What's the difference?

Baking By cadgurl07 Updated 17 May 2010 , 1:25pm by all4cake

cadgurl07 Posted 4 May 2010 , 1:48pm
post #1 of 32

What's the difference between a French buttercream and the regular buttercream with butter and shortening? And if anyone has a French buttercream recipe they'd like to share that they have had success with. It would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!

31 replies
sweetiesbykim Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:07pm
post #2 of 32

A French BC is cooked, and the American BC is the powdered sugar mixed with butter/shortening. I use SMBC, but I've seen lots of French BC recipes online -just google for them icon_smile.gif

all4cake Posted 4 May 2010 , 2:22pm
post #3 of 32

French buttercream uses egg yolks, butter, granulated sugar, and flavoring....it can be made using the same method as for IMBC or SMBC (I've done it both ways with success).

There is a frosting (debate still carries on over it being the AUTHENTIC red velvet cake frosting) some call french buttercream... aka Mary Kay frosting, flour frosting, pudding frosting...and about ten thousand other names, that is made by cooking milk and flour until thickened, allowing to cool...beating the hell out of it with granulated sugar, then incorporating a combination of margerine/butter/shortening, and flavoring..........this is awesome to fill cupcakes with!

the other, like sweetiesbykim stated is made altogether differently.

oooooooooooooh, I completely forgot about the one that is made like American buttercream(with shortening/butter, powdered sugar) where either whole eggs or just yolks are added...UNCOOKED(UGH)...to the mixture....geeeeeeeez...reckon they're tryin' to call that french buttercream?

cadgurl07 Posted 6 May 2010 , 11:55am
post #4 of 32

Thank you! When I googled it I got two different kinds....but none with yolks. The one I would have to cook flour and whipping cream...the other was with all egg whites, sugar, and butter. Being that I found more than one I'll have to talk it over with my friend, for whom I'm doing the cake for. Thank you for all the information and clarification. icon_smile.gif

all4cake Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:14pm
post #5 of 32

The one made with whites and granulated sugar can be either swiss meringue buttercream or italian meringue buttercream....french is made with just yolks (can also be made with whole eggs too) but with the same process as the previous two.

http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/1425/French-Butter-Cream130180.shtml (for starters)


http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-challenge/french-buttercream-recipe/reviews/index.html (scroll to chef kelly's comments)

http://www.pastrysampler.com/Questions_and_Answers/buttercream.htm (just a bit more for ya)

all4cake Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:33pm
post #6 of 32


with yolks....

cadgurl07 Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:44pm
post #7 of 32

Great thanks! Lots of useful information in there.

Would I be able to use the swiss meringue or the french buttercream to make roses and small flowers? Is there one that's better for that?

I asked what kind she wanted and she really didn't know(meringue base or the egg base)...she just wanted french buttercream. Not sure if she knows what french buttercream is.

all4cake Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:57pm
post #8 of 32

It can be decorated with, IMO, more so than with the flour based one....although that one can be decorated with too....with both, one needs to be careful of hot/warm hands...use a couple of bags so that you can switch out if one starts to get too warm....

I found it works as well as smbc or imbc when it comes to icing and decorating...this one, I would definitely recommend refrigerating...not because of stability of the decorated piece but because of the yolks...(like the others though, it is best served at room temp)

melmar02 Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:04pm
post #9 of 32

I asked what kind she wanted and she really didn't know(meringue base or the egg base)...she just wanted french buttercream. Not sure if she knows what french buttercream is.

Sorry to hijack -
My friends have done this... They see something on Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes or a Challenge and they want it. They don't know what it is, but because a celebrity chef used it, they have to have it. I'm starting to think these cake shows are giving just enough information to the masses to get them in trouble! icon_lol.gif
Back to the original topic - how does the flavor of French Buttercream compare to American or SMBC?


all4cake Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:13pm
post #10 of 32

The french buttercream made with yolks is incredibly rich (like the difference between ice cream and ice milk but not exactly...they're both good...just one has more depth to it)...fbc and smbc/imbc are all silky smooth and luscious. American buttercream is thick, sweet and well it's delicious too...easiest to decorate with...less temperamental...most shelf stable.

melmar02, you made a good point...

OP when your friend mentioned she wanted fbc had she watched AOC? They call what they use fbc but it's actually more like smbc/imbc...

cadgurl07 Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:17pm
post #11 of 32

I would definitely recommend refrigerating...not because of stability of the decorated piece but because of the yolks...(

Would it be ok if decorated saturday morning and left out until 1pm on saturday? It's an 18" x 18" sheet cake. Being I'm just doing this as a favor for a friend...I really don't have the room in the fridge for that.


My friends have done this... They see something on cake boss, Ace of Cakes or a Challenge and they want it. They don't know what it is, but because a celebrity chef used it, they have to have it.

I this this was more of I heard this icing goes better with the cake but has never had it. She doesn't watch those cake shows.

all4cake Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:34pm
post #12 of 32

It'll be fine for several hours in an A/Ced enviroment...treat it as you would any other item with yolks....

It has been said that it can not be cooked to a high enough temperature without scrambling it...that's not true...

I cook egg based frostings, mousses, other...using the same technique for swiss meringue buttercream...stir the sugar and egg together well...place bowl with sugar/egg mixture over a pot of water...bring water to a simmer while stirring mixture, making sure to keep sides and bottom scraped...it takes a bit longer but I gain the confidence to serve it without the fear of someone getting sick from uncooked/undercooked egg products ...(I use a candy thermometer and have gone as high as 175 with the mixture... which also produces a firmer frosting...just make sure to WATCH IT CONSTANTLY...can't be sliding to the side to sip on coffee or quickly going to the fridge...)

or, just tell her she can't have it....lol

all4cake Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:36pm
post #13 of 32

what cake are you making that is best with fbc?

cadgurl07 Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:44pm
post #14 of 32

I'll have to see about getting a thermometer before next month.
It's a red velvet cake. I've only done a cream cheese frosting with a red velvet so I really have no idea.
I just left a msg for her on FB, so hopefully she'll get that soon and we'll get it all figured out so I know which one I'm doing.
Thanks again for all your help.

all4cake Posted 6 May 2010 , 1:48pm
post #15 of 32

Red Velvet? She is probably referring to the flour based one then...(see my first post)

some say cream cheese others say the flour based one...

I say...it's all good!

http://www.grouprecipes.com/36843/waldorf-astoria-red-velvet-cake.html (read the comments too) thumbs_up.gif
(some even swear by white mountain or 7 minute frosting ...ugh on this cake if you ask me)

cadgurl07 Posted 6 May 2010 , 2:03pm
post #16 of 32

Yes...in the msg I sent her I explained the meringue, the american BC, french BC, and the other flour one. I explained what you had told me so she had all the information to make her decision on what she wants. Being I only use the american BC it doesn't really matter which one she wants, plus I like to expand my recipe book. icon_smile.gif

cadgurl07 Posted 7 May 2010 , 1:36pm
post #17 of 32

Well she is a huge frosting fan so she said that whichever will go best with the red velvet cake, to do that one.

Which out of all mentioned in this thread, in your opinion, would go best? I've never used anything but cream cheese with red velvet so I really don't know. I also need to be able to make flowers, roses, and do writing with it. There are no other decor or borders with this icing.

Thank you for all your help!

all4cake Posted 7 May 2010 , 1:43pm
post #18 of 32

Without a doubt, it can be done in the meringue buttercreams...all of it.

There is a cream cheese meringe buttercream recipe floating about somewhere that had gotten RAVE reviews...I'll have to look.

Folk around here swear by cream cheese on Red Velvet.

I have no preference...I truly love it all...I'm no help there, sorry.

Would you consider making the decorations with a different type of icing? one with which you're more familiar/comfortable ...

cadgurl07 Posted 7 May 2010 , 1:56pm
post #19 of 32

Alright good to know.
I definately won't be doing all of the decor in creamcheese. I tried that before and it was a disaster...way too soft.
Yes I could do the decor in something different, as long as they go/taste good together.

all4cake Posted 7 May 2010 , 1:57pm
post #20 of 32

This isn't the one I'd seen earlier but it's a start...


This might be the one...


all4cake Posted 7 May 2010 , 1:59pm
post #21 of 32

I think I'm going to try that! I've got some strawberry layers in the f reeeeeeeee zer...screaming to be dressed!

cadgurl07 Posted 7 May 2010 , 2:10pm
post #22 of 32

That one looks really good. Thank you. I might do a test of that one next weekend when I do red velvet cupcakes for a co worker.

Yum...yes the strawberry and the cream cheese meringue sound delish! icon_smile.gif

all4cake Posted 7 May 2010 , 2:17pm
post #23 of 32

As soon as the load is done (dishwasher), I'll try it out. What else can I put it on?LOL I got a feeling, that one is going to be DANGEROUS!

I'll post when I'm done...

cadgurl07 Posted 7 May 2010 , 2:24pm
post #24 of 32

Oh but the danergous ones are the best kind. icon_biggrin.gifLooking forward to the "after" post.

all4cake Posted 7 May 2010 , 2:27pm
post #25 of 32
Originally Posted by cadgurl07

Oh but the danergous ones are the best kind. icon_biggrin.gif
Looking forward to the "after" post.

LOL! I knoooooooooooow....my back fat is shaking with fear(or excitement)LOL!

cadgurl07 Posted 7 May 2010 , 7:30pm
post #26 of 32

haha....I'm sure it's excitement. icon_smile.gif

all4cake Posted 7 May 2010 , 8:38pm
post #27 of 32

Okay. Cut up 3 1/2 cups butter into 1 tblsp chunks (don't have to be exactly 1 tblsp chunks). I used 1 cup of whites, 2 cups of sugar combined in the mixer bowl and stirring constantly while the bowl rested over a pot of water, cooked to approximately 160 (over 150, not quite to 160). Removed from heat and beaten on 8 on the KA until stiff. Then, added 2 tablespoons vanilla...beat until well combined while scraping bowl. One chunk at a time, added 1/2 the butter. Then, just pulling off chunks at a time, added all of an 8 ounce block of cream cheese...scraped bowl periodically...followed by the remaining butter chunks, again, one at a time. Beat long time more...like a few more minutes.

I used the wire beater through the entire process.

If it goes sloppy on you, chill it for a bit then continue beating.

If I were to make it again, I may consider adding a bit more sugar.

It's rich, creamy, and incredibly delicious! I forgot to take the layers out...so they're thawing now. I will post images after I get them iced and decorated.

all4cake Posted 8 May 2010 , 5:27am
post #28 of 32

the results...it was about 85-90 degrees in my house today which had some effect (IMO) on the firmness of the icing...it seemed softer than regular smbc. I filled and crumb coated then placed the cakes (one red velvet, one strawberry...both 6"...2 layers each, split in two making 4 layers) into the freezer to firm up. removed them and final coated them. Placed remaining couple/few tablespoons of icing in decorating bag and placed in fridge and went outside for a break. Came in, removed bag from fridge and piped what roses (3, using 103) and a couple of buds and leaves.
I'm not sure (pull them back out of the deep freezer tomorrow to see what happens) how they'll do after they come to room temperature again.
Here's what I got...

cadgurl07 Posted 8 May 2010 , 5:40pm
post #29 of 32

Very nice! I will definitely be trying this next weekend. Thank you for the tips on what you did!! They will be very helpful. Hopefully it won't be that hot next weekend here. I'll be making 36 calla lilies lady bugs and leaves this weekend icon_smile.gif

all4cake Posted 8 May 2010 , 7:03pm
post #30 of 32

Good luck! I'll be looking forward to hearing your results!

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