Sharon Zambito's Buttercream! What Did I Do Wrong?!?!?!?!?!?

Baking By JustBakedCakes Updated 2 Sep 2011 , 7:08pm by JustBakedCakes

JustBakedCakes Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 3:45pm
post #1 of 23

I just made Sharon's buttercream. I followed the dirsctions to a "T" but something went terribly wrong. It's like the icing is curtled (sp). There are small bumps of powered sugar in it. It is NOT smooth at all. What could have caused this!! Please help!!!! I can't waste all these ingrediants. Can it be saved!!!!!!!!!!

22 replies
Ashleyssweetdesigns Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 3:58pm
post #2 of 23

Not sure of the recipe... that happened to me the first time I made my BC cause I forgot the meringue powder. It look exactly like that.

JustBakedCakes Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:06pm
post #3 of 23

This doesn't call for merigue powder. But Thanks for trying icon_smile.gif

paula0712 Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:07pm
post #4 of 23

Sometimes you have to sift your powdered sugar first. When it sits in the store it somehow hardens sometimes and will be clumpy.

Ashleyssweetdesigns: Sharon's recipe doesn't contain meringue powder - maybe you're thinking of someone else's recipe?

oops - forgot to add: when I make it - if it looks "curdled" I just mix it for a bit longer. It's almost as if the sugar hasn't yet incorporated. A few more minutes mixing and it's perfect! Airless and smooth!

miss_sweetstory Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:14pm
post #5 of 23

How long did you let it mix? It takes 6-7 minutes in my Kitchenaid, after the PS has been incorporated. A lower powered mixer may take longer.

Also, how stiff is the icing? I've had it look like this when it's been a bit too dry. I always keep a bit of the warm creamer on hand in case.

I love Sharon's buttercream and make it when ever I can get Sweetex (unfortunately no one ships it to Europe April - Oct). I seem to remember it took me a few tries to get it down.

JustBakedCakes Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:15pm
post #6 of 23

I tried mixing it for longer but it didn't change it. It's very very gritty. I've made buttercream a zillion times and this has NEVER happened. I don't understand. I'm very upset right now. I need this buttercream for 2 cakes for this weekend. And I don't want to throw it away and go buy more sugar and Hi-Ratio. icon_sad.gificon_sad.gif

psurrette Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:18pm
post #7 of 23

I had that problem with high ratio. stopped using it. On occasion when I use walmart brand shortning it looks like that too. it works fine to ice a cake but I would sift the sugar first

Dizzymaiden Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:19pm
post #8 of 23
Originally Posted by psurrette

I had that problem with high ratio. stopped using it. On occasion when I use walmart brand shortning it looks like that too. it works fine to ice a cake but I would sift the sugar first

What are you using instead of high ratio? I have not had this problem but like to hear what others like using.

paula0712 Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:20pm
post #9 of 23

maybe try adding a bit more of your hot creamer mix as miss_sweetstory suggested.

psurrette Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:21pm
post #10 of 23

I didnt have any luck with high ratio. It was full of air bubbles. never had a problem with the regular shortning.

Dizzymaiden Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:26pm
post #11 of 23

psurrette- everyone has complained about the taste of Crisco - do you use Crisco? If so, is there a trick to keeping it tasty?

matthewkyrankelly Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:27pm
post #12 of 23

Try more liquid, tablespoon at a time. Beat the heck out of it. Do this until it is smooth. If it is too thin add more PS, a little at a time.

Mix and adjust, it will work.

Dizzymaiden Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 4:30pm
post #13 of 23

psurrette- I just looked at your are from Bridgewater! I moved away from Whitman more than a few years ago and now live in Concord. I use to love going to the breakfast place in Bridgewater center. HMmm...can't think of the name.

Anyway, love your cakes and would be interested in your shortning method. ps. I am a hobbie caker for now.

psurrette Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 5:00pm
post #14 of 23

I use half butter and half either walmart or store brand shortning

JustBakedCakes Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 5:18pm
post #15 of 23

I tried adding more liguid. I swear it seems like there is NO shortening AT ALL. It's very strange. I'm just gonna have to start over.

paula0712 Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 5:20pm
post #16 of 23

awww that's too bad. Are you just using it for under fondant? If so then I would just go ahead and use it. If not then save it for cupcakes! Sorry to hear that it's not working for you!

JustBakedCakes Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 6:46pm
post #17 of 23

I think I figured out what went wrong. For flavoring, besides the creamer which was French Vanilla, I used Wiltons Clear Vanilla. It has a pretty high alcohol content so I think it was the vanilla. Tried it again and the same thing happened. So 2 BATCHES went in the garbage and money also. I should have though about that BEFORE making it. Cream and Alcohol DON'T MIX!!! DUHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I feel like an idiot!!

TexasSugar Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 6:51pm
post #18 of 23

Why don't cream and alcohol mix? Ever had a white russian? All extracts have alcohol in them. I have used Wilton's vanilla with whipping cream in buttercream many of times with no problems.

Did you color the buttercream or was it white? Did you happen to add too much liquid to start with? For the gritty what brand powder sugar did you use? Was it store brand or name brand?

Ashleyssweetdesigns Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 6:52pm
post #19 of 23

Paula0712 i don't kno sharona recipe as I said in my post. I was simply giving an example of what happened to the bc recipe I used for the 1st time. just a suggestion

JustBakedCakes Posted 1 Sep 2011 , 10:10pm
post #20 of 23

I use store brand but I always use it and never have issues. Like I said I've made buttercream a zillion times and this never happened. Yeah, I guess they can mix but sometimes alcohol can curdle cream. Then I guess I still don't know what happened. I just made the buttercream the way I usually do, sometimes it's better to stick with what you know.

TexasSugar Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 4:05pm
post #21 of 23

Store brand powder sugar can cause gritty buttercream.

They aren't always made with pure cane, and can change back and forth between pure cane and beet sugar. I used GV brand for years, then they switched to beet sugar and I have had problems with grainy icing.

It sucks when you have something go wrong and you can't figure out why it happened. icon_sad.gif

sillywabbitz Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 4:35pm
post #22 of 23

As TexasSugar mentioned, I've had a bad batch of powdered sugar cause the gritty problem.

I use SugarShack's recipe explicitly but please note not all hi-ratio shortenings are created equal. I don't have access to Sweetex so I have to adjust my liquid significantly. Between the two cake stores here in Dallas, they sell different brands of hi-ratio and I get different effects on my buttercream. I'd be curious what brand of hi-ratio you're using.

Could you list the exact recipe you used? There are a couple of versions based on the size of your mixer and I'm wondering if maybe there was a transcription error somewhere that created the problem.

Another thought , did you beat the shortening warm liquid until smooth before adding the powdered sugar? Just trying to troubleshoot what might have created the issue.

JustBakedCakes Posted 2 Sep 2011 , 7:08pm
post #23 of 23

Sillywabbitz, I'm not sure of the name of my hi-ratio. The cake supply store I go to packages it up themselves. I'm guessing they get huge buckets of it and just break it down for indiv sale. They don't put the brand on the container. But I've been using it for a very long time and never had any issues with it. But I used..
5 cups hi-ratio
5 lbs Walmart PS
12 tbls Coffee Mate powdered creamer
4 tbls wiltons clear vanilla
I have a 5 quart mixer just like Sharon.
Thats it!!
Yes I did cream everything together before adding the PS. I also noticed that is was the right consistency in the begining then the more I mixed it the worse it got. It was like the PS decided to ball up into lil balls. It also seemed that all the shortening had disappeared because there was no smoothness to it. It was like wet PS. It was a very strange texture. I really have no clue.

Quote by @%username% on %date%