Buttercream And Fondant Woes. Input Please!

Decorating By famograham Updated 10 Jul 2012 , 12:10pm by Tjensen

famograham Posted 3 Jul 2012 , 7:56pm
post #1 of 13

It seems no matter the recipe, my buttercream almost ALWAYS curdles/breaks. This past week, I tried Indydebi's Crisco based buttercream, because it has rave reviews for it's stability, and it STILL happened! (obviously something I'm doing wrong...the recipe doesn't seem to matter)
I only have a hand mixer, not a stand mixer, is this possibly the problem (not enough mixing)?
My white border edging dots came out looking like bird poop, liquid separating from solid...GRRR!!!

And my MMF - something was very wrong with it too this time around.
I used the recipe Rhonda's (Ultimate) MMF, BUT I don't have a mircowave, so melted the marshmallows on the stovetop. I'm quite sure that I overcooked/heated them. The fondant tasted like toasted marshmallow. The problem was that, once kneaded and rested, the fondand was kind of pulling apart, and breaking, not smooth and elastic. SO, I kneaded in lots more Crisco, and it didn't help, so then I had breaky, gummy, greasy fondant!

Suggestions would be VERY much appreciated, and I'll answer any questions needed to figure this out! My daughter's 11th birthday is on the 25th and I'd love to have these issues figured out by then.

Here is a picture of the cake I just finished, I can MOST definitely see all the flaws, even though it was loved. I was a graduation cake for my niece. I bought the black (Duff) and made the purple MMF.
LL

12 replies
laurens_bake_shop Posted 4 Jul 2012 , 6:38am
post #2 of 13

I have had similar problems with buttercream separating. Usually it was because I was too impatient to soften my butter, and microwaved it to a completely liquid state. So make sure that your butter is softened, not melted. Also, I have noticed that if my buttercream gets too warm (if I left it on the stove top while the oven is on) it will separate and I can't mix it back together.
This is by far on of the best tasting and easiest recipes I have tried. It is a Crisco recipe, and will come out rather terribly if you substitute butter(I know, I've tried). I don't know where I got this, so here it is:

-1/2 cup Crisco (half a stick)
-1/2 cup (softened, not melted) unsalted butter(whole stick)
- tsp. vanilla
-4 cups powdered sugar
-a few tablespoons of milk. This really depends though. It may need more, or it may need none at all. Add enough to get the consistency you want. Judging by how advanced that cake is, you probably know this.

1. Mix together the butter and Crisco till smooth.
2. Add the vanilla.
3. Sift in the powdered sugar, a little at a time.
4. Add (or don't) milk to get the consistency you need. (No milk makes a stiff frosting, good for decorating)
Aaaand, you're done!

Good Luck! icon_biggrin.gif

famograham Posted 5 Jul 2012 , 6:36pm
post #3 of 13

Thanks so much!
I will definitely try that recipe.
Your post made me think of two possibilities.
1 - I haven't let my milk warm up to room temp.
2 - I have been piping with a ziplock bag (cut a tiny corner off, add tip, fill and voila.) BUT, it's very thin. Could the heat from my hands just be too much for such a thin material?

Do you think either of these are the culprits?

Any thoughts on the fondant?

famograham Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 4:47am
post #4 of 13

I'm wondering if I've posted a question that gets asked an annoying amount, and maybe that's why I've only received one reply?
Can anyone direct me to links, for troubleshooting buttercream and fondant, how to fix problems, etc? Or point me in the direction of previous threads on the topic?
I am really hoping to get it sorted out before my daughters birthday!

Thanks so much
Linda

Cherylc418 Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 5:40am
post #5 of 13

no worries! all will be well. yes the heat from your hands can certainly warm up the buttercream to to point of no return. Perhaps you are using to much liquid, but you certainly don't have to let the milk come to room temp for American buttercream. Here is my no fail recipe: 1 c hi ratio shortening, 3/4 cup room temp unsalted butter, 2 tsp of your desired flavoring, 2lbs confectioners sugar, 1/4 cup cream. Add flavoring to cream, cream fats together, alternately add sugar and liquid ending with sugar. use medium setting on hand mixer.
have you ever tried making fondant without marshmallows? i personally find it more reliable and tastier to boot! the recipe i use is simple if you want to give it a go just let me know!

MaurorLess67 Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 6:04am
post #6 of 13

There are a number of GREAT videos on YouTube that other cakers have generously shared- and they include their recipes- Sugarshack (Sharon Zambito from SugarEd Productions)- and Edna D.- ToneEdna- from Design Me a Cake. These are two excellent videos.

I think if you made ANYTHING this weekend- it would have been a big fail- ha!! This heat and humidity was a disaster- for me anyway. Once I sign off here I have to post my stuff in the Cake Disaster section- my buttercream was - well- I threw it out and I had a cake literally melt on me last night- woke up to a puddle of ganache and drooping fondant- ugh!!!!

One other thing- very important as to what type of powdered sugar you are using- even though it costs more- get the name brand- Dominos- make sure it is not beet rooted. Practice makes perfect- that's what I keep telling myself.

Your cake looks great by the way!!!! Good luck for your daughters cake- I have no doubt it will turn out fantastic.

Hope this info helped.

Mo

BakingIrene Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 3:01pm
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaurorLess67



One other thing- very important as to what type of powdered sugar you are using- even though it costs more- get the name brand- Dominos- make sure it is not beet rooted.




Domino Sugar packs 10X powdered sugar in 1-lb and 2-lb packages. Their 25lb package is 6X NOT 10X. This is what causes grittiness in icing.
See here: https://shop.dominosugar.com/Confectioners-Sugar/25-lb

Domino also packs the same 6X material into bulk bags for off label store brands.

FYI Beet sugar properly processed into 10X powder is just as good for icing as cane sugar. Crystal Sugar in MN does an exceptional job of maintaining quality. I baked cakes exclusively with beet sugar for 15 years. Never had a particle of grit.

famograham Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 4:37pm
post #8 of 13

Thanks so much!
I think I will try a non-mmf version of fondant next, good idea.

About confectioners sugar. I have only ever seen one brand here! Rogers Icing Sugar. (I am in Parksville, BC, Canada.)
I just scoured their website and it's not clear to me whether they use can, or beet sugar. They produce both, but are not specific about which is used in that application. I'm going to email them and ask.

So, would you suggest I change piping bag material? Should I switch to fabric? Parchment? Pre-made plastic?

Cherylc418 Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 6:22pm
post #9 of 13

I prefer a heavier style fabric bag when I am doing the less detailed piping work. Other tan that I use the plastic ones from Fat Daddios. Both styles arepretty inexpensive and a great investment, i have have several in almost every size.

kakeladi Posted 8 Jul 2012 , 7:57pm
post #10 of 13

If your problem is (at least partly) due to hot hands it won't matter that much what material the piping bag is. Instead prepare 2 bags - (a 10 or 12"er probably best) fill them *only* 1/2 full. Put one in the frig while using the other. there are a few other tricks to help cool your hands down while working - a wet fzn towel to wrap around your hand while taking short breaks; a bowl of ice water to dip your hand in now & then etc.

BakingIrene Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 12:17am
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by famograham

About confectioners sugar. I have only ever seen one brand here! Rogers Icing Sugar. (I am in Parksville, BC, Canada.)
I just scoured their website and it's not clear to me whether they use can, or beet sugar. They produce both, but are not specific about which is used in that application.




Rogers on the west coast might be coming from Alberta which would make it beet. Don't worry, this is NOT the problem, I made cakes with beet sugar for 15 years.

I think you are adding too much liquid to your buttercream.

famograham Posted 9 Jul 2012 , 1:18am
post #12 of 13

Fantastic ideas, thank you SO much. I'll try all of those, and Irene, thank you for the sugar reassurance! I know Rogers does some processing/production from Vancouver as well, but I agree, I also don't think it's the sugar. I'll definitely watch my liquids, and hand temps, and I'll get myself some proper bags.

Tjensen Posted 10 Jul 2012 , 12:10pm
post #13 of 13

"Domino Sugar packs 10X powdered sugar in 1-lb and 2-lb packages. Their 25lb package is 6X NOT 10X. This is what causes grittiness in icing:

HOLY CAT! I did not know this! I often buy the dominos in the 25lb packages, won't do that again. icon_eek.gif

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