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Buttercream Icing

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I love buttercream icing on cakes. Sometimes, I'll even eat it without the cake!
But I've noticed something: In the last 20 years, or so, most of the icing on cakes made by bakeries has developed a bad taste. It's like they've added an artificial ingrediant to it that has given it an off flavor.
Has anyone else noticed this?
post #2 of 25
Most of EVERYTHING has acquired a bad taste lately, to my taste buds, because even bakeries and restaurants are buying premade stuff with artificial flavors, preservatives, and, ironically enough, flavor enhancers. The difference is noticeable. Having moved out of the states 30 years ago, i began making things i would only ever have bought when i was living there, then after a long time of doing this, on trips back i would taste the things i had missed and realized that they either had changed, or i had acquired a better palate. probably both.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #3 of 25
"Buttercream" in modern N. American bakeries is a nasty, vague word, having nothing to do with real butter--that yellow stuff that comes from cow's milk. Most "buttercream" in these types of bakeries is nothing more than a bakery fat and icing sugar, maybe some art. vanilla. Bakery fat is a whole other area, usually a white fat/margerine, hydrogenated, with good creaming properties, but little or bad taste.

Buttercream as I know it, and how I sell my cakes, is either an Italian buttercream, made with meringue and (real) butter) or French buttercream with eggyolks, hot sugar syrup, and real butter.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #4 of 25
I'm curious about this Bakery fat, since I've never seen it before. Is it basically shortening? How does it differ from shortening?

I made a buttercream with swiss meringue, tastes great but costs about 5 dollars to frost an 8 inch two layered cake.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #5 of 25
I sold my cakes at a primium because they were made with BUTTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Butter cream at many commercial bakeries is a frozen liquid, thawed and whipped. or Super Hydroginated shortening with sugar and vanillian.

Sad really that we as a nation accept that horrible horrible junk!

Demand real food!
:bounce:
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #6 of 25
I made a chocolate buttercream last week from a recipe on the C&H website. Butter, sugar, cocoa, no eggs. It was easy to make and people liked the taste (including me).

I took a Wilton course and the buttercream recipe they like is all shortening and "clear" (read artificial) vanilla instead of butter and real vanilla. It seems that cake decorators, as opposed to bakers, choose to use box cake mixes and horrid "buttercream" icing because they can make it look like, for instance, a shoe.
post #7 of 25
and why, oh why, would someone want to eat a shoe I wonder. Maybe that's why it also tastes like a shoe (not that i ever tried one)
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 25
I won't condemn the whole group because there are cake decorators that don't use box mixes and who do use good icing. If you look at www.cakecentral.com, there is a gallery of photos. Some of the cakes are stunning in looks, but hardly a mention is made of taste. I think the worst that I have seen are the baby shower cakes that are made to look like... babies. :eek:
post #9 of 25
Here are two fish, for example... beautifully done cakes, but fish cakes? :confused: It's more like art than eating, but then I suppose all food prep is.

http://www.cakecentral.com/modules/c...ssing_fish.JPG
post #10 of 25
Had to go looking for a shoe cake and found a pretty good one.



http://www.hansencakes.com/alloccasi...akes&UID=10011

Amazingly real-looking, which is what makes the baby ones so alarming. :D
post #11 of 25
Well as always, there are two sides.
The buttercream which I'll call frosting is the more popular and the easiest to sell.
To get a bakery going using all butter, and get your price for it, is not an easy task.
A lot of the disposable income is being closely watched and people will go the the inexpensive cake before the higher priced.
It's just the industry. Look at mickyD's.
It takes a long time to build a business selling a good tasting cake for $42. when they are all around for $12-15.
I hear it all the time. I buy my cakes here, but I go to Sams or the grocery for the kids cake. So many Americans don't really have a clue about upscale cakes because they have never had one.
just my opinion.
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #12 of 25
Yeah, panini, i'm sure that price is a big concern, both for the consumer and the baker. I can accept that supermarkets make their cakes with some crappy fats. I find it harder to accept that people will feed their kids crappy unhealthy fats, but that's another matter (saving the good stuff for themselves - pretty depressing). But when you get to the level of buying cakes shaped like shoes, or babies or some other horrendous thing, then you are spending lots of money, and what on earth would make them choose shape over taste?
Traditional american butter frosting as i remember it never had eggs - all the old recipes i remember from childhood were just butter and powdered sugar - maybe cream added, chocolate, etc, but I remember when I discovered french pastry and european buttercream, it was a big deal, back in the 70s - smooth, silky, less sweet, heavenly. Good old Julia Child opened our eyes back then, and there was this patisserie on newbury street in boston that had stuff with french buttercream which was a big discovery for me in high school, and i started making it myself. But you can make other kinds of frosting without being reduced to the chemistry lab! Nobody eats cake because it's good for you, but at least it doesn;t have to be toxic.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #13 of 25
Panini, I think you are right about the American palate. The box-mix advocates choose it because it is what they grew up with. The fact that it contains one of the ingredients for anti-freeze (absolutely not a food) doesn't phase them one bit.

Siduri, from what I've heard, the frosting is peeled away and only the cake underneath is eaten. I agree that real food is far better than the frankenfoods and personally wouldn't make the choice of a shoe-cake, no matter how well it matched my dress.

So... how about some great buttercream recipes? The one I got from the C&H website went over very well and had a nice consistency. I used Ghirardelli cocoa, but I still found it to be quite sweet in the end. Nice for some uses.

What about buttercream that can be made into roses and other more tame decorations?
post #14 of 25
"My" Swiss Buttercream Recipe

I've found this type of buttercream to be pretty stable even in slightly above room temperature and doesn't melt annoyingly.

300 g soft butter
120 g egg whites (about 4 large)
200 g sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbls vanilla extract

Put egg whites, sugar, and salt in a bain marie and beat until the egg mixture is about 60 degrees C. Take out of water bath and continue whisking (you'll need an electric mixer, unless you want a really good workout) until medium peaks and the mixture has cooled to around room temperature. Whisk in butter until the mixture is homogeneous and then incorporate vanilla extract.

I prefer to do this at home over the italian meringue because I'd rather not watch a pot of boiling sugar until it gets to the softball stage (this requires less fiddling with a thermoprobe).
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #15 of 25

Buttercream

I love a well made buttercream frosting(except for the guilt that comes after it) but in many bakeries I find that their buttercream frosting really just tastes like a chunk of butter creamed with granulated sugar, it's as hard as a chunk of butter and crunches when you bite into it, makes me gag. Has anyone tried a french buttercream with maple syrup reduced instead of plain syrup? I think it might make a cake taste like pancakes lol
post #16 of 25
Maybe that was royal icing - it's great for decorating but is hard and dry and tastes only of sugar. Made of eggwhites beaten with powdered sugar.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #17 of 25

Buttercream

Well it wasn't really dry and it actually tasted like salted butter.
post #18 of 25
There are many things to consider when you evaluate the retail bakeries.
We have a couple of formulations based on shelf-life, delivery, etc. We prefer Italian, but being in the South, we have to tweek everything. I can't hand a cake to someone in the shop and they put it in there 110 deg. car, transport home, maybe making a stop to pick up the kids. It's DOA.
The most popular frosting out there is called BetterCream. A Riches product. This is usually what the grocery use. It's non-dairy and mostly chemicals.
This is an everyday fight for small independent bakeries. It's dirt cheap from the large brokers and being the most popular, it's hard to compete with. There sometimes is no way out for the independant. He has to go with it. My butter, cream, prices have doubled over the last couple of years. If I did not have the customer base I would probably using the krud.
It took us approx. 6-7 years to educate the local palete to where we now have established clientele, I can pass on the increases.
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #19 of 25
M, the bakery I worked in left their buttercremes out did not freeze them but gosh darn I forgot the name of the stuff they were using. I like buttercreme but just about all the recipes I have has crisco in it and I do not like the greasy taste.

Rgds Rook
post #20 of 25
You've encountered "crusting buttercream". It's supposed to be easier to decorate with if it crusts. The Wilton recipe is just butter-flavored shortening, sugar and some imitation vanilla (or other imitation flavor, as long as the added ingredient is clear to preserve the bright white of the frosting). I won't go near the stuff and most people who do say that their clients simply peel off the pretty decoration (frosting) and eat just the cake.
post #21 of 25
I can't remember the last time I purchased a cake at a bakery. I find cakes fairly simple to make, and I enjoy doing it.
The buttercream icing I have been using is made by incorporating sugar syrup into beaten and cooked egg yolks, whipped until fluffy, and then whipping in the softned butter. Its a little tricky keeping the temperatures and texture right, but I am usually successful.
post #22 of 25
wow that nike shoe cake is some amazing work, gives nike a run for its money :D
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post #23 of 25
Free Rider, I could not get the link to Cake Central to work. Was it the one with two interlocking fish with shells and a big starfish?
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Inside me is a skinny woman trying to get out.....I usually shut the witch up with chocolate!
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post #24 of 25
I understand what you're getting at by saying this, but lots of bakers use high quality ingredients to make sculpted cakes. These cakes can be done to look good and taste good too.
post #25 of 25
Hi Momoreg,
i'm sure there are many who do make these thigns with good ingredients, and it's not their fault if the customers want them. I wasn't really directing it at the bakers, and i never saw one of those cakes over here so i don't know. I just can't understand why anyone would save on a kid's cake, and feed him a bunch of chemical stuff, when maybe they would be glad to spend it on some weird shape instead.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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