Buttercream Texture Gritty?!?!

Decorating By cookie27 Updated 13 Apr 2011 , 11:13am by klutzy_baker

cookie27 Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 3:56pm
post #1 of 25

Hi all

I'd like to use all butter and no shortening at all. I've tried several recipes with icing/confectioner's sugar.

Does the buttercream frosting texture stays gritty no matter how long you beat?

For absolutely smooth creamy buttercream frosting, is sugar syrup the only way to go?

Thanks in advance for all help!


24 replies
leily Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 4:03pm
post #2 of 25

I would suggest making sure your icing is sifted if you are getting a gritty texture. But I am unsure of what might be causing it. Hopefully someone else will have some helpful suggestions.

Btw Welcome to Cake Central!

lsawyer Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 4:14pm
post #3 of 25

Be sure to use "cane" sugar, not "beet."
Could your butter be gritty???
Add 1 T of glucose or corn syrup per 2-pound of sugar for a smoother texture. Don't add this for the border, flowers, etc.; they'll droop.
Beat the butter and liquids together for a few minutes before adding the sugar.
Hope this helps!

Queenbaker Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 4:14pm
post #4 of 25

This is my recipe for buttercream frosting and it works out great everytime
11/2 cups icing shortening
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp merinque powder
2 Tbl flour
I have a Kitchenaid mixer and I use the whisk attachment and beat it until its light and fluffy on medium high to high for about 2 minutes
Add on medium speed
2 lbs confectioners sugar( should be sifted if lumpy)
1/3 to 1/4 cup water
1 tsp clear vanilla( for pure white frosting)
Using the paddle attachment on this part. Beat until smooth. Can be stored covered indefinately in refrigerator. Just rebeat at room temp to restore the right consistency.

pyseas Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 4:26pm
post #5 of 25

I made a batch of gritty buttercream the first time today. I have no idea what caused it.

I used melted chocolate squares, butter and pure cane powered sugar.

Same recipe I always use. Thank goodness I'm using it on a treasure chest cake, it should add to the effect. icon_lol.gif

cookie27 Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 4:47pm
post #6 of 25

I have a kitchen aid though still a bit confused on how to use it, speed wise with different attachment!

Thanks all for responding!

Hi Leily - I do sift the icing sugar.

Hi Isawer - The butter is from a baking supply store, Irish butter, salted. Could the salted butter be one of the reasons?

Hi Queenbaker - I'm not keen on shortening, but I appreciate your sharing of the recipe. I might try that for decoration flowers!

Most people around here like the type of buttercream that has texture like cream or soften butter lightly sweetened.....I know it might sound icky to some people eating soften butter! In fact, most like plain cakes without frosting. I miss those light spongy birthday cakes with decorated creamy frosting we ate when we were little, like 30 years ago!

I try to eat healthy but for desserts, I'd like to eat the old fashion cakes made with real butter and full fat milk etc. I guess I'll have to make them myself, who knows what they put in those store bought cakes!


lsawyer Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 4:58pm
post #7 of 25

I don't think salted butter would make a difference, but maybe??? I use 1/3 salted butter, 1/3 unsalted, and 1/3 Sweetex.
FYI: unsalted has a higher melting point (about 10 degrees?)

bellsnbows Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 5:14pm
post #8 of 25

Once I was working on a cake really late at night and while making a new batch of icing, I fell asleep. I accidently beat my icing 10 minutes instead of 4! It was the grittiest icing ever. I had no idea that could cause this but it did. I don't know if that could be causing it, but just thought I'd let you know. Hope you find a solution soon! Good luck!

hillmn Posted 3 Jun 2007 , 5:21pm
post #9 of 25

Have you tried IMBC (Italian Meringue Butter Cream)? I have never tried it but it does not have shortening. I think it is lighter and creamier than regular buttercream. I am going to try it for my fathers day cake.

cookie27 Posted 4 Jun 2007 , 4:06pm
post #10 of 25

Hillmn - I've heard about the italian meringue buttercream. I've checked out the recipe, it looks complicated! I guess I will try to make that sometime soon.


Cakery Posted 7 Jun 2007 , 11:51am
post #11 of 25

Just something to throw in here, but in doing cake decorating for over 29 years.....I have found many times that the companies will change their mixture of the powdered sugar. Many then have a more corse or gritty feel to it and this will make your frosting have the gritty feel as well and it doesn't matter if you sift it or not. The brand I had been using back a couple years ago did this and I could tell from the look of the bag that the color was dull in the powdered sugar. Mixed it up and my buttercream was more gritty. I later found out that they had cut back on the amount of sugar and have added more corn starch to the recipe. If you are using a different brand of powdered sugar than you normaly do, then you may want to try another brand of powdered sugar and see if that doesn't help your problem of it being gritty.

frindmi Posted 7 Jun 2007 , 12:14pm
post #12 of 25

My understanding is that if you make a buttercream with powder sugar, no matter what, it will sort of have that gritty feeling. Some people, though, do like that texture since that's what they are used to.

Like someone else said, Italian, French or Swiss buttercream are your best bet. They do seem complicated but if you have a kitchen aid and a good digital thermometer it should work fine. With Italian meringue buttercream the sugar crystals dissolve in the water (so no grittiness there), French buttercream is similar, you just use egg yolks instead of egg whites and sometimes corn syrup instead of the water and in Swiss meringue buttercream you beat the egg whites with sugar over some simmering water until you reach a certain temperature and then you take them off the heat and add the butter. The results with any of these three buttercreams are heavenly.

Hope you find the recipe you like the best.


zoraya Posted 7 Jun 2007 , 12:23pm
post #13 of 25

You can try Duffs Meringue BC. Its all butter and seems easier than IMBC. I made it (Duffs) and it was too buttery for me but not difficult to make and tasted awesome to me when I mixed it 50/50 w/ regular BC.

ericablondegirl Posted 7 Jun 2007 , 12:33pm
post #14 of 25

When I took the Wilton decorating courses, my instructor told us that if you use confectioners sugar that does not say "pure cane sugar" (Domino, C&H, etc.) your BC will be gritty. I have only used pure cane sugar powdered sugar or bakers sugar and have never had gritty BC. Worth a try.

cookie27 Posted 7 Jun 2007 , 3:43pm
post #15 of 25

Hi all

Thanks for your response and sharing of info!

There are only those few brands of icing/confectinoner's sugar and they don't state 'cane sugar' or other wise.

I gather that if I should want absolutely cream like texture, the only sure way is to do the meringue type of buttercream.

This may sound stupid, but I'll have to ask anyway......... icon_redface.gif
I purchased a Taylor Calssic Candy-Deep Fry Thermometer recently. It's 12" long. Is this the standard one (Candy Thermometer) that everyone uses when they cook their syrup? (I did not expect it to be this big!)
Do I just hold the black rubber tip end and touch the other end into the syrup without touching the bottom of the pan (as per the instructions), holding it and wait till it registers 240F?
Any tips to make this less clumsy for me?
I've not used it before, is the black rubber tip cool touch all the way, or should I be prepare and use a oven mit to hold this rubber tip while dipping it into the syrup and waiting?

I'll need also to know if I can just use meringue powder only instead of egg whites. I'd really like to use the powdered stuff instead of real egg whites. I read some other threads here and they say, egg white powder and meringue powder is not the same. Anyone have info?


lapazlady Posted 7 Jun 2007 , 4:02pm
post #16 of 25

I've had this same thing happen, with no explaination. Make a hundred batches and have zero problems and then it raises it's ugly head. Try adding a teaspoon of glycerin to 4-6 cups of icing, this should help. LOL

frindmi Posted 8 Jun 2007 , 12:40pm
post #17 of 25

I'm not familiar with the thermometer you were talking about. The one I use is digital and it has a way of attaching it to the pot. You can set it up to beep when it reaches 240. It really makes it easier.

About the meringue powder, no, that's not the same. Are you worried about the whites not cooking enough and possible salmonella problems? You could use pasteurized egg whites instead or powdered egg whites that you reconstitute with water but meringue powder has other stuff added to it.

Hope this helped.


CarolAnn Posted 8 Jun 2007 , 1:28pm
post #18 of 25

I only use the Wal Mart brand of powdered sugar which is beet sugar. I do sift, but that's to get rid of lumps. My bc is 1/2 Crisco and 1/2 butter (salted or unsalted) or all Crisco. When I use butter I cream that mixture for several minutes, like 5-6, until there are no butter lumps then start adding my sugar. After I've added all the sugar I mix for 2 min on medium, scrape the bowl down and mix on high for 5-6 min. Then I do the rub test to check my texture. I take a small amount of icing and rub between my index finger and thumb. If there's no grit it's done, if there is ANY grit I mix another few minutes and check again. I've been known mix for up to 10-12 minutes at times. That's one thing nice about my KA, I can set it mixing and walk away. I've never had a grit problem since I started using this method. I also always stir my icing with a big spoon before using to get rid of excess air, AND I always use a big pinch of popcorn salt for every single batch I make to cut the bite of the sugar.

I don't see any diference between beet and cane sugar.

cambo Posted 8 Jun 2007 , 1:54pm
post #19 of 25

I also use a similar method to CarolAnn's as far as how long I beat my BC. I use a 1/2 shortening - 1/2 margarine recipe, but I only use Dominos brand sugar. I think the WalMart brand tastes like burned marshmallows and when I've used it, have noticed a difference in texture....but whatever works for each of us! I only use the paddle attachment (not the wisk) to cut down on air bubbles in the icing. Just as CarolAnn stated, I blend the shortening, butter, and liquid flavorings until they are VERY creamy before adding the sugar....then I add the softened butter last and beat for at least 8-10 minutes....sometimes longer! It produces a nice, smooth and fluffy BC!

Wiltonlady Posted 8 Jun 2007 , 1:55pm
post #20 of 25

I've noticed that ever since they changed the CRISCO formula, my bc has been very gritty, no matter what kind of powdered sugar I use and it doesn't matter how long I beat it.

LittleBigMomma Posted 8 Jun 2007 , 1:59pm
post #21 of 25
Originally Posted by frindmi

I'm not familiar with the thermometer you were talking about. The one I use is digital and it has a way of attaching it to the pot. You can set it up to beep when it reaches 240. It really makes it easier.

About the , no, that's not the same. Are you worried about the whites not cooking enough and possible salmonella problems? You could use pasteurized egg whites instead or powdered egg whites that you reconstitute with water but has other stuff added to it.

Hope this helped.


I've seen some really great IMBC recipes but I won't even consider them because of raw egg whites. I understand that some versions are cooked/tempered. However, some are not cooked at all. I don't do raw eggs of any kind. Years ago, I made homeade ice cream with raw eggs and I ate over easy fried eggs. Now days, I am terrified of salmonella. Am I being too paranoid?

CarolAnn Posted 9 Jun 2007 , 4:20am
post #22 of 25

Cambo, that's wierd about the WM sugar. I've never noticed anything like that. I also use the paddle for my bc.

I keep reading about people having problems with the no trans fat Crisco but I've never noticed a difference.

cookie27 Posted 9 Jun 2007 , 8:09am
post #23 of 25

Hi frindmi - I bought the Candy/deep fry Themometer at Amazon. I've seen the one you described on amazon.....wow, that's so convenient to be able to set it up to beep! icon_surprised.gif Might order one of those!

CarolAnn, Cambo - I never thought of beating the buttercream/icing sugar for 10-12 mins long!
I don't think I'd try with Crisco at all, it just my personal taste I feel that crisco has this slippery texture in the my mouth.
I'll use all butter because I love frosting on cake and I'm always the first one to grab the corner pieces of frosted cakes with all the extra frosting! Thanks.


ahagirls Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 6:08am
post #24 of 25

Maybe the humidity inside your home has something to do with it?

klutzy_baker Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 11:13am
post #25 of 25

I know you mentioned that IMBC looked pretty complicated, but perhaps you might like to try SMBC?

The difference is that instead of cooking the sugar to 240 degrees (and needing a candy thermometer) you mix the sugar and egg whites into a bowl over a simmering pot of water (or double boiler) and stir until the mixture is hot and the sugar is dissolved (I feel it and see if the mixture doesn't have any grit to it). To be safe, you can use pasteurized egg whites.

SMBC has a nice texture, it's not quite as light as IMBC, but it's FAR smoother and lighter than buttercream.

Quote by @%username% on %date%