I know that there have been several links to cake disaters due to the dreaded humidity here in the south. I just had a bride consult and the mother is insisting on buttercream in July . The last cake I did in butercream in July was destroyed I swore never to bake again, any of you humidity specialist have any suggestions , receipes or five teir cake freezers????? The event is inside late day so at least I have that going for me .
I live in South Texas where the humidity is horrible and I moved here from Greenville, SC where the humidity wasn't so great, either. I've done hundreds of wedding cakes, inside and out, summer and winter, 0 - 100% humidity and have never lost a cake. I say that not to pat myself on the back, but to indicate that it IS possible to do a cake outside in the middle of the summer without having a disaster!
I use a crusting buttercream which is Crisco based - not real butter. (I hear the gasping from the wings...) This type of icing works very well for me, tastes great (in my opinion and in that of hundreds of satisfied customers), holds up and hasn't failed me yet!!
I also feel that the way a cake is constructed has a lot to do with many (not all) disasters. Icing can get so hot that it crystalizes, but even if it melts off the cake, if the cake is constructed well, and is sitting level, it shouldn't go anywhere! Think about it... if a cake is stacked without icing, will it collapse? It isn't the icing holding it up, it's the support system within the cake.
The icing that I use is a version of a Wilton recipe... it's been updated and changed since Crisco changed their recipe, but this is what I use, if you want to try something different.
beat: 2/3 cup water and 1/4 cup meringue powder until soft peaks form. (The meringue powder helps the icing not separate which it has a tendency to do - particularly in the heat and humidity.)
Then add: 1 Tablespoon each of vanilla, butter and almond flavorings (can use other flavors)
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
3/4 tsp salt
2 sticks crisco
4 lbs powdered sugar
Blend until smooth. You can add water or powdered sugar to change the consistency for ease of use.
Anyway - I don't know what type of disaster you had ... it may not have had anything to do with the icing or construction, but hopefully things will work out this time!
The disaster I had was using wiltons all crisco recipe with CK high ratio I made the icing stiff as it was a basketweave design. Mid transport the icing slid off two seperate sides. I was heart broke thank god near the venue was a Michaels store that sold premade icing. Without it I would have dissapointed a bride for sure. I finished the entire design on the two sides right before they let the guest into the ballroom. The only thing I could contribute the disater to was heat and extreme humidity. I am in the Charlotte NC area. I just dread July Weddings I do not have a freezer or fridge that can hold large teirs.
I'm not gasping that you don't use butter in your recipe. We prefer to. It's a matter of preference and what your friends and family will eat.
One question, though: Is using Crisco the definition of "crusting buttercream"? Because our real butter recipe crusts.
Paul (& Peter)
I have found that many of my grandmothers , aunts and good old southern cooks can not tell the difference in the butter flavoring that I add and using real butter. My real butter recipe crust as well. My definition of crusting is the dang stuff gets a hard crust while still having a silky smooth texture underneath. In my area if you say crusting they automatically think of royal I can not tell you how many people mess that one up
"The disaster I had was using wiltons all crisco recipe with CK high ratio I made the icing stiff as it was a basketweave design. Mid transport the icing slid off two seperate sides. I was heart broke thank god near the venue was a Michaels store that sold premade icing."
Tomay - I've discovered that the stiffer the icing you use when icing your cakes, the more tendency it has to fall off. It's like there's not enough moisture to adhere it to the cake. It may not have been 100% of the reason, but I noticed it often enough to make a change in how we did things at the shop! I too, don't have room to refrigerate large cakes, but this hasn't seemed to hurt.
From Paul, "One question, though: Is using Crisco the definition of "crusting buttercream"? Because our real butter recipe crusts."
Paul & Peter - No. Absolutely not. A crusting buttercream is just that... a buttercream icing that crusts. The funny thing is that most people who use a crisco based icing, still call it buttercream, although there isn't any butter in it! I just don't think it would sound good to ask our customers if they'd like some "criscocream" or "shorteningcream"!! I think when I asked Tomay about "crusting buttercream" I was really asking if it was a "crusting" icing, rather than a non-crusting - with emphasis on the crusting part. Did I explain what I meant, o.k.? I didn't mean to confuse anyone! I've read some of my own posts and been confused -- sorry.
So, would that mean a non-crusting would be like SMBC? If so, then I got your point.
Paul (& Peter)
yes non crusting buttercream is like SMBC that stays soft to the touch no matter how long you wait.