I've never liked the texture of American buttercream. IT seems whenever I use powdered sugar in a forsting, it is somewhat gritty, not silky smooth like a Swiss or Italian Meringue. I just tried a recipe with butter/crisco/cream/corn syrup and powdered sugar and again have that grit feeling. I've tried different sugars, different recipes... I just can't seem to get it satiny smooth. Is that just the way American Buttercream is?
Are you mixing it long enough? That usually is the problem as most recipes don't mix enough.
I suggest turning the mixer to low and mixing a batch of icing (that uses 2" of sugar) for 8 to 10 minutes! It should make a huge difference
I hate that grit in ABC. I don't eat it and I certainly don't offer it. You cannot get around it when it's added to shortening. You will never like it because it has nothing to do with the length of mixing. It is the texture.
I was using European buttercreams exclusively with the exception of cream cheese (never any shortening). But I have found a recipe that I refer to as "birthday cake" buttercream and there is absolutely no grit. So I know that it is powdered sugar and shortening combo.
If you are interested, pm me. It does involve sugar work, so if you are already familiar with IMBC methods, this will be a breeze. This is an all butter buttercream with powdered sugar, guaranteed no grit.
I too prefer IMBC over American BC. The grit is definitely there. Some people will argue and say it's not, but I don't know if it's because they have never tasted anything WITHOUT powdered sugar. I usually only make it for children's cakes because of the sweetness. Even my husband will take a spoonful and tell me it feels "harsh" on the back of his throat. He will say "there is another kind you make that is really good-it just melts in your mouth." That's the IMBC.
The ONLY reason I am trying the ABC is because I need something that does not require refrigeration for a cake that is being shipped via air. I normally use an Italian or Swiss meringue... but I am afraid of killing someone with eggs in it!
Mixing it does NOT help. It's crap.
Try using less sugar relative to the shortening, and try adding more corn syrup or water.
You need at least 10% of the sugar's weight in water to dissolve the sugar completely after 10+ minutes of mixing. So if you have 2# sugar, you need at least half a cup of water or 3/4+ cup corn syrup. Whip at high speed after it has mixed for 5+minutes, it should not taste grainy in the least. Keep adding liquid SLOWLY while whipping until it has the consistency you need for coating.
For 2# sugar you need 1# shortening. The extra shortening helps to emulsify the saturated sugar solution you are making.
Your other option is to make real cooked fondant and cream that into hi-ratio shortening. Use 2# fondant and 1# hi-ratio shortening. It WILL be creamy smooth and shelf stable. Best flavour combo is vanilla + almond.