help: swiss meringue buttercream turned yellow

Decorating By jen2001 Updated 29 Oct 2015 , 3:03pm by Pastrybaglady

jen2001 Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 8:52pm
post #1 of 27

I made Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting yesterday. It turned out perfect. I put it in the fridge overnight as I live in Phoenix and it's so hot. When I took it out today it's turned yellow. I tried coloring it with Ateco gel colors. Using royal blue color the frosting turned lavendar. Then I tried the sky blue color & it turned a really dull shade of blue. I'm trying to make red, white & blue frosting. I'm so upset about it I could cry. Frosting has turned out to be my nemesis! Is there anything I can do to fix it? I have Wilton's white food coloring and I did add some but it didn't help and I'm afraid to add too much to it because it's liquidy. I also tried to make red but it's turned out a rose color no matter how much red I add.

Also, I'm making a layered cake and frosted the layers last night. It was also in the refrigerator and it didn't change color, it's still white.

Thanks for any help.


26 replies
karateka Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 8:57pm
post #2 of 27

You can neutralize yellow with violet. Try very tiny amounts, mix well, until it gets back to white (or as white as it is going to get).

HappyCake10609 Posted 3 Jun 2012 , 9:30pm
post #3 of 27

I think the yellow tint of your SMBC might not be the biggest problem here... I have trouble coloring my SMBC with regular gel colors. I find they don't mix in all the way because of all the butter in the icing. I have much better luck with candy colors, which are oil based (meant for coloring candy melts or chocolate). I use the Americolor ones, but in a pinch Wilton makes some that you can find at the craft store near the candy melts.

You can use a touch of violet as karateka said, to neutralize the yellow tint from the butter... also you can use the Wilton White Icing color... but I don't think you will ever get SMBC pure white because of the butter.

jen2001 Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 2:00am
post #4 of 27

Adding a little violet coloring took care of the yellow problem. Thanks!

Another weird frosting thing...I put the frosting I tried to dye red (turned out rose) and blue (turned out lavender) in the fridge for future use. A couple hours later I went to put them in smaller containers. When I mixed the frosting the rose turned into dark red and the lavender turned into royal blue. The exact colors I was aiming for. Ugh! Of course this is after I gave up on colors & just frosted the cake white. Anyone know why that happened? I'm going to still try to incorporate some of the red & blue on my cake

Thanks again for the help!

kellyd01 Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 8:36pm
post #5 of 27

Sorry you had so many problems. Colors deepen overtime as they sit. It's one of the reasons so many people say when you're trying for a dark color like red, do it at least a day or two in advance.

MMPastry Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 10:29pm
post #6 of 27

When butter based frostings sit overnight they tend to turn yellow. Try putting the frosting back into your mixer bowl and whip on high. Adding air back into the frosting well make the yellow disappear. Hope this helps!

gbbaker Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 10:46pm
post #7 of 27

Some butters are more yellow. I won't buy Sam's because of this , I made IMBC with Sam's butter and with Kroger butter and there was a huge difference in color.

AZCouture Posted 4 Jun 2012 , 10:52pm
post #8 of 27

You really just shouldn't try to color SMBC dark colors. If you really need to do that, stick with an American Buttercream. If you really have to, use candy colors or powdered colors, or better yet, use colored fondant over the buttercream.

CFCakes Posted 10 Feb 2014 , 6:39am
post #9 of 27

I recently switched to SMBC and have this same question...I made a batch up this weekend changing my recipe to unsalted butter and used Vanilla Bean Paste (thank you Jamie from AZ Couture).  Iced as usual and let it set up in the fridge as usual.....I noticed not after I took it out of the fridge but after some time on the counter that it turned yellow-er than normal. My husband is the one that noticed the difference... I know I can never get it white - white but my fear is when I got to do a non-fondant wedding cake and its on display for a few hours....will it turn yellow? 

AZCouture Posted 12 Feb 2014 , 11:08pm
post #11 of 27

Oh you've had success with gel colors, that's great to hear, and interesting method. I just personally didn't care for it, nor were any of my experiences with it very satisfactory. I personally don't care to work with it, nor eat it, so I don't do it. I use fondant if I need dark colors for anything. Pastels and light colors, sure. Otherwise...I use fat based dye or powder colors.

Annabakescakes Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 2:28am
post #13 of 27

I have noticed my meringue icing turning a nasty muddy grey sludge color with the slightest touch of violet color.

morganchampagne Posted 13 Feb 2014 , 3:24am
post #14 of 27

AI have never had any success adding gel colors or ccandy colors to meringue buttercreams. So that idea is an interesting one.

clouseau Posted 8 Mar 2014 , 7:53pm
post #16 of 27

Leanne, when you say you bloom your SMBC in the microwave does it become liquid? If so when you add it back to the rest of the SMBC does it water it down? I was also thinking why not add flocoat to the regular gel colors since we can use flocoat for chocolat which is fat based. I would think that flocoat would help with coloring SMBC since it is fatbased.

nancylee61 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 5:18pm
post #17 of 27

ASo if a cake is frosted right away, lets say a wedding cake with messy buttercream? But not delivered and served until the next day. Will it get yellow in the fridge overnight? And if so, how would you frost a 4 tier cake in the morning and then decorate it? I'm feeling confused. Nancy

sweettooth101 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 11:12pm
post #18 of 27

I had a similar issue, I made a 3 tier cake  the night before for a wedding the next day,when I took it out of the fridge the next morning I noticed a few imperfections so took some of the leftover buttercream lathered it on and smoothened it out. When I took a step back and looked at the cake I noticed that the bc that I had just applied  from the bowl was yellowish compared to the one that was already on, so I made a mental note to always beat the bc again before using.

In fact I have a picture of it in my posts, unfortunately there wasn't much I could do to rectify the finish of the cake.

clouseau Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 3:55pm
post #19 of 27

So I colored my SMBC with a royal blue color with flo coat and it worked just great. I did as Leanne sais and took about 1/4 cup of the icing and added equal amounts of Wilton gel past to flo coat and added it the rest of the icing. Since flo coat is in a liquid state the next time I will use Lecithin instead of flo coat because it has more of a paste consistency. Flo coat is basically Lecithin with additives added and it is runnier.

morganchampagne Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 10:37pm
post #22 of 27

AYes. ^^ happened to me

morganchampagne Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 10:40pm
post #23 of 27

AMaybe adding the white food coloring? I'm going to try that today

MBalaska Posted 13 Apr 2014 , 11:20pm
post #24 of 27

Yes, I've been happier with the white food coloring addition, it doesn't make it white white, but it did lighten or lessen the yellow.  I don't mind so much putting the artificial clear vanilla flavoring in fondant.  No one really seems to expect fondant to taste like creamy rich vanilla custard ice cream anyhow.

mmhassa2 Posted 28 Oct 2015 , 1:41am
post #25 of 27

Bumping up this old thread. I'm going to make black and red and wondering when its advised to make it a day or two do you store it?  Do I just leave it in the fridge and it'll still gradually develop the deeper color? Thanks 

MarilynMichelle Posted 28 Oct 2015 , 2:23am
post #26 of 27

I would suggest blooming your color like it was suggested earlier in the thread.  I have done this and its the only way I can get my blacks to be pitch blacks and red to be actually red.  If I don't need more than a cup or two of the MBC to be dark I will mix in my gel dye to the frosting in a glass bowl.  I will microwave on 5-10 second intervals until the frosting is as dark as I need it.  The I completely cool it in the fridge, bring it out and let it come to room temp.  Re-whip and you're good to go  

Pastrybaglady Posted 29 Oct 2015 , 3:03pm
post #27 of 27

Could you use chocolate?  I've gotten SMBC black succcessfully by starting with chocolate and then adding black. Uses much less black food color and still tastes great. Even for the red it's a shorter distance to start with a light brown than white.  For deeper colors it's better to start the day before.

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