Too-Sweet Buttercream

Baking By Crazyforcupcakes Updated 11 Jan 2011 , 1:16pm by MissCakeCrazy

Crazyforcupcakes Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:00pm
post #1 of 25

Today I read a review of a new restaurant in the newspaper, and it praised their cupcakes for having "an elegant low-sugar buttercream." How is it possible to use less sugar? Wouldn't the buttercream be too soft without sugar to bind it? My buttercream tastes too sweet to me, but I can't figure out a way to make it less sweet and still be able to pipe it. I am a (very) amateur baker, and hoped someone with more experience can explain to me how to make a lower sugar buttercream.

24 replies
JanH Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:58pm
post #2 of 25

There are different types of buttercream with varying degrees of sweetness.

American b/c's are perceived to be pretty sweet while the meringue b/c's (SMBC, IMBC) are perceived to be less sweet. The cooked (flour based) frostings are also less sweet.

You can experiment among the different varieties until you find something you like. icon_smile.gif

(And of course, not every recipe in every category is a sure fire winner... And in the American b/c category, the use of hi-ratio shortening in place of an AP shortening such as Crisco does make a difference in creaminess and mouth feel).

Everything you ever wanted to know about the meringue buttercreams:

Mock Bettercreme and variations:

Everything you need to know to make, decorate and assemble tiered/stacked/layer cakes:

Above super thread has popular CC recipes for crusting American b/c's, several types of fondant and doctored cake mix (WASC and other flavor variations) - and so much more!


Crazyforcupcakes Posted 17 Dec 2010 , 10:24pm
post #3 of 25

Thanks so much, JanH for all your hard work finding those links for me! I have tried the cooked flour frosting, and although time-consuming, it is delicious. So maybe for really special occasions, I'll use that, and stick with my usual sweet buttercream otherwise.

icer101 Posted 17 Dec 2010 , 10:59pm
post #4 of 25

Hi, i am pretty sure that they may be using smbc or italiam imbc ,

debster Posted 17 Dec 2010 , 11:17pm
post #5 of 25

I add some salt in mine to cut down on the sweetness, try that. About 1/2 tsp for a double batch. Which is 4 C shortening to 4 lbs powder sugar.

indydebi Posted 18 Dec 2010 , 12:32am
post #6 of 25

Great links with good info, Jan, as usual!! thumbs_up.gif

Originally Posted by Crazyforcupcakes

Today I read a review of a new restaurant in the newspaper, and it praised their cupcakes for having "an elegant low-sugar buttercream."

As soon as I read this, what popped into my mind were questions like, "Was it low sugar (content) or low cal? Was it low sugar (content) or, as Jan indicated above, a recipe that actually IS "less sweet"? Does this reviewer know anything about cakes, icing or food in general, or did the paper send some intern to the bakery and tell them "write something"?

It was just the term "low sugar" .... a term I've never seen on this site, which is DEDICATED to the topic of "sugar" ...... sent up a flag as to the expertise of the writer.

Crazyforcupcakes Posted 18 Dec 2010 , 3:22am
post #7 of 25

I didn't even think of that, indydebi. I wish I could look at the review again, but I used the newspaper to pad a box of Christmas gifts that are on their way to North Carolina! I do know that they weren't talking about low-cal cupcakes, though, because they made comments about all the great desserts there (not just the cupcakes), and there was no mention of any diet foods. The assumption was on my part, because I know so many people think that typical buttercream is too sweet, and I figured that's what the reviewer was referring to. And thanks for the salt idea, debster. I will definitely try it!

Marianna46 Posted 18 Dec 2010 , 4:27am
post #8 of 25

Thanks for the links, Jan. I've made cooked flour icings before and invariably the milk scorches. Any suggestions? I'd really love to have this kind of icing turn out!

ChefCJ619 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 2:35am
post #9 of 25

add a bit of salt and some freshly squeezed lemon juice to cut down on the sweetness. I also will add lemon zest, depending on how lemony I want the frosting to turn out, but usually, you can't go wrong! I use it in my cream cheese icing for carrot cake and it's fantastic! My lemon cupcakes are one of my most requested flavors.

Corrie76 Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 3:25am
post #10 of 25

I add salt to my BC- I grind it down to powder in a coffee grinder so the icing isn't gritty. I typically add about 1/2 tsp to a double batch.

LindaF144a Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 3:55am
post #11 of 25
Originally Posted by debster

I add some salt in mine to cut down on the sweetness, try that. About 1/2 tsp for a double batch. Which is 4 C shortening to 4 lbs powder sugar.

I agree with Debster. Break it down -

Elegant - this is the best word to describe SMBC and IMBC over BCs that use powdered sugar, which is just about every other icing recipe that I know of. There are exceptions, but the most commonly used ones that use granular sugar are SMBC and IMBC.

SMBC and IMBC have a much smaller ratio of sugar to butter or fat than a PS recipe. You can use only 10 ounces of granulated sugar to 15 ounces of butter/fat. But if you were to make a PS based frosting, you would need to use about 2 pounds of PS to the same butter.

So if you use SMBC you can call it an elegant less sugar frosting.

It's all in the marketing.

Adding salt to cut the sweetness does not equate to adding less sugar to a recipe. Sweetness level is not the same as less sugar. The description did not say less sweet, it said less sugar. Two totally different things.

SpringFlour Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 5:00am
post #12 of 25
Originally Posted by MadameRaz

I add salt to my BC- I grind it down to powder in a coffee grinder so the icing isn't gritty. I typically add about 1/2 tsp to a double batch.

If you look in the spice section (or popcorn section) of your grocery store, you can find "Popcorn Salt." It's not the flavored kind, it's just plain old salt that is SUPER fine. Easier than grinding your own! icon_biggrin.gif

NanaSandy Posted 19 Dec 2010 , 5:20am
post #13 of 25

I have always used the popcorn salt, and people compliment me, and say that they like my frosting because it isn't "too" sweet.

AmandaLP Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 2:06am
post #14 of 25

Yes, I am bored. is the review, posted December 16.

From the description, I would guess that it is a meringue type frosting, both by the "low sugar" and the "elegant" comment.

cloetzu Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 1:48am
post #15 of 25

i'm curious - what is "cooked flour frosting" - I've never heard of it??? can someone describe the taste realtive the american buttercream and mayby point me to a recipe they've tried and like?

MissCakeCrazy Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 11:05am
post #16 of 25

I would like to know the reciepe for the cooked flour too thanks icon_smile.gif

icer101 Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 3:11pm
post #17 of 25

hi, i am posting a link to just one of hundreds of this recipe. There are some on this site and all over the internet. Toba Garrett has one in her books also. I think she calls it french b/c. I make this at times. I think it is really good. I like using butter over the shortening. hth,176,151171-231201,00.html

MissCakeCrazy Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 7:10pm
post #18 of 25

Thanks Icer101, when is says 1 c milk etc, does that mean cup? Is the frosting thick enough for piping with the grass tip to create dog fur? It sounds nice and simple, I'll try it when I get the chance.

MissCakeCrazy Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 7:21pm
post #19 of 25

Also, does it mean icing sugar or granulated sugar?

handymama Posted 7 Jan 2011 , 7:43pm
post #20 of 25

Has anyone tried the cooked flour recipe using coffee creamer? I'm guessing that it wouldn't need to be refrigerated.

MissCakeCrazy Posted 8 Jan 2011 , 9:24am
post #21 of 25

Can you leave it out for a couple of days after decorating or would you have to refrigereate the decorated cake? Can some please reply back to me on what type of sugar I should use?

Crazyforcupcakes Posted 8 Jan 2011 , 6:55pm
post #22 of 25

The recipe I have calls for regular sugar.

MissCakeCrazy Posted 9 Jan 2011 , 10:41am
post #23 of 25

Is it thick enough to pipe decorations?

GrandmaG Posted 10 Jan 2011 , 9:55pm
post #24 of 25
Originally Posted by MissCakeCrazy

Is it thick enough to pipe decorations?

Yes, but not very intricate ones. Not good in hot weather but so delicious!

MissCakeCrazy Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 1:16pm
post #25 of 25

Alot of people have been telling me that this icing is too soft to use for piping (so I cannot use the grass tip). How do you do yours so that it is stiff?

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