Quick Help Needed! Buttercream Issues

Decorating By rpaige Updated 12 Jul 2011 , 1:19am by rpaige

rpaige Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:41pm
post #1 of 19

I am using Indydebi's crusting buttercream recipe. I doubled it for two large 12x18 sheet cakes needed for tomorrow. I am in Georgia so humidity is high. House is cool. I dirty iced and put in fridge for about 20 min. After icing, the cakes are fine IF I keep popping them in the fridge every fifteen minutes but if left out for decorating, the cakes almost take on an oily and gloppy appearance. Had this same problem with cream cheese frosting. I am afraid to even try to continue decorating because it appears very soft and too soupy-ish.

Thankfully, they are sheet cakes but if this was a multi-tiered cake, it would be sliding down the sides.

Should I just leave the cakes out, accept the mushy situation, decorate with fondant flowers and put back in fridge or just leave out overnight (will fondant flowers get too damp or soft in the fridge?) OR wait and decorate quickly just before event and delivery tomorrow?

Any help would be appreciated.

18 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 5:45pm
post #2 of 19

Are you sure you doubled everything? It sounds like the way the icing behaves if you forget the Dream Whip. Or if you use store brand shortening and it's softer than usual...I've had to quit using the generic shortening from HEB (our local grocery store chain) because about one out of every three tubs is softer than they're supposed to be and doesn't work for icing.

I would probably turn down the AC in the house to get the humidity under control, scrape off the icing and redo it...but that is a large amount of frosting and lots of work we're talking about.

aundrea Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 6:04pm
post #3 of 19

for me, whenever i double a buttercream receipe the 'science' of doubling doesnt measure up properly.
i usually make one batch at a time. then i can mix them together in a large bowl to have the quanity i need. does that make sense?
anyways since you are passed that stage, can you add more powder sugar to stiffen up the buttercream?

rpaige Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:54am
post #4 of 19

Thanks to you both for your responses. I did start to worry about doubling the recipe at the same time because it just did not look right to me. I was pressed for time but let the cake sit, adjusted the thermostat and forged ahead. The frosting finally adjusted and firmed up. All in all it worked out. I had volunteer HELP in the kitchen and I think that changed my focus and possibly the recipe. Humidity and Help spell trouble!

I will certainly remember your suggestions. Lessons learned!

Thanks, again.

momtofourmonkeys Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 3:01am
post #5 of 19

I double this recipe all the time with no problems. I have experienced what you are referring too but only when I take a cake out of the freezer and don't let it thaw completely first before icing the over the crumb coat. (I usually let cakes completely thaw while wrapped in saran wrap and foil and when I do this, it doesn't happen.) I would suggest letting the cakes come to room temp again and your crumb coat to crust again. Use a paper towel if needed to remove the excess moister from the cake as needed while it sweats out the moisture.

I just reread your post and saw you got it to work out. Glad everything worked for you!

indydebi Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 4:46am
post #6 of 19

glad it worked out but just wanted to add that I had icing problems only twice ... and both time I had refrigerated the cakes. Those 2 experiences "etched in stone" my view of never refrigerating my cakes again.

If you mentioned it, I missed it, but did you run the mixer for quite a while to make sure the fat was absolutely pulverized? If it was "lightly mixed", then you'd still have some good size fat particles, which when not blended properly would affect the structure of the icing. No such thing as overbeating this icing! thumbs_up.gif

rpaige Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:17pm
post #7 of 19

I think the refrigerator may have been culprit based on what everyone is saying. I did crumb coat and place in fridge. I kept putting it BACK in the fridge to firm it up and I was actually making it worse??? I may not have waited long enough for the cake to come to room temp from the crumb coat. I will definitely not do that again. Never seem to have this problem in the winter.

Indydebi, do you not place the cake in the fridge for the crumb coat? Just crumb coat and let sit on counter to crust - then frost? What about after decorated?

I do see that everyone does some steps differently and I get very confused. Georgia humidity, heat and condensation from a cold to warm environment may be the reason for my continued issues!

poohsmomma Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:31pm
post #8 of 19

I use Indydebi's bc, and I never refrigerate my cakes. No need to if I don't use a perishable filling-which I don't.

rpaige Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:32pm
post #9 of 19

Missed answering Indydebi's question of did I mix the bc a long time and I really did. I just got a new mixer and was anxious to use it! I followed your previous advice of "you can never mix too long" and just let the mixer run while my hands were free to clean up the kitchen.

I think the bc was mixed well and long enough - I will know when I get the electric bill!

rpaige Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:42pm
post #10 of 19

Thanks poohsmomma! I'm going to leave the cooling process out next time. Really tough to move from one state to another and start having problems. Is it me or the state's fault!!!

Do you decorate the day before or the day OF the event with no fridge?

It is really tough finding just the right process for me - again.

airedalian Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:48pm
post #11 of 19

Last weekend I was having fits trying to make SMBC for the first time in my clearly-too-warm house here in Georgia. It came together but with much angst along the way. Glad your project ultimately worked out, too!

indydebi Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 12:08am
post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by rpaige

Indydebi, do you not place the cake in the fridge for the crumb coat? Just crumb coat and let sit on counter to crust - then frost? What about after decorated?

Nope. never. I crumb all three tiers. by the time I'm done with all 3 crumbs, the first tier has crusted well enough to be iced.

I PREFER to let the cakes sit and settle before putting the final icing coat on, but i never have to refrigerate.

What causes your icing to crust is the fat/sugar ratio, not cold temps. A cold temp solidifies the fat, but if the icing isn't crusting well, then the when it's removed from the frig and placed back in room temp, the fat will 'melt', defeating the whole purpose of putting it in the frig.

I think it's like a center dowel ...... a center dowel makes us feel secure but as I foudn out on one delivery, a cake WILL slide thru a center dowel if the car in front of you slams on it's brakes. If a cake is put in the frig, the icing WILL 'harden' when the fat solidifies, but if it remains hardened, then it's because the fat/sugar ratio is right and created the crusting effect it's suppose to. So one could think it's the cold temp that did it, when it's actually the proper fat/sugar ratio just doing it's job. Just one unscientific opinion ....! icon_biggrin.gif

rpaige Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 12:21am
post #13 of 19

Since I have an unscientific mind - that makes perfect sense to me. Your recipe for bc is working very well for me - despite the angst with the Georgia humidity - and I am so pleased you shared it.

I have another cake due next week and I am going to change things up a bit and try some of the suggestions I have received here. Stay tuned as the drama unfolds.....

Thanks to everyone!

tokazodo Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 12:46am
post #14 of 19

I have been suffering similar problems with the heat and humidity of the south. Problems I have never encountered before battling with buttercream.
Of course, I keep getting these terrible rain storms on the weekends I have to make these behemoth wedding cakes.

I use a different recipe then IndiDebi'. This weekend, I iced 4 tiers, the largest being a 14 incher.
Iced all four tiers with a crumb coat and my dern icing wouldn't crust. I waited, waited, the rain poured outside, I adjust the Air conditioner and waited. Still, no crust. Luckily, I had started way early and had time to kill before delivery.
My buttercream sat and sweated. I thought of an episode of the Cake Boss (yes, the Cake Boss!) Where Buddy stripped the icing off the cakes and started over again.
Well, that's what I did.
Stripped all the icing off the cakes and threw it back in the mixer. Added a bit more powdered sugar and a bit more meringue powder.
In the mean time, my cakes had come more to room temperature.
Finally, I was able to get a buttercream I could work with.
I can knock out small 2 tier wedding cakes all week long, make many birthday cakes and not have a problem. But honest to goodness it seems everytime I have one of these big wedding cakes, I have this problem.
I honestly think MY problem is I am not letting the cakes warm up enough, causing the condensation, (which doesn't happen in spring/winter) and the condensation is causing my icing to be mushy.
Luckily all ended well.

TexasSugar Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 2:45pm
post #15 of 19
Originally Posted by tokazodo

...In the mean time, my cakes had come more to room temperature. ....

I honestly think MY problem is I am not letting the cakes warm up enough, causing the condensation, (which doesn't happen in spring/winter) and the condensation is causing my icing to be mushy.
Luckily all ended well.

When your cake forms condensation on the outside of the icing, it will take longer for your cake to crust, because there is moisture sitting there.

There may be many people that can put their cakes in and out of the fridge while working on them, but where are you located, in my opinion, plays a big roll into it. I live in an area that is humid, I don't even bother with the fridge, because I really don't want to deal with condensation issues.

tokazodo Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 8:31pm
post #16 of 19

Thanks, TexasSugar,

I think you are right about my location. I could throw a rock and hit the Atlantic Ocean or the Pamlico Sound! Very humid where I am. But legends have it, the humidity here is good for the skin and youthful appearance.
Cakes...not so much!

Thanks again, TexasSugar. How do you tweak your icing to avoid the humidity problems?

TexasSugar Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 8:34pm
post #17 of 19

I pretty much use the Wilton recipe, and I did go back to adding in the meringue powder, and that seems to help me.

Other wise, I try not to add other issues to the cake, like the fridge or freezer.

luckylibra Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:03pm
post #18 of 19

I have been frosting mine right out of the freezer because it made it easier, less crumbs and usually it works but on a couple I have run into the issues with condensation and not crusting... now I know why... guess I will rework my time frames and let the little buggers thaw before I frost them.. thanks

rpaige Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 1:19am
post #19 of 19

I believe it is unanimous - no frig and keep on frosting! All in all, it sounds like our many frosting issues finally worked out and we learned from the experience.

Thanks ladies!

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