What Makes It Crust??

Decorating By Tomoore Updated 18 Apr 2009 , 2:30am by Tomoore

Tomoore Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:38am
post #1 of 14

Hey CC-ers,

I work with a modified version of SugarShack's buttercream recipe and its fine for now. I love that it crusts nicely, does not have a lot of air bubbles and is easier to smooth than anything I've worked with in the past. My problem is, the best tasting recipe I've worked with is the "Best Buttercream" recipe on this site. The taste reminds me sooo much of the bc used in a bakery that I worked in in high school. I would give anything to use this recipe, but it doesn't crust and I remember it being tough to work with because of the air bubbles. To solve the air bubbles issue, I am going to try to double the recipe (to follow Sharon's advice) in hopes the it will cover the top of the paddle. But, how can I tweak the recipe to make it a crusting one. What is it in crusting BC recipes that actually causes it to crust?

Thanks for your help,

13 replies
Tomoore Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 11:39am
post #2 of 14

Here's a copy of the "Best Buttercream" BC:

Light and fluffy, not too sweet.

2 1/2 Cup Crisco
4 cups confectioners sugar
3 Tbl Merengue powder
1/3 to 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 tsp flavoring ( l like French Vanilla)
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbl boiling water

Mix Crisco and confectioners sugar in one bowl. Beat 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in separate bowl. mix the rest of the ingredients until it forms stiff peaks.

Mix both parts together and beat 3 to 5 minutes longer.

Makes a nice light white icing of medium consistency.

majka_ze Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 12:13pm
post #3 of 14

The crusting is issue of fat / sugar ratio. To get your recipe to crust, you would need much more powdered sugar in it, I think.
Adding sugar will change the taste.

Do you really need crusting buttercream or can you live without it? To get non crusting buttercream to work easier (for smoothing etc.), set your cake in the fridge for 1/2 hour. It will not crust, but it firms up the icing. You can than work with it as with crusted buttercream.

I don't use crusting buttercream because it usually has to much sugar for my taste in it.

Tomoore Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 12:56pm
post #4 of 14

Maj, I think I may try your suggestions. I just remember falling in love with Sharon's recipe because of the crusting...But, I think I'll toy around with it over the next few weeks...

Monkess Posted 31 Mar 2009 , 3:04pm
post #5 of 14

I too find that the best crusting recipies are way too sweet...its a trade off I guess but I use a delicious bc now but it is soft and doesnt crust-and I can live with that. At the end of the day I want the cake to taste the best.

JanH Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 7:00am
post #6 of 14

Crusting is caused by evaporation of the top layer in American buttercream recipes. Other types of frosting will never crust, i.e., the meringue b/c's for example.

The American b/c frosting recipes that crust best are those in which the percentage of powdered sugar is much greater than that of the fat (butter, shortening or combination of both) and which don't have large amounts of liquid.


Tomoore Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 11:43am
post #7 of 14

Thanks JanH! What a great explanation!

Now, another question, how do you know when its okay to leave icings that have dairy in them at room temp and for how long. I've heard about a certain ratio of dairy to sugar making it okay. It's there a simple dummies test that can be applied to a recipe?

indydebi Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 1:12pm
post #8 of 14
Originally Posted by Tomoore

Here's a copy of the "Best Buttercream" BC:

Light and fluffy, not too sweet.

2 1/2 Cup Crisco
4 cups confectioners sugar

icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif Geesh, would you like a little sugar with your Crisco?

Holy crap! That's a lot of crisco! I use 1-1/3 cups to 2lbs (about 7 cups) of p.sugar.

I made a recipe once that had a ton of crisco like this ... it was suppose to be a diabetic recipe or something. OMG, it tasted like pure sh*t!!! If this had been my only exposure to shortening-based icing, I'd NEVER EVER use it again.

Yes, adding more sugar will change the taste ... it will taste LESS like crisco! Of course it's not too sweet ... it's all shortening. icon_eek.gif

Look, I know everyone has different tastes and no disrespect intended, but I can't believe anyone puts this much shortening on a cake and calls it icing. icon_eek.gif

Tomoore Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 2:06pm
post #9 of 14

Hmmm...Sharon's recipe (I think) is about 1:1 p.s. to shortening ratio. (Sharon, I need to look for your original recipe again. PLZ forgive me if I got this wrong). I started doing 3 cups shortening and 2 cups butter with 5 cups p.s. I wanted to try this "Best Buttercream" recipe again with half butter and half shortening. I also wanted that shortening to be hi-ratio, as I've heard it makes a drastic difference in mouthfeel. That (mouthfeel) was my only complaint with the "taste" of this bc. Of course, it kinda coated your mouth. Exchanging the shortening for butter to Sharon's recipe helped with that issue, so I'm assuming it would do the same here...? There is also a sweetened meringue component to this recipe. Thoughts?

JanH Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 10:56pm
post #10 of 14

The "Best BC" recipe is quite similar to the "Whipped Cream B/C" recipe:


I really liked the Whipped Cream b/c, but I haven't tried it since Crisco went transfat free. (Even though it was a yummy, but soft, minimally crusting b/c.)

Also, here's info on how sugar controls water activity in American b/c's and other bakery products:

Water activity & microbial growth:
(Prolonging Bakery Product Life.)


WJ Scott in 1953 first established that it was water activity, not water content that correlated with bacterial growth:


Formulating for increased shelf life:
(Decreasing water activity results in hostile environment for bacteria.)



Tomoore Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 11:03pm
post #11 of 14

You know everything (or at least where to find it). lol...Thanks Jan!

JanH Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 4:06am
post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by Tomoore

Hmmm...Sharon's recipe (I think) is about 1:1 p.s. to shortening ratio. I started doing 3 cups shortening and 2 cups butter with 5 cups p.s.

Didn't catch this before, but the ratio is 1 CUP of hi-ratio (can try substituting regular shortening, butter or a combination) to 1 POUND powdered sugar. Not 1 cup of fat to 1 CUP of powdered sugar.

Here's Sharon's recipe:



P.S. You're very welcome, Tomoore. icon_biggrin.gif

Tomoore Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 4:10am
post #13 of 14

Thanks for catching that. I meant pounds (of p.s.)

Tomoore Posted 18 Apr 2009 , 2:30am
post #14 of 14

Back to Sharon's recipe. I love the taste of this Best Buttercream, but it seperates like crazy!! I had a problem about 2 years ago with a single tier, 2 layer round cake that slid apart. It looked like I'd greased the layer with oil! With the way that this BC has been behaving the last few days, I think I found my problem. Now, I'm just pissed that I decided to make and freeze 3 batches of it. If anyone has any solutions to this, please let me know.

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