The Great Buttercream Experiment

Decorating By dsilbern Updated 7 Nov 2009 , 6:14pm by playingwithsugar

dsilbern Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 4:45pm
post #1 of 25

I read the forums ALOT to learn from all the great CCers out there who are nice enough to share their knowledge but I don't really understand something fully until I do it myself.

Being a newbie and a fan of food science al la Alton Brown, I did a little side by side to teach myself about buttercream and took some pics. Using the buttercream recipes from CC - Vanilla Italian Meringue BC by Mary-Ann, Swiss Meringue BC by Well Dressed Cake, Buttercream Dream for the American BC by Agentcakebaker and French BC from Joe Pastry's website.


IMBC: my fav flavor wise and should be most stable of the meringue buttercreams due to the sugar syrup, doesn't crust so it's a little hard to handle for this clumsy newbie

SMBC: second fav flavor, easier to make meringue - no sugar syrup, no crusting same deal as IMBC

ABC: very sweet but sometimes that's what I want, grainy due to the powdered sugar, but easy to use for decorating (for me) since it crusts and if it's made with all shortening and no butter - it holds up well

FBC: very tasty, but rich, not as big a yield to recipe since the yolks don't whip up as much as whites, haven't tried decorating with it but Joe says it doesn't pipe well - but he likes to use it on cupcakes - after tasting, I can understand why!

24 replies
cylstrial Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 6:05pm
post #2 of 25

Great experiment!

JanH Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 6:49pm
post #3 of 25

Thanks so much, dsilbern for actually accomplishing what I've only thought about doing... icon_biggrin.gif

Having photos of the finished icings really allows one to see the textural differences between the various types. thumbs_up.gif

However, there's no way I can truly appreciate the taste/texture differences only through photos and descriptions. Especially for the FBC which has really piqued my interest.

Please send samples, at your convenience, to me for further taste testing and review. TIA


P.S. If you don't mind, I'll be adding this very useful info to my "Everything you ever wanted to know about the different meringue buttercreams" thread:

lillermom Posted 4 Sep 2009 , 10:01pm
post #4 of 25

great idea! I have been wanting to try the SMBC or IMBC for awhile but alas ABC has been specifically requested for all of my cakes thus far.

KitchenKat Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 1:34am
post #5 of 25

Thanks for this!

I'm an IMBC/SMBC girl myself icon_biggrin.gif

HeatherWantsCake Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 1:57am
post #6 of 25

Thanks for sharing this info! So far I've only made ABC and SMBC. Everyone at work (a.k.a. My Official Taste-Testers/Vultures) calls SMBC "the good icing". As in "When are you going to bring more cupcakes with the good icing?" icon_lol.gif Now I want to try IMBC!

KitchenKat Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 2:09am
post #7 of 25

When I'm lazy I make SMBC. I find IMBC a bit fiddlier...although...some people think the SMBC is fiddly and IMBC is easy.

In any case, they're both so delish! thumbs_up.gificon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 2:11am
post #8 of 25

Too funny. I've done the same thing comparing cake recipes. you end up with a lot of cake. French is my least favorite. I flat out don't lke it. So...what are you gonna do with all that buttercream? icon_smile.gif

Criola Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 2:21am
post #9 of 25

Awesome! thank you for posting =)

CookieD-oh Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 2:33am
post #10 of 25

Stating the obvious here, but...DANG, that's a lot of butter icon_eek.gif

Thanks for the post, though! Quite helpful and informative!

dsilbern Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 3:58pm
post #11 of 25

Thanks to all for the great comments. As a newbie this was really helpful for me and I figured other newbies would like it too. Plus I learned how to post pics on the forum. Bonus! icon_biggrin.gif

JanH - as soon as I can figure out how to email edible samples, I will retire rich and happy! thumbs_up.gif

LaBellaFlor - I read on the forums (I'm such a lurker!) that buttercream can be frozen up to 3 months. My freezer has 4 bags ready to go when I feel like acakin'.

HeatherWantsCake - oh so I'm not the only one feeding my experiments to my coworkers? I've also started experimenting on my husbands mean..coworkers.

Jeff_Arnett Posted 5 Sep 2009 , 7:57pm
post #12 of 25
Originally Posted by dsilbern

FBC: very tasty, but rich, not as big a yield to recipe since the yolks don't whip up as much as whites, haven't tried decorating with it but Joe says it doesn't pipe well - but he likes to use it on cupcakes - after tasting, I can understand why!

The French Buttercream, or Egg Yolk Buttercream, makes an excellent filling for your can easily add liqueurs, such as Kahlua, Grand mariner, etc., as well as fruit or chocolate to make delicious fillings!

I don't do lots of meringue isn't the market where I live, but my wife loves it, so if I make a cake for home, I use the yolks to make the fillings and the whites for the icing.

ninatat Posted 6 Sep 2009 , 12:10am
post #13 of 25

hi all but does the abc j peg show butter, i thought it said no butter or did i miss something thanks i tried to look the imbc bc but say's it's not there can you direct me thanks again

Darth_Aerdna Posted 6 Sep 2009 , 1:25am
post #14 of 25

Thank you for sharing your experiment!
I have wanted to do this myself for a while.

You have inspired me to do my own taste tests soon!

adree313 Posted 6 Sep 2009 , 5:44pm
post #15 of 25

thanks so much for this! it's good to have all this information in one grouping. very thoughtful icon_smile.gif

(oh, and btw... has anyone else noticed that when you put your mouse (cursor) over one of the abbreviations (IMBC, FMBC, etc) a little box pops up and shows you what the abbreviation means? awesome! great for the newbies wondering what "so-and-so" means!)

adree313 Posted 6 Sep 2009 , 5:45pm
post #16 of 25

(sorry! not FMBC, SMBC!)

dsilbern Posted 6 Sep 2009 , 6:57pm
post #17 of 25

Jeff - love the idea of using the French Buttercream for filling. Thank you very much ![/quote]

ninatat Posted 6 Sep 2009 , 11:20pm
post #18 of 25

hmmm never saw that before cool now i'm going to be moving my curser all over the pages lol

luvmysmoother Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 3:47pm
post #19 of 25

Awesome experiment - thanks for the tip. A lot of people strongly believe IMBC and SMBC are worth the extra effort but I think good ol ABC is so easy, decent tasting, and easy to decorate with I am hesitant to try it - I might try IMBC now though...I also love feeding my experiments to coworkers - I think it's the only reason for a cakester to have a day jobicon_smile.gif

whatsittoya Posted 7 Sep 2009 , 4:07pm
post #20 of 25

Great experiment! Thanks for the time and effort you put into it. Personally I am strictly an ABC gal. Tried the others, just can't the same effects I want. all the 30 years I've made my ABC, never once has it been grainy or greasy for that matter.

Thanks again!

HeatherWantsCake Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 11:38pm
post #21 of 25

Your experiment inspired me to try IMBC. I followed Mary Ann's recipe exactly and frosted cupcakes. I put them in the fridge overnight and served them after they'd been at room temperature for about two hours. I found the IMBC very rich - you could really taste the butter - and kind of heavy and firm. Did I do something wrong, or is that just how it turns out?

dsilbern Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 4:12pm
post #22 of 25

I finally used the Italian and Swiss buttercreams that were in the freezer. OMG I almost freaked when I tried to whip up the Italian and it looked so gross in the mixing bowl. But I switched to the whisk attachment and let er rip - after a bit it whipped up really nice. Swiss whipped up fine right away with the paddle attachment.

This was for a group called Phoenix for their anniversary party. Red velvet cake with lemon curd filling.

Buttercreams tasted just as they did when I made them - extended freezing did not alter the taste or consistency.

I guss this concludes the experiment on account of all the buttercream having been eaten!

ceshell Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 5:03pm
post #23 of 25

Neat coloring of the MBC's!! Very cool. Look at how smooth your icing is thumbs_up.gif

Tee-Y Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 5:50pm
post #24 of 25

I love the way you merged colours on this cake -lovely.

playingwithsugar Posted 7 Nov 2009 , 6:14pm
post #25 of 25

SMBC/IMBC can be frozen for longer than 3 months, if you wrap it enough. It has to be air-tight, so I twice-wrap it in some PressNSeal freezer wrap, then into a Tupperware-type of container. Last year I made some in May that was still good in December.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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