Icing Made With Real Butter

Decorating By Jenni Updated 28 Feb 2005 , 8:19pm by SquirrellyCakes

Jenni Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 6:36pm
post #1 of 9

I have never used real butter when making icing. I have always used the all shortening recipe from the Wilton classes with the butter flavoring. So, my question is: When using real butter, can it sit at room temperature without spoiling? If so, for how long? If not, how does a real butter recipe work for an assembled tiered cake that won't fit in the refrigerator?
Hope this question makes sense...
Thanks in advance!


BTW, I do like the recipe with the butter flavor. But I have read that so many other people prefer the recipes with real butter and think the all shortening recipe is too greasy. So I am curious to try a different one. Any suggestions would help!

8 replies
Mchelle Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 6:40pm
post #2 of 9

i use 2 stick butter, 1 box powd sug, 1 tsp van, 1 tbsp karo syrup. I just keep this refrigerated, but have had it left out for a few days and it still tastes fine. icon_biggrin.gif

BJ Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 6:46pm
post #3 of 9

icon_smile.gif Yes, Buttercream icing made with butter can sit at room temperature. It can sit as long as one made with shortening. I prefer the tast of the butter recipe myself and use it basically for covering the cake. It seems a little looser than the all shortening version and tastes better. I do my piping with the shortening recipe - but it's all good. thumbs_up.gif

BJ Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 6:50pm
post #4 of 9

icon_surprised.gif Just to clarify - I'm referring to an iced cake - not just prepared icing - that still needs to be refriged just like the shortening recipe until ready to use. Sorry.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 6:50pm
post #5 of 9

Well, according to Wilton, the half shortening half butter recipe is fine on the counter at room temperature for the same length of time as the all shortening one - 2-3 days.
I make my icing from half butter half shortening. I use salted butter because of the preserving nature of the salt in the butter and according to the Canadian Dairy Farmers Institute, salted butter is fine at room temperature for at least 3 days. Room temperature is generally under 75F.
Personally I find the icing fine for even longer than that - at least 4-5 days. I use both milk and cream in my icing and sometimes make it all butter and have never had a problem. Now the rules for a commercial bakery likely differ as they do with all things - even eggs cannot be at room temperature for more than 20 minutes in a commercial bakery.
Both sugar and salt have preserving qualities.
Where you run into problems is with a whipping cream icing as the whipping cream starts to break down and liquefy when at room temperature for any length of time.
You can also make up this kind of icing in advance, Wilton says up to two weeks total storage time in the refridgerator. I usually make it up a week ahead checking that all expiry dates are within the time frame. I also double bag the icing and make certain that there is no exposure to onions or garlic or other smelly things within the refridgerator as you don't want food transferance odours affecting your icing.
Bear in mind that any colours you add to your icings cause the icing to have an odour, whether it is all shortening and water icing or icing with butter in it.
You will have folks tell you that you cannot keep icing made with butter or milk or cream at room temperature and this is simply inaccurate information for the home baker.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

Cakeasyoulikeit Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 6:56pm
post #6 of 9

I always refrigerate the unused icing, but have never refrigerated an iced cake and never had a problem. I don't think butter really spoils. I keep some in my butter dish on the counter for weeks at a time (use it for cooking eggs and stuff, you know...) and have never had a problem with it.

Jenni Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 6:58pm
post #7 of 9

thanks for the quick replies!! I am glad to know that they can be kept at room temp. equally as long. I always refrigerate iced cakes when possible, but it cant always be done. I am anxious to try a new recipe! Thanks again!

GHOST_USER_NAME Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 7:46pm
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by Cakeasyoulikeit

I always refrigerate the unused icing, but have never refrigerated an iced cake and never had a problem. I don't think butter really spoils. I keep some in my butter dish on the counter for weeks at a time (use it for cooking eggs and stuff, you know...) and have never had a problem with it.

Me, too!!!! Butter goes soft ans melts in the high heat of the desert, so I have to watch that. But it doesn't go bad.

I once had cupcakes sitting in my counter for 2 weeks (in a Glad Ware container). We had been on vacation. Joan ate one we got home and said it tasted fresh. I tried it and lo and behold... it was extremely fresh tasting and feeling.

Things don't always go bad when the FDA says it does. It's a guideline, not a hard and fast set of rules.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 28 Feb 2005 , 8:19pm
post #9 of 9

Another interesting bit of info. It is generally thought that cake mixes stay fresh longer than from scratch cakes. Now I would imagine it is because of the chemical preservatives added into cake mixes. However once frozen, cake mixes have a shorter shelf life than a frozen and thawed out from scratch cake. I have no idea why, possibly due to the chemical interaction with freezing. I actually got that from a government site.
Also, the best cake to freeze is a sheet cake as the larger surface makes for a longer freezing time without noticable deterioration. Which means that cupcakes have a shorter freezer life than regular cakes. Generally under a month is considered the best length of time to freeze most cakes with some cakes lasting up to 2 months without any deterioration. Incidentally, the deterioration is actually measured by a chemical breakdown and not so much by taste.
Regarding butter, the breakdown is more related to temperature. During the great blackout, we had both butter and shortening go rancid. Shortening will also go rancid if kept too long or at too warm a temperature and so far, I have found that the time frame for both types of icing at room temperature, to be about the same. This changes as the temperature goes up as butter has a much lower melting temperature than shortening does - I believe about 83F as opposed to 89 for shortening.
Unsalted butter has a much shorter life.
Because I worry about liability, I always buy fresh butter when I am using it for cakes where folks outside of the family, will be served, nice, eh? Haha! But I find the same thing you do, it lasts a long time.
I also keep cakes iced with Cream Cheese frosting, on the counter for our home use, mainly because that was what I always did and had no problems. However if a cake is leaving the house or serving other than family members, I refridgerate these iced cakes.
So far we are all relatively normal and well, well at least the rest of the family is, haha!
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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