Buttercream Won't Take Color. Please Help!!

Baking By bakencake Updated 12 Jul 2011 , 5:11pm by TexasSugar

bakencake Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 7:55pm
post #1 of 22

This is the second time this has happened. I use a shortening based buttercream. The first time this happened to me i used red. I mean I used a truck load of red and the buttercream would not deepen enough. I noticed that the red would sort of coat around in little beads but would not penetrate through and saturate the whole batch. i washed the bowl and the sink looked like it was bleeding, all the color washed down and the shortening was still white. now im doing black and the same thing happened. I looks like a charcoal black but that's as dark as it gets. is it because i over whipped it or because i have too much shortening and not enough sugar.

21 replies
bakencake Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:01pm
post #2 of 22

anybody? I have looked all over but cant find and answer. i dont know if it's just me or if my wording is not matching.

jukesbox Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:28pm
post #3 of 22

I think I saw on here somewhere to make a deep red, start first with an orange base and then add red. That way you aren't using too much red coloring. Also, you may have done this, but add some color and let it set awhile. Colors deepen as they set. If you've let it set for a time and it's still not the color you want, add a little more and again, let it set.

KASCARLETT Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:42pm
post #4 of 22

I've never had that problem and I use IndyDebi's buttercream. Are you trying to beat the color in with the shortening? It probably won't work that way. I guess you could try mixing the color with the liquid ingrediants and see if it will work that way.

I've never started red with orange, I always start with pink, but orange may work! lol But yes, the longer it sits the more intense the color will get. Just don't sit it in direct light.

bakencake Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:46pm
post #5 of 22

no, the color just beads up into tiny tiny little beads. i put some buttercream on my finger and smear it and the color smudges on my finger along with the buttercream and stains it. it's really weird im not explaining it right.I just started another batch and it worked. I still dont know what happens when this occurs.

tokazodo Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:50pm
post #6 of 22

Just out of curiosity, what is the recipe you are using for buttercream? Could you post it here please?
We might be able to trouble shout your problem if we see the recipe.

I'm wondering why your icing is doing this also.

Sweetlepea Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:52pm
post #7 of 22

I've had the same thing happen to me too, even with pink icings, in the piping bag. Its so wierd.. I cant explain it though, wish I could and knew what caused it!

kakeladi Posted 8 Jul 2011 , 8:59pm
post #8 of 22

Not only would it help to know exactly what recipe you are using, but what coloring are you using.
It is very helpful to start those intense colors (like red, brown, etc) with another c olor so I suggest starting your red by tinting it a deep orange or pink or yellow before adding your red color.
You say you used a truck load of color but if you start from white icing you will need ALL of one of those little 'pots' of coloring - especially is using Wilton's.
If you tint the white icing pink 1st you will probably only need to use 1/3 to 1/2 of the pot icon_smile.gif

bakencake Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 12:42pm
post #9 of 22

It's very hard to explain indeed!. It's like it beads into very very tiny beads and does not adhere to the shortening. sometimes i throw out that batch and start fresh and the next batch takes so it's not the color. here is recipe. it's from the wilton hand book

1c shortening
1ts flavoring
2 tbs water
2 lbs p sugar
1 tbs meringue poweder
pinch of salt

thank you for your replies

ERdocmom Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 1:33pm
post #10 of 22

Do you have any candy colorings (oil based)? I started using them to color my buttercream since I had the same problems with it accepting color. It works great and you will no longer have those tiny beads of color. This works for both the SMBC and shortening based BC. Hope this helps!

sugarMomma Posted 9 Jul 2011 , 1:44pm
post #11 of 22

You think is has anything to do with shortening now being trans-fat free? I always use butter mixed with shortening now, after some crazy icing problems that I never had when I started decorating and used the old school Crisco. I never used to get air bubbles and blow outs, or get so many bubbles under my fondant. I think something squirrely is going on with the chemistry.

Sorry I don't have a solution, just wondering and trying to troubleshoot.
I miss the old Crisco!! Wish I had stockpiled like an extreme couponer...

tokazodo Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 12:41am
post #12 of 22

Thanks for posting your recipe.

Sugarmomma could be right on the money. Crisco has changed their formula to include zero trans fats. That could be messing up your icing.

This is Edna De La Cruz, recipe for Crusting Buttercream icing and her video.

There is a little bit of difference between your recipe and Edna's recipe.
The ratio of Fat to Sugar.
If Edna's recipe was doubled to use 2 pounds of sugar as yours is, she would use 2 cups of fat or 1 cup shortening and 1 cup of butter.
As I am reading your recipe, I am only seeing 1 cup of shortening to 2 pounds of sugar.
Edna also says in one of her videos that to boost the fat content of her buttercream, she'll add milk instead of water.

Sometimes we have to trouble shoot and tweak these recipes to fit our tastes and our climate.

Crisco has been a big headache for me and I have had to stop using it unless I blend it with a 'House Brand', shortening. Luckily, my local grocery store, sells the 'old fashioned', shortening. Edna stated in one of her video's that Wal-mart's brand shortening still has the trans fats in it.

Many people here on CC have raved over IndiDebi's icing too. It seems to be a no fail recipe which can stand hot humid days.

I hope this helps to solve some of your problems.

ziggytarheel Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:02am
post #13 of 22

I could be mistaken, but I thought the cause of this was not beating your shortening long enough (10 minutes) before adding the coloring.

Cookie4 Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:07am
post #14 of 22

For what it's worth, I've taught over 2,000 students and have never seen this happen. I will say that Crisco has 0 trans fats and so does the WalMart brand, (at least it acts that way when my students use it in class - it does say it has some trans fat).

I noticed that you use 1 C shortening to 2 lbs of sugar. The Wilton recipe calls for 1 C shortening and 1 lb sugar. Is your icing clumping up due to lack of moisture? What brand of shortening are you using and what brand of coloring. My preference is Americolor Super Red and Americolor Real Black (think that's the exact name of the color on the black) for some great colors.

I always start out with pink icing first then add the black otherwise it gets bitter. And for black, I make brown or use chocolate icing then add the black. Best of luck - you might want to post on the Wilton message board and maybe someone from their test kitchen will answer you next week.

bakerliz Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:24am
post #15 of 22

If I understand your problem correctly, then I've had the exact same issue. It looks like the color is separating from the butter cream, so your deep colors have a hazy appearance from a distance, up close, they look separated and gross. I use a combination of butter an shortening in my buttercream. I tried every name brand and store brand of shortening in town, and I could not solve the problem. Now to the point...THE SOLUTION: I switched to Hi-Ratio shortening and haven't had the problem since icon_smile.gif

SammieB Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 1:29am
post #16 of 22

I've had the same problem with black and purple colors, both Wilton and Americolor. My recipe is a simple 1 c. Butter, 1 cup shortening base. I didn't think about the crisco. I just recently switched to the Public brand and used Indydeb's recipe but didn't need to color it so no idea how it would do.

bakencake Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 2:06am
post #17 of 22
Originally Posted by bakerliz

It looks like the color is separating from the butter cream, so your deep colors have a hazy appearance from a distance, up close, they look separated and gross. icon_smile.gif

Yes, this is it!!! thanks!! i think this might be it!!! oh and i missprinted i meant 1 lb of sugar not 2. thank you for your advice.

Coral3 Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 8:19am
post #18 of 22

This problem is very easily fixed by switching to oil-based (candy) colouring for your buttercream, rather than using standard gel colours.

bakerliz Posted 10 Jul 2011 , 3:23pm
post #19 of 22

I really hope this helps! I struggled with this for months before I tried the Hi-Ratio. Everyone on CC tried to help me, but it was such a strange thing to try and explain, I don't think anyone could figure out what I was talking about icon_lol.gif

amaryllis756 Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 12:42pm
post #20 of 22

I think the idea from Carol3 would work. I use SMBC, and I thought that the butter wouldn't take the color. but with the oil based color, it might work better. I love this site, with all the little tid-bits of info

bakencake Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 1:17pm
post #21 of 22
Originally Posted by amaryllis756

I think the idea from Carol3 would work. I use SMBC, and I thought that the butter wouldn't take the color. but with the oil based color, it might work better. I love this site, with all the little tid-bits of info

I love this site too! the weird thing is that sometimes i give up on coloring and throw away that batch then i get the exact same things from the same containers and start new. what do you know, it works the second time. wonder why? if i used the exact same things from the same containers why would i have different results. i'll definitely try carol3's method.

TexasSugar Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 5:11pm
post #22 of 22

When I make dark colors I have to add in some cornstarch, because the amount of coloring seems to through off the liquid amount in the recipe and it separates from the fat.

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