Demystifying A Critical Buttercream Myth!

Decorating By sweetlayers Updated 18 Jul 2010 , 2:06am by sweetlayers

sweetlayers Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 6:21pm
post #1 of 29

I began decorating in 2006 and all I have ever heard is that perfectly smooth buttercream could only be achieved if you use high ratio shortening. And since I was never going to pay $100 for a bucket of fat I just assumed that my buttercream would always be filled with air bubbles even after mixing it in the KA for a very long time.

However, out of the blue and completely by accident, I overfilled by KA mixer with 8 recipes for the frosting when I usually only do 6 recipes. Much to my surprise, the buttercream came out perfectly smooth in texture and taste! I was flabbergasted. I thought I had just gotten lucky! Then just to make sure it wasnt a fluke, I did it again and again with the same airless and smooth result.

So, from my experience, I am now happy to report that the $100 bucket of high ratio shortening is not the cure for air bubbles in my frosting. The cure lies within a completely filled mixing bowl that doesnt allow air in to begin with.

Further, I discovered that airless buttercream reduces the time it takes me to frost my cakes overall!

In conclusion, if you are a beginner, dont believe the high ratio shortening myth. Just fill that mixing bowl to the rim and save that $100 plus shipping for something else.

Im SweetLayers. Reporting live from This Kitchen.
icon_biggrin.gif

28 replies
deMuralist Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 6:29pm
post #2 of 29

I saw a youtube idea that suggested this, but had not used it (I have just now ordered myself a stand mixer so it was not pertinent at the time) thanks for the more detailed reminder!

dm321 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 6:34pm
post #3 of 29

hmm... Im so intrigued Id love to give this a try, but my KA only fits a double batch anyway you must have one big mixer! Nice! icon_biggrin.gif

~diem

TracyLH Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 6:35pm
post #4 of 29

Thanks! This is great to know! I have a smaller KA and wasn't sure about keeping it, but I will now!

Ruth0209 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 6:35pm
post #5 of 29

Using high ratio shortening does not prevent you from having bubbles in your buttercream. It does, however, give you a more stable buttercream that stands up better in the heat, uses less shortening in the recipe, and has a better "mouth feel," i.e., it doesn't leave the greasy layer on the roof of your mouth like cheap shortening does.

The wonders of high ratio may not help with bubbles, but it's no myth that it's superior in many other ways to Crisco or store brand. I pay $60 for 50 pounds of Sweetex. It is not significantly more expensive than store brands, and well worth the cost.

Sharon Zambito's video on making good buttercream also tells people to fill up the mixer so you don't suck air into the buttercream. It sounds like you stumbled on that happy fact all on your own.

mamawrobin Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:08pm
post #6 of 29

I use Indydebi's recipe and always make a double batch when I make it. It doesn't completely fill my mixer but I don't have any problems with air bubbles in my buttercream. I also don't have the paddle attachment for my mixer because I own a Sunbeam and not a KA. I can get the icing as smooth as fondant even though I don't use hi ratio shortening. I use Crisco.

michel30014 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:19pm
post #7 of 29

I made this same discovery approximately a month ago on my own just like you did. Now, I make bigger batches. It always leaves some leftover icing for my hubby and the kids!lol icon_wink.gif

KoryAK Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:20pm
post #8 of 29

You don't have to overfill the mixer while you are making the buttercream - just make sure it is as full as can be while you slow paddling it before using and that will work too.

Kitagrl Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:28pm
post #9 of 29

I think Sweetex makes a better tasting icing as well, less greasy.

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:33pm
post #10 of 29

I agree with Rose. Hi-ratio shortening does not make your BC have air holes. That is how you mix it no matter what shortening you use. Hi-ratio shortening has emulsifiers that make your icing creamy, more stable, and no greasy feel in your mouth. That is why I use hi-ratio, it's worth the cost IMHO. I make double batches making sure that my paddles are covered to prevent air holes in my BC.

indydebi Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:38pm
post #11 of 29

I've never heard that myth.

mamawrobin Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:41pm
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I've never heard that myth.




I honestly don't think I have either. I will say that I prefer Crisco in the recipe that I use...and we all know which one that is thumbs_up.gif

indydebi Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 7:45pm
post #13 of 29

I started with crisco 30 years ago. have used it ever since. don't see any need to change.

If it ain't broke .... I ain't fixin' it! thumbs_up.gif

badkitty Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 8:03pm
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

I started with crisco 30 years ago. have used it ever since. don't see any need to change.

If it ain't broke .... I ain't fixin' it! thumbs_up.gif




what she said icon_biggrin.gif

Myself and many of my family members have serious issues with dairy products so icing has always been made with Crisco. I learned a long time ago to whip it alone first for 10-15 min and then add other ingred's. I was introduced to Debi's BC a couple of years ago and I haven't used anything else since. Everyone raves about it, even the ones that HATE that greasy feel. (and I'm at the top of that list) Never seem to get it with Debi's recipe!

The only time I've had bubble problems was when I made a 1/2 batch and turned the KA up too high...if I keep it low, even though the bowl isn't full, I don't have a problem. [/i]

matthewkyrankelly Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 8:06pm
post #15 of 29

Some people get different results from the two fats, but understanding them helps explain it.

The hi-ratio shortenings were designed so that the emulsifiers hold more sugar and liquid in cakes than flour - hi-ratio.

Regular shortenings and butter work about the same way.

So, what does this mean, the hi-ratio can presumably hold more sugar and liquid than regular fats while still remaining stable. The stabilizers also help them to hold up in higher temperatures.

If you like to add extra flavorings or liquids to your frosting then hi-ratio might be for you. It also might help out with the cake ball people who have problems with them being too loose. (The cake balls that is - not the women.)

Doug Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 8:08pm
post #16 of 29

this is exactly what Sharon "SugarShack" Z has said all along.

foodguy Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 8:21pm
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

Using high ratio shortening does not prevent you from having bubbles in your buttercream. It does, however, give you a more stable buttercream that stands up better in the heat, uses less shortening in the recipe, and has a better "mouth feel," i.e., it doesn't leave the greasy layer on the roof of your mouth like cheap shortening does.

The wonders of high ratio may not help with bubbles, but it's no myth that it's superior in many other ways to Crisco or store brand. It is not significantly more expensive than store brands, and well worth the cost.




I agree with Ruth0209, whole heartedly.

kimmisue2009 Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 8:37pm
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewkyrankelly

It also might help out with the cake ball people who have problems with them being too loose. (The cake balls that is - not the women.)




heehee.

leah_s Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 9:50pm
post #19 of 29

Hi-ratio has never been proposed as a way to eliminate air bubbles that I know of. It's always in the mixing, using a paddle, and filling the bowl up to the "shoulders" of the paddle.

Cakepro Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 11:28pm
post #20 of 29

I pay $31 for 50 pounds of high-ratio shortening. I don't think I'd use it either if I had to pay $100 for it.

UpAt2am Posted 16 Jul 2010 , 11:44pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakepro

I pay $31 for 50 pounds of high-ratio shortening. I don't think I'd use it either if I had to pay $100 for it.




where do you buy yours?! icon_smile.gif

Cakepro Posted 17 Jul 2010 , 12:03am
post #22 of 29

I use Penguin Elite high-ratio shortening and buy it from Dawn Foods and BakeMark, depending on how much I need. Both only sell to bakeries, though.

4realLaLa Posted 17 Jul 2010 , 12:04am
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

this is exactly what Sharon "SugarShack" Z has said all along.




Doug beat me to it. I was going to say exactly the same thing. thumbs_up.gif

leah_s Posted 17 Jul 2010 , 12:51am
post #24 of 29

Hey, CakePro, how does Penguin Elite compare to Alpine?

sweetlayers Posted 17 Jul 2010 , 1:33am
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakepro

I pay $31 for 50 pounds of high-ratio shortening. I don't think I'd use it either if I had to pay $100 for it.




Global Sugar Art's is $119 for 50 lbs. In my opinion, there is no need to buy a smaller container because I always use so much.

sweetlayers Posted 17 Jul 2010 , 2:20am
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Hi-ratio has never been proposed as a way to eliminate air bubbles that I know of. It's always in the mixing, using a paddle, and filling the bowl up to the "shoulders" of the paddle.




I was filling my bowl to the "shoulders", but it just wasn't working to my liking. I don't know why it never dawned on me to fill it all the way to the rim.

Anyways. no matter what, I am happy to have this new revelation for myself. It has made me a better decorator.

Cakepro Posted 17 Jul 2010 , 3:18am
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Hey, CakePro, how does Penguin Elite compare to Alpine?




I've never used Alpine, but I've used various other brands and Penguin is exceptional. I never noticed much difference between other brands, but absolutely love Penguin. It holds much more liquid and makes a beautiful icing. The tech guy came out and gave me a cube of it, but I wasn't expecting it to perform any differently than any of the others. I was very happily surprised and impressed with it.

I bet you could get a cube comped by your wholesaler too. My Dawn guy is exceptionally generous.

Donnabugg Posted 17 Jul 2010 , 3:24am
post #28 of 29

SweetLayers (love your name)...thanks so much for sharing this interesting observation...I will surely try it! thumbs_up.gif

sweetlayers Posted 18 Jul 2010 , 2:06am
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnabugg

SweetLayers (love your name)...thanks so much for sharing this interesting observation...I will surely try it! thumbs_up.gif




Anytime! icon_biggrin.gif

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