Buttercream 101...which To Use?

Decorating By breyes Updated 15 Jul 2010 , 5:04am by calicopurr

breyes Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 4:06pm
post #1 of 13

Hi all...I am a little puzzeled with all the buttercreams that are out there icon_confused.gif ...there are sooooo many different types...Swiss, American, Italian, ones with meringue mixed in, etc. So can any one please explain to me what the difference is between all the different types. Is it taste, texture, durability, ingredients, and so on? I am looking for an icing do use on my cakes and cupcakes, but with all the different types I don't know which direction to go in. I have looked at Sugarshack's icing as well as Indydebi's buttercream icing recipes. I have a huge tub of Sweetex and would like to know if buttercream made with this as a base is considered shelf stable as opposed to one with a butter base which would have to be refrigerated. Thanks so much for all your knowledge and help!!!!

12 replies
kger Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 5:07pm
post #2 of 13

I think you need to make them and sample them and figure out for yourself which one you like the best... for taste, decorating, etc. There are some that are very heat resistant (Indydebi's) and some that are lighter and fluffier, like SMBC, but won't hold up at all once they are outside.

Yes, shortening based BCs last a few days not being refrigerated. Butter based need refrigeration.

brincess_b Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 5:28pm
post #3 of 13

A traditional bc made with butter does not need to be refridgerated. Usually called American (or British!) bc, it's sweet and crusting.

The crisco based recipes hold up better in the heat, are sweet and crusting.
(although saying that, For both of the above alter the ratios so there is less sugar and you get less crusting, they will last a fair while on the counter)

imbc and smbc are the meringue butter creams. Generally felt to be less sweet and non crusting.

All of them can be used for cake or cupcakes, but you just need to experiment and see what you like the taste of, and what you can work with best.

JaeRodriguez Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 5:58pm
post #4 of 13

AMBC doesn't need to be refrigerated. The IMBC and SMBC do need to be refrigerated.

If you go with all butter, it's going to melt a lot faster then any shortening based.
I use luvbutter's recipe from the recipe section but I sub butter for the half crisco and it's amazing!

If you want one that will stand up to heat and humidity- Indydebi's is the way to go! Love it, and you can do it half butter half crisco and it still stands up to heat very well! To make either of these chocolate I add 6-8 oz of melted (cooled) chocolate. HTH!

Can't help you with the IMBC or SMBC, I tried to make SMBC one time and didn't like it at all, but a lot of people love it!

breyes Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 7:13pm
post #5 of 13

Thanks everyone for your responses. Now let me ask this, can you flavor BC with different flavorings? I saw for some that you can use a liquid coffee creamer to get a vanilla flavor, how about lorann extracts and coffee syrups? Does the flavoring have to be clear in order to preserve the 'whiteness' of the BC if you are not going to color it or does it not matter if the flavoring is not clear? Is BC usually flavored or is the standard vanilla?

hollyml Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 8:57pm
post #6 of 13

If you are talking about American buttercream (butter and/or shortening creamed with powdered sugar, no cooking and no eggs involved) then yes, you can do all sorts of different flavors. The "standard" is to use vanilla extract and milk or water, but you can substitute juice, coffee, or any other flavorful liquid as well as using extracts other than vanilla. You can add cocoa or melted chocolate, or maple syrup...depending on exactly what you're using and how much, you may need to adjust the proportions of the other ingredients to get the taste and consistency you want.

Yes, if you want pure white BC then you need to use clear vanilla, and shortening rather than butter (which typically is just yellow enough to tint the frosting a cream/offwhite color). If you're using some other flavoring/liquid, then whatever color it is, it will tint the frosting -- berry juice will make it a bit pink or purple, for example -- so it will not be a true white, but the color will usually be quite pale, so it's not a problem to then use gel or paste food colorings to get the color you want. There is such a thing as white food coloring, though I've never tried to achieve true white that way. (I keep white gel color on hand just in case I end up wanting to lighten the shade of my colored frosting!)

kger Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 9:32pm
post #7 of 13

I'm curious how you know about Sweetex, since you're just now gathering the basics on buttercreams.

breyes Posted 14 Jul 2010 , 11:08pm
post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by kger

I'm curious how you know about Sweetex, since you're just now gathering the basics on buttercreams.

kger...last year I bought a cookbook on a whim at a local BJ's that had all fondant recipes. I decided three days before my daughter's 3rd birthday to make fondant balloon cookies on sticks (no experience with the stuff whatsoever). After that, I really got interested in fondant and found CC. I began reading about fondant and how to make cookies, ordered a bunch of fondant cookie books and came across a rolled buttercream recipe and read that I could use it as an alternative to regular fondant. One of the ingredients was Sweetex, so i searched and found it and ordered it, thinking that I would try the rolled buttercream since I had read that some people preferred it to the traditional fondant. I never got around to making it since I tried making Marshmallow fondant from scratch first which turned out to be a mess. icon_sad.gif

kger Posted 15 Jul 2010 , 1:22am
post #9 of 13

Ah... well, Sweetex is some good stuff.

CakeandDazzle Posted 15 Jul 2010 , 1:56am
post #10 of 13

I am a SMBC lover... its pretty much the only thing i use... i love how soft and light and not terribly sweet it is.... everyone loves how perfect it is with my rich cake (4 layers cake 3 filling) it is very much worth the effort.... that being said i have had one person not like it, my aunt who is a sugar addict! lmao so Indydebi's buttercream is really really good for an american bc the is very sweet, tip though, beat the crisco for like 20 minutes first.... i cant remember who gave the good advice on that bc but if you search you will find it...

breyes Posted 15 Jul 2010 , 2:50am
post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by CakeandDazzle

I am a SMBC lover... its pretty much the only thing i use... i love how soft and light and not terribly sweet it is.... everyone loves how perfect it is with my rich cake (4 layers cake 3 filling) it is very much worth the effort.

CakeandDazzle do you mind sharing your recipe with me? Is it posted in the recipes link? I love trying recipes that people have as a staple in their recipe box and use often with success.

iluvpeeks Posted 15 Jul 2010 , 4:29am
post #12 of 13

IMBC and SMBC are delicious. Very buttery tasting. I know how hot and humid its been here on Long Island, so my suggestion to you is to use Indydebi's recipe. It is really good. She uses crisco in her recipe, and I have used both. Crisco, and hi-ratio. Do beat the dickens out of it for about 15 minutes before you add anything else. Mamawrobin suggests this all the time, and she's really good at giving you tips, and advise. She puts half and half in Indydebi's buttercream, and I have used flavored coffee creamer, and it is delicious. I haven't tried Sugarshacks yet, but I will, because I am making the cakes for my new grandson's Christening in August, and I'll need a buttercream that will hold up to the heat. I hope this helps.

calicopurr Posted 15 Jul 2010 , 5:04am
post #13 of 13

I tried a SMBC once and it crusted.

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