Specks In American Buttercream Sos!!

Baking By Jels Updated 15 Apr 2016 , 9:04pm by kakeladi

Jels Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 12:56pm
post #1 of 15

Whenever I make American buttercream and color it, the color never fully incorporates as it does with a meringue buttercream (I color my meringue before add butter). I can see specks of color throughout my American buttercream. It is not entirely noticeable but it bugs me and is especially annoying with colors like blue and purple.

Has anyone experienced this and what could be the solution? I don't know if powdered food color would work.

14 replies
cakebaby2 Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 1:06pm
post #2 of 15

I don't colour my SMB until I am sure the butter is incorporated.

On the one occasion I rushed it, I could see there were still traces of undistributed butter which" grabbed" the colour giving a speckled look.

Maybe the butter or shortening is not fully mixed?

Jels Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 1:48pm
post #3 of 15

Coloring the SMB works great. Candy colors are not available where I live so I did some research and found that the meringue can be colored before adding the butter.

The problem is the American buttercream. I usually whip my butter for 4 - 5 minutes before adding icing sugar and mix for another 2 minutes, add my extract, whip for another 2  minutes and then add my color which...well, there's the problem.

cakebaby2 Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 2:17pm
post #4 of 15

I've never tried candy colours, (whats in them?)  just the gel ones, and is the OP using butter or white fat?

I whip the butter (real buttercream) for about 7 mins till its almost white, then add gel colour..then ps gradually.

I figured it was the white veg fat which was not behaving itself lolx

640Cake Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 2:17pm
post #5 of 15

I had white specks in my ABC a time or two, but it was from the salt.  The salt takes time to breakdown and once it did, it would leave me with little white specks.  I solved this by using popcorn salt...easier to dissolve.  You could also dissolve it in a bit of the liquid you use to thin the icing (I don't use any liquid).  Though, the specks weren't really an issue for me as I always made my BC a day or two ahead of time (to allow the color to deepen) and stirred it up before using - specks gone.  If you have colored specks, perhaps mixing it longer would alleviate the specks?

Pastrybaglady Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 2:18pm
post #6 of 15

What kind of color are you using? ABC usually takes color great. I don't use ABC for cakes but when I made it for cookies recently it colored great - no specks. Could your color be too old?

Jels Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 2:33pm
post #7 of 15

Lol.....I use only butter for my american buttercream. Do you add the colors before adding the icing sugar?

Jels Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 2:35pm
post #8 of 15

I tried mixing it for longer. It didn't work. I usually don't add salt to my buttercream.

Jels Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 2:38pm
post #9 of 15

I didn't think so. I recently bought gel colors but I still have the same problem. I wish I could stop using ABC altogether (too sweet) but it is cheaper than SMB where I live

Pastrybaglady Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 2:45pm
post #10 of 15

Not sure who you're asking but I'll answer because I'm procrastinating on real work... I add americolor at the end usually because I want to mix more than one color. I think it's the powdered sugar that holds the deep colors better. Are you mixing color the same time as the powdered sugar? I could see how that would result in specks.

costumeczar Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 7:02pm
post #11 of 15

Try either using airbrush colors, which are already liquid, or mixing the color into the liquid before adding it to the buttercream.

Jels Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 7:42pm
post #12 of 15


Quote by @Pastrybaglady on 4 hours ago

Not sure who you're asking but I'll answer because I'm procrastinating on real work... I add americolor at the end usually because I want to mix more than one color. I think it's the powdered sugar that holds the deep colors better. Are you mixing color the same time as the powdered sugar? I could see how that would result in specks.

Not at all. I add colors after adding and the mixing powdered sugar for a few minutes

Jels Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 7:46pm
post #13 of 15

Do you mean powdered colors?

Jels Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 7:47pm
post #14 of 15


Quote by @costumeczar on 44 minutes ago

Try either using airbrush colors, which are already liquid, or mixing the color into the liquid before adding it to the buttercream.

Do you mean mixing the powdered color?

kakeladi Posted 15 Apr 2016 , 9:04pm
post #15 of 15

I bet this is happening with your deeper, dark colors.  It is just undissolved color and usually after a few hours it will disappear.

Also try mixing on low for more at the end - 5 to 8 minutes more.  Long, slow mixing will help incorporate the color and improve the quality of your icing.

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