What Makes A Buttercream Crusting Or Not?

Decorating By PinkLisa Updated 18 May 2015 , 2:48pm by Charhodder

PinkLisa Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 8:23pm
post #1 of 41

I like the way you can get a crusting buttercream super smooth but I cannot figure out what makes one buttercream crust and the other not. I would guess that adding meringue powder would make it crust but Sharon Zambito's recipe doesn't add that and her's crusts. I like adding a mix of butter and shortening but want it to crust. Please help me understand this.

40 replies
Deb_ Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 8:30pm
post #2 of 41

The sugar to fat ratio is what makes a butter cream crust. The higher the sugar the better the crust.

I never use meringue powder and mine crusts fine.

I usually make mine with 3/4 butter to 1/4 hi-ratio except in the hot/humid weather then I have to up the hi-ratio and back off on the butter.

PinkLisa Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 8:42pm
post #3 of 41

Thanks Deb! That makes a lot of sense. What is your ratio of sugar to fat? Using more sugar also makes it more stable to warmer temperatures. My icing is really hard to work with if it's at all warm.I had been using 2 pounds sugar, 2 cups butter and 2 cups shortening. That's a really low sugar to fat ratio.

tiggy2 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 8:44pm
post #4 of 41

That's way too little sugar for that much fat. If you've used Sharon's recipe use the same ratio that she has in the recipe.

PinkLisa Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 8:46pm
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I just finished watching her Buttercream and Fondant DVDs and loved how her cakes turned out. I will try her recipe. Thanks.

Deb_ Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 8:59pm
post #6 of 41

Yes Lisa your sugar to fat ratio is way too low for it to crust. Try using 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of shortening to 2 lbs of powdered sugar.

I also use Sharon's recipe (or a variation of it since I use some butter) and it crusts really well. I highly recommend trying it.

Good luck!

Cristi-Tutty Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 9:11pm
post #7 of 41

hello I used for first time in Indydebis Crisco-Based Buttercream Icing and is really good, crusty and it works perfect with viva paper..the besto of all of them and the flavor is so good. I put a layer of the buttercream and then put for 20 minutes in the freezer, then use viva paper and then if I need more buttercream I put more. I hope this helps...good luck and let me know if you try...

indydebi Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 9:17pm
post #8 of 41

I use 1.3 cups of fat to 2 lbs p.sugar and it crusts great. I saw a recipe on here not too long ago that was a 1:1 ratio and it was for a non-crusting recipe. The reason I noticed and remember that is (1) the CC'er is someone I know who had been in the biz for years and (2) does INCREDIBLE work and (3) the ratio was one that was most commonly recommended on here as a 'crusting' icing, so it made me go "hmmmmm!"

Most threads I read that are having problems with icing not crusting usually end up being a 1:1 ratio.

not saying all 1:1 ratios are like that .... just sharing what I've observed. And since I tend to use so much less fat than most, I tend to notice that first thing.

Like Deb, I don't use merique powder either (didn't even know what it was used for until I came to CC).

Many factors can affect crusting (frozen or cold cake, humidity, etc), so I would suggest you start with a recipe that has less fat than the 2:1 that you're using now (i.e. start with a 1:1 ratio as suggested above) and work with it until you get the ratio that works in your environment. thumbs_up.gif

kellie0406 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 9:26pm
post #9 of 41

Deb, your buttercream recipe looks so yummy & from what I've hear it is the best! With the milk, does it have to be refrigerated? And if so, do you use something different under fondant? Wanting to try your recipe this week.

nanamama Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 9:37pm
post #10 of 41

I'm new on here. I asume by "crusting" you mean the frosting becomes somewhat "set" after a while? Is this preferable? Is that what I want before I do my decorating?

TexasSugar Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 9:48pm
post #11 of 41

The Wilton decorating recipe is 1:1 ratio and I have never have problems with it crusting, but I guess like everything else, things behave differently in other people's kitchens.

Nanamama, Crusting is where your icing sets. The top layer of the icing will crust where you can touch it with your finger and it will not stick to you. Some people like this type of icing because you can use things like a viva paper towel or parchment paper to smooth your icing.

There are people that can smooth icing using a hot knife method (sputula is heated and swipped over icing). This will work with both crusting and crusting.

Since I have only made a non crusting once, I don't know how the actual decorating differs. For most of us, we choose the icing we do for the taste or smoothing methods, or atleast that is my opinion.

tiggy2 Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 10:00pm
post #12 of 41

indydebi's recipe is very good! I never use meringue powder and it always crusts. However, instead of milk I use the hot creamer mixture that Sharon uses in her recipe and it's the creamiest BC I've ever made.

lutie Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 10:25pm
post #13 of 41

Contrary to everyone else here so far, I do use meringue powder. My recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons and I put it in right after I have creamed the butter and Crisco together (4 cups total)...then I use 4 pounds of 10X sugar...plus, I use Heavy Whipping Cream for my liquid, along with the flavorings. So far, my icing has crusted perfectly... when it is humid, I adjust the butter ratio to the Crisco, using more Crisco than butter...I live in the Ohio Valley and it is humid at any given moment.

My clients are very pleased...and I had one stop me at church yesterday, telling me that she had eaten a cake I had made for an event the previous month, and still dreams about the icing...so, it works for me!

We all have different paths, but our goal is the same... a quality product that pleases our clients.

Texas_Rose Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 10:35pm
post #14 of 41

Wilton's recipe has never crusted for me...I actually never knew what "crusting" meant until I tried Indydebi's recipe.

Someone was asking if Indydebi's recipe works under fondant...it sure does icon_biggrin.gif I use a thick crumb-coat, then stick it in the fridge until it's fairly hard, then smooth it with my hands before I put the fondant on.

PinkLisa Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 10:57pm
post #15 of 41

Thank you everyone for your responses!!!! I'm doing all the "leg work" to launch my business and want to be ready once my youngest enters Kindergarten next year. I think I'll start with the 1:1 ratio and go from there. That will be a huge change from what I've been using (and struggling with). I don't like shortening-only recipes since it really hurts the stomachs of my family and me. I also love SMBC but want a buttercream recipe in my repetoire as well.

indydebi Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 10:58pm
post #16 of 41

I don't refrigerate my icing. I learned on CC that the milk and sugar stablize each other.

tatorchip Posted 5 Oct 2009 , 11:02pm
post #17 of 41

thanks indydebi, I was also wondering if I had a cake for say Mon and one for Wed. could I make enough for both and how would I store it till icing the on Wed. TIA

kellie0406 Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 1:22am
post #18 of 41

Yes, just wondering the same, if kept in an airtight container, how long do you think this keeps? I'm thinking a couple weeks, but would rather hear it from someone who's done it.

indydebi Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 1:34am
post #19 of 41
Originally Posted by kellie0406

Yes, just wondering the same, if kept in an airtight container, how long do you think this keeps? I'm thinking a couple weeks, but would rather hear it from someone who's done it.


kellie0406 Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 1:36am
post #20 of 41

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Indydebi, you are the best!

madgeowens Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 1:44am
post #21 of 41

I made a big mistake not long ago....I crumb coated cakes and then added a nice lovely amount that would be of course under my fondant..then I refrigerated it................forgetting to smooth it first.................ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
trust me..................you don't want to chill it before smoothing it....haha I wound up slicing the bc to smooth it, it was hysterical......just when I think I know it all......whamo.........I pull a doozy....I just got dream whip powder, I aim to try Miss Debbies BC if I ever get over this pig flu

tatorchip Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 1:48am
post #22 of 41

Thanks Indydebi

madgeowens you still sick

madgeowens Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 3:17am
post #23 of 41

yes I still sick icon_sad.gif

tatorchip Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 3:19am
post #24 of 41

poooooooor baby, big hug get some sleep now

madgeowens Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 5:20am
post #25 of 41


nanamama Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 2:02pm
post #26 of 41

TexasSugar - THANK YOU! I just found this website last week and am already learning so much more than I ever knew as a "hobby" decorator. I can use all the tips I can get.

thanks! Nanamama

TexasSugar Posted 6 Oct 2009 , 7:19pm
post #27 of 41
Originally Posted by nanamama

TexasSugar - THANK YOU! I just found this website last week and am already learning so much more than I ever knew as a "hobby" decorator. I can use all the tips I can get.

thanks! Nanamama

You are welcome. icon_smile.gif

Lutie, chances are if you left the MP out of your icing it would still crust since you have one cup of fat (Crisco/Butter) to 1 pound of sugar.

I have and have not used the MP in the same recipe and have gotten the same results. The only time I notice a difference is in the summer. I had to go back to using MP in the summer to help with the heat and humidity here.

classiccake Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 5:10pm
post #28 of 41

I don't think crusting has much at all to do with ratio of fat to sugar. It is more about adding liquid to your icing.

I bet if you all check your BC recipes that crust, there is some liquid...water, milk, creamer, something in your recipe.

When I make sugar cookies, I make a mixture of PS and water that is about the consistency of unbeaten egg white, Then I dip my cookie in the icing. It dries to a firm crust in about 10 minutes.

Liquid + sugar = crust.
I use no liquid in my icing and it never crusts...which is how I like it! icon_biggrin.gif

TexasSugar Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 5:27pm
post #29 of 41

Classiccake, what is your icing recipe?

classiccake Posted 7 Oct 2009 , 5:36pm
post #30 of 41

Well. I make my icing in an 80 qt. mixer and it makes about 60 pounds of icing......

Here is the recipe I started with and I tweaked it.

2 parts powdered sugar
1 part hi ratio shortening
1 part (real) butter

You can now make this in any quantity i.e.
10 pounds powdered sugar
5 pounds shortening
5 pounds butter

2 pounds powdered sugar
1 pound shortening
1 pound butter

Cream the shortening, add the softened butter. Mix until all is smooth and creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and creamy, and add the vanilla. Do not overbeat.

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