Help!! I have just started testing different buttercream recipes. I read on here that IMBC was one of the best and while the first time I made it was last night and everybody LOVES it cause its so unexpectedly light and creamy and NOT too sweet, it is definately not a very stiff recipe.
I'm looking for all the buttercream recipes that worked for you guys in several different applications.....any suggestions guys? I really appreciate any suggestions that you guys have or things that you have run across in your time as cake bakers.
The three that I use routinely are:
Cream cheese frosting
Buttercream made with confectionary sugar.....VERY sweet
Meringue buttercreams can be very stiff, you do it my manipulating temperature, not consistency. I use SMBC 100% of the time.
ok....manipulate how? refrigerate for a certain amount of time or something else?
I am also testing different buttercream recipes. I am trying to find a not too sweet CRUSTING buttercream recipe. I would love suggestions.
FromScratchSF- How do you manipulate the temperature of your SMBC?
I would love to know that too. Took my left over IMBC to practice flowers and its just too soft. I couldn't get it to work well with anything for flowers anyway. Worked well in basketweave and scroll work. Any suggestions are wonderfully needed and appreciated
Piping stuff like roses is a little tricky because you need your buttercream cold and stiff but still workable. When at work I stand in the walk-in and have a block of ice I lay my bags on as I pipe, but luckily I don't do a lot of roses (not my style). When I was practicing roses at home I had 3 bags going. Bag #1 in my hand, bag #2 in the fridge, bag #3 in the freezer. I pipe a few roses, then put bag #1 in fridge, move bag #2 to freezer, and use bag #3 to pipe another rose (or two or three). I keep the rotation going until I'm done. I can't do roses on a flower nail, I pipe on a stick, and can only get 3 rows of petals (1-3-5). Those last 7 are too heavy and they fall off the stick. If you can use a flower nail then I'm sure your roses will look perfect.
If I'm doing ruffles I only have 2 bags in rotation, one in my hand and one in the fridge. When one bag starts getting too soft I switch to the other bag.
If it's hot I'll have a bowl of ice water I'll plunge my hands into to keep them cool.
I'll also keep my bowl of buttercream in an ice bath to chill the whole thing by a few degrees. You just have to remember to stir it often.
Oh, and work fast.
When your buttercream comes to room temperature it will hold it's shape.
My IMBC, FBC, and SMBC are very stiff. I actually add teaspoons of hot water when I want a more billowy buttercream.
GBC is not as stiff.
I'll leave the SMBC explanation to FromScratch because I don't have as much experience with it.
In IMBC, two things contribute to the stiffness. First, you are turning the whites into a confection by introducing the 245 degree sugar syrup. When you try to free the meringue from the whisk, you get the idea just how strong the concoction actually is.
Next, you are adding butter. You can now manipulate the stiffness/softness by manipulating the temperature. Some choose to smooth cold IMBC with warm knives and bench scrapers. Room temp, maybe 72 degrees makes for easy piping that retains its shape even though it can get warmer.
My advice on IMBC is to look up Warren Brown's tutorial on his Cake Love site and make sure you have a calibrated candy thermometer. This is my recipe of choice and many others. It is balanced and he takes the temp higher, resulting in a more stable buttercream.
There are many recipes out there, some with more and less sugar/butter. You will have to pick the one that you like. Some pointers... cheap butter is just more water, salted butter will make an overwhelming butter taste. In these buttercreams, especially IMBC and SMBC, you have a clean palate. On other words, they provide the medium, but the flavoring takes center stage. What you choose to flavor it with will determine the final taste. The higher the quality of the addition, or more pure, the better the taste. But that last statement is just my opinion. In these buttercreams, the chemicals of artificial additives cannot hide. You have already made an incredible buttercream. Just be aware of how the flavoring will affect the final taste.
I have found that grocery store extracts, even when pure, give off a candy-like sweet taste. Higher quality extracts, liqueurs, purees, fruits, will give you a less sweet, more natural taste.
Sometimes your first try with one of the European buttercreams may not work out. But with help from the many threads on the subject, you will be successful.
I hope this helps. Susan
Have you ever tried piping flowers directly onto the cake? I do this with roses (but like Jen I don't do them very often) and it works well. Check out this website. They use IMBC exclusively and they cover their cakes with flowers:
Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. It was my first time making IMBC but I have to say it was everyones favorite icing to date. So soft and luxurious. My husband is not a fan of buttercream made with confectionary sugar and crisco. He says its either too sweet or just plain nasty. Store bought cakes have to be whipped but he said this was now his favorite frosting.
I watched Warren's video and I guess for my first time it came out ok. I remember my merigue wasn't all that stiff but I will try again for sure. FromScratch....wonderful advice. I will give it a go next time.
SCP~thanks I am hoping my next try will be better.
Happy baking all....