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Shortening - ???

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
A recipe for a cake I'd like to make for Easter calls for shortening in the frosting. Does this mean margerine or a Crisco type product? Help please.:blush:
post #2 of 27
They mean Crisco! :eek:
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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mezzaluna, gee, if I didn't know that, maybe I should reconsider the desert! Thanks again.
post #4 of 27
We've subbed butter for most, if not all of the shortening. In my opinion, you might as well use shortening if the other alternative is margerine.

Post the frosting recipe and let us look at it. Someone here will know. It may be that you can use butter instead.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
The cake is a white layer cake with cannoli fillig. The frosting is where I had concerns as I've never used a Crisco-type product in frosting. Here's the recipe

1 C shortening
1 C butter, softened
1 pkg (2#) confectioners sugar
3 tsp vanilla
4-5 T water

Cream shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioners sugar and vanilla. Add enough water to achieve a spreadable consistency.

Lentil, rest assured, my uncertainty was about the meaning of "shortening" not the merits of butter vs shortening. Just guessing by your comment about margerine, but would say we're probably on the same page with that one :D
post #6 of 27
Hi Bubbamom,

I would go for animal fat (Ten_derflake) rather than hydrogenated vegetable fat (like Cris_co). Still fat but just less processed.

Just a free hint/comment

Luc H.
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post #7 of 27
[QUOTE=bubbamom;214530
Lentil, rest assured, my uncertainty was about the meaning of "shortening" not the merits of butter vs shortening. Just guessing by your comment about margerine, but would say we're probably on the same page with that one :D[/QUOTE]

And that would be "Yuck"!!

Your recipe sounds good! Real good!! I don't know what to tell you about the frosting. One woman who works here swears by putting some shortening in buttercream. I would use all butter. Just a preference, I guess.
post #8 of 27

Go for all butter...

I would go for all butter,,,,

Tenderflake is lard. oh yuck...... qahtan
post #9 of 27
Gahtan,

I would like to understand the reason for your <yuck>.
Butter and lard are much more similar then hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Butter and lard are not really processed (hydrogenated) although lard is a little to make it solid. Both are animal fat having similar (natural) saturated fat ratios and both contain cholesterol. Other then the fact butter comes from a cow and lard from a pig, they are much similar.

Lard is neutral tasting and can be just what this recipe needs so that it is not overpowered by the butter note.

Luc H.
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post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your help and suggestions. I did buy a small can of Crisco but am undecided if I'll use all butter or follow the recipe. Again, a big thank you to all of you! I plan on baking this Saturday for Sunday's dinner and will let you know how it turned out.
post #11 of 27

Butter or lard...

I prefer butter for the flavour, and if you are cake making or for that matter making any thing butter does not have the taste that lard has. lard has an overpowering taste, well to me at least.
Also many people cannot digest lard......
Personally I only ever use butter in every thing

qahtan
post #12 of 27
Bubbamom,

The frosting called for in the recipe is really a buttercream with shortening substituted for some of the butter. The typical reason for using shortening is to stabilize the product for display -- as with holiday cookies or a commercial bakery's case.

You can substitute the recipe's frosting with any vanilla buttercream you like -- without radically altering the consistency or taste, except for the better. butter. better. Oh the heck with it.

If you feel a standard buttercream is too buttery, knock down the butter a bit and replace with sweet cream. Don't worry, you won't be the first. It's common practice.

You can't swap regular lard for vegetable shortening straight across in this recipe. Shortening is different from lard in this instance because it's less dense and whips better, i.e., it holds more air. However, if you did use lard, you could cut the amount by, oh, say, 1/3; and whip the lard before addding the other ingredients. It would still be heavier, though.

I'm not sure about taste but good lard has very little and, IMO, product made with lard is typically less greasy than those made with shortening. However traditional Southern cooks have an opinion on whether they prefer (brand specific) Crisco or lard. Most prefer Crisco. But whichever they choose, is the reason is always, "less greasy."

Farmer John brand lard (manteca in the markets where it's priced best), is the most common lard in Southern California. I use it for crusts, biscuits, and much frying. Farmer John is not hydrogenated.

Some commercial lards are. If you care to know, look on the label for the word "hydrogenated" or for the trans-fat content. If there is a trans-fat content, it's been hydrogenated.

There's another type of lard sold, leaf lard. It's hard to find, costs more, comes from a different part of the animal, and must be rendered before using. Once rendered, it does the same thing. It is never hydrogenated. It's one of those ingredients you use if your name is Thomas Keller. Otherwise, not so much.

Hope this helps,
BDL
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
I made the cake for Easter dinner and it turned out very good. As a reminder, it was a white layer cake with canolli filling frosted with buttercream frosting. IMO, there was too much filling and the frosting was too sweet. BUT having said that, the family really liked it. But on a day that includes too much sugar (gotta luv those whipped cream eggs and jelly beans), a small piece when a long way, even with a cup of coffee.

Thanks again for the help on the frosting (which I made according to the recipe - - equal amounts of Crisco and butter). When I make this cake again, I'll cut down on the amount of filling and use all butter.
post #14 of 27
Your comment about the frosting being too sweet brings up a good point. How would one make a frosting less sweet? Cut back on sugar and up the fat?

What was your cannoli filling? Sounds interesting.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
The cannoli filling for this cake --

16 oz cream cheese
15 oz ricotta
1 C confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond
one 16 oz jar of maraschino cherries
1 C mini chocolate chips

Combine cream cheese and ricotta, add the confectioners' sugar and extracts. Drain and chop cherries (reserve 1 tsp of the cherry juice). Stir chopped cherries, chocolate chips and cherry juice into ricotta mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hr or until spreadable.

As to how I'd make the frosting less sweet, well, that's a good question. Perhaps the answer would be to use less of the frosting, perhaps only frosting the cake top??? I realize that this wouldn't make the frosting less sweet, but you'd be removing a lot of the sweet from the overall cake. :rolleyes: Or, another option, I suppose, would be to eliminate the frosting all together and just dust the cake with powder sugar the same as I do when I make cannolis?
post #16 of 27
Thanks for the recipe! It looks delicious. Did you say the cake was a yellow one? Never mind, I'll go look in the previous posts. Thanks again.
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi lentil, no, a white layer cake (two 8" pans for 4 cake layers). Just a hint, while the cannoli filling was good, it is dense and very rich so next time I make it, I'll cut back on the filling a bit either by making about one-fourth less or just using less as filling for this cake. Enjoy.
post #18 of 27
If you use a chocolate frosting fortified with espresso and a bit of booze, you might as well call it Cassata Siciliana.

BDL
post #19 of 27
Boar D Laze states:

<<There's another type of lard sold, leaf lard. It's hard to find, costs more, comes from a different part of the animal, and must be rendered before using. Once rendered, it does the same thing. It is never hydrogenated.>>

Would you be referring to suet?

The following is slightly off-topic but I've heard some Brits state that for frying cod fish as in fish and chips, they prefer using lard as the frying medium.

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post #20 of 27
Suet is fat from beef or sometimes mutton. Leaf lard is from hogs, and is found around the area of the kidneys. Its been many years since I have used it.
post #21 of 27
Somewhere I read that suet is also found around the kidneys. Sounds to me like suet is the beef counterpart to leaf lard although it probably tastes and performs differently.

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-T

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post #22 of 27

Suet,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Suet is great for some things, steak and kidney pudding and similar steamed
puddings.
It is by no means a substitute for lard......
Suet, you are right does come from around the kidneys.

qahtan
post #23 of 27
No, I referred to leaf lard. Lard comes from swine, while suet comes from beef or mutton. Both leaf lard and suet are sourced from the loins and the area around the kidneys.

Hope this helps,
BDL
post #24 of 27
I think a little terminology is in order here:

Suet is fatty tissue found around the loins and kidneys of swine and mutton. It is actual fatty tissue which means it is not 100% fat. It contains some water, protein and mostly fat. In this form, this fatty product will turn brown when baked and cooked particularly when sugars are present (Maillard reaction) because of the presence of proteins.

Suet is slowly heated to render its fat content. The process is basically a fat extraction method. Rendered suet is called tallow and also lard. Tallow and lard are 100% fat like shortening.

Confusion: Leaf lard is occasionally used to describe suet (the fatty tissue around the loins and kidneys). Hence the confusion.

My suggestion above to use Ten_der_flake meant that since it is tallow it can be used as an alternate equivalent of hydrogenated vegetable oil Cris_co.

Luc H.
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post #25 of 27
Luc,

As far as I know suet is taken from been and mutton only. Since reading your post I've done a quick Google as well as looked at my own cookbooks and can find no reference to suet from pig or other swine. On the other hand, as far as I know, lard refers to pork fat only. Ditto on research. I'm interested in reading other sources.

BDL
post #26 of 27
I concur about my reference mistake:
suet comes from Beef and mutton. (Something got mixed up in translation... I am French Canadian.. I regret)

Regardless...
Suet is fatty tissue and Tallow is rendered fat from suet. Tallow is comparable to shortening (not suet).

Lard is from pork. Lard is rendered fat. Again comparable to vegetable shortening.
Leaf Lard is fatty tissue. not the same fat as shortening.

This seems to be a good reference: Lard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Luc H.
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post #27 of 27
People who want the "finest" lard, buy leaf lard, then render it themselves.

As Luc just said, (and I said earlier, leaf lard is not lard per se, and requires rendering before being used for baking. At the time I didn't think it worth going into, but the rendering process requires filtering, and re-solidifying as well as melting.

When I render -- something I'm pretty much not willing to do anymore, I put the fat in warm water, then simmer the water away as the fat melts -- then filter as soon as the cracklings (if any there are) turn GBD. This seems to yield the cleanest product as well as the best cracklings. Finally I solidify the rendered and purified lard in the refrigerator. It's my experience that cold lard is the best lard when it comes to baking.

The question whether lard is a shortening replacement or vice versa depends on the particular recipe. But for classic baking purposes lard is the genuine article and vegetable shortening a modern imitation. It's worth noting also, that pure lard is, according to current medical dogma, considered healthier than vegetable shortening.

I've never noticed any meaty or bacon-y taste using lard for vegetable shortening -- but I use good lard. Farmer John brand, from the plastic tub to be specific. In fact, the taste difference between vegetable shortening and lard is (a) subtle, and (b) more an absence of shortening artifact in lard, than a detectable presence. "True dat" in baking and frying. The texture difference is far larger -- big advantage lard for lightness and flakiness.

However, to return to the actual theme of the thread ... vegetable shortening is a better stabilizing agent than lard. So for long shelf-life buttercream frostings, as for holiday cookies which sit out for a couple of days, it is preferred. Where stability was not at issue, butter would be the better choice. There's a reason it's called "buttercream," y'know.

A little perspective, here:

I'm not a particularly good baker -- and certainly not a pastry chef. I make decent simple breads, pastries, cakes, pies, tarts, crusts, etc., with the emphasis on simple. There are enormous limitations to my culinary knowledge and techniques -- most enormous in the pastry area.

If I have an overall concept (and I do, I do!) in contributing to this forum, it's trying to blend classic, French techniques with a modern aesthetic of simplicity. regional and ethnic foods, and reasonably available ingredients, while answering questions directly while presenting (if possible) explanations and options. I'd like you to have enough technique to be able to understand what you're about when you're cooking, to really enjoy it, and even to be able to improvise. I'm not trying to teach recipes.
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