the recommended towel-soaked-in-hot-water-and-wrung-out wrapped around the bowl of the standing mixer. That didn't quite do the trick so I scraped the butterceam into a bowl and microwaved it on low for about a minute (pausing to scrape and stir), and then put it back into the mixer and it came right together after a bit of beating. Strangely enough, this happened to me in winter when my house was particularly cold, as well as in warmer weather. I guess it has to do with the butter's temperature relative to the egg mixture...? In any case, if it does that weird curdly thing, try warming it gently and beating again.


On May 20, 2006 at 06:42 PM, pdx cook (guest) said...
Subject: frosting made w/ flour & milk
thank you anonymous poster for mentioning your grandmother's frosting made w/ a flour and milk base. i'd never heard of such a recipe before, but was really intrigued after reading your post, so i did a little research and found a recipe that seemed like a match. i made it last night (adding 1/4c of natural cocoa) and loved it! i'd highly recommend giving it a try for anyone who's game for something a little different, and isn't a foodie purist. it's very light and just a little custard-y. here's the recipe i found:

INGREDIENTS:
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3/4 cup milk
• 3/4 cup butter
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
PREPARATION:
In a saucepan add a small amount of the milk to flour then stir to make a smooth paste. Add remaining milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cool.
Cream butter using medium speed of electric mixer.
Gradually add sugar and salt; beat well. Add cooled milk mixture. Beat until light and fluffy; add vanilla. Frosts a two layer cake.


On May 20, 2006 at 09:56 PM, pdx cook (guest) said...
Subject: clarification
those question marks which proceed the quantities are unintentional - i think they started out as bullets... sorry for any confusion.


On May 21, 2006 at 08:02 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Great recipe but I actually recommend that you add the vanilla after you beat the egg because the extract has a chance of evaporating when heated.


On May 23, 2006 at 07:26 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: How long does butter cream keep in the fridge?
It'd be nice if I could prepare it well before I needed it.


On May 23, 2006 at 08:38 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: How long does butter cream keep in the fridge?
Anonymous wrote:
It'd be nice if I could prepare it well before I needed it.

You should be able to refrigerate it for at least a week. Just make sure you provide enough time for it to return to room temperature.


On May 25, 2006 at 08:13 PM, Tiamat (guest) said...
Subject: Salmonella fears
Just thought I'd mention that you can buy pasturized eggs. Also, the odds of a typical American getting salmonella from raw eggs is something like 1 in 10,000. I've always eaten raw eggs (in cookie dough and cake batters, usually) and never had any problems.


On May 27, 2006 at 02:06 AM, kayke (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream
When I worked as a pastry chef at a national natural foods grocery store (Whole Paycheck) we would "re-liven" the BC by putting it into the kitchenaid with the paddle, start the mixer, and then heat the bottom of the bowl with a torch (available at your local hardware store; not necessary to drop major buxx on a "professional" one) and it always came together well. Then you can add melted bittersweet chocolate or other flavorings. Just make sure not to concentrate the flame on one part of the bowl for too long; I find a sweeping motion over the bottom of the bowl works well.
Thanks for a really cool site! I'm adding it to my bookmarks.
K.
--for the record, I never went to culinary school, but instead learned it all from my mom/granparents/great-grandparents who owned bakeries. And our buttercream was always made with egg yolks.


On May 29, 2006 at 03:41 PM, Caitlin (guest) said...
Subject: Chocolate Buttercream
I would like to try this recipe as a chocolate buttercream frosting. Would I use powdered cocoa or melted cocoa? Would I need to add the cocoa before I heat the mixture or when I'm adding the butter?


On June 06, 2006 at 01:58 AM, Amy (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream w/egg yolk
I used to have a recipe for ginger sandwich cookies (I think it was from an old Williams-Sonoma catalogue years back) with a lemon cream frosting--as I recall, it was your standard buttercream made with butter and powdered sugar, but with an egg yolk, along with some lemon zest. No extra liquid of any sort, and not cooked. I wish I could find that recipe again--it was pretty tasty.

I remember also reading somewhere that to get rid of some of the "cornstarch" taste in that type of frosting to stir it over some simmering water (using double boiler) for a couple of minutes--now you can just microwave it a bit to do the same thing, then let cool and rewhip.

Would microwaving the above raw egg frosting (after making it, of course), kill off the salmonella, and then you could just rewhip it?


On June 06, 2006 at 04:30 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Buttercream w/egg yolk
Amy wrote:
Would microwaving the above raw egg frosting (after making it, of course), kill off the salmonella, and then you could just rewhip it?

Depends on how long you microwave it. Trouble is, you might end up cooking the eggs and liquid would probably end up weeping out of it while it cooked and whipping it up would end up making it into small chunky soup. If you gently heat it and hold it at 160°F for a couple minutes, that will kill off any bacteria. Just do that to the eggs in a double boiler right before you use it in the recipe.


On June 06, 2006 at 06:06 AM, Amy (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream w/egg yolk
Thank you!


On June 06, 2006 at 08:06 PM, Amy (guest) said...
Subject: Posted Buttercream recipe
Michael,

I like the way you posted your recipe method above--it is a lot less fussy than the Ann Warren recipe method (of Cupcake Cafe--she was featured on one of the earlier Martha Stewart Living shows some years back), where you first make the syrup, then blend it into the whole eggs, wait for it to cool, then pour that mixture into the butter you're whipping....

Let's hear it for one-bowl frosting!

:D


On June 08, 2006 at 03:20 AM, ktexp2 said...
While we're on frostings, anyone have tips for a good merengue (jeez I can't spell - sorry!) style frosting? Everytime I make one, all I taste is egg whites. And its not terribly stable, either. It breaks down after a day and definitely does not keep in the fridge. I love a nice creamy frosting, but I do tire of the various buttercreams after a while.


On June 11, 2006 at 09:37 PM, Metrobake (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream
Use flash-pasteurized egg whites. These are in cartons in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, next to the egg substitutes. They look raw, but they aren't. The powdered egg whites are great for royal icing, but the refrigerated ones work better for meringues. Of course, really fresh eggs work best, but I'm not convinced that the sugar syrup effectively cooks the eggs (whip out your instant-read thermometer if you want to decide for yourself), so I use flash-pasteurized for my retail sales.

I, too, graduated from a "culinary" school, but in my case, it was a "baking/pastry" school. There is a difference.

Regards,
MB


On July 02, 2006 at 06:44 AM, Cakeaholic (guest) said...
Subject: General Buttercream Question
I ran across this site while searching for a recipe for buttercream frosting. I am a huge fan of the old-fashioned bakery birthday cakes with the thick buttercream frosting flowers all over them (I was never one of those who would leave chunks of leftover icing on the plate!)

Anyway, buying an entire cake just to satisfy a random craving is ridiculous (and dangerous!), so I was hoping to learn how to make my own, but I want it to taste like the real thing. Even if I wanted to buy an entire cake, it's hard to find a decent one anymore. In my area, there are so many grocery-store bakeries that there are few independent bakeries around, and most of the grocery stores get it wrong, opting for that fluffier icing version that can only be described as tasting like a mixture of Cool Whip and Pledge.

To me, confectioners' sugar has a funny taste to it, and I think that's the problem with the recipes I've tried in the past, though I'm not 100% certain that's been the whole problem. Anyway, I wanted to know if, based on my description of what I'm trying to make, anyone can confirm that recipe is what I'm looking for.

Thank you!


On July 04, 2006 at 03:46 AM, spugne said...
Subject: Confectioners Sugar Alternative
My mother's "special" cakes were the Waldorf-Astoria red chocolate cake and Nutmeg Feather Cake from a 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook. She always used what she called 12 minute frosting (also called "Poor Man's Icing) on both -- still my favorite frosting. No confectioners sugar. Easy and cheap and tasty -- and it can be flavored as you wish. It is similar to the two listed above but not quite. Great as a filling for sandwich cookies or in/on chocolate cupcakes.

Recipe:
Step One: Mix 1 cup milk with 4 Tablespoons of flour (COOK & STIR UNTIL THICK, COOL).
Step Two: Beat 16 Tablespoons of butter (unsalted) with 1 teaspoon of vanilla for four minutes.
Step Three: Slowly beat in 1 cup sugar (regular or superfine granulated) on high speed four minutes until fluffy.
Step Four: Add cooked and cooled flour mixture and beat four minutes more.

We usually used this on cakes eaten the same day, but you would probably want to refrigerate it if not (all that butter). It gets hard like a buttercream when refrigerated, so allow cake to come to room temperature before serving.
[/u]


On August 29, 2006 at 10:52 AM, diegorvila said...
Thank you for this post. It is essential for non-nortamericans


On September 16, 2006 at 06:14 PM, RingDing10 (guest) said...
Subject: Cooked Icing & Lumps
I have a recipe for icing that my mother in law always made for every birthday & holiday we had. She passed away last year and I have inherited all of her recipes and now everyone expects me to make this cake. Problem is everytime I make the icing I get lumps, Tons of little lumps! It is a 2 part recipe. one that you cook flour, milk & salt. you cook it in a double boiler until thick. then you let cool. I then make a mixture of crisco, margerine, sugar and vanilla. beat till no longer sugary. I then add the two and beat. Neither of the mixtures have lumps until I combine the two then out of no where these little lumps of the "cooked" mixture appear. Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong? How do I get rid of the lumps?


On October 02, 2006 at 06:26 AM, cakeman (guest) said...
Subject: This is a Cook's Illustrated Recipe
This recipe, “Buttercream Frosting (American)” is actually a Cook’s Illustrated recipe called, “Rich Vanilla Buttercream Frosting” found in their New Best Recipes Book and Baking Illustrated books.

It is a great recipe and glad to see it hear with pictures. I also like Cook’s Illustrated “Rich Coffee Buttercream Frosting”, a variation that accompanies this recipe, very tasty.


On October 03, 2006 at 08:59 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Re: This is a Cook's Illustrated Recipe
cakeman wrote:
This recipe, “Buttercream Frosting (American)” is actually a Cook’s Illustrated recipe called, “Rich Vanilla Buttercream Frosting” found in their New Best Recipes Book and Baking Illustrated books.

With a recipe as simple as buttercream, it seems like there would be many sources with almost the exact same recipe. Michael's had a good history of crediting his sources when he uses an existing recipe, so maybe he forgot on this one or didn't realize that the recipe he uses is the same as the Cook's Illustrated one. Maybe he'll update his write up with a reference to Cook's after reading these comments. Ahem, Michael?


On October 04, 2006 at 10:45 PM, chemist/cook (guest) said...
Subject: separated buttercream
Michael, I have had the same experience with a buttercream recipe made with egg yolks and soft-ball stage sugar. As some of the others have suggested, heating the bowl lets the buttercream to come back together. I believe that when the butter is too cold, it "crystallizes" into an ordered state that refuses to mix with the rest of the ingredients. The irony is that the harder you beat the heck out of it, the more it refuses to combine. A little heat agitates the molecules enough to reach a disordered state, giving you fluffy frosting. There is a technical term for this that skips my mind at the moment.


On October 14, 2006 at 02:20 PM, novice (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream
PLEASE help! I did the sugar mixture to "soft ball stage", and upon adding it to the egg yolks that I kept moving with the mixer, it simply stuck to the side and bottom of the stainless steel bowl. Mixing over was like trying to mix a marble. Even the tiniest of streams drizzled down the side in the whipped egg yolks resulted in the hard, crystaline blob like precipatate at the bottom! (Eggs were at room temperature, sugar syrup was hot right off burner.) I do not have thermometer, but relied on "soft ball" stage in glass of water.

Can anyone help? I need this buttercream TONIGHT. Thanks!


On October 14, 2006 at 02:39 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Re: buttercream
novice wrote:
PLEASE help! I did the sugar mixture to "soft ball stage", and upon adding it to the egg yolks that I kept moving with the mixer, it simply stuck to the side and bottom of the stainless steel bowl. Mixing over was like trying to mix a marble. Even the tiniest of streams drizzled down the side in the whipped egg yolks resulted in the hard, crystaline blob like precipatate at the bottom! (Eggs were at room temperature, sugar syrup was hot right off burner.) I do not have thermometer, but relied on "soft ball" stage in glass of water.

Uhm, not to be rude, but have you read Michael's description of how to make buttercream or are you using a random recipe? At no point does the recipe call for heating a sugar mixture to soft ball stage (which is around 235F) and then adding egg yolks to it. Michael clearly states that you start with the egg yolks, sugar, and whatnot and heat that mixture until 160.


On October 14, 2006 at 03:00 PM, novice (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream
Thanks, guest. McDee DID post about 'soft ball' stage. (Scroll back) I am using a Julia Child recipe that I used quite successfully 15 years ago for a genoise, and got raves. This recipe says 'till 238 degrees F', which is soft ball stage.

Not having the thermometer anymore, can you sugest an approximation of when 160? (Emeril Lagasse has a buttercream that uses sugar and corn syrup heated till disolved). I would like to follow Michael's and your suggestions.

Thanks.


On October 14, 2006 at 08:59 PM, novice (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream
Is there anyone who can suggest how to determine 160F without a thermometer in order to follow Michael's recipe?


On October 15, 2006 at 06:43 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: buttercream
novice wrote:
Not having the thermometer anymore, can you sugest an approximation of when 160? (Emeril Lagasse has a buttercream that uses sugar and corn syrup heated till disolved). I would like to follow Michael's and your suggestions.

The 160°F is used to make sure any salmonella that may be present in the eggs is killed effectively. The current number that is quoted for salmonella infections is 1 in 10,000 eggs consumed (and most of these cases are in restaurants), so if you're certain of the safety of your eggs - then go ahead and simply heat until everything is smooth and the sugar dissolved into the egg.


On October 19, 2006 at 06:37 PM, bakermaniac (guest) said...
Subject: alpine shortening
I've been searching the web for some buttercream frostings and found this forum. I am planning on baking a cake for my daughter's debutante ball. I have made the wilton buttercream frosting and would like to try other recipes because I don't really like the wilton. I would like to try the recipes that you have posted in this forum, but have a question. I found a recipe that asks for alpine shortening. It claims that the frosting comes out very creamy without the overly sweet taste. Have any of you tried alpine shortening in your recipes? Would I be able to use it when making the italian or french buttercream frosting, and would I be able to incorporate cream cheese into the frosting? Please help.


On November 15, 2006 at 12:28 AM, LazyCook (guest) said...
Subject: What kind of kitchenAid mixer you are using.. watts 250?
I planning to buy a KitchenAid mixer but their are different watts 250, 350... and so on. I am a novice baker. plz help B)


On November 16, 2006 at 05:41 AM, an anonymous reader said...
I've made this recipe twice now (the second time to make sure I didn't screw up the recipe) and did everything to a t and it still doesn't come out right.
It tastes wonderful, but it just doesn't hold...both times it starts to seperate. I live at 7000 feet and I know that has effects on the baked goods, but I wasn't sure if it would effect the buttercream or if I just need to keep practicing to get it right.

Any suggestions would be great!

Oh...and yes I've beaten it until my kitchenaid motor almost died...

-amber


On January 30, 2007 at 07:22 PM, Jennifer (guest) said...
Subject: Butter Cream Frosting
When making the American Butter Cream frosting, is it necessary to use the flat beater attachement? The mixer I have to use is a hand mixer with the regular beater.


On January 30, 2007 at 08:55 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Butter Cream Frosting
Jennifer wrote:
When making the American Butter Cream frosting, is it necessary to use the flat beater attachement? The mixer I have to use is a hand mixer with the regular beater.

Regular beater is fine.


On February 06, 2007 at 11:39 PM, Ami (guest) said...
Subject: novice questions
I'm considering to use this buttercream frosting recipe, but there are a few things I'd like to know:

1. Does this recipe make buttercream stable enough to make icing roses?
2. How long can it be refrigerated?
3. Do the eggs need to be room temperature?


On February 07, 2007 at 12:04 AM, Ami (guest) said...
Subject: cont'd
4. Can the recipe be cut in half for smaller cake recipes?


On February 10, 2007 at 12:14 AM, AnMochi (guest) said...
Subject: halving recipe
For Ami: Yes. I have successfully quartered this recipe. Halving it should be no problem. Have also flavored the recipe with chocolate bars melted with part of the butter and cooled. (white chocolate was fabulous!)
About the eggs: room temp (or slightly warmer) eggs will blend together more easily.
It is firm enough to pipe rosettes and things like whipped cream, but if you want something harder, you might try fondant or marzipan.

I really like this recipe: sweetness is just right for me and I have been able to halve and quarter it (here in Japan cakes tend to be smaller, but the standard frosting is whipped or chantilly cream,) as well as flavor it easily. I much prefer the satiny smoothness to the slightly grainy and very sweet uncooked kind with confectioners sugar-- The one difficult thing is not to get distracted while cooking the eggs on the double boiler, my biggest problem when doing stirred custard, pastry cream, and genoise. ;)

Happy baking and a big "Mahalo" to Michael Chu for this versitile recipe.

Aloha,
AnMochi


On February 14, 2007 at 01:27 AM, total amateur (guest) said...
Subject: My holy graille in baking - a great frosting!
Please help me! I have been looking for a kick-butt frosting recipe for YEARS. I tried several buttercream recipes (including the original recipe above as well as several recipes from the The Cake Bible), only to be really disappointed when they turned out like really sweet butter. I know, I know - it's BUTTERcream, but I don't normally put butter on chocolate cake. A couple bakeries near me in Wisconsin (Bay Bakery and Simma's Bakery) have these great frosting recipes that are sweet and rich, and yet don't taste like sticks of butter. I'm sure they aren't about to give out the recipes, though. Does anybody have anything for me to try that isn't 7-minute frosting, white mountain frosting, cream cheese frosting, or cooked frosting (I'm skeptical of cooked frosting b/c someone I know makes it and it tastes like the stuff I frost sugar cookies, not cakes, with.)?


On February 14, 2007 at 05:00 PM, hovsm (guest) said...
Subject: spacial_k
spacial_k. You do realize that school is meant to be a foundation. Just because you didnt learn it in school, doesn't make it incorrect. Not only that, every school is different. If you don't move beyond your schooling and get a bit of experience, then you make ignorant statements like you just have. I have seen a plethora of recipe's from world class chef's, that use egg yolks in their French buttercream's. Oh wait but you didnt learn it in school. Here is what you need to know about school. It isnt doctrine, it isnt infallable, and you are supposed to take that BASIC information and get valuable experience. I get the impression that under your logic one could say this "A soldier goes to basic training and their schools to learn to fight, so they should know exactly what happens when they go to war".........WRONG. That is why experience beats schooling every time.


On February 14, 2007 at 11:48 PM, AnMochi (guest) said...
Subject: for Total Amateur
How funny: I found this site, searching for a good buttercream and you came here looking for other frostings. Have recently started baking more cake and found this site really helpful. They have several frosting recipes you might try-- there is even an all Crisco recipe!

http://www.baking911.com/cakes/101.htm

Click on "recipes" and then, "cakes-fillings, frostings, & glazes." Hope you find something you like.

Aloha,
AnMochi


On February 20, 2007 at 01:42 AM, Total Amateur (guest) said...
Subject: thanks AnMochi!
I just checked out the website you mentioned above. It looks pretty promising. As soon as I have a functioning kitchen (remodeling) and an ability to taste (a neverending cold) again, I'll have to give some of the recipes a try :o). So how do you like the buttercream recipe listed above? Doesn't it taste like whipped butter to you? No offense to the author - apparently most people love this frosting. I guess I'm just crazy like that. Well, thanks again!


On February 26, 2007 at 05:41 AM, mac chan said...
Subject: HELP PLEASE!!!!!!
i made a cake for myn friend's aunt. it's her 50th birthday. apparently i used buttercream made of sugar( boiled at 250 F)eggwhites, butter. it melted after 6 hours, before she even blew the cake! i'm totaly desperate right now for the most stable buttercream recipe thAT will withstand room temperature for at least 7 hours! help help me.... i need to make up for that...


On March 01, 2007 at 11:06 AM, AnMochi (guest) said...
Subject: mac chan
Hi.

Have you tried substituting some shortening for part of the butter? You might notice the difference in taste but it is said to be more stable.

Perhaps you should consider fondant instead of buttercream. You didn't mention the temperature of your room, but over seven hours in a warm room, and there may be food poisoning concerns if it is very warm there and the buttercream made with egg has been out for so long.

Hope this helps.

anMochi


On May 18, 2007 at 12:30 AM, Hermeswiss (guest) said...
Subject: Missing ingredients list
Tantalizingly, the ingredients list appears to be missing (or does not display) from pdx cook's post on May 20, 2006.

Any chance of re-posting it?

This is a great website and Michael Chu's buttercream recipe has worked wonderfully for me in Australia. Thanks!


On May 18, 2007 at 02:11 AM, Michael Chu said...
re: Missing ingredients

I've had some trouble with the database migration. I'll see if I can fix this without messing everything up.


On May 24, 2007 at 03:59 PM, mdgirl (guest) said...
I am not a pastry chef however I have been baking forever! As far as I know there are several types of buttercream.
[i:dd0f4a5101]
American [/i:dd0f4a5101]- Usually powdered sugar with flavoring and butter
Swiss- Heated eggwhites and sugar beaten with room temp unsalted butter
French-Egg yolks beaten till lemon colored and thick; (soft ball stage) sugar syrup is added then chunks of butter beaten in
Italian- Whipped eggwhites ; sugar syrup that has been heated to soft ball stage is added then butter

I personally love the swiss meringue however I use the french one for my sans rival layer cakes.


On June 09, 2007 at 10:48 AM, cookie (guest) said...
Subject: milk and flour frosting
I enjoy this blog very much, well done Michael!

I'm just wondering if it's just me or has anyone experience the following:

I've made the frosting with the milk and flour cooked mixture and I used all butter. While it tasted good on the same day.........the next day, I could taste the flour and it tasted sort of odd like....no butter or vanilla taste at all.

I've also tried another recipe that uses corn flour added to warm milk to form a paste and then beat into creamed butter/sugar and I piped flowers with star tip. Frosting tasted good....but after a few hours, it started weeping. The flowers are still defined and held up well at this point, the frosting still taste good, soft and creamy but weeping. I used 1 ply of tissue paper to soak up the liquid trying hard not to disturb the flowers.

The decorated cake looks ok and taste good with the frosting soft and creamy but the weeping is just annoying, any comments or help?!?!

cookie


On June 13, 2007 at 01:10 AM, Sae (guest) said...
Subject: frosting terms
Just to clarify to us non-culinary grads, what do the 'softball' and 'ribbon' stages pretain to as stated in the other post below?
Thanks!


On May 10, 2006 at 03:10 PM, McDee said...
I'm in a pastry course at culinary school now (just got home from my pastry mid-term) and our most commonly used buttercream is a whole egg mixture like above except:

sugar and water (4:1) are brought to soft ball stage
whole eggs are whipped to ribbon stage
sugar mixture is drizzled into the eggs (down the side of the bowl while mixer is running) which cooks the eggs
mixture is kept moving while it cools (we've been using an ice-bath under the 20qt mixer to cool it more quickly)
chunked butter is added

Proceed as above.

Having hated cake frostings my whole life, I can honestly say that I enjoy this frosting. It's not too sweet, nor too buttery


On June 13, 2007 at 10:56 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: frosting terms
Sae wrote:
Just to clarify to us non-culinary grads, what do the 'softball' and 'ribbon' stages pretain to as stated in the other post below?
Thanks!

Soft ball stage is the temperature at which you can heat sugar such that a drop of the molten stuff dropped into cold water forms a ball that can be depressed by your fingers. This is generally 235°F to 240°F.

Ribboning is a description of what the eggs do when you pick some up with a spoon and let it stream down from a height of several inches back into the bowl. It should flow uniformly (like a "ribbon") and not in parts (with gaps in the stream).


On July 01, 2007 at 06:21 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: my 2 cents
I am a cake decorator instructor with no culinary degree. I have tried many buttercream icings. I tried the pro's icing and basically the taste and texture depends on personal taste and the design you wish to make in your cake. I will try your recipe Michael and see if it can be use for complicated upright decorations.But here's my 2 cents, when you want to ice a cake, make the icing that day you frost it and not do it in advance cuz trying to return from a cold icing to the consistency you want can be disastrous. Ice your cake, decorate it and enjoy it! Has anyone tried Rich's buttercream icing? it taste like homemade and great for decorating..but I still prefer my own homemade recipe.


On August 19, 2007 at 01:29 AM, ldel (guest) said...
Subject: I tried and love it
I have been looking all kinds of buttercream recipes and seems not ot them worked for me but I tried this one today and is AWESOME! Just finished my cake, thanks for the recipe.

:)


On August 20, 2007 at 11:00 AM, Tasquah (guest) said...
Subject: milk and flour recipe
Michael thanks for this great page. I learned allot about buttercream i always wanted to know.
A friend of mine gave me a recipe last week for a Red Velvet cake that called for a cooked frosting . I joked with her about a gravy frosting because I had never heard of frosting with flour in it before. Anyhow here it is just like i got it.

Cooked Frosting
1 cup milk
1/3 all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
milk or cream

Frosting: In a saucepan, whisk together the 1/3 cup flour and milk and cook, stirring, until thickened; cool in the refrigerator. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla with mixer. Add flour and milk mixture a little at a time (make ahead of cake so that it has plenty of time to cool). Beat well, adding milk or cream as needed. Frost layers, sides, and top of cake.


On August 29, 2007 at 05:49 AM, Sean (guest) said...
Subject: Basic grocery store buttercream
This recipe sounds really good, but I am totally ignorant about baking and cooking in general, so it seems very difficult to me. Everyone seems to hate most grocery store cake buttercream icing, but it's the only kind I've ever had and I've always liked it. I've tried to make frosting at home a few times with powdered sugar and butter, but it's always horrible. Like someone else said it's ok for sugar cookies because it hardens after a while. That is NOT the kind of icing I'm looking for. Can anyone give me a recipe that's just real basic and simple and is like grocery store buttercream?

Thank You.


On September 04, 2007 at 05:38 PM, Regina (guest) said...
Subject: GREAT BUTTERCREAM!!
;) Thanks a bunch Michael for sharing this recipe. I made it just now with an electric mixer according to your instructions and it looks just right, just the way I want it. I have been unsuccessful with the confectioners' sugar recipe which is usually gritty and your recipe is the silky texture I have been trying to obtain for many (I mean MANY) years!


On September 08, 2007 at 01:46 AM, erika (guest) said...
Subject: question?
will a regular mixer work well instead of a flat beater...and does it matter whether it is butter or margerine? i would like to try this recipe out but i don't know if i have the right equipment and items....thanks :)


On September 08, 2007 at 09:09 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: question?
erika wrote:
will a regular mixer work well instead of a flat beater...and does it matter whether it is butter or margerine? i would like to try this recipe out but i don't know if i have the right equipment and items....thanks :)

You can use the "regular" beaters of you hand mixer. There are a couple reasons to use butter. The most important of which is that it contributes great flavor to the frosting - it's not called buttercream because butter is flavorless. In addition, margarines may contain partially hydrogenated fats (which have trans fatty acids) which you'll want to avoid as much as possible.


On September 17, 2007 at 09:46 PM, mrs_hittle (guest) said...
Subject: butter vs. margarine
The main differences between butter and margarine (other than taste) are the water content and type of fat. Margarine is a vegetable oil emulsion and includes water. Butter is made from heavy cream churned to a semi-solid state and does not typically contain water. (i would be very suspicious of any that did!) Thus, they have different effects on the recipe. If you must use margarine in baking, make sure it is at least 80% fat. Michael is right concerning trans fats in margarine. Because of the type of fat used, margarine must be partially hydrogenated in order to solidify. This is why tub margarine is softer and lower in trans fats than stick margarine.

Margarine is generally not recommended for baking, although one can acquire satisfactory results with it depending on one's expectations. When making candy, only butter will work properly; margarine separates at high temperatures.

i'm not a professional chef or a dietician, but i do a LOT of baking and am highly reputed among our circle of acquaintances. :-)


On September 17, 2007 at 11:16 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: butter vs. margarine
mrs_hittle wrote:
The main differences between butter and margarine (other than taste) are the water content and type of fat. Margarine is a vegetable oil emulsion and includes water. Butter is made from heavy cream churned to a semi-solid state and does not typically contain water. (i would be very suspicious of any that did!)

Butter generally contains about 15-20% water.


On September 19, 2007 at 06:05 PM, mrs_hittle (guest) said...
Subject: butter vs. margarine
Sorry for the confusion. This seems to be an issue of semantics, and i was not very clear.

The legal acceptable minimum fat content of both butter and margarine is 80%. Thus, tub margarine (often called vegetable oil spread) is not recommended for baking. From what i understand, the water content in butter is determined by the churning process-- the longer one churns the cream, the less liquid remains in the butter. Margarine, as i understand, often has water added as a fat-reducing trick. Some stick margarines do have fat contents lower than 80% (some have 60%), which is why it's important to check the label. i believe those less than 80% will be clearly labeled as such, since 80% is the minimum in order to legally call a product margarine.

That all being said, i don't use margarine, so someone with more experience using it in baking might be able to further clarify this. Thanks for pointing out my inadvertent error. :-)


On October 21, 2007 at 09:30 PM, dluttmann (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream Frosting
I made a buttercream frosting with powdered sugar, sweet butter, vanilla and salt (per recipe). Now it tastes to salty, next time I will omit the salt, but is there anyway you can fix it?


On December 31, 2007 at 09:57 AM, snowgypsy (guest) said...
Subject: baking with margarine
I've always used margarine in baking; saying it's not generally recommended is not true (most recipes tend to call for butter or margarine). That doesn't mean it's a good idea, though, simply from a health standpoint. Not that my mom knew that back when she was teaching me to cook and avoiding butter because it was supposedly bad for you and using the "better" no-cholesterol margarine. Ugh.

But the texture and taste have always come out fine. Even in some candy-making situations. And even when using cheap store brands (I know from my poor days in college). Though tubs and/or low fat sticks/spreads are always said to be a no-no since they aren't likely to get the job done.

I've never had a recipe fail me, and I'm considered quite good in my own circle. My mom's legendary! So I think I can speak with some authority on this subject. Not that it matters, since I'm abandoning margarine use due to the whole trans fat deal, anyway.

Too bad; I made a mean margarine-based faux buttercream frosting, too (even better than Mom's, which rocked). Nobody ever scraped globs of it to the side in my house; my kids sometimes eat only that part of a cake, and us grown-up kids still fight over who gets to lick the beaters. Or we did. *sigh* Makes me wonder how much better it could possibly be with eggs. And real butter, of course. ;)


On February 18, 2008 at 05:18 AM, Missouri girl (guest) said...
Subject: eggless frosting for an anonymous reader
I know the question was posted in 2006. I just ran across it today and thought I'd post the recipe I have for Fluff Frosting that sounds similar to the milk and flour version the anonymous reader asked about:

[u:99f888ca01]Fluff Frosting[/u:99f888ca01]
1c milk
1/4c flour
1tsp. vanilla
1c sugar
1/2c butter
1/2c shortening

In a small saucepan, cook flour and milk until thinck. Stir well. Cover and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, beat sugar, butter and shortening at high speed until fluffy. Add the milk mixture and vanilla. Beat until frosing is very fluffy.

On another topic-
I had a wonderful French Buttercream on a cake at a party today. I found this buttercream recipe in my search to find the same type of buttercream. From conversation with the creator of the delicious dessert, I know it had egg in it. It was so creamy and smooth and so very tasty. I hope to duplicate it for my son's birthday in a couple of months.

Thanks for the website!


On March 21, 2008 at 11:50 PM, Alissa Ann (guest) said...
Subject: Didnt like
I made this recipe and it had almost no flavor but butter, I like butter but with this I might as well have took room temperature butter and spread it on my cake.


On March 22, 2008 at 03:29 AM, MyHusbandIsAnEngineer (guest) said...
Subject: Great Site
What a wonderful site for my engineer husband! He hates it when we try to cook together, because I put in a pinch and a dash, and he is very precise when he cooks. He will love this site because the recipes actually have metric conversions! The butter cream frosting with egg yolks looks very tasty-I think I'll ask him to make it! And, while there are lots of chances to catch Salmonella from raw chickens, it is very unusual to catch it from eggs. Follow the #1 rule of food-if it stinks, don't eat it (an especially good thing to remember with fish and milk). :P


On April 10, 2008 at 02:59 AM, Guest (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream icing
Michael Chu: I tried the recipe the first time and it turned out fantastic. Perfectly creamy and not too sickly sweet. I simply did exactly as you had suggested and took my time and it turned out great ( no fancy mixer either just a cheapie hand blender). I am glad that you had checked some culinary school books about the different kinds of buttercream. It all depends on where you are. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, etc. I feel that if Spacial was so adamant about his/her recipes then perhaps he/she should have put them on there or placed a link to one.
Great recipe, and no I wouldn't try the Swiss one, real pain in the keester for my taste!!!


On May 06, 2008 at 03:12 PM, Susan (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream
With this buttercream, how long can I keep a cake (out of the fridge, that is), say in 24 degree C weather, like today is (in sunny London!). I need to car travel with it for a gathering - will it slip and slide? Help!!


On May 06, 2008 at 06:38 PM, Dilbert said...
Susan -

when it gets to 34'C, you're in trouble . . .

but 24 should be good for several hours.


On May 06, 2008 at 07:22 PM, Susan (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream
Dilbert

Thanks - it seems I may have to resort to regular buttercream frosting then, since this cake is being made on a Saturday for a Sunday event. I was hoping someone would say it could last for the following day at least.


On May 06, 2008 at 07:45 PM, Dilbert said...
uhhhhh, not sure I understood the question correctly!

the cake, at a cool temp will do fine for days.

I thought your concern was traveling in a car for 'a spell' in 24'C temp.
that is, the buttercream warming up and turning to soup.....


On May 07, 2008 at 10:25 AM, Susan (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream
Thanks Dilbert! You have answered both concerns now, so I will give it a try.


On May 12, 2008 at 09:21 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Margarine
To the person who posted in December about no longer using margarine I hope you look here still. The top quality margarines have little to no trans fats and are actually healthier then butter in many cases. It is the low quality stuff you have to watch. Bacel is especially good if it is available in your area.


On May 13, 2008 at 03:09 AM, Brit (guest) said...
Subject: YUCK YUCK YUCK!!!!!!!
THIS WAS THE WORST BUTTERCREAM I HAVE EVER MADE. IT TASTED EXTREAMLY EXTREAMLY BUTTERY. I TOO SHOULD HAVE JUST TOOK 4 STICKS OF BUTTER AND SMEARED THEM ON MY CAKE. THIS RECIPE IS NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO GOOOOOD. MY MOTHER AND I WERE BOTH GROSSED OUT. ALSO IT IS JUST AS YELLOW AS THE PICTURE SHOWN. I JUST ASSUMED IT WOULD GET LIGHTER, BUT WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE ASSUME. IF YOU LIKE BUTTER FROSTING THEN MAKE IT, BUT IF YOU WANT SWEET FROSTING LOOK ELSEWHERE. THIS IS MY FAMILY AND MY PERSONAL OPINION BUT THERE ARE SEVERAL OF US TASTING THIS MONSTROUSITY. YUCK YUCK GROSS GROSS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I JUST WASTED 4 EGG AND 4 STICKS OF BUTTER AND 1 CUP OF SUGAR AND VANILLA AND SALT :( MISTAKE DEFINETLY LEARNED. LOL YIKES!!!!


On May 13, 2008 at 06:41 AM, Winston (guest) said...
Geez, if you don't like buttercream frosting, then you shouldn't make buttercream frosting! Make a whipped cream frosting or a cream cheese frosting or a mascarpone cheese frosting - I've made this recipe before and this is what buttercream tastes like. I can understand if you don't like it because a lot of people have lost the taste for butter but you should probably avoid trying other buttercream recipes too since you'll either not like it, or it won't be real buttercream. Duh.


On May 15, 2008 at 01:20 AM, Lee (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream Variatioin
I am a dessert caterer and make buttercream exactly this way. Thought I would share a variation, which is a "bestseller" for me...To the finished swiss meringue buttercream add 1 cup lemon curd for an outstanding lemon buttercream. Enjoy!


On May 28, 2008 at 02:49 AM, Cupcaker (guest) said...
Subject: Sugar Frosting
Two local cupcake shops in town claim to use buttercream frosting. One takes rich and creamy like butter and the other tastes like straight sugar. Is the sugary frosting really buttercream? Is more sugar and less butter used in the recipe? Is that the only difference in how they are made?


On June 13, 2008 at 06:22 PM, Juliette (guest) said...
Subject: That gross supermarket icing
The yucky birthday-cake frosting that grocery stores and cheap bakeries use is called "Bettercream". It's a non-dairy kind of frosting that sits in giant buckets for weeks and doesn't need to be refrigerated because it's loaded w/preservatives. I hate that stuff!


On July 05, 2008 at 12:49 PM, Kara (guest) said...
Subject: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, THIS RECIPE!!!
First I would like to say to: On May 13, 2008 at 03:09 AM, Brit (guest) said... Subject: YUCK YUCK YUCK!!!!!!!

YOU ARE INSANE AND HAVE ZERO TASTE!

This is not the easiest recipe to make and I must admit that the first time I made it did not come together and I had to toss. On the second attempt it was a success and tasted wonderful. After making it, my husband who doesn't eat sweets, asked for a piece of cake and wanted the buttercream smeared on top. He devoured the entire thing. This is a definate winner!!!

I have a couple of questions.
1. Is there anyway to stabilized to survive east coast summer weddings in heat and hummidity of 95 degrees F?
2. I would like to use this on my wedding cakes with fondant topping but you should not refrigerate fondant covered cakes. How can this be stored once the fondant is placed?

Thanks for the recipe!


On July 06, 2008 at 12:34 AM, Chris G. (guest) said...
Subject: For Kara
I believe that this is stable at room temperature (not sure about 95 degrees F, but 70 should be all right, if you can keep it in a slightly cooler place). So you will have no problem at all with the fondant!

Actually, this frosting should not be refrigerated before being spread on a cake--no wonder people are having problems with it weeping and separating after being refrigerated!


On July 19, 2008 at 02:34 PM, Pamela (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream icing
I do like the cooked buttercream icing. It creates "ooohh"s every time I make it. However, for an easier, sweeter buttercream I use the following:
1/2 cup room temperature butter (1 stick)
1 lb confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
milk
Start with putting butter, sugar, and vanilla into a bowl. Add 1-2 Tbsp of milk to start. Begin to mix and check for consistency. Add more milk as needed to get the icing liquid enough to spread, but be careful not to add too much. Most likely you will need a total of around 3-4 Tbsp.

This recipe makes a very fast buttercream that is sweet and not too buttery. It will be a bit yellow unless you use shortening and clear vanilla which hurt the taste. No eggs and takes 2 min if your butter is room temp. Great for icing event cakes.


On July 19, 2008 at 08:51 PM, Mary (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream is grainy
Help. I think I'm doing something wrong, b/c my buttercream is a little grainy. The flavor is delicious!!!!! What am I do wrong? Am I heating the sugar H2O solution too much? When I drizzle the hot sugar solution into the egg mixture, the sugar is grainy. Please help!!!!


On July 28, 2008 at 03:39 PM, guest baker (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream eggs problems
I've tried this same recipe, but out of the Baking Illustrated book, several times. I love this recipe because it has a subtle taste and is less sweet than the Butter Frosting with confectioners sugar and butter. Every time I make this frosting I have problems with the eggs cooking while I'm heating the egg and sugar mixture over simmering water. The bottom of my bowl never touches the pan and I am constantly whisking the mixture. I've even tried heating the mixture so slowly that it takes an hour to reach 160F and my eggs still end up cooking a bit. Can anyone tell me how to avoid the problem of cooked eggs?


On August 10, 2008 at 06:57 PM, Patti (guest) said...
Subject: Peanutbutter Frosting/Icing
Hi -- great site! Does anyone know a decent buttercream style recipe for Peanutbutter Frosting? Thanks.


On August 21, 2008 at 12:04 AM, pastrychefnyc (guest) said...
Subject: Fondant Buttercream
As a pastry chef, trained at CIA by some of the best pastry chefs in the USA, a very good, ultra-smooth and simple buttercream frosting can be made by mixing equal parts of baker's fondant (not rolled fondant, the kind used on donuts and petit fours) and butter. Whip them together using a paddle and flavor with vanilla, or as desired. Works great for flowers, borders, frosting cakes, and is very stable with no weeping. It's a great "quick buttercream" when you run out and just don't have the time or patience to go through all of the steps to make more. Using fondant, there's no grittiness and isn't sickingly sweet like powdered sugar buttercreams can be. Doesn't require heating or any special steps for reusing leftovers either. Just another alternative.

Congratulations to Michael Chu! This site and recipe is referenced on Wikipedia's "Buttercream" page!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttercream#Fondant-type_buttercream


On August 24, 2008 at 08:05 AM, CC (guest) said...
Subject: What am I doing wrong? Soupy buttercream
Thanks for this recipe. I've made it once and it came out wonderful.

However, I made it again tonight, and I don't know what happened, but it became soupy like melted ice cream. It never firmed up. I ended up beating it for over an hour. I tried chilling it in a ice bath while beating it on the mixer which helped a bit, but as soon as I stop the mixer and try using the buttercream, it would go back to the melted ice cream stage.

HELP! What did I do wrong?


On August 24, 2008 at 05:35 PM, CC (guest) said...
Subject: I need HELP!!! What is wrong with my buttercream?
I tried making the buttercream again this morning following directions carefully. I'm new to baking, so I may be asking a dumb question.

This time right before the mixture came together, the butter started to separate. I tried cooling it down with ice and cold towels, when that didn't work, I stuck it in the fridge for about 10 minutes. When I pulled it out, I can see the butter had melted (little pools of melted butter throughout the mix). When I mixed the butter in, it was a little bit colder than room temp (I'd read in another site that this can help create a more stable buttercream). I didn't even mix it for that long.

It's happened to me before with another recipe. Is it because of the weather today? It's not really warm in Vancouver, but it is very humid today. Please help. I'm addicted to meringue buttercream and can't work past these little/ BIG issues. THANKS!!


On August 24, 2008 at 08:12 PM, Dilbert said...
if you saw melting / melted butter that would indicate the egg / sugar mix aka meringue was too warm as you started the butter combine with secondary questions about the temp of the butter as it went in - room temp probably not good. this recipe does not specify a temperature at the "cooled down" point - but I should think - based on butter melting in the hand - if the bowl feels warm to the touch, that's still too warm.

essentially this is an emulsion - a mix of water&fat whipped into a congealing mixture.
note that in this case the fat/butter is _physically_ beat to a pulp ie itty bitty pieces vs. the more conventional "whisk up the liquids" emulsion technique.
once an emulsion breaks, it is difficult to get it reassembled via the intuitive-but-probably-won't-work "refrigerate the batch" approach.

also possible - overbeating the eggs can result in liquid / water separating - perhaps the melted ice cream effect?


On December 05, 2008 at 06:54 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Buttercream Recipe by Michael Chu
Dear Michael,

I just wanted to "thank you" for taking the time to post this recipe, and demonstration. I look forward to trying this out, tomorrow. :)


On January 28, 2009 at 01:16 AM, JoePreservative (guest) said...
Subject: How long does buttercream last in the fridge...
Um, I don't get this.

Martha Stewart's Feb 2009 Living magazine, says buttercream will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

her formula is Butter and sifted confectioner's sugar.

Butter is fat - a preservative which I have never, ever witnessed going rancid.

Sugar is a preservative.

How can you only get 3 days out of 2 combined preservatives?

I accidentally seasoned my dansken kitchen clogs with salt, and am afraid that they will be around 3000 years from now, as salt is also a great preservative.


On January 28, 2009 at 03:29 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: How long does buttercream last in the fridge...
JoePreservative wrote:
Martha Stewart's Feb 2009 Living magazine, says buttercream will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

her formula is Butter and sifted confectioner's sugar.

If those are her only two ingredients, then I'm pretty certain it will last a lot longer than 3 days in the fridge. They're just being careful over there.

Butter can go rancid if left out especially in humid environments, but it takes quite some time in the fridge.


On February 06, 2009 at 04:21 AM, melissa (guest) said...
Subject: Best Ever
Zoot alors, I've become a Francophile! Having always been an Italian buttercream fan, now I've gone over to the frog-side. I'm still licking my fingers! Delicious and GREAT pics--made it super simple. Thank you, or I guess I should say "merci beaucoup mon ami de cuisine!"


On March 09, 2009 at 05:33 PM, nightmoon (guest) said...
Subject: cold or room temp butter?
I made this a couple of months ago and it was awesome. Thanks so much. But... I forget if i used cold butter or room temp butter. (And they say the memory is the last to go, NOT.) Anyway could someone refresh me please?

Also, my friend's favorite frosting is peanut butter. Do you all think i could substitute the butter with peanut butter? If I get daring enough to try this i will certainly let you know how it goes. Thanks again,


On March 09, 2009 at 05:43 PM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: cold or room temp butter?
nightmoon wrote:
I made this a couple of months ago and it was awesome. Thanks so much. But... I forget if i used cold butter or room temp butter. (And they say the memory is the last to go, NOT.) Anyway could someone refresh me please?

The butter should be cold, but not rock hard. If it's room temperature, it should be okay, but it shouldn't be on the verge of melting.


On March 26, 2009 at 04:59 PM, monocon (guest) said...
Subject: Dense buttercream
I made a swiss merengue buttercream the evening before last, which I felt turned out beautifully, but after refrigerating the frosted cupcakes (and then leaving them out for a few hours the next day, which I thought would soften the buttercream up again), the buttercream seemed dense and heavy. I used a recipe that called for heating sugar/egg whites, whipping 10 minutes (to cool), before whipping in the butter/vanilla. Is there another way to make swiss merengue so that it doesn't change consistancy after refrigeration? Or will at least, return to it's original consistancy? Is it possible that I overwhipped it? Thanks a bunch!


On April 14, 2009 at 04:33 AM, california cook (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream recipe
I made this icing (with the addition of melted Belgian chocolate) and had great results! It was smooth and shiny and not too buttery. For those who think it tastes like they smeared butter on their cake - are you using FRESH, UNSALTED butter? It can make a big difference.


On April 14, 2009 at 11:17 AM, icing freak (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream icing/flour recipe etc
thanku to all u guys who put ure recipes on here!! am gonna go now n try the flour recipe, just a q, do u think the flour n egg n butter milk recipe would be a good icing for a carrot cake?


On July 25, 2009 at 03:58 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Hi, I just found your wonderful site! I am new to cake decorating (i'm at the "eat, drink and sleep-cake decorating" stage), and I have a question about royal icing. I like to use royal icing because it is so stable, but since it can't touch oil, it starts to "dissolve" when placed onto the top or sides of my buttercream. How do I get around that problem?
On another subject, I love the flour/milk buttercream. It's our favorite tasting icing, however, yesterday I used it to fill and ice a 3-layer cake. This icing doesn't work well for decorating, so I just made some butter/shortening type icing to decorate with. The side decorations kept sliding down, so I salvaged it by scraping off all the flour/milk icing, and replaced it with the butter/shortening recipe. This icing doesn't taste as good but it was okay, but by the time I got to the party the oil in the icing was begining to look "wet". Please tell me what frosing people put beneath royal icing. One more question; how much buttercream should go under fondant, and do most people peel the fondant off? Is it mostly for appearance? Thank you for these answers. I have parkinsons, and can't be involved in a regular class, but its a wonderful hobby, and it helps my mind and body keep going.
Thanks again for your help.
Janice


On August 12, 2009 at 07:35 AM, Elle (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream frosting
For anyone who is going to culinary school, they should be teaching you in the French tradition. If they are, then you should be taught the French buttercream recipe in your baking and pastry course. French buttercream uses whole eggs. American versions use the whites. I am a professional chef who was taught in the French tradition but my Master Chef taught us both. I am also of French dissent and from New Orleans and buttercream there is the French recipe.


On October 11, 2009 at 10:38 AM, Pamela Pither (guest) said...
Subject: American Butter Cream - with raw flour???
I've found a super cup cake recipe I want to make today. However....
the frosting recipe says

6tbsp plain flour
440 ml milk
450g unsilted butter, softened
450g sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract.

Instructions mix together the ingredients and apply the icing.

I've never seen a recipe before that used uncooked flour.

Please can someone confirm this to be correct and safe.


On October 11, 2009 at 05:30 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Another question on icing safety
Greetings.

I have searched and searched (and searched) on the net for a [u:73a554762a]clear[/u:73a554762a] answer as to how long a buttercream - french/egg yolk type - can be kept at room temp without worry of poisoning to friends and acquaintances. As I understand, cake responds very poorly to refrigeration, causing it to dry out (whereas its molecules apparently do well with freezing and won't cause a sense of dryness upon thawing). I'm therefore not eager to put my cake in the fridge, even if I can bring it to room temp before serving. I certainly think I have experienced the dry fridge effect and it's not nice.

So... if I make and ice a cake with french buttercream in the morning and leave it at room temp all day on a non-summer's day, is this cake safe to eat in the evening? If I then put the leftovers in the fridge, how many days can I "enjoy" the dry leftovers before poisoning would occur?

Do cake shops that sell slices (or cupcakes) keep their wares in refrigerated cases???

If I wanted to be really safe and ice a cake with an icing that has no eggs, can anyone suggest a recipe that's not as sickly sweet as the powdered sugar icing (the typical one which has a pound of sugar and 1/2 pound butter)?

Thanks so much for your help!!

An American in London


On October 11, 2009 at 07:14 PM, Dilbert said...
from
http://www.baking911.com/pantry/storage_baked_goods.htm

Buttercream frosting made with butter, confectioners' sugar, flavorings and liquid are safe to eat if stored in a cool place outside of the refrigerator for 2 - 3 days. You can crumb coat the cake with buttercream the night before and then frost and decorate it the next day and serve that evening without a problem. Powdered sugar buttercream icings made with fat freeze well. Cakes frosted with Meringue-based buttercreams freeze well, too.

as a generality, uncooked eggs:
Perishable frostings and fillings - contains dairy and uncooked eggs, except for butter Refrigerator - 2 to 3 days (For best results, whipped cream and a few others must be served immediately or within a few hours)

cooked egg types are okay 2-3 days at room temp.


On October 13, 2009 at 02:09 PM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Great news - are you sure?!
Thanks so much for coming back on my query about longetivity at room temp of egg icings! That's just great news.

As I'm such a paranoid I just want to double-check -- would we count an icing as a 'cooked egg' icing wherein a hot sugar solution is poured into yolks and then this new mixture is cooked on a gentle boil for two minutes?

To that end, I've always been told to be wary of cream cheese sandwiches left out more than a couple of hours. Is this true? How about cream cheese icings? How long are they safe out for? Does the sugar in them hold back on the development of unsafe bacteria so even these icings can be left out a day or two? I need hard facts!!

Finally, I'm still open to and looking for sans-egg icing ideas that don't involve four whole cups of confectioners (powdered) sugar for a 9" cake. So I'd still be most delighted for any ideas from people.

Thanks again from the American in London.
x


On October 13, 2009 at 03:55 PM, Dilbert said...
salmonella is the major issue with uncooked eggs - it's killed at 131'F/55'C - so if you want to be super safe, you can check the temp of the cooking mix to ensure you exceed that.

when you are using processed products - like cream cheese - one could presume the processing/etc has killed any salmonella bacteria - the recommendations for non-refrigerated storage times are precautionary in that respect - however 'better safe than sorry' does apply. . . for stuff like sandwiches, altho the cream cheese itself may be 'sterile' & safe, other ingredients could carry salmonella bacteria and 'contaminate' the dairy product - which is a fertile breeding ground for bacterial.

high sugar content does retard bacterial growth - think of jams & jellies...
but diary products are an ideal growth media for bacteria - hence raw dairy anything must be properly handled and stored.


On October 19, 2009 at 11:47 PM, herwil (guest) said...
Subject: BUTTER CREAM FROSTING
On the 12 of Dctober in My Commercial Food Preparation Class our butter frosting was weeping. What we did to over come the problem was to do the icing outside the kitchen. I live in the Caribbean where it is very very hot, so i do the icing when the temperature is very ,very cool and I do not have a problem. B)


On November 08, 2009 at 12:12 PM, Pete (guest) said...
Subject: Here's a real winner and its easy to make!
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
Food color, if desired

Combine all ingredients except food color in large bowl. Beat at low speed until well mixed. Increase speed to medium; beat, scraping bowl often, until light and fluffy. Tint frosting with food color, if desired.

Enjoy


On November 25, 2009 at 09:11 PM, dan (guest) said...
Subject: butter cream
american butter cream is what you get a Gaint and so on. Its not real butter cream Real butter Cream has eggs in it. ANd yes it taste buttery thus butter cream. There is French,Swiss Italian and German. i live in Europe a long time. If your consired about raw eggs use intant pudding. I use Dr. Ockter its German less sweet. That will give you the custard. Just let it cool and thicking but not set.


On January 12, 2010 at 03:45 AM, just me (guest) said...
Subject: american buttercream recipe
I'm a BIG fan of real butter. I use it in everything I cook or bake. I made this today and it turned out as it was supposed to, however, the butter and egg flavors were just too much for me. I was looking for a less sweet buttercream (I usually just make the quickie version). I know most of you really seem to like it, but I just wanted to say it wasn't what I was looking for. I need a better balance of flavors. Not extreme sweet, but not this buttery either. Bon appetit, my quest continues....


On January 18, 2010 at 03:59 AM, Marxy (guest) said...
Subject: Yummy!
I am now a buttercream convert. I hate buttercreams made with butter and a ton of confectioner's sugar. Something about the texture and taste just grosses me out. Maybe it's the cornstarch in the confectioners sugar? Whatever it is, I can't stand them.

After making this, I will never eat that crap again! This recipe inspired me to make all sorts of buttercreams - French, Swiss, and Italian. The French recipe I found (using just egg yolks) and the American recipe given here are my favorite - they taste like creme brulee icing! The Swiss and Italian buttercreams are nice if you want really white icing. They are also bit lighter in texture so they work well for icing cupcakes 9I like to make a sort of mound). I threw a bit of cream of tartar into the meringue when I was making Italian buttercream and it was the perfect consistency/stability for piping/decorating. Thanks for the great recipe.

I've been playing with these recipes trying to make a perfect chocolate buttercream. I am not quite there yet, but I am enjoying the process :)


On January 27, 2010 at 09:07 PM, Maja H (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream Novice
This recipe is totally on par with what "America's Test Kitchen" cookbook has. I am off to make a half-batch for some cupcake frosting.

nom-nom-nom

I'm already salivating over how good it's going to be. I love your recipes!


On February 06, 2010 at 12:06 AM, Desi (guest) said...
Subject: add more eggs?
I love your buttercream-it perfectly fits my lifestyle.I personally don't mind the raw eggs(neither does my family),because I try to consume my food 60%raw, and I know that the eggs are healthy only when consumed raw-the same thing with the milk,butter...but that's another issue...
My question is: can I use 4 eggs,but cut the butter from recipe in half(4 eggs and 1/2 pound butter) or will it mess up the whole consistency?I really like to use more eggs,because it will feel less buttery and heavy,but do you think it will come up to the correct consistency with half of the butter?
Thank you in advance!I'm waiting for your response and will make the cake this weekend.


On February 06, 2010 at 01:40 PM, Dilbert said...
cutting the butter in half is pretty drastic - never tried it but I suspect the mix will be too dry to cream well.

aside from the vanilla, the liquid in the recipe comes from the egg and butter (which has about 10% water by weight)

you've probably seen many buttercream recipes with milk - if you opt to go with 50% of the butter, you may need to add a bit more liquid (I'd try the milk) which by my rough calculations would be 2-3 tablespoons. go slow on adding additional liquid - once added, if the mix is too thin, the only solution is to add more and more sugar.... [I goofed up my measurements once - wound up with enough icing for the cake and both cars . . .]


On February 07, 2010 at 12:01 AM, Desi (guest) said...
Thank you,Dilbert!I will try to add some milk-it goes in the egg mixture, right?Just before I start to add the pieces of butter?Do you think that I can add some honey instead of the sugar-is it considered a liquid, so can I opt out the milk?Thank you again!


On February 07, 2010 at 01:08 AM, Dilbert said...
>>milk

I would start creaming the butter and sugar, and as it may appear "too dry" add a bit of milk until you get the "conventional" lighten creaming result with no gritty sugar left in the mix.

>>honey
sorry, we're out on a limb here - definitely into "experiment" territory.
honey, although it does contain water - it is also a lot of sugars - that would not be my first option.

not sure that Mother Nature intended "icing" to be a health food - cake is pretty much just an excuse to spoon down a good tasting mixture of sugar and fat . . . .


On March 11, 2010 at 07:59 PM, Heather (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream
CAn I use liquid egg whites (pasteurized and in a container) to make buttercream?

thanks for any help on this!


On March 11, 2010 at 09:06 PM, Dilbert said...
>>egg whites only

worth a try - but be aware the yolk contains both fat and emulsifiers - the result may not be quite a smooth as with whole eggs.


On March 21, 2010 at 12:42 AM, weezie58 (guest) said...
Subject: Amazing buttercream
I used this to frost my daughter's wedding cake. Everyone raved about it. I baked a 6 layer 16 x 16 inch graduated square cake styled to resemble a sand castle with four corner turrets and a central tower, then used the buttercream in constructing and frosting the cake. I then flocced the cake with Nilla Wafer crumbs to resemble sand, and studded the tiers with white chocolate sea shells. I draped the towers with a pearl garland, and voila-- folks raved.
It is now my favorite icing. I am just about to make a double batch for my granddaughter's birthday cake.
Thanks for this lovely recipe!


On March 23, 2010 at 02:50 AM, an anonymous reader said...
Subject: Bringing it back!
At the request of a friend, I decided to give caramel cake a try. Or really, if you're from the area, a yellow cake with caramel-y icing. All of the recipes I found in family, church, school sponsored, etc., cookbooks didn't really seem to include an actual caramel icing like I wanted. Often they would call for a brown sugar cop out, or some concoction of condensed milk. Not necessarily bad, just every caramel cake I've tried, the icing has been too dense and oversweet. I decided to make up some caramel and try a few different methods for a caramel covering and I've gotta say that this semi-Swiss, semi-Italian I suppose, caramel buttercream Frankenstein is awesome. I don't know what the hell to call it except tasty. Plus, if/when your butter, sugar, egg whites starts to "curdle," a just warm enough caramel being drizzled in while the mixer chugs along, brings it back in a snap. I didn't use the recipe here, but folks have been following this for years and I wanted to share my experiment. Hell, who needs an excuse to make caramel anyway :)


On March 30, 2010 at 07:24 PM, Wally (guest) said...
Subject: Optimum Buttercream
When a cake is iced with a traditional French Buttercream and refrigerated, how long should you wait before serving after removing from the refrigerator? When does the optimal texture and flavor occur? Thank You


On May 16, 2010 at 07:27 PM, guestmel (guest) said...
Subject: Wowzer!
I happened upon this recipe today and decided to try it on a whim. I was raised on the yucky crisco/powdered sugar stuff and always wondered how my favorite bakery achieved their buttercream (that I could eat by the cupful! - not really, ha ha). THIS IS IT!! Yummy delicate buttery flavor, smooth as silk texture. I followed the directions to a T and it worked! Thanks so much!


On June 01, 2010 at 09:48 PM, Megan (guest) said...
Subject: OMG!!
I have to say I was a bit nervous trying this recipe. What if it didn't come together?! I didn't have a back up! I was constantly taking the temp of the eggs and when they reached 157 I stopped, I was scared they would cook. However I followed the recipe to the letter but forgot the salt on accident. I am SO glad that you included pictures because at the end it really looks like a sloppy mess! I told myself that it was ok and I had been warned. I added the rest of the butter and TA-DA!! It was perfect!! It tasted like ICE CREAM!! Oh man I got TONS of complements on it! I made a cake for the same crowd using confectioners sugar and butter but they all said it was too sweet and they were right, I hate using that AND it hardens like paste when it gets cold. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I am now a MASTER at American butter cream and I will NEVER go back to the paste like sugary confectioners stuff again!!


On June 17, 2010 at 01:36 PM, HELP (guest) said...
Subject: HELP -= It didn't come together
I tried this recipee, and I think I didn't bring it up to a high enough temperature. I don't have an "Instant read" thermometer, and only saw that once I started ... took it off the heat, trying to avoid scrambled eggs- then followed the rest, and now I have a very tasty butter soup.

My son's third birthday is in two days and I think I'll have to chuck this out and try again with something based on icing sugar - call this a failed attempt.

Any suggestions welcome.


On June 22, 2010 at 03:47 PM, First try problem (guest) said...
Subject: American Buttercream
Tried this recipe. Taste is great, but put cake in refrig after applying the icing and now the icing taste grainy. What mistake(s) might I have made?


On June 22, 2010 at 06:36 PM, Dilbert said...
sounds like the sugar did not thoroughly dissolve - that happens as you mix the sugar and eggs together - the water in the eggs is what dissolves the sugar. my guess is you may have gone through that stage a bit too fast.

you could try "superfine" sugar - it has finer crystals that dissolve more readily.


On June 23, 2010 at 01:28 PM, First Try Problem (guest) said...
Subject: American Buttercream
Thank you Dilbert for comments. I will try superfine sugar.

If I were to have guessed, I would have thought that perhaps that the butter didn't fully integrate with the other liquids and while very smooth at room temperature, micro fine butter pieces congealed to make a grainy texture once the frosting was refrigerated. Perhaps not, so I will try again with the going more slowly with the superfine sugar.

Thanks.


On June 30, 2010 at 09:36 PM, Lina (guest) said...
Subject: Missing something?
Hey, what was the salt for???


On July 01, 2010 at 02:36 AM, Michael Chu said...
Subject: Re: Missing something?
Lina wrote:
Hey, what was the salt for???

Good catch, I accidentally left it off the step-by-step, but had it in the recipe summary table. I've updated the article.


On July 19, 2010 at 01:16 AM, Farmer John (guest) said...
Subject: Raw Egg Safety
On egg safety, if you can use eggs from a local farm that has free range chickens, safe eggs are a sure thing!, we tried to make Salmonella laced eggs from our own birds and could not, but the factory eggs could produce Salmonella under the right conditions. FYI Cage Free IS NOT the same as free range.[/u]


On July 20, 2010 at 05:11 PM, Diana (guest) said...
Subject: This buttercream is delicious
I'm an amateur baker and tried this recipe just for fun....let me tell you...with a little patience this recipe is a hit! I've made it a few times (once I even refrigerated it and brought it back to room temp) and I have never have had a problem with it! I never see anyone take the buttercream off. Everyone I know has enjoyed it!


On July 22, 2010 at 04:22 AM, BakingBoules (guest) said...
I took Baking at NAIT two years ago. I have to do a wedding cake on next week and I tried your buttercream. It turned out so well I could have wept! And all my friends were shocked I pulled off French(!) buttercream with no thermometer, no stand mixer, and a roommate trying to ruin me! Thanks so much!


On August 31, 2010 at 12:37 PM, thelottles (guest) said...
Subject: buttercream went wrong
i tried to make the buttercream as posted but stupidly i added the butter to early and it melted... 8| then i tried to fix it and added more stuff and now it's not got a very buttery taste and is struggling to go stiff. can i still save it?


On January 06, 2011 at 01:13 AM, NewbMan (guest) said...
Subject: Oops...
My first try at any kind of frosting in my new mixer, and it didn't go so well...

I used the 5 quart mixing bowl and I combined everything but the butter as instructed. I whisked constantly over a pot of simmering water until the egg mixture hit 160, it took at least 5 minutes, but I wasn't really watching the clock, as the instructions didn't give a time to shoot for, so I can't be sure.

Everything seemed okay, I put the bowl in my mixer and beat with the paddle beater on high five minutes. I think this is where my trouble started...while my egg mixture did get light yellow, it got more bubbly than fluffy, and when I slowed the beater and started adding butter after the five minutes was up, the butter never combined with the egg mixture - I just ended up with whipped butter coated in sweet pastuerized egg goo.

It tasted alright, but looked quite awful - where did I go wrong? Any tips for next time?


On February 13, 2011 at 08:40 PM, janeen (guest) said...
Subject: chocolate?
I've made this recipe several times, and love it! My daughter wants a chocolate buttercream -- how would I make that variation?


On February 19, 2011 at 10:46 PM, laural (guest) said...
Subject: weeping buttercream
To all who have problems incorporating the egg mix +butter: run the bowl side under hot water for a few seconds, then mix on high for a few more minutes. If the butter is too cold it won't mix.[/u]


On March 27, 2011 at 10:25 PM, fhepner (guest) said...
Subject: no egg alternative
I apologize if this post looks weird. I'm not used to quotes....:O


thank you so much for all of the wonderful ideas you all have shared over the years on this recipe!
I was looking for a no egg alternative to my mocha buttercream recipe and the flour/milk did it!

Quote:
On July 04, 2006 at 03:46 AM, spugne said...
Subject: Confectioners Sugar Alternative
My mother's "special" cakes were the Waldorf-Astoria red chocolate cake and Nutmeg Feather Cake from a 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook. She always used what she called 12 minute frosting (also called "Poor Man's Icing) on both -- still my favorite frosting. No confectioners sugar. Easy and cheap and tasty -- and it can be flavored as you wish. It is similar to the two listed above but not quite. Great as a filling for sandwich cookies or in/on chocolate cupcakes.

Recipe:
Step One: Mix 1 cup milk with 4 Tablespoons of flour (COOK & STIR UNTIL THICK, COOL).
Step Two: Beat 16 Tablespoons of butter (unsalted) with 1 teaspoon of vanilla for four minutes.
Step Three: Slowly beat in 1 cup sugar (regular or superfine granulated) on high speed four minutes until fluffy.
Step Four: Add cooked and cooled flour mixture and beat four minutes more.


I use about 2-3 c. powdered sugar instead of granulated (I like the texture and lighter flavor better)
and mix coffee syrup and melted (cooled) chocolate of your choice for the mocha.
(I usually substitute instant coffee and baking cocoa with great success)

anyway, it turned out great.
Thanks all!
:D
[code:1:820c1a6a98][/code:1:820c1a6a98]


On November 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM, Robert Walters (guest) said...
Subject: Buttercream
Buttercream CAN CONTAIN YOLKS. The hot shot culinary grad. is WRONG!!! This is referred to as French buttercream. I don't no what school you went to , but maybe you should get your money back. :)


On May 29, 2013 at 03:15 AM, Lindsay (guest) said...
Subject: Awesome recipe
My great grandmother was from France and her recipe always contained eggs. She taught it to my grandfather, a baker, who was married to a Czech baker. Sadly I never learned how to make it before he passed away. However this recipe is remarkably close. I HATE store bought cakes because the frosting is too sweet. So glad I found this recipe!

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