Why Crisco In "butter"cream

Decorating By bethmck Updated 19 Mar 2008 , 8:26pm by ZAKIA6

bethmck Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 2:31pm
post #1 of 13

I am so new to cake decorating and am wondering why many recipes call for crisco instead of butter in buttercream and rolled buttercream? Is it cost? What are the advantages of crisco? What are the disadvantages of butter?

12 replies
indydebi Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 2:49pm
post #2 of 13

Hopefully you will get lots of responses from folks who are way more knowledgeable than me, but here's my 2 cents.

Butter has a lower melting point than shortening, so crisco-based icing holds up better in warm weather. Crisco icing tends to be whiter than icing made with butter (logically), although you can add things to it to whiten it up. I believe crisco crusts better than butter based icings, making it a little better for making roses ..... butter uses, would you confirm if this is correct or not for me?

When I started making cakes over 25 years ago, a friend gave me a recipe and said, "This is wedding cake icing." I swear to god I never even knew there was any other way to make icing. I thought this was the ONLY icing ever used on wedding cakes. I used to tell people, "There is no butter in buttercream" and I really believed it!! icon_eek.gif

There was a thread on this topic and I don't know if it was one that disappeared or not, but a CC'er explained very well the evolution of using shortening in icing instead of butter. JanH, anything in your library on this one?

HerBoudoir Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 5:26pm
post #3 of 13

Debi did a pretty good job of explaining it.

Crisco costs about a quarter of what butter costs, which factors for a lot of bakeries trying to keep the costs down.

I know in baking, Crisco will make a flakier pie crust than all butter. Additionally, you can cream more air into Crisco when making a cake, helping it rise more than an all-butter cake.

But frankly...nothing tastes better than butter IMHO - I only use Crisco for the "buttercream" I make for a Wilton class I'm taking. In baking, I only use butter or canola oil.

BROOKSIE007 Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 8:24pm
post #4 of 13

I agree with both replys. I use crisco because butter melts really fast.

The crisco holds up better and has a better texture. It crust really great so you can smooth it. You can buy a butter flavoring from wilton if anyone request it. Just use it instead of the vanilla. I still add a little of the vanilla. It is your preference. You can get a pure white icing clor with crico that you cant with butter.
thumbs_up.gif hope this helps!

FromScratch Posted 18 Mar 2008 , 8:34pm
post #5 of 13

I am on the other side of the fence.. I only use butter and don't care for all crisco buttercreams. I don't like buttercreams made with powdered sugar at all really.. no matter if you use butter or crisco/high-ratio shortening. I use SMBC because it doesn't have the grit that powdered sugar based icings have and it isn't so sickly sweet. This is my personal preference.. eveyone has a different personal preference and it doesn't make one right and one wrong.

JanH Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 4:55am
post #6 of 13

Indydebi, you pretty much nailed it. icon_smile.gif

Traditionally butter was used in b/c. However as the art progessed, it was realized that by using real butter the icing did not hold up and delicate decorating could not be acieved.

Replacing the butter with shortening results in a more stable b/c for decorating.

(And hi-ratio shortening has even more emulsifiers, etc. than Crisco.)

A previous post, "How come people call recipes with no butter bc?" has been lost....


brittanydear Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 5:03am
post #7 of 13

I only use butter for butter cream. To me, the taste is so incredible with real butter, and so artificial/empty/greasy/heavy tasting with crisco. Also, crisco is horrible for you, so another reason to avoid it. I use fondant and royal icing for more delicate designs and have no problems. I do understand why people would use crisco, but for me personally, I can taste a big difference.

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 6:53am
post #8 of 13

i for one like shortening for the frosting because using butter makes it... well... too buttery. I use butter/margarine for cakes because i can hardly taste the butter in them. makes sense? i guess am not a huge fun of butter unless it's on a toast.

akgirl10 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 7:06am
post #9 of 13

I guess I fall right in the middle, I make buttercream with half shortening, half butter. I like the flavor butter gives, but shortening makes a frosting that is easier to work with. I haven't tried the SMBC yet, it's on my list of things to do...

leah_s Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 11:03am
post #10 of 13

And I prefer a meringue based bc with high ratio shortening. It's white, light and fluffy and uber easy to smooth.

See, we each have our own preference!!

FromScratch Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 12:42pm
post #11 of 13

Leahs.. that's a great option to make a nice, non-gritty snow white frosting.. I think I might have to get some high-ratio and experiment for those brides who want a true white frosting. While *I* don't care for shortening.. it doesn't mean that I can't use it to make a customer happy.

HerBoudoir Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 2:26pm
post #12 of 13

I think that's ultimately why I *don't* like Crisco or high ratio....in buttercream, there is that weird tongue coating thing going on, plus there's just the "ew" factor for me.

I have cookbooks spanning about 6 decades, and just about everything in the 60's and 70's calls for veg shortening instead of butter in baking/frosting. Veg shortening in recipes starts disappearing in the 80's, and I don't think any I've bought in the last 10 years have it. Interesting how tastes change (plus instead of "general" baking books I tend to go after more complex ones now).

I do have a couple of 1980's BHG baking books that I like some of the cookie recipes - I just substitute butter for the veg shortening.

I started taking Wilton classes 2 weeks ago (I bake a great cake but can't pipe decorate for squat), and that was the first time I'd bought veg shortening in I don't know how long. I think that it's probably a lot easier to control consistency for decorating with it, although I'll experiment with American buttercream (it'll take extra liquid better than the swiss-american hybrid I usually make) as things progress and I have free time (hahahahaha!).

ZAKIA6 Posted 19 Mar 2008 , 8:26pm
post #13 of 13

leahs - your buttercream sounds interesting. another item i will have to add to my "to test" list icon_smile.gif

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