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Homemade Icings - Buttercreme Specifically

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

As an in-home baker, I am having no problem with the cake of my cupcakes. My problem is with the icing.  When I taste cupcakes as delicious as Georgetown Cupcakes or Sprinkles, I am left wondering WTH I am doing..wrong?

 

While everyone raves about my cupcakes, I am the true critic. I can taste too much of the butter in the buttercreme. What am I doing wrong?

 

Is it because I am not adding enough powdered sugar? And if that is the case, how do I eliminate my icing from being too sweet?

 

All recipes I find seem to be so...generic. Like, the buttercreme is not right.

 

Someone please help!

 

I appreciate any suggestions...thoughts...and even, recipes!

 

Thank you,

 

ButterSwirl

post #2 of 9

Why don't you give us your recipe and we can give suggestions. You seem to be making a plain buttercream with butter and powdered sugar.  What is it besides the butter flavor that hyou don't like, or what is it that you like about the other buttercream you like?

 

You can make buttercream with beaten eggwhites with hot sugar syrup beaten in, then soft butter beaten into that, or you can do it based on a pastry cream and then butter beaten in, and other ways as well.  The egg white cream is soft and fluffy.  Let us know what the ones you like taste like. 

"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 9
Thread Starter 

Siduri - thank you for the response!

 

I am very amateur and I am absolute that what I am using is the very very basic buttercream icing blushing.gif.  I tried the simple Wilton Buttercream icing -

Ingredients:

 

 

I really disliked this icing, as I care for something a little more rich in flavor, but not powder sugar sweet. I could actually taste the powdered sugar and on my tongue, feel the butter.

 

On the other hand, I have heard wonders about the buttercream with beaten eggwhites with hot sugar syrup beaten in, then soft butter beaten into that.  But, it seems really complicated, considering I need a thermometer - just how important is that (please excuse my ignorance)?

 

Also, do you prefer one buttercream over the other?

post #4 of 9

I have to admit i like the kind of frosting you described.  It's what frosting was when i was a kid.  Real meringue-based buttercream was a discovery i made in high school when i started to go to Boston and to the "patisserie francaise" on newbury street and then was overwhelmed by the cream puffs that were actually filled with buttercream.  Yeah, can you imagine? 

 

Anyway, it's not hard and not complicated.  I never had a sugar thermometer, always used the method where you drop some in a cup of cold water and see how thick it is. 

 

The main things to be careful of are to make sure you don;t have any grains of sugar in the syrup - so you boil the water and sugar until it dissolves swirling the pot by the handle - don;t use a spoon because some grain of sugar could remain stuck to it and then ruin the syrup (one crystal of sugar will make the saturated solution solidify in crystals instead of staying soft.)

Then once the sugar is completely dissolved you lower the heat and cover the pot tightly (so that the condensed water that accumulates on the lid slides down and washes the sides of the pan). (alternately you can wash the sides of the pot with a wet brush)

 

Then you should beat the egg whites (they say to put a pinch of cream of tartar but i rarely bother) until they form soft peaks,

 

Then you uncover the pot and raise the heat again, and boil for a few minutes until you notice the bubbles getting slightly thicker - get a large cup with ice water in it and take a clean spoon and lift a bit of the syrup and drop it in the water.  At the beginning, it will just dissolve into the water.  Then it will splat on the bottom but you won't be able to pick it up, then it ill form a thick splat on the bottom and when it's thick enough to pick up and form a soft ball in your hand, you remove from the heat, start beating the egg whites again and very very slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the meringue while beating, in a thin stream, until it;s all used up.  Continue beating till it;s room temperature, then beat in about two cups or a pound of butter into it a little at a time.  . 

 

Here are the proportions

 

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

pinch cream of tartar (i don;t find it really necessary)

up to 1 pound or 2 cups butter softened to room temperature

vanilla or whatever you like for flavoring. 

3-5 egg whites

 

I usually use less butter.  The meringue itself, without any addition, is a great light frosting, or you can add a cup of  heavy cream, whipped to peaks, into it, and you have a very stable whipped cream that has something particularly soft and pleasing to it.  If you put this in the freezer you have an ice cream that will never make crystals and will remain soft without using an ice cream freezer.  You can beat melted chocolate into it after you added the sugar and then beat till room temp and then add the butter, and you have chocolate frosting, or you can add whipped cream to the chocolate and meringue and make chocolate whipped cream that's very stable and soft, or you can change your mind, put it all in the freezer and make soft chocolate ice cream. 

 

Anyway, you asked for buttercream, so add the butter, and see how you like it.  You can add less, the meringue is very stable and nice on its own, so no need to use the whole amount if you don;t want it too buttery. Just add a little at a time and stop when it tastes like you want it to. 

 

This has a silky feel to it on the tongue, no powdered sugar feeling

 

try it, it's really not that hard. The directions are long so you can't make any mistakes. 

"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.'"
Reply
"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 #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

I can't thank you enough for the in-depth instruction.  You are right...I shouldn't mess that up. What helps is that I was inspired by the French Buttercream - came home and made some (well, attempted to).  Your directions make complete sense and already, I see my faults in the buttercream attempted tonight.

 

I will try this again tomorrow - this time, your way :)

 

Again, thank you!!

post #6 of 9

I had a good teacher - Julia Child -  (i began cooking in the late 60s) - not her in person, but her books and videos, though i did write her a letter in the late 70s and have the treasured reply.  (That was in the days of paper and pen - now it seems almost as obsolete as clay tablets  smile.gif She started from the assumption that anyone can cook, which is the best way to teach things, if combined with very good instructions.  The technique is what i remember from her book (i've so internalized it i can do it in my sleep now) and the proportions for the butter cream were from the cake bible.  I would personally use much less butter.  But the full recipe with 5 whites and a pound of butter is supposed to fill and frost a two layer cake. 

"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.'"
Reply
"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.'"
Reply
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

That is pretty impressive. I must admit, I hadn't heard of Julia Child until the movie "Julia Julia."  I was inspired by her idea that "anyone can cook."


For about 13 years, I loved the idea of baking/decorating cupcakes. However, that's just it...it was an idea.  I am so fulfilled now that I have been baking. 

 

You are helping me to come one step closer to being the best baker I can be. For that, thank you!

post #8 of 9

blushing.gif thanks, that's very nice of you to say

"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.'"
Reply
"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.'"
Reply
post #9 of 9
Omit the shortening in your original recipe and just use butter. Margarine will actually give you a better flavor. Butter flavoring will help too....add with the vanilla. Taste snd add more flavoring if you need to. I actually stumbled on a new addition.......butter flavored popcorn salt! I had no butter flavoring and decided to use the salt.......best darn icing I ever made. Everyone kept telling me it was the best. Experiment with different flavors too....almond maybe?
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