ashtree250 Posted 1 May 2012 , 12:18am
post #1 of

I've been making cakes for a couple years now and never really realized until recently that my basic buttercream tastes like crap! I mean it has somewhat of a "chemically altered" like after taste and it doesn't smell very good on the cake. (I dont know how else to explain it really) I use the recipe of half butter (salted) and half crisco, milk, powdered sugar, and wiltons clear vanilla. I even added a tsp of butter flavored extract to this last batch I made and it still had that taste. I havent been able to find a lot of people who have had this problem. I always see everyone suggesting this basic BC recipe but yuck! My only guess is that the Crisco is the problem...because the last cake I made I used all butter and it was delicious, no nasty after taste. (and of course i can't use all butter BC for the wedding cake.. the darn thing will melt to the ground!)
I've went through a few cans of crisco, so I know it wasn't just a bad batch. Anyways, I have my first ever wedding cake to do by May 19th and I NEED my buttercream to be amazing! Do you know if Sweetex high ratio shortening would be a better choice over Crisco and possibly get rid of that nasty taste? Or something else to substitute the crisco with? Any suggestions would be appreciated! Or if you have any awesome BC recipes to share that still hold up to wedding cake standards (stability...) do share!

35 replies
countrygal7782 Posted 1 May 2012 , 12:29am
post #2 of

I've never had this exact problem, but I can tell you one time I bought shortening and did not look at the lable close enough and when I made icing it was horrable. I realzed later that it was NOT all vegetable shortening. Make sure what you get is all vegetable. The other stuff is made with meat fats and makes it taste funny.
The recipe I use is an all shortening recipe. I use 1 cup all vegetable shortening, dash of salt, 1 tsp. clear vanilla, 2 tsp. clear butter flavor, 2 lbs powder sugar, and 1/2 to 3/4 cups water (depending on the thickness I want). I've never had any problems except for that time I got the wrong shortening.
Hope this helps

gatorcake Posted 1 May 2012 , 12:34am
post #3 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashtree250

I I mean it has somewhat of a "chemically altered" like after taste and it doesn't smell very good on the cake. (I dont know how else to explain it really) I use the recipe of half butter (salted) and half crisco, milk, powdered sugar, and wiltons clear vanilla. I even added a tsp of butter flavored extract to this last batch I made and it still had that taste. I!




I will leave the shortening for others. I would suggest however that the offputting taste and smell is in part due to your choice of flavorings. Clear vanilla is artificial, it is imitation vanilla, it will taste like imitation vanilla. I used it once because I wanted a "pure" white frosting (along with shortening) and while I will incorporate some shortening to help when it is hot and humid I have learned have never used Wilton's clear vanilla again.

IMO buttered flavor extract only makes things worse. I will admit I never tried it because when I smelled it I had no desire to use it. There are those that will say they cannot taste a difference maybe that is true but there are those that can. Given you are using a butter/shortening combination I would encourage you to leave the extracts and imitations vanillas out---get some real vanilla or better yet make your own thumbs_up.gif

ashtree250 Posted 1 May 2012 , 2:28am
post #4 of

...also i notice the funky taste gets worse the longer it sits... refrigerated or not.

sugarpixy Posted 1 May 2012 , 3:34am
post #5 of

Crisco is the problem! Try high ratio shortening or a house brand like Flavorite or IGA

Ruth0209 Posted 1 May 2012 , 4:08am
post #6 of

I seriously doubt it's the Crisco that gives an aftertaste. It's probably the nasty butter flavoring. That stuff is just gross. If you're getting a chemical aftertaste, it's almost certainly the flavorings. I know a lot of people don't like the Wilton clear vanilla, but I use it and I use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, and my icing tastes like melted vanilla ice cream.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and use high ratio shortening. It improves the quality of your icing significantly. It's well worth the cost. Crisco is crap.

Tonedna has a decent shortening based icing that I think is listed on this site. You can use half butter and half shortening, or just all shortening if you want it white-white.

Some people are very sensitive to chemical aftertastes in food (super tasters). You may be one of them. I don't taste it when I use the Wilton clear vanilla. You can also find some higher quality clear vanillas, but they're all artificial.

sugarpixy Posted 1 May 2012 , 4:19am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

I seriously doubt it's the Crisco that gives an aftertaste. It's probably the nasty butter flavoring. That stuff is just gross. If you're getting a chemical aftertaste, it's almost certainly the flavorings. I know a lot of people don't like the Wilton clear vanilla, but I use it and I use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, and my icing tastes like melted vanilla ice cream.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and use high ratio shortening. It improves the quality of your icing significantly. It's well worth the cost. Crisco is crap.

Tonedna has a decent shortening based icing that I think is listed on this site. You can use half butter and half shortening, or just all shortening if you want it white-white.

Some people are very sensitive to chemical aftertastes in food (super tasters). You may be one of them. I don't taste it when I use the Wilton clear vanilla. You can also find some higher quality clear vanillas, but they're all artificial.


You are right! I forgot about that stuff (the butter flavoring). I mixed it with luster dust and painted on a cake and the whole cake smelled off.

cakelady2266 Posted 1 May 2012 , 4:20am
post #8 of

I vote Crisco is the culprit. But also just for kicks and giggles try using water instead of milk.

Try hi ratio shortening instead of Crisco. It's also doesn't have that greasy feel in your mouth like regular shortening.

There many occasions where the customer wants pure white icing, so using standard brown vanilla won't work either. And as quickly as you can toss that nasty Wilton's clear vanilla and try something else. I highly recommend Magic Line products especially their butter vanilla flavoring.

carmijok Posted 1 May 2012 , 9:03am
post #9 of

Why can't you use all butter? I do. The bakery I worked for did...it didn't 'melt to the ground' as you put it! They used it for all their cakes...weddings in particular as it was the frosting that usually won the bride over in the tasting! They used the same recipe under fondant covered cakes...although not many people requested fondant because once again...the BC was too good!

Why do you think it will melt? Unless you're serving outside in extreme heat.

AnnieCahill Posted 1 May 2012 , 10:51am

I will say that it is definitely the artificial vanilla. That stuff makes me physically nauseous when I smell it. If I make American style buttercream I use a 2:1 ratio of butter to shortening (2 cups of butter to a scant 1 cup shortening), and I use three tablespoons of real vanilla. Yes it will be ivory, but you can explain to the client that look it's real butter and vanilla, and that stuff doesn't come in white/clear. You can always add a little violet to lighten it up a bit.

missy2008 Posted 1 May 2012 , 12:10pm

I hate to hear you are having problems with the icing. I too went thru a similar buttercream issue. For me, it was the cheap powdered sugar. When i remade the icing with Dominos powdered sugar, all was fine. The bad taste i was getting was more like a metal taste.
I used clear wilton vanilla extract, and a trans fat shortening (food city brand). I use the american buttercream, equal parts of butter and shortening. Hope you can find the stckler and get back on track. Wedding cakes are stressful enough, and the to add icing research on top of that....eeks.

costumeczar Posted 1 May 2012 , 12:23pm

I vote for the artificial butter flavor being the problem too. If you have butter in the icing then you don't need an artificial additive.

kellyd01 Posted 1 May 2012 , 2:48pm

My vote is the Crisco as well. I can NOT make frosting w/ Crisco. It leaves this nasty film of grease in my mouth. I too use hi-ratio when I can get it and store brand shortening when I can't.

ButRCream Posted 1 May 2012 , 3:08pm

Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla!! The better quality you use, the more of a difference you will notice!!!! I have tried it myself with both all-shortening and all-butter frostings and you will see (and smell and taste) a WORLD of difference! Try some good quality true vanilla - not the fake clear stuff!

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 1 May 2012 , 3:50pm

I vote for all real vanilla, and all real butter. There's probably a good reason why a recipe specifying those ingredients has been on the back of the powdered sugar box since before most of us (myself included) were born.

AnnieCahill Posted 1 May 2012 , 10:40pm

Yeah, I must have missed the artificial butter part. That stuff is heinous, even more so than the vanilla. Use real butter and that takes care of that part, and use real vanilla. You won't regret it.

Wildgirl Posted 2 May 2012 , 5:23am

Could the crisco be rancid?

ashtree250 Posted 2 May 2012 , 6:02am

Thank you everyone for your input. It sounds like it could be just about anything resulting in the bad taste... The funny thing is, is that I didn't even notice this taste in my icing until like a few months ago.. maybe I've just gotten too picky idk. About the butter flavor reference, I only started using the butter flavor after I noticed the weird taste, so I'm pretty sure it's not that. But even so, I wouldn't mind getting some higher quality flavors anyways just for better tastes icon_smile.gif Also I found that adding butter flavor actually made it taste better.. That and lemon juice, anyone ever try lemon juice?
carmijok, I would love to use all butter, in fact the one time I did use all butter in my icing was probably the most satisfied I have ever been with the outcome, but as I was piping my borders, it was melting due to the heat from my hands- and because of that, my shell borders didn't have that crisp sharp look, and of course I don't want the color to be too off white. Plus, I have to travel with the cakes in the back seat of my vehicle for 2 hours..in May.. in Nebraska.. It could either be scorching hot out or snowing lol! Sorry I'm just a little nervous about this being my 1st cake and all. Hoping I'm not in over my head, then to add this icing issue just makes it a little more stressful.

ashtree250 Posted 3 May 2012 , 4:56am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashtree250

Thank you everyone for your input. It sounds like it could be just about anything resulting in the bad taste... The funny thing is, is that I didn't even notice this taste in my icing until like a few months ago.. maybe I've just gotten too picky idk. About the butter flavor reference, I only started using the butter flavor after I noticed the weird taste, so I'm pretty sure it's not that. But even so, I wouldn't mind getting some higher quality flavors anyways just for better tastes icon_smile.gif Also I found that adding butter flavor actually made it taste better.. That and lemon juice, anyone ever try lemon juice?
carmijok, I would love to use all butter, in fact the one time I did use all butter in my icing was probably the most satisfied I have ever been with the outcome, but as I was piping my borders, it was melting due to the heat from my hands- and because of that, my shell borders didn't have that crisp sharp look, and of course I don't want the color to be too off white. Plus, I have to travel with the cakes in the back seat of my vehicle for 2 hours..in May.. in Nebraska.. It could either be scorching hot out or snowing lol! Sorry I'm just a little nervous about this being my 1st cake and all. Hoping I'm not in over my head, then to add this icing issue just makes it a little more stressful.




Oops meant to say, "my first wedding cake"

vtcake Posted 3 May 2012 , 1:32pm

I always use all butter and real vanilla. I don't care whether or not my cakes have a true white white color, I go for the flavor. Of course, I am not a professional baker and thus have not been asked to do a white white cake.

I hope you have time to practice new buttercream, as your first wedding cake is nerve wracking enough without trying out a new recipe at the same time! good luck.

Donny13 Posted 3 May 2012 , 2:11pm

Just wantd to say thank you for asking this question. I have a cake due on Sunday and i learnd alot! Ive been sticking with the Wilton recipe like it was scripture, ive never tried playing with different ratios and ingredients.

ashtree250 Posted 10 May 2012 , 12:27am

Ok i just had to update on my buttercream situation. I think, well I'm almost positive it was Wiltons clear vanilla that made my frosting taste bad! I'm excited, this is like a break through for me as this issue was really starting to get to me- I'm just glad I figured it out (of course AFTER I spend $17 on high ratio shortening online). Tonight I was trying some buttercream variations for a graduation cake this weekend and I made one batch with half butter/half shortening, and clear vanilla. The other batch I made identical to the first except with pure vanilla and guess what, the pure vanilla was so much better! Ok, now I need to find a (if possible) different clear vanilla, probably a higher quality, one that actually tastes good! Any ideas? I still have that wedding cake to do next week and really really want to have the BC as close to white as I can get it.

AnnieCahill Posted 10 May 2012 , 1:05am

Why don't you add a bit of violet to counteract the yellow of the butter? It really does work, but you have to start off with small amounts at first. Also, I cream my fats together for about 15-20 minutes and they are almost solid white. But then I go and add about three tablespoons of vanilla so it turns it off-white again. Give the violet a try. No clear vanilla is good clear vanilla!!!

annakat444 Posted 10 May 2012 , 2:57am

If I need a crisp white icing like you'd want for a wedding cake, I use Happy Home imitation vanilla flavoring and it's totally awesome! I won't use any other brand! I'm funny about "chemical" tastes too and totally don't get it with this one. Although, I also add other flavorings besides vanilla - 1 tsp almond extract and 1 tsp cream bouquet (and 2 tsp vanilla). It's amazing!!!!!

ashtree250 Posted 10 May 2012 , 3:58am

Thanks for the tips! AnnieCahill, I think I've heard about the violet trick.. though, I'm worried I might accidentally add too much and end up with a disaster lol. It's worth a try though, I need to consult with my bride again and see if she cares if its white white, or off white. One thing's for sure, I'm not touching that Wilton clear vanilla again.
Annakat444, I may look into the Happy Home vanilla, is it pretty pricey or no? I have heard of the cream bouquet before and that a lot of people really like using it but I guess I don't know a whole lot about it.

annakat444 Posted 10 May 2012 , 4:09am

Not too pricey, maybe $5 or $6 for a big bottle. but that's at my cake supply store who charges more than Michaels for cake supplies. It seems like I've seen that brand at Michaels, although I don't remember 100%. It's worth checking into.

Yes, I do love the cream bouquet too. I feel like it gives my icing an extra "oomph" that makes it different from traditional buttercream recipes, but subtle enough to where you can't exactly put your finger on it. You can really tell a difference! You should make a test batch and see how you like it. Use 1/2 the amount of cream bouquet that you use for vanilla.

annakat444 Posted 10 May 2012 , 4:52am

Ok let me correct myself - I don't know how much vanilla you use, but I wouldn't use more than 1 tsp cream bouquet if you're using 2 lb bag of powdered sugar. Cream bouquet is wonderful but more does not = better. Try 2 tsp vanilla 1 tsp cream bouquet (experiment: also try a batch with 1 tsp almond in addition to the other two, see which you like better)...hope this helps!

cupcandycakes Posted 10 May 2012 , 6:27pm

Hey all, I'm a TOTAL newbie, and just took Wiltons course 1 & 2 and my instructor said she likes the half butter (unsalted) and half shortening and then adds a little Wilton White-White coloring if it isn't crisp white.

I also have my first wedding cupcake-cake this weekend and like the taste of all butter, but was going to add a bit of shortening and the White-White to make it all white.

Also, I add a touch of raspberry flavor to my BC and get RAVE reviews.

What do you all think of the White-White?

ashtree250 Posted 10 May 2012 , 7:39pm

Hi cupcandycakes. I have seen Wiltons White-White while shopping for cake supplies but I've never used it. I haven't read any reviews on it either. Does it make the icing taste different? It might be worth a shot (if I can order it and get in here on time) My closest large cake supply store is 2 hours from where I live (besides walmart, but I doubt walmart carries it in there cake decorating section) How much of that stuff do you have to dump into your icing to make it whiter- say... if I used half butter, half shortening, and pure vanilla extract? That raspberry buttercream sounds deeeelish! Infact, I am making a graduation cake for this Saturday and was trying to find a different flavored buttercream besides vanilla for it. It's a lemon cake, do you think raspberry icing would be good on that? And another question to whoever: I have some decorations on it that need to be black, and the only way I make black is to start with a chocolate buttercream base and start adding black gel color, will a bit of chocolate buttercream on a lemon cake totally clash together?

ashtree250 Posted 10 May 2012 , 7:40pm

Hi cupcandycakes. I have seen Wiltons White-White while shopping for cake supplies but I've never used it. I haven't read any reviews on it either. Does it make the icing taste different? It might be worth a shot (if I can order it and get in here on time) My closest large cake supply store is 2 hours from where I live (besides walmart, but I doubt walmart carries it in there cake decorating section) How much of that stuff do you have to dump into your icing to make it whiter- say... if I used half butter, half shortening, and pure vanilla extract? That raspberry buttercream sounds deeeelish! Infact, I am making a graduation cake for this Saturday and was trying to find a different flavored buttercream besides vanilla for it. It's a lemon cake, do you think raspberry icing would be good on that? And another question to whoever: I have some decorations on it that need to be black, and the only way I make black is to start with a chocolate buttercream base and start adding black gel color, will a bit of chocolate buttercream on a lemon cake totally clash together?

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