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Need a quick response on this...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My cousin is turning 2 tomorrow and I've yet again been charged with his cake, something I haven't had great success in the past or at least the icing part. Finally getting to do this myself without having everyone shouting left right and center about what I should do, I'm doing a banana spiced cake with a chocolate buttercream. The cake is out and is quite nice but I've been having problems as usual with this freaking butter cream recipe from Alton Brown.

4 eggs, room temperature*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
10 ounces butter, cubed and at room temperature

In a large mixing bowl, whip the eggs until light and fluffy.
In a small saucepan bring the sugar and the corn syrup to a boil. Lubricate the inside of a metal baster with a small amount of vegetable oil and dispense it completely. Then use this to drizzle the sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with the eggs. The mixer should be on low speed until you finish drizzling in all of the sugar mixture.
Once the entire mixture of the sugar is incorporated, slowly add the butter pieces. Only add more butter when you can no longer see the previously added pieces. It will go fast at first and then slow down. Continue to whip until the mixture is creamy.

I get to the drizzling part all well enough and half way through the butter, it all turns to liquid. Now my thinking is that the mixture might be too hot and is melting the butter but I need other opinions on this. I don't have all day to separate egg whites from yolks, nor do I have all tomorrow to do it again should I fail the butter cream which is the second reason why I chose this recipe plus it was by Mr Good Eats himself figuring its simple and should be fool proof...I guess I was wrong.

Help please!
post #2 of 8
there is always the stuff in the can if it doesnt work and you can whip and flavor that.

im not proficent in icings. sorry
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm very tempted to go down that road now...on batch #4 and cooled down, still getting the same results...I'm totally stumped and broke now.
post #4 of 8
try a different recipe

All recipes – complete resource for recipes and cooking tips
Recipezaar: Where the World's Recipes Are

either site should have something for you on there
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Yes I'm going tried and true...butter, shortening, icing sugar with a little vanilla and melted 70% chocolate. It may taste a bit like cardboard but it'll at least work.
post #6 of 8
Although Alton's recipes are generally decent I do find them occasionally extremely fussy.

How big is the cake? You shouldn't have to separate more than half a dozen eggs to make a good amount of buttercream.

My basic buttercream technique (either french or italian based) relies on making a hot sugar (thread stage) and egg (yolk, white, or whole) emulsion, similar to an Italian meringue. Continue whipping this mixture until it cools down to 32 degrees celsius, tops (or your butter will melt). Once your "meringue" reaches the right temperature you can start adding the room temperature butter, a small quantity at a time, while continually whipping your eggs. At first your mixture will look lumpy and separated, but the longer you mix it and the more butter you add it will return to a smooth, emulsified state.

In my opinion Alton's recipe has too much egg compared to butter, but to each their own. I'd up the butter content to at least a pound.
"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
"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
post #7 of 8
Here is the key to making buttercream--

Throw your eggs in your stand mixer and turn them on high and let them whip away. You can whip as long as you need to with no worries.

You do not need the vegetable oil or the corn syrup for the sugar mixture. For that many eggs you need 16 oz of sugar moistened with a little bit of water--just enough to moisten it. Throw it on the stove on high and put a candy thermometer in. When it reaches 240 degrees pull it off the stove and turn your mixer down to low. SLOWLY drizzle the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl taking care not to hit the mixer's whisk with the sugar syrup--if you do it will turn into a solid mass on the end of the whisk attachment.

Once all the sugar syrup is mixed in you can return the mixer to high. Allow the mixer to whip until the mixture is completely cool to the touch. Blueicus is right--the butter amount is off--I would up it to two pounds of room temp butter. And you need to use UNSALTED--if you use salted butter your buttercream will taste unpleasantly salty. Gradually add the butter in in little chunks allowing the mixer to mix each piece in before adding the next. Make sure that the butter does not begin to melt in your hand--you need to keep it room temp. If it is too cold the buttercream will "break" and it will also "break" if it is too hot. Once all the butter is incorporated in you can begin to add your chocolate. Do so slowly and make sure your chocolate is the same temp as your buttercream. If you add too much liquid at one time your buttercream may--and most likely will--break. Once all the chocolate has been added continue to whip for a few more minutes until the ingredients are well combined and fluffy and you should be good to go to decorate your cake.

The key is keeping all your ingredients room temp.

This will make ALOT of buttercream--more than you need for a two layer cake. I just adjusted the amounts to match up with the four eggs. You can easily cut this in half and have enough for what you need.

Happy Buttercream Baking!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well the cake turned out quite well. I decided not to perfectly level the cake and keep that slight near perfectly centered dome on top. I ended up doing a simple buttercream of butter, shortening, icing sugar, milk, vanilla, and melted 70% chocolate and everyone seemed to like it. A bit more tender then a banana bread with a slight spice from the cinnamon and nutmeg and stayed moist, the buttercream held up well even in the heat and wasn't too sweet...even my uncle's girlfriend who can't eat chocolate ended up liking it. Only thing was I didn't slather enough of the buttercream on it, just a few mm worth but no biggy.

Turned out quite well, I'm adding this match up to my repertoire of "cakes that work"
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