Strawberry Buttercream That Pipes Well?

Decorating By TurksandCaicos Updated 18 Apr 2015 , 5:30pm by bakingfordozens

TurksandCaicos Posted 15 Apr 2015 , 9:21pm
post #1 of 14

What do I need to look for when choosing a buttercream that will hold its shape when piped but also taste good?  


I am preparing to make a strawberry cake and cupcakes for a party.  The recipe I am using is from the Sweetapolita site:  

http://sweetapolita.com/2011/08/strawberry-layer-cake-with-whipped-strawberry-frosting/


Here is a direct copy of the frosting recipe:

  • 3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (375 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 4 cups sifted (500 g) confectioners' sugar (icing, powdered), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon (7.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (if you want the frosting seed-free, you can put the puree through a sieve before adding to frosting)


Question--going by the ingredients, does that frosting seem like it would pipe well?  Ideally I am looking for a strawberry buttercream frosting that pipes well and holds a shape but that also tastes great.  

Or alternatively, would anyone know of a strawberry buttercream recipe that might work better than this one?  


13 replies
bakingfordozens Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 12:23am
post #2 of 14

Hi, TurksandCaicos! Judging from the recipe, it seems to me like you have a lot of wet ingredients in the buttercream recipe. I think the cream will be a bit thin, which is fine for some piping like droplines, writing, etc., however for things like shells and rosettes, you may need to thicken it by adding a bit more powdered sugar. Add a tablespoon or two at a time till it is the consistency you want. :)


If you need another recipe, the one I use takes 1 stick of butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, pinch of salt, 2 TB milk, and 1/3 cup of strawberry jelly/jam/preserves (or 1 cup of real strawberries, fresh or frozen). It makes for a delightful frosting that pipes well. Again add more powdered sugar if you want it thicker or teaspoons of milk to thin it.


Good luck!


P.S. Neither frosting needs refrigeration! Saves some frig space! :)

TurksandCaicos Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 5:07am
post #3 of 14

Hi bakingfordozens!  Thanks for responding!  I had the same concern about the recipe too--that it would be a little on the wet side.   I will be traveling with both the cake and the cupcakes and a BIG fear of mine is that this buttercream will fall or not hold its shape.  Or that I will frost the cake and cupcakes the night before, wake up the morning of and the buttercream will have lost its shape.  I'm not that used to working with buttercream or cake decorating in general, as you probably tell.  :)   

Your recipe sounds yummy!!  When you say one cup of fresh/frozen strawberries, do they need to be pureed at all?  

Oh yes, frig space is going to be at a premium! :)

Any ideas on frosting techniques?  I thought it would be neat to go with something that different than a traditional smooth finish for this cake, possibly like roses or something like that.  I'm open to any suggestion that would be doable for someone of my skill level.  

julia1812 Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 9:35am
post #4 of 14

I would reduce the butter by one stick.

bakingfordozens Posted 16 Apr 2015 , 1:26pm
post #5 of 14

TurksandCaicos,


Do not stress over limited experience in cake decorating, I am in the same boat you are. Lol. But, everything I have learned has been through a ton of research, experimentation, and baking science! Besides, there is no such thing as a baking "mistake", it is just a lesson learned! :)


One of the awesome things about buttercream is that it is a crusting frosting, which means it will dry a bit on the outside, while remaining nice and soft on the inside. Think of it like a yummy shell! Helps during transport because you don't have to stress about icing sticking all over the place, and it helps to keep the icing in place and in shape!


As for the strawberries, it is up to you whether to puree them or not. If you want a chunky icing then do not but if you want a smooth icing, just blend that cup of strawberry pieces and viola! If you are worried about seeds, use a meshed sieve or similar tool to strain them out! In my recipe, I cream my butter first, then alternate dry and wet ingredients, that way all the flavors get incorporated. Also helps you to see if you will need additional powdered sugar, which you probably will since we are adding a liquid.


As for frosting techniques, a simple shell border is always elegant, you could put rosettes over the whole cake and then match it with the cupcakes if you feel daring, or if you want to get out of the box, ice the cake smooth and use a piece of silverware to imprint a design (spoon dots or butter knife swirls). There is a ton you can do! Search around here or google for some pictures or ideas if can't decide. I do it all the time! :)


If you need anything else, just let me know!


P.S. If you don't want to do a full on smooth finish, you don't have to. Swirls of icing here and there add character and individuality. Not another cake has or will be iced like that one!

TurksandCaicos Posted 17 Apr 2015 , 10:25am
post #6 of 14

Wow---thanks for all the great info!  I have a lot to think about.  The frosting is stressing me out more than the cake.  You could say I have visions of falling buttercream in my head. :)

Do you think any strawberry buttercream would hold if I did the rosettes pattern all over the cake?  I know that look has been done over and over again but I have watched a few Youtube tutorials and I think I might be able to do it. 

About the puree, what about cooking it over the stove?  Before I started researching it online, I thought I would just thaw the strawberries and then blend them in the blender.  Now I've seen more than one person say that they actually cook theirs over the stove and then add a little bit of sugar and lemon juice.

julia1812 Posted 17 Apr 2015 , 11:07am
post #7 of 14

You can do either. If you cook a jelly or jam, it will hold up very well obviously. But I've added fresh strained purée many times to buttercream without problems. In abc I substitute all milk for it and if it feels to soft just add sugar. In smbc I add 3/4 of a cup to every 5 cups of buttercream.

 I like thickened purée for fillings alot as they hold their shape like jam.

yortma Posted 17 Apr 2015 , 1:32pm
post #8 of 14

Defrost a bag of frozen strawberries over a strainer, collecting the juice.  (Mash them down at the end to get out as much juice as possible).  Carefully cook or microwave (I microwave in a large pyrex measuring cup which makes it easy to check the volume, but use a LARGE one - it likes to bubble up)  until reduced to about 25% of the original volume.  Cool.   This gets the strawberry flavor with smaller volume, and also avoids  the seeds and chunks if that is desired.  I add the concentrate and a little strawberry liqueur to SMBC or IMBC and it is wonderful.  Handles and pipes beautifully.

TurksandCaicos Posted 17 Apr 2015 , 6:31pm
post #9 of 14

Hi Julia1812!  Dumb newbie cake question:

     Does abc=American Buttercream and smbc=Swiss Meringue Buttercream?  Between the two, do you have a preference on which one pipes/tastes better?


Hi yortma!  

   I like the idea of possibly using the microwave.  That's not something I had considered till now and sounds like it would possibly be easier and quicker than using the stove.  Plus one less pan I will have to wash right? :)  Good tip about using a large Pyrex cup.  I don't mind the seeds in the frosting (does this make me an oddball?) and as for chunks, I'm trying to avoid the big ones.  LOVE the tip for a little strawberry liquer--that sounds GOOD!  Also, if you were choosing between strawberry SMBC and strawberry IMBC for piping on a cake, what would you go with?  While my primary goals are taste and appearance, if the frosting wasn't difficult to make or tempermental that would be great.  Given my relative lack of cake decorating experience and all that is. :)

julia1812 Posted 17 Apr 2015 , 6:40pm
post #10 of 14

 

Quote by @TurksandCaicos on 6 minutes ago

Hi Julia1812!  Dumb newbie cake question:

     Does abc=American Buttercream and smbc=Swiss Meringue Buttercream?  Between the two, do you have a preference on which one pipes/tastes better?


Hi yortma!  

   I like the idea of possibly using the microwave.  That's not something I had considered till now and sounds like it would possibly be easier and quicker than using the stove.  Plus one less pan I will have to wash right? :)  Good tip about using a large Pyrex cup.  I don't mind the seeds in the frosting (does this make me an oddball?) and as for chunks, I'm trying to avoid the big ones.  LOVE the tip for a little strawberry liquer--that sounds GOOD!  Also, if you were choosing between strawberry SMBC and strawberry IMBC for piping on a cake, what would you go with?  While my primary goals are taste and appearance, if the frosting wasn't difficult to make or tempermental that would be great.  Given my relative lack of cake decorating experience and all that is. :)

 Yes, sorry, that's my laziness. Abc=American butter cream. Smbc= Swiss meringue buttercream.

 Started off with ABC, then tried smbc, fell in love, got addicted, would never go back again!!!

TurksandCaicos Posted 17 Apr 2015 , 6:54pm
post #11 of 14

Do you think strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream is do-able by someone who has never made it before?  Is this the one where you have to cook it on the stove?  I've looked at so much over the course of the past week that I can't remember. :)

yortma Posted 17 Apr 2015 , 9:43pm
post #12 of 14

SMBC and IMBC are very similar.  They are much different than ABC which is the type made without eggs, and with powdered sugar.  I rarely make ABC because it is so sweet, but sometimes still use it on kid's cakes.  SMBC whisks egg whites and sugar together over a water bath to get to a temperature of 160º (to dissolve the sugar and pasteurize the whites),  then whip the whites and add butter.  IMBC cooks sugar and water to 248º, then the syrup is added   to whipped egg whites, then  butter is mixed in.  They are very similar in taste.  The IMBC is a little stiffer and some say a bit more stable,  but might not be as reliable at reaching a pasteurization temperature.  I have switched from IMBC to SMBC over the years, just because I think SMBC is faster, and a little less hazardous than dealing with that hot sugar syrup, but i still go back and forth.  If you want some seeds and strawberry pieces in the frosting after adding the concentrate, puree some of the juiced mashed berries and add as much as desired at the end.  HTH.  If you have not tried SMBC or IMBC, I highly recommend giving it a try when you have time.  You may never go back!

julia1812 Posted 18 Apr 2015 , 5:02am
post #13 of 14

Trust me, it's not difficult to make. All you need is a candy thermometer.

 The only time my smbc failed was when I tried to make it without thermometer. I'd just read the instructions and was too eager to make it, LOL...

 It is so worth trying it!!!

bakingfordozens Posted 18 Apr 2015 , 5:30pm
post #14 of 14

I have so been wanting to try my hand at making SMBC and IMBC! In fact, what I have been spending a lot of this past month doing is making and buying small batches of different decorating mediums (fondant, piping gel, frostings, etc.) to find what i like best. The only reason I haven't made SMBC or IMBC yet is because I don't have a candy thermometer. But I am so eager to try them out, I have heard rave reviews! Here is hoping I can buy one soon! :D

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