Icing For Summer

Decorating By cutiger Updated 4 Jun 2017 , 4:47pm by SandraSmiley

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cutiger Posted 9 Jun 2016 , 2:08pm
post #1 of 17

I live in hot and humid South Carolina.  Does anyone have a go to icing that will hold up and not melt off a cake?  My customers all want buttercream rather than fondant covered cakes and even buttercream made with Crisco only just melts off cakes, no matter how long it has been allowed to set and crust.  Have tried adding meringue powder but it has not helped.  I have not tried any cooked frostings but am willing to.  I really appreciate any ideas!  Thanks!

16 replies
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julia1812 Posted 9 Jun 2016 , 5:45pm
post #2 of 17

There is nothing more stable than american buttercream especially if you use crisco/shortening. Ermine/cooked buttercream will melt eventually because of the butter. But having said that how do you store your cakes? If it's too hot outside put them in the fridge. I live in East Africa  (talking about hot and humid LOL) and keep my cakes in the fridge. But sometimes there are displayed for hours and cupcakes I never chill. I use swiss meringue buttercream most of the time and never had anything melting. Just wondering if your cakes are out in the sun or how can they melt???

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Apti Posted 9 Jun 2016 , 6:01pm
post #3 of 17

@cutiger ‍ 

Excellent, high-heat, high-humidity recipe CRUSTING BUTTERCREAM

[Important: Even though the recipe says "Crisco", recipe was used for years BEFORE Crisco changed their recipe to NON-TRANS-FAT. The current Crisco does NOT perform the same way it used to perform.]

Where the recipe calls for Crisco, substitute (if possible) the following:

BEST BY A MILE: High Ratio Shortening (this is only available from specialty cake stores or online. You cannot find this at a grocery store.)

2nd BEST: Grocery store brand white vegetable shortening that still lists 2-3 grams of trans-fat on the ingredients label

Use only as a last resort: White Crisco (not butter flavored). It will still work, and nobody else but you will know that it is a little grainy and not as smooth as it would be with one of the products in 1st or 2nd place above.)

INDYDEBI CRISCO-BASED BUTTERCREAM--(Excellent for hot/humid areas):

(IndyDebi is a very experienced decorator/caterer: http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/)
Single Batch Recipe:

1-1/3 cups Crisco (BETTER: store brand shortening with 3 grams of trans-fats, or BEST, a specialty cake supply product called high-ratio shortening. As of 2010 Crisco no longer contains trans-fats.)

1/3 to 1/2 cup milk, depending on consistency needed
3 Tbsp powdered Dream Whip (powdered whipped topping mix made by Kraft Foods)
2-3 Tbsp clear vanilla, depending on personal taste (optional: almond extract, or lemon extract )
2 lbs. powdered pure cane sugar
IndyDebi says: “There's no wrong way to mix this. I usually mix all but the powdered sugar & milk for a minute or two, then gradually alternate the sugar & milk, but the only reason I do this is to avoid the "sugar-splash" factor. The longer the mixer runs, the smoother it gets. Sifting the powdered sugar before blending helps with smoothness but is not necessary.”

NOTE: Based on recommendations from other users of her recipe: 1) I make a double batch so the beaters are totally immersed to avoid air bubbles, 2) I beat the shortening, milk, Dream Whip, and vanilla for 10-15 minutes BEFORE I add the powdered sugar. I refrigerate or freeze leftover icing.

My cousin RICKI'S CRUSTING BUTTERCREAM that she's used for 30 years in hot, humid Kansas:
Ricki's Crusting Buttercream (high-heat, high-humidity)

(This recipe is a double batch. Any leftover icing will be ok in the fridge/freezer.)
1 cup + 4 TBSP water
2 cup Crisco (use high-ratio shortening if you have it)
½ tsp popcorn salt
1 tsp butter flavor
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp clear vanilla
8 tsp meringue powder
4 TBSP cake flour
1 cup corn starch
4 lb. C&H sifted powdered sugar

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Apti Posted 9 Jun 2016 , 6:08pm
post #4 of 17

@cutiger - I recommend you make a double batch of each frosting recipe above in a Kitchenaid stand blender.  (A double batch will nearly fill a 4-1/2 to 6 qt. bowl and helps to prevent air bubbles and make frosting smoother.)    You can then do family/friends taste-testing and practice by setting cakes outsides and see what happens to the frosting.

Although both recipes are excellent for hot/humid, Ricki's recipe is probably the most stable because of the corn starch and cake flour additions.   Both are crusting buttercream recipes and will do very well with piped decorations/borders/flowers, etc.

Info:  Popcorn salt is simply salt that is a much finer grain

I really think both of these recipes will work for you.

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cutiger Posted 10 Jun 2016 , 2:41am
post #5 of 17

Thank you so much for your help!  I have used Indy Deb's recipe and have had good luck with it.  I have not used it when it is so humid.  I don't store cakes in the fridge, mainly just because of space.  Apti, I can't wait to try your Cousin Ricki's buttercream.  I don't think I was putting in enough meringue powder.  The closest place that sells high ratio shortening is 2 hours away, so I guess I am going to have to break down and order some online.  Again, thanks so much for your help!  

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Apti Posted 10 Jun 2016 , 4:05pm
post #6 of 17

You are most welcome!

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woozy Posted 12 Jun 2016 , 9:22pm
post #7 of 17

Honestly, Crisco gets more vile each year. They ruined it for us when they took the cottonseed oil out, and it continues to become more disgusting. I use palm shortening, since I don't need a 50lb block, and I DO NOT trust the "repackaged" Sweetex.

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Apti Posted 13 Jun 2016 , 2:04am
post #8 of 17

@woozy -- I have to buy a 50 lb. block of the new-non-trans-fat-Sweetex tomorrow.  It's still way better than Crisco.   But, Lordee, I do hate breaking that 50 lb. block down into smaller chunks that can be frozen....

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Jeff_Arnett Posted 13 Jun 2016 , 1:42pm
post #9 of 17

Now I use a butter-based icing and we store all our cakes in the cooler until delivery......but.....years ago when I was first starting out, we used this recipe which was very popular around the area.  It holds up well in heat and I still use it to make air-dried piped roses.

Decorator's Icing

1 1/2 cup all vegetable shortening (hi-ration is best, store brand beats Crisco)

1/3 to 1/2 cup very hot water

2 pounds powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup cake flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

Sift the sugar, salt and flour together in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Drop large spoonfuls of the shortening on top.

Add 1/3 cup very hot water.

Mix on low to combine, scraping bowl frequently.

As mixture comes together, continue mixing on low until smooth. 

Add in extracts. 

If icing seems to thick, add a teaspoon or two more hot water.

I make ahead and allow to rest a couple hours...it will firm up somewhat.

Remix on low before using, thinning with more hot water or corn syrup as need to reach desired consistency.

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cutiger Posted 14 Jun 2016 , 1:28pm
post #10 of 17

Thank you!  I'll give it a try!  I think adding the cake flour would help hold it together.  I really appreciate the help!  There is nothing more frustrating than watching beautifully smoothed and crisp icing just slowly start to slide off a cake! 

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remnant3333 Posted 16 Jun 2016 , 5:08am
post #11 of 17

  I used to live in South Carolina but moved to Tennessee.  The humidity there is awful.  I am sure it is frustrating trying to do cakes where the humidity makes it even hotter. Hopefully you can try some of the above recipes which will work better for you. Good luck and let us know which recipe works best for you. 

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ismol Posted 28 May 2017 , 11:35pm
post #12 of 17

@Apti ‍ Can u please tell me how to make your cousin Ricki's buttercream? Is it the way we do usual buttercream when we mix he shortening first before adding the sugar? Or is it the way we do decorator's icing when we first dissolve sugar in the water before adding the shortening and other ingredients?


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Apti Posted 29 May 2017 , 1:23am
post #13 of 17

Cream together the shortening, then add the wet ingredients a little at a time, then add the dry ingredients a little at a time.   Then beat it for 2-4 minutes until creamy.  

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ismol Posted 1 Jun 2017 , 10:14am
post #14 of 17

Thanks for your reply @Apti ‍ 

@cutiger ‍ Have you tried Ricki's buttercream? How did it go?

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leah_s Posted 1 Jun 2017 , 7:05pm
post #15 of 17

I'm a big fan of Charlotte's Whipped Cream Buttercream.  (Google it.)  It holds up very well in high heat and humidity of the Ohio Valley.

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cutiger Posted 4 Jun 2017 , 1:49pm
post #16 of 17

I have not tried that recipe yet.  I did try another one...and it melted.  In April!  We had a very hot humid Spring, it was awful.  Had a wedding cake that I could not even get to stick to the cake board...with the air conditioner on 68.  Then, once it did finally set, 2 hours later, after decorating cake layers, the icing under the bottom tier melted and the cake was sliding off the board during delivery.  It was awful!  I won't do another wedding cake until I find a recipe that will stand up for at least an hour before melting.  If you find one, please let me know.  

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SandraSmiley Posted 4 Jun 2017 , 4:47pm
post #17 of 17

@cutiger ‍, anyone who underestimates South Carolina's heat and humidity certainly has not experienced it!  It makes Tennessee look like a want-to-be and we are famous for humidity.

Have you considered devising a box for transporting which has room for dry ice or ice packs?  I do very few cakes, but I am considering building one, like two boxes, one approximately four or five inches smaller all the way around than the other, and filling the spaces with ice packs, then wrapping the whole thing in a couple of quilts or blankets after the cake has been loaded and secured in the car.  Personally, I don't think there is a frosting that can hold up to SC summers for more than a few minutes without refrigeration.  Good luck.

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