lunawhisper0013 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 2:59pm
post #1 of

As I have said in my previous thread, I am very new to this site, and in many ways, to the cake community at large. I have posted several of my favorite cakes here and I have gotten good responses on many of them but there is a recurring theme among the comments.

 

"I can't believe that is buttercreme"

"I can't imagine doing that cake in buttercreme"

"I wish I could do something like that in buttercreme"

and so forth...

 

I started in a grocery store and so am most comfortable with the buttercreme icing.  I use fondant on occasion but mostly just for decorative accents and never to fully ice the cake.  Most of my clients tell me that they don't like the taste of fondant, but fondant seems to be the universal standard for "professional" cakes. 

 

I like to think outside of the box and have a background in art and drawing which had helped me greatly with my piping skills and my ability to sculpt buttercreme icing. This is what I do everyday but on here, 3D and elaborate themed cakes in buttercreme seem like extremely foreign concepts.

 

So, long story short, is buttercreme icing largely considered a grocery store or armature icing in the world of "professional" bakeries and decorators?

29 replies
cupadeecakes Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:22pm
post #2 of

No I don't think buttercream icing is unprofessional at all.  I use both buttercream and fondant in my bakery, and honestly, I get the same comments you have heard about people not wanting the taste or the additional cost of fondant on their cakes.  I actually book a lot of cakes because I will do them in buttercream when other local bakers are insisting on using fondant.

 

I think when you hear the comments like:

 

"I can't believe that is buttercreme"

"I can't imagine doing that cake in buttercreme"

"I wish I could do something like that in buttercreme"

 

It is an indication that the design is something they want to achieve, not something that's beneath them.

The Cake Shoppe Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:27pm
post #3 of

Hardly!!  I think it's that there are so many options out there now.  Buttercreme/buttercream and piping is old-school.  And I don't mean that in a bad way!!  I have seen so many gorgeous and painstakingly time-consuming creations in buttercream!! 

I guess I started totally backwards with mastering fondant first and then moving to buttercream. It took much more effort and time to master good buttercream work.  But I also get orders now, that I wouldn't have gotten before because I work in buttercream.  The folks around my area have only been exposed to W type fondants and that has resulted in a negative view on fondants in general.

I look at buttercream as a classic, baby!

lunawhisper0013 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:27pm
post #4 of

I never meant to imply that is was. I only mean that it seems that butterceme is an uncommon medium in elaborate themed cakes. I hope you haven't taken offense.  I was deeply flattered by your comment.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 3:40pm
post #5 of

I've always read comments in that vein as meaning that the person making the comment didn't think doing a particular design in buttercream was practical, or maybe even didn't think it was possible, and was surprised that anybody would attempt it, much less succeed.

 

And of course, there are dozens of different kinds of buttercream, meringue and non-meringue, simple-syrup-based and powdered-sugar-based, whipped and non-whipped, crusting and non-crusting. I, for example, use a dense, non-whipped BC, made from the recipe that's been on the back of the C&H powdered sugar box since before most of us were born, and hand-mixed with an ordinary dinner fork. No shortening, no margarine; all butter. The texture and flavor is completely different from that of a whipped meringue buttercream. (And it has occasionally gotten me into trouble when, as with my own 51st birthday cake, I didn't adequately thin it before attempting to spread it on an unusually delicate [and not crumb-coated] top-crust.)

bct806 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 4:14pm
post #6 of

Not at all. I think it is harder to master. Most people do fondant and it is easier to get that smooth finish and polished look. Doing the same look with buttercream takes real skill and knowledge of the medium. What some people can do with it is amazing. 

shanter Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 4:17pm
post #7 of

There is a spelling distinction between buttercream (made with various ingredients) and Bettercreme, which is a commercial product that comes frozen and you just thaw and whip it (it's sort of like stabilized whipped cream). The abbreviation BC is used for buttercream. If the actual term "buttercreme" is acceptable somewhere, I'm not cognizant of that. If I'm wrong, someone please enlighten me.

 

Any cake with any frosting is fine--it depends on the taste and texture that you want and what is physically possible for the design, construction, and usability for the location (inside or outside) and temperature.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 4:20pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by bct806 

Not at all. I think it is harder to master. Most people do fondant and it is easier to get that smooth finish and polished look. Doing the same look with buttercream takes real skill and knowledge of the medium. What some people can do with it is amazing. 


Which is the gist of what I said, just stated differently, which puts us in complete agreement.

hbquikcomjamesl Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 4:29pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanter 

There is a spelling distinction between buttercream (made with various ingredients) and Bettercreme, which is a commercial product that comes frozen and you just thaw and whip it (it's sort of like stabilized whipped cream).

And a lot of people around here (myself included) consider it entirely justified to look down our noses at "Bettercreme," given that it's rather fake, even compared to an all-shortening "buttercream" (And indeed, some of us, myself included, question whether an all-shortening BC can truly be called buttercream.) Unless I'm frosting something in chocolate (which I don't eat, making me as ill-prepared to make a chocolate frosting as I am to prepare anything else I don't eat, so I use canned), I make my frostings from scratch, whether it's a vanilla BC, a maple or maple-cinnamon BC (real Vermont Grade B in that one), a strawberry BC (with real strawberry jam, as well as partially-real strawberry extract), or a dairy-free maple glaze (again, Vermont Grade B).

bct806 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 4:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbquikcomjamesl 


Which is the gist of what I said, just stated differently, which puts us in complete agreement.

Absolutely!

liz at sugar Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 4:52pm

Agreed on more skill required to make a "fondant" style cake in buttercream.  I prefer any style of buttercream made with butter, but not a fan of fake or shortening based recipes.  I would take those comments as a compliment!

 

Liz
 

WickedGoodies Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 5:20pm

I find buttercreams and modelling chocolates to be the classiest finishes (I also like chocolate glaze). Fondant may be the mostly widely used cake decorating medium at the moment but that doesn't make it the best or most appealing. I think buttercream is awesome and extremely versatile on its own. When I say buttercream, I mean with real butter, not shortening (shortening creeps me out!). I also love to pipe 3D in buttercream too :)

jennicake Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 6:58pm

Buttercream is not unprofessional at all.  It's just that a lot people don't have your awesome buttercream skills, so our buttercream cakes wouldn't look as good.  I think the comments you are getting are more in awe of your talent, because what you are doing in buttercream is very challenging!  Wow! 

lunawhisper0013 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 7:36pm

AThat was super nice. Thank you. I guess I can get really critical of my own work sometimes. I just wondered because almost everything I see out there is fondant. I just didn't know if it was because they just think buttercream isn't as good or what.

shanter Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 7:45pm

Take a bow and a round of applause for your talent. Your turquoise topsy turvy cake is the only topsy turvy cake I've seen that I actually love.

AZCouture Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 8:26pm

Personally I would love to do more butter cream only cakes! SMBC is a beautiful thing when you use good vanilla, and you can see all the pretty specks from the seeds and whatnot. I won't color my SMBC past pastel shades, so I'm limited to the design options, but I love a good bc only cake. I developed a method of carving it awhile back actually, and love doing that. 

BatterUpCake Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 8:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunawhisper0013 

As I have said in my previous thread, I am very new to this site, and in many ways, to the cake community at large. I have posted several of my favorite cakes here and I have gotten good responses on many of them but there is a recurring theme among the comments.

 

"I can't believe that is buttercreme"

"I can't imagine doing that cake in buttercreme"

"I wish I could do something like that in buttercreme"

and so forth...

 

I started in a grocery store and so am most comfortable with the buttercreme icing.  I use fondant on occasion but mostly just for decorative accents and never to fully ice the cake.  Most of my clients tell me that they don't like the taste of fondant, but fondant seems to be the universal standard for "professional" cakes. 

 

I like to think outside of the box and have a background in art and drawing which had helped me greatly with my piping skills and my ability to sculpt buttercreme icing. This is what I do everyday but on here, 3D and elaborate themed cakes in buttercreme seem like extremely foreign concepts.

 

So, long story short, is buttercreme icing largely considered a grocery store or armature icing in the world of "professional" bakeries and decorators?

I think what they are saying it the decorator is so good that they can make buttercreme look as smooth as fondant.

lunawhisper0013 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 8:30pm

A@AZCouture

What do you do to carve it? You have me curious...unless it is a trade secret. I understand that too :-)

niniel1 Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 8:38pm

I am an amateur but in my opinion I think it cakes more skill to get a really polished finish with buttercream than it does with fondant. I say this because I can make a decent looking cake with fondant but most certainly couldn't with fondant. I just think fondant is more forgiving. TBH most people I know (myself included) pick the fondant off a cake to actually eat it. 

BatterUpCake Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 8:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by niniel1 

I am an amateur but in my opinion I think it cakes more skill to get a really polished finish with buttercream than it does with fondant. I say this because I can make a decent looking cake with fondant but most certainly couldn't with fondant. I just think fondant is more forgiving. TBH most people I know (myself included) pick the fondant off a cake to actually eat it. 

since I have started flavoring my MMF with Lorann flavorings I am noticing people eating it more often than not! (you would think that I am a paid advertiser for Lorann...lol)

 

As for Bettercream, Pastry Pride or dreamwhip I can't find it icon_cry.gif

howsweet Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 9:01pm

To me certain styles of cake look better in buttercream and others look better in fondant.  A buttercream cake where the icing is intensely colored looks less professional to me fwiw

FrostedMoon Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 10:32pm

I think when people say buttercream cake, they think of very dated styles of decorating.  Big buttercream roses, shell borders, etc etc.  When someone (like yourself) is very good at using buttercream, people probably assume it's fondant.  There are amazing  (and professional!) things that can be done with buttercream by those that are very skilled.  Perhaps some of cake world just needs a lesson in what really is possible with buttercream!

 

As a side note, most of my cakes are requested with my home made MMF fondant.  I've found fondant, at least MMF, tastes very different when freshly made.  Even 24 hours after being made it has lost some of the flavor and the texture changes, but the fondant I use to cover my cakes is usually made right before I put it on, or not more than a few hours before I put it on.  I know most people let their fondant rest, and I wonder how much that affects what people think of it when they eat it.  

 

I am always trying to convince customers to go with a buttercream design.  I've actually considered running a promotion to discount buttercream ruffle or petal style cakes so I can do a few of those!  

kikiandkyle Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 11:02pm

AI try to roll my fondant (mmf) as thin as possible and I've yet to see anyone pick it off, it has usually all but melted in to the buttercream.

liz at sugar Posted 11 Jul 2013 , 11:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

I try to roll my fondant (mmf) as thin as possible and I've yet to see anyone pick it off, it has usually all but melted in to the buttercream.


Yes, this would help. :)  I've seen where people roll it 1/4" thick (yuck) to cover their cake.  Looks terrible when they cut into it.

 

Liz

Carrie789 Posted 12 Jul 2013 , 1:29am

Luna, I don't believe I have commented on any of your cakes, but If I had said something along those lines, it would have been out of envy, not a criticism. Buttercream, regardless of its ingredients, is more difficult than fondant, that is, unless you just smear it on like I was taught back in the dark ages. Smooth buttercream is my biggest challenge. Your cakes are beautiful!

embersmom Posted 12 Jul 2013 , 1:55pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrie789 

Luna, I don't believe I have commented on any of your cakes, but If I had said something along those lines, it would have been out of envy, not a criticism. Buttercream, regardless of its ingredients, is more difficult than fondant, that is, unless you just smear it on like I was taught back in the dark ages. Smooth buttercream is my biggest challenge. Your cakes are beautiful!


This: nodding:  Working with fondant is much more forgiving than buttercream.  Buttercream demands a certain "hand" to execute well, IMO, and not everybody can do it well.  Fondant, OTOH, is much more user-friendly.

ReneeFLL Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 4:51pm

Buttercream is not unprofessional. Neither is fondant or any other icing that one chooses to use on a cake. As long as it looks and taste good that is what matters. It is the execution of the fondant or buttercream that makes it look professional or unprofessional. Yours look very professional. People are just in awe and shock that yours are buttercream because they are done exceptionally well. I wished my buttercream skills were like yours. I need a ton more practice.

 

What kind of buttercream do you use? 

 

Also, I know that a lot of people don't like the "fake" buttercream, but it has its place. If someone wants a "buttercream" icing and it is in the heat outside then the fake buttercream is the one to use and not the real buttercream. 

lunawhisper0013 Posted 10 Aug 2013 , 9:10pm

AWell, being a store decorator as my day job, I use the "fake" buttercream quite a bit. I tried some other recipies but I didn't like the way they crusted up so I just stuck with what I knew.

And thank you very much for the compliments. It is nice to hear those kind of things from people who are peers in the business and really know what they are looking at vs someone who just walks in the store and wants a "pretty" cake.

bct806 Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 6:07pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunawhisper0013 

Well, being a store decorator as my day job, I use the "fake" buttercream quite a bit. I tried some other recipies but I didn't like the way they crusted up so I just stuck with what I knew.

And thank you very much for the compliments. It is nice to hear those kind of things from people who are peers in the business and really know what they are looking at vs someone who just walks in the store and wants a "pretty" cake.

If crusting up is the problem, up the fat content in it. (Butter, shortening, whatever you are using)

MBalaska Posted 11 Aug 2013 , 7:33pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReneeFLL 

Buttercream is not unprofessional. Neither is fondant or any other icing that one chooses to use on a cake. As long as it looks and taste good that is what matters. It is the execution of the fondant or buttercream that makes it look professional or unprofessional. Yours look very professional. People are just in awe and shock that yours are buttercream because they are done exceptionally well. I wished my buttercream skills were like yours. I need a ton more practice....

Yes, precisely .

And when you see tubs of Fondant on your local grocery store shelves beside the boxed cake mixes, you'll know that the general public are giving up shortening based buttercream for fondant.  Hasn't happened yet.  Keep up the good work.

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