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Which Buttercream?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I know this topic has probably been posted a number of times, and I've done a significant amount of research online and through my personal recipe collection, and even asked advice from my friends (which was little to no help - I've only got one friend who cooks and he's been far too busy to be a liable place to look and I don't think he bakes, either)

This weekend I'll be attempting to recreate Starbucks' (bad girl, I know) vanilla bean cupcakes for my father and stepmother for Valentines day, along with red velvet cupcakes and cream cheese frosting (which is simple enough I don't need to fret about)

But I'm a pretty A-type personality person who's obsessed with texture. And I mean obsessed. And while the Starbucks' cupcakes' cake itself lacks plenty on terms of flavor and texture, I'm fairly fond of the frosting. I'm convinced that its a meringue buttercream with a touch of lemonjuice added to counter the sweetness along with a vanilla bean instead of extract.

But I can't make up my mind as to whether or not its Swiss or Italian. It has a very smooth texture. I've had one both cold and warm. When its cold its like eating chilled, smooth butter (which ironically doesn't peeve me) and when its warm its gooey and smooth but not 'stringy' or 'sticky' just a very silken notion.

Its also very white, which makes me rule out a French buttercream.

I've yet to attempt any proper buttercream frostings (ie meringue based - I don't count American buttercream as buttercream I count it as faux or lazy buttercream but still a few thousand steps above prepacked frosting which makes me gag), having not had the time nor the kitchenspace to bake freely until now. Difficulty level doesn't irk me or deter me, if I mess up I'll just try and try until I get it right.

Edit: It's also very important that the frosting does not form a crust. It has to remain smooth when chilled.
post #2 of 5
I never had the cupcakes you mention, but "italian meringue" buttercream is extremely smooth and soft and creamy. It's also very easy, actually, if you have a stand mixer.
It's not an italian buttercream, though, and cakes, as we know them, butter cakes, are unknown here and those that they do make are usually some sort of genoise (if made in a bakery - home cakes are really dry) and rarely have buttercream in the way we think of it. But anyway, irrelevant.
I kind of would be surprised if a big chain like that would be making italian meringue buttercream, and suspect there is some sort of concoction involving emulsionates and all that, in their frosting and certainly shortening (crisco) rather than butter. I also remember years ago someone making a frosting based on a flour/milk/sugar roux (i'm trying to remember), then beating in shortening (it's white, otherwise it will be yellowish, but of course, much better). This is very fluffy and smooth (the sugar is cooked so there is no granularity, if i remember it right). Anyway, if the frosting is white, it;s not butter, but why does it have to be white anyway?
"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 5
I have used this icing several times in past years.

Milk and flour are cooked together to thicken and then cooled completely. This is then beaten to a smooth consistency and then granulated suger and room temperature butter are added along with some vanilla flavor. The mixture is then whipped to a consistency and look of whipped cream. It really resembles whipped cream when applied. Properly done there is no graininess from the sugar.

The down side to this icing is that it does not handle heat very well. It really needs to be in a room at or below 70 F and no exposure to direct sunlight.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
That sounds like a great recipe for frosting, but not quite what I'm looking for. This didn't have the consistency of whipped cream.

And the frosting only has to be white because I'm attempting to replicate it and it is white. I had thought it might be a buttercream made with shortening instead of butter given it is so white. For the purposes of arguments, would the shortening cause it to have that smooth of a consistency?
post #5 of 5
It is highly unlikely that Starbucks makes their own icing. It is most likely a commercially made product as siduri indicated above. If you are a regular at a particular Starbucks I would just ask them what brand of icing they use.

I'm not a fan of Starbucks so I'm not familiar with the product you are talking about, but it is most likely made with some various liquid vegetable oils blends as well as the solid form known as shortening, quite possibly Sweetex. Possibly some corn syrup or related product to reduce crystalization of the sugar.
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