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Powdered Sugar Buttercream vs F/I/SMBC

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Which is the more popular amongst hobby/home bakers? And which is more popular for the professional bakers? I have only made BC with powdered sugar, but I'm ready to experiment. Are the meringues easy to flavor? How do they hold up for decorating? For roses? How would you thicken/thin them? How do they handle under fondant? TIA! icon_biggrin.gif

Oh yeah. . .and how do you smooth the meringue icings?
post #2 of 23
It depends on who you ask. I really love Warren Brown's IMBC recipe which you can find on YouTube. I prefer this because it's easy to make, much less messy than a PS-based icing, and it has a very elegant mouth feel. It doesn't taste cheap or sugary. It's very silky and smooth.

Flavoring is easy. It's just like regular BC. Add extracts, oils, nut pastes, liqueurs, fruit purees, etc. It's also easy to decorate with, although it is more susceptible to melting from the heat of your hand. For that reason, I usually have another back-up bag filled and just switch the tips until the other bag "cools off" a bit (you can also just put it in a cake pan filled with ice).

With meringue buttercreams, the texture is manipulated with temperature, not the addition of liquids or more PS. So yes, you can pop your bag in the fridge to stiffen the BC and do some roses easily enough. No need to add anything to thicken/thin it. Also, it works fine under fondant. You just have to chill the cake well and cover it while it's still cold.

My tips:

1. Look up the Warren Brown recipe on YouTube (I add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra sugar)
2. Always use unsalted butter. I use Land O Lakes just because I don't have the money for Plugra and it's the best I can find where I live
3. Use GOOD flavorings, and use a lot. I use two to three TBS of Nielsen Massey vanilla extract. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don't ever use clear vanilla or imitation vanilla in this BC.

This is a website I always like to show people when they are reluctant to use meringue buttercreams for decorating. These folks use SMBC I think, but IMBC is basically the same thing, just different in preparation.

http://www.cupcakecafe-nyc.com/
post #3 of 23
I use both, but it just depends on what I am making and for whom. Most kids cakes I use the PS frosting and most adult cakes I use either SMBC or a combination of SMBC/PS. I personally prefer SMBC but a lot of people in my area like the PS frosting best.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses!

AnneCahill - I'll check out that site! I normally use Lorann's flavorings and I'm allergic to imitation vanilla, lol! And, if you chill to cover in fondant, do you then have to keep the cake refrigerated? Will the BC hold the weight of the fondant, when its room temp?

CarolinaGirlAsh - how do you mix the two?
post #5 of 23
I'm only a hobby baker & have only been decorating for less than a year. I don't make lots of cakes since it is only for family & friends. I started doing American buttercream & cream cheese frosting w/powdered. Although everyone else seemed to like, I was not crazy for it. In December for my MIL's cake (the flower pot), I decided to try SMBC. It is now my go to buttercream. I love it and the family seems to love it too. I have flavored it with melted chocolate, raspberry filling, vanilla etc etc. It is so smooth & creamy. The first time, I had a hard time smoothing it but I find it much easier now. As far as making it, I have never had a problem either. Comes out perfect every time.
post #6 of 23
SMBC is much easier to spread on cakes. I find it to be very smooth. It doesn't crumb-coat, but since it's so smooth, crumb coating is not necessary. I also like it because it doesn't become crusty if left out.
post #7 of 23
Honestly, after I make a batch of each, I just fold it all together in my mixer. I have never had a problem with it. I don't usually measure it but I would say I probably use something like a 1 SMBC: 0.75 AB type of ratio. Most of the time I do it when I have leftovers of each and don't really want to make more of either.
post #8 of 23
I would keep it refrigerated until it's delivered. I have left cakes iced in IMBC out for several days. It won't hurt anything. But if I were doing it for someone else, I would definitely keep it in the fridge and I would advise them to do the same. I have guts of steel it seems so I don't worry about it. LOL

I use mine to crumb coat and dam and it's fine. It gets rock hard in the fridge so it's very sturdy and great to transport.
post #9 of 23
I use an all butter PS buttercream, I prefer a crusting buttercream for two reasons:
*The additional structure & stability it adds to the cake. I have never had a delivery disaser with crusting PS BC.
* Crusting BC lends itself to decorating tequniques that I would otherwise need fondant for such as impressions.

And I guess the third and fourth reasons is that I can make it in my sleep and my customers really like the taste
post #10 of 23
I only make a meringue icing, and wouldn't make a PS one if you twisted my arm. If anyone I've ever made a cake for actually preferred a PS based one, it would be news to me.
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post #11 of 23
I think nobody is wrong in using what works best for them and tastes best. Everyone has diferent opinions on the subject but at the end of the say is all about you and whar works best.

Here where I live I cant's use Swiss or Italian buttercream. So I stick with crusting buttercream. I do love the fact that smoothes out like fondant and it is very strong specially over the summer.
But if I was to make cupcakes, I do like more the Italian or Swiss.. It works with those because they dont need to be stacked.
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post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

It works with those because they dont need to be stacked.


What do you mean?
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post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

It works with those because they dont need to be stacked.


What do you mean?



It means I cant use swiss or italian buttercream in here because is too hot and
humid and the cakes become unstable. So if I use swiss or Italian, I use it mostly with cupcakes.
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post #14 of 23
Oh ok, I thought you meant you couldn't stack them at all just because they are an MBC. I get it now!
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post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Oh ok, I thought you meant you couldn't stack them at all just because they are an MBC. I get it now!



Oh yeah, swiss and italian can be stack. Its just not the best for where I live!
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Visit my website.. www.designmeacake.com
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Thanks Edna
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Visit my website.. www.designmeacake.com
http://designmeacakeblog.blogspot.com/
Check my Gumpaste Tutorials in You tube
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Check my new Blooms and Vines DVD!



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