Holes In Buttercream Icing

Decorating By Skylar Updated 22 Apr 2005 , 12:13pm by Skylar

Skylar Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 12:07am
post #1 of 36

I've been searching this website for posts on what I need, but I just can't find one. When I make my buttercream icing with 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter, I get little holes or air bubbles in it. When I took the Wilton classes, I made the class buttercream with all shortening and don't remember having this problem. What am I doing wrong? Thanks so much for the help! icon_smile.gif

35 replies
dragonwarlord1969 Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 12:18am
post #2 of 36

How long are you beating the icing? It sounds like your mixing too long.


cupcakequeen Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 12:26am
post #3 of 36

This can also happen if you are beating/whipping at too high a speed.

ilithiya Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 12:40am
post #4 of 36

Another idea: What are you using in terms of equipment? A stand mixer needs to be run at a lower speed than a hand mixer. Also, wire whisk attachments will introduce more unnecessary air than the standard beaters (hand mixers) or paddle attachment (in the case of a Kitchenaid).

Skylar Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 3:15pm
post #5 of 36

I'm using a stand Kitchenaid mixer. I set it on the lowest speed (1) and only mix long enough to get the ingredients mixed together. I use the paddle attachment when mixing. icon_confused.gif

diane Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 8:18pm
post #6 of 36

i have to say that i make both of those recipes a lot!...and i've had that happen to both of mine. it depends on how much of each ingredient you add. i disagree with the length of beating time. they tell you in the wilton classes not to beat it to long. well, my all crisco recipe i beat for sometimes 5 to 7 minutes and it comes out soo light and fluffy!! the half butter half crisco one i beat for 3 to 5 minutes and have the same effect. i don't know what kind of ingredients or how much everyone is using, but my icings always come out great!!

Mchelle Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 8:21pm
post #7 of 36

Diane, Do you get airbubbles in yours? How do you get them out?

diane Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 8:23pm
post #8 of 36

i use to get air bubbles in mine! what recipe are you using?

Mchelle Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 8:27pm
post #9 of 36

mine has

1 cup butter
1/2 cup crisco
1 tsp van
1 tbsp karo
4 cups powdered sug.

I use milk to thin it out.

diane Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 8:30pm
post #10 of 36

why are you using so much butter?...and is it real butter or imitation?...and why do you use karo?

pastrypuffgirl Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 8:42pm
post #11 of 36

hi, I know that in my classes we made a lot of different styles of buttercream. With pretty much all of them we used the same technique to get out bubbles. Put the icing in a metal bowl and, using a rubber scraper (with handle) , put the bowl directly on the stovetop flame. Put the bowl over the flame for only 5 seconds or so at a time, this will melt a little bit of the icing, but once you mix it with the scraper it is usually smoother. Melt just a little at a time (you will see the edges melting a little) and then take it off the heat and mix with the scraper. Keep doing this until you get a nice, smooth consistency. Give it a try and let me know if it helps any.

Mchelle Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 8:48pm
post #12 of 36

I actually like the way it tastes. Am I using too much butter? BTW, it's real butter. It works, but it has air bubbles in it. I have even tried the paddle on low. It still has bubbles. Any suggestions?

diane Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 8:55pm
post #13 of 36

you know i have to say that that is pretty much the same idea when you give a cake a bath. you are actually melting the butter. when i did my last wedding cake i dipped my knife in very hot water and sprinkled it over the cake and smoothed it. boy was that cake as smooth as a baby's bottom. icon_biggrin.gif

Mchelle Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 9:01pm
post #14 of 36

I'm going to try it hopefully tonight and I will let you know, thanks puffpastrygirl.

diane Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 9:05pm
post #15 of 36

mchelle, make sure your icing is of a medium to thin consistency.

Mchelle Posted 21 Mar 2005 , 9:08pm
post #16 of 36

Thank you to you to Diane. I usually, pull some to the side before thinning it down to ice. This sounds like it will work. Thanks a bunch.

Skylar Posted 22 Mar 2005 , 1:12pm
post #17 of 36

Hi! I haven't had a chance to reply until now. I'm missing out on all the advice! My recipe is 1 cup butter, 1 cup veg. shortening, 2 teaspoons flavoring, 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons meringue powder, and 2 pounds of powdered sugar-- I thin it down with milk after it's all combined.
I'll try the suggestions posted and if anyone else has any, please let me know! Thank you so much! icon_smile.gif

Skylar Posted 24 Mar 2005 , 4:19am
post #18 of 36

I tried both techniques-- the spatula dipped in hot water and putting the icing on the stove-- neither worked very well for my icing. After putting the icing on the stove to "melt" , I iced the cake. I then tried to smooth it more with the spatula dipped in the hot water. I still had the holes. I left the cake for a couple of hours and when I got back the icing had two swollen spots-one on the side and one on top. The icing had actually risen from the cake. I took a toothpick and pierced the two spots and tried to press the icing back down. I still had the holes in the buttercream. Does anyone else have any suggestions? Thanks so much! icon_sad.gif

Mchelle Posted 27 Mar 2005 , 4:10am
post #19 of 36

Okay, I tried Cali4dawn's recipe and it was as smooth as I don't know what. I did have to add water to it to thin it a little, but other than that it was perfect! No holes! YIPPEE!

Thanks much Cali4dawn, you are awesome!

sweetie Posted 27 Mar 2005 , 5:02am
post #20 of 36

When I took my Wilton classes, the instructor gave us the tip to get out air bubbles or any dried pieces of icing that can clog your tips by passing it thru a clean, unused (lol) knee-high stocking. Works pretty well.


GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 27 Mar 2005 , 10:51am
post #21 of 36
Originally Posted by diane

why are you using so much butter?...and is it real butter or imitation?...and why do you use karo?

I don't consider that much butter at all. I use 1.5 cups butter to 1 cup shortening. Some people add the karo to give it a hint of a sheen.

When I hot-knife, any air bubbles I may have go away.

I also beat my icing forever on a medium setting (h/d stand up mixer). I seriously beat it at least 10 minutes (I've beat it as much as 20). It is so light and creamy. I don't have air bubbles. But like I said, any air bubbles that may be there go away with hot-knifing.

AngelWendy Posted 28 Mar 2005 , 1:36am
post #22 of 36

I am baffled about why you're getting the air bubbles in your frosting. I have been told to try taking a toothpick or a corsage pin to pop air bubbles in fondant, so I'd try that with the buttercream bubbles, too. I'm wondering how warm the cake was when you frosted it. If it wasn't really cool that might have caused the problems. And are you using rolled buttercream or regular beaten kind that you spread on? I would recommend folding it a bit with a spatula or spoon - which is gentle overlapping movements in the frosting, after you have beaten it so you can maybe get out some air bubbles. At this point, already on the cake, though, try popping them with a pin or toothpick and then smoothing a bit more on top. You can then try the parchment paper smoothing trick after it crusts a bit to get it even more smooth.

Best wishes!

Skylar Posted 28 Mar 2005 , 2:49pm
post #23 of 36

I am using the regular beaten kind of buttercream. I let my cake cool pretty much all day before I ice it. There are so many air bubbles, it would take all day long to pop them! Thanks for the advice and I'll keep working at it!!! icon_smile.gif

ump107 Posted 30 Mar 2005 , 7:04am
post #24 of 36

I use the Wilton Butter cream recipe, and like Cali4Dawn I beat my icing forever. I use a Kitchen-aid stand mixer with the paddle. I usually let the mixer just go while I set up the turntable and level the cakes, so about 15-20 min of mixing on speed 2-4. I have had no problems with the icing having holes in it. For the hot spatula technique I place a pot on the stove with water in it over low flame and all I do is pull out the spatula dry it off. I also bake my cakes the day before I ice them so they defiantly cool off enough.

This is the recipe I use out of the Wilton book:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla
1 lb confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk

diane Posted 30 Mar 2005 , 12:02pm
post #25 of 36

that's the exact same recipe that i use, except i add one more flavoring to it.

Skylar Posted 30 Mar 2005 , 1:31pm
post #26 of 36

Maybe I should try beating it longer and at a little bit higher speed (I usually keep it on 1 on my KitchenAid). It sure can't hurt it!!! icon_smile.gif

cakeconfections Posted 30 Mar 2005 , 1:47pm
post #27 of 36
Originally Posted by Skylar

Maybe I should try beating it longer and at a little bit higher speed (I usually keep it on 1 on my KitchenAid). It sure can't hurt it!!! icon_smile.gif

Maybe beat it a little longer but no at a higher speed. Beating it at a higher speed will create more air in you icing. Do it a lower or same speed for longer.

Skylar Posted 31 Mar 2005 , 1:40pm
post #28 of 36

Thanks! I'll try it tonight. I'm going to be making a cake for my niece this weekend so I'll experiment with her icing! icon_lol.gif

Mchelle Posted 31 Mar 2005 , 1:45pm
post #29 of 36

skylar, try cali4dawn's recipe. NO HOLES! It worked perfect.

Skylar Posted 31 Mar 2005 , 2:05pm
post #30 of 36

I'll try Dawn's recipe tonight and let you know if that works for me! I sure hope it does!!!

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