Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Buttercream

Decorating By Jackie Updated 26 May 2016 , 8:00pm by gfbaby

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Tazalexis Posted 10 Jul 2005 , 8:42pm
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AgentCake - I mainly use buttercream and I realize to get the bubbles out, sifting the confectioners sugar helps. As well as beating the mixture properly.

As for storage, an airtight container stores the buttercream for approx 2 weeks or more in the fridge - then it starts tasting like every food item you have in there - lol

My question is ... coloring. I use the wilton colors, however, when I need dark colors (i.e. burgandy, black, red, etc), I have to buy the pre-colored buttercream because the taste becomes very bitter. What can I do????

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PolishMommy Posted 13 Jul 2005 , 3:29pm
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How about a section explaining recipes with meringue powder vs. recipes without? Does that have to do with how much the icing "crusts"? But some recipes that I use without meringue powder also crust!?

I'm baffled here...does anyone know?

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gma1956 Posted 13 Jul 2005 , 3:57pm
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What a great idea Jackie

yes cakelady1994 I used whipped cream and it does make a great crust - That is how I make it for my cookies and it works great - give it a nice icing that when left to dry is soft in the middle and I can still stack them without messing up the decorations.

The recipe I use makes about 6 cups I mix one recipe at a time starting with 1/2 of the p sugar first and adding all the other ingredients. I then mix this at the slowest speed until will blended. Then I add the rest of the p sugar. (it takes 1 lb of sugar for the whole recipe) and mix this at the slowest speed for about 5 minutes. The air bubbles are from mixing at too high a speed. It does help to sift the p sugar for a better mix but not for keeping the air bubbles down. Air is from the mixing itself - Never use a high speed on your mixer with buttercream -- You MUST BE PATIENT.

I can't wait to read all the other ideas and tips.

Thanks Jackie for your labor of love.

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Newbie Posted 17 Jul 2005 , 6:17am
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How long can buttercream be kept in the freezer? I have lots of little bags of different colors. I keep them in the freezer and thaw what I need so I don't have to mix so many colors.

But I'm wondering how long these will keep - anyone have any experience in this?

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nlh Posted 19 Jul 2005 , 3:04pm
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My question is about different recipes. I've tried the ones with Crisco and they are gross! Even if I add 1/2 butter 1/2 Crisco, or use extra flavors (vanilla, butter, almond, etc.)

So I'd like to have some other recipes to use. Like a French, Swiss, or Italian buttercream perhaps?

Why do we have to use this Crisco stuff? It's awful.

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jjandascog Posted 21 Jul 2005 , 10:10pm
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The Sweet Celebrations cookbook has several recipes for flavoring buttercream for fillings...
Cream cheese, chocolate, mocha, orange, lemon, raspberry/strawberry
There is also a recipe for flavoring cake washes.

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umfalcon Posted 22 Jul 2005 , 6:13pm
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I'm in the south and my teacher told me it depends on the weather. If it's hot out site use water, that way you don't have to worry about it spoiling.

Originally Posted by jscakes

Good idea. Like, there are those who use milk vs. those who use water...which is the best? Can't wait to read what other's input will be. This will be the "Ultimate Addict" article! :0

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patriciav Posted 25 Jul 2005 , 5:51pm
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A tip I have when making 1/2 butter 1/2 Crisco buttercream is to add 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup to the end result, after beating in the vanilla, confectioners sugar and milk. (1 tbsp per 2-3 cups of buttercream). This results in the icing being more easy to spread and allows you to achieve a smoother finish on the cake. I have found this to be helpful when piping stars on character cakes or cupcakes, otherwise the icing is too hard to push out of the piping bag. Also, I have a hard time icing cakes to a smooth finish due to air pockets and this really helps eliminate that. (Especially if your like me and whips up buttercream on high speed, even though I guess your really not suposse to). Dipping the spatula under hot water to smooth icing is key with this recipe!

I don't know if you guys already add corn syrup to your butter/Crisco recipe but I thought I would add this in case not.

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crouton800 Posted 29 Jul 2005 , 4:50am
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Great choice of topic! I'm waiting with anticipation for the article!

My questions are:-
1. why are some buttercreams easier to color that others? Found some "colour separation" with some receipes.
2. Everyone has their favourite buttercream receipes, it would be great to have a chart stating which buttercreams are suitable for different cakes..eg. novelty, wedding and buttercream receipes for sweet-tooths and those that want a less sweet buttercream.
3.differences with meringue based buttercreams


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Kelrak Posted 4 Aug 2005 , 9:38pm
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Here's my only tip since I'm a newby: tinted buttercream fades if you expose it to sunlight. Be careful to keep your cupcakes or cake in the shade for outdoor parties.


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Naty Posted 4 Aug 2005 , 11:09pm
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What a wonderful idea!!!!! I agree with crouton800, there are so many different kinds of buttercreams. How do you know which one to use when and their results. Since my Wilton classes, I only use the Wilton buttercream. No, its not that I'm not open to other buttercreams is just that Wilton works well for me, and is easy to make. I would absolutely love to try other buttercreams; I have heard that the Italian one taste wonderful. My concern is not so much the sweetness b/c I can cut down on the sugar of the cake, but to make sure the recipe I use has the same stiffness/consistency and crusts well, so I can get my icing smooth.
I am sorry if I can't offer too many tips to the article but here is one:
I have never done the VIVA papertowel method, but I heard it works great. I am always in too much of a rush or too tired and just want to finish. What works for me is making sure the icing crusts before I do my second layer of frosting and I use the hot knife method. This is used for the last icing coating where you did your offset spatula in hot water, shake off the excess water and smooth the icing.
I do have a recipe for a great butter pecan frosting from Southern Living Magazine. if you want to also include recipes in the article. I posted it a while back. It is really wonderful but you can't get it smooth b/c it has pieces of walnuts throughout. If you can't find it I'll repost it.
Please if I can help with anything else for your article let me know.

Regards, Naty thumbs_up.gif

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Mitzynva Posted 9 Aug 2005 , 2:09am
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Naty...would you share that Butter Pecan frosting recipe with me? I also have only worked with the Wilton recipe but want to try some new ones. I purchased the Cake Bible and it has wonderful variations for buttercream icing but it seems to me some of the ingredients are hard to find or a little expensive for me just to try out for a practice cake or a cake for my children's birthdays...atleast at first. It would be nice to have some recipes and with the flavors range recipe's from simple to the extreme.

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Naty Posted 9 Aug 2005 , 3:54am
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Hi Mitzynva,

Here is the butter pecan frosting recipe, and a yellow cake recipe that I use. The cake is very good and not too fancy or rich for kids' tastes. It tastes like a boxed cake mix.

One thing, the butter pecan frosting IS RICH!!! Maybe you want to reduce the amounts of toasted pecans if its for kids.

I also use the Wilton's BC but 1/2 butter and 1/2 crisco. You can also add a large cream cheese (8 oz) to the Wilton's BC recipe..........this will mellow out the flavor and kids liked it.

If you need anything else or have questions, please let me know or PM me OK?

Have a great night!!!

Regards, Naty

2 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 box (16oz) confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet, add pecans and cook over med. heat 10 minutes stirring constantly until pecans are toasted. Set aside and let cool completely.

In bowl cream 1/2 cup butter till creamy, add cream cheeses, continue beating. Add sifted sugar. Fold in cooled pecans and add vanilla extract.

Note: This recipe is for 9-inch cake layers. I had leftover frosting because my cake was 8-inches.

Butter Pecan Frosting Recipe from: Christmas with Southern Living, 1996


Great American Cakes
by Barbara Kafka
Gourmet December 1987

Yellow Cake Layers

Makes two 8-inch layers

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt (I use regular salt)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Into a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter, add sugar gradually, beating, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture and the milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients, add the vanilla, and beat the batter until it is smooth.

Divide the batter between 2 lightly greased and floured 8x1 1/2-inch round cake pans, smoothing the top, rap each pan on a hard surface twice to expel any air bubbles.

Bake the layers in the middle of a preheated 350-degree F oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean and the layers pull away slightly from the sides of the pans. Let the layers cool in the pans on a rack for 8 minutes, run a thin knife around the edge of each pan, and invert the layers onto the racks. Let the layers cool completely.

Note: I do all my baking at 325 instead of 350.

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davidcarlson Posted 9 Aug 2005 , 4:30am
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Just curious, but has anyone attempted with clarified butter???

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Naty Posted 9 Aug 2005 , 9:50am
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HI davidcarlson, welcome!

I guess you could but I would separate the eggs, make a soft merengue with the whites then incorporate the rest of the batter. I'm not sure if you you add the clarified butter before the egg whites are folded in or after.

A lot of my cakes I do with the seprated eggs, but with soft butter, not clarified. which makes the cake "flufflier" then I add a simple syrop.

Would be a good thing to try.


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andrealinn Posted 9 Aug 2005 , 12:30pm
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Great ideas everyone!

I recently made a cake (frosted in white buttercream) that had black icing writing on it. I used the wilton white buttercream and tinted it black. Took a whole lot of gel color to get the black I wanted. So, I did the cake, it looked great, and a few hours later, it was like the black had bled onto the white, creating a 'purple-ish shadow' on the white buttercream underneath. What is the best way to avoid this? Start with chocolate buttercream?

My friends have told me they've had similar problems with red writing on white buttercream. Suggestions?

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Mitzynva Posted 9 Aug 2005 , 1:06pm
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Thanks Naty I will give it a try.

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davidcarlson Posted 9 Aug 2005 , 8:44pm
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I suppose clarified butter might leave it a little stiffer, too... I always have stuck with the Crisco. I am really picky with colors, so I tend to get frustrated when my reds turn out a little orange looking. I was just wondering if anyone has tried it. ( I meant for the frosting, not cake.)

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sarahscakes Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 2:53pm
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This is a great topic for an article!!! So much to talk about. I put condensed milk in my buttercream to thin it. It tastes really yummy! It does yellow it slightly but no one ever notices that. icon_biggrin.gif

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sarahscakes Posted 12 Aug 2005 , 2:57pm
post #50 of 708

Yeah the black bleeding into the white is a big problem. I think if we try making the black icing stiffer, then it won't have as much moisture in it and may last longer on the white. And also not refrigerating it cause that causes condensation when you take it out.

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vicky Posted 2 Sep 2005 , 3:22am
post #51 of 708

For those asking about the VIVA papertowels, after icing your layers allow the icing to crust. Touch the icing to see if it comes off on your finger. Do not let the icing set too long. It all depends on the humidity. Take a paper towel, Viva is smoother than others, place it on the cake and gently smooth the icing. You can use other brands of paper towels if you want different designs, ie. rings as in Brawny etc. I always look for different designs in the stores. It looks great and gives your cake a little texture.

Vicky, MO

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Daniela Posted 19 Sep 2005 , 7:56pm
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I think this article is going to be a success. Buttercream is soooooooo good and I'm sure there are a million different ways to make it depending on your taste so I can't wait to read the article. icon_biggrin.gif

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mcginnis Posted 28 Sep 2005 , 2:46pm
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Again, what a lot of great ideas from everyone!

I have a question about buttercream that may help others as well.
Is there a good receipe, (that dosen't crust up), that will hold up well in room temp after taking it out of the freezer?
I have a big problem with condensation on the cake, and it happens every single time!

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mcginnis Posted 28 Sep 2005 , 2:51pm
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Hello everyone,

I have a tip on how to make rich tasting chocolate buttercream.
I use to use cocoa and found that it just didn't taste up to par. I then decided to melt a whole bag of chocolate chips and add that to my frosting batter.
It tasted great!
Be careful though, the chocolate acts as a thinning agent, so I deleted the milk from my receipe so that the frosting wasn't too thin. It worked great!
lisa (mcginnis)

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finally928 Posted 29 Sep 2005 , 6:20pm
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Originally Posted by sheilaattaway

Has anyone tried the upside down trick in the articles. It is the best ever. I have a hard time spreading butter cream evenly, i hate not having a perfect, smooth cake. This is the best trick ever. Everyone should try it.

icon_confused.gif Upside down trick??? what is this?

Seeing as I need all the help i can get w/ my frostings, I would love to hear what this is!!


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ncdessertdiva Posted 5 Oct 2005 , 5:52pm
post #56 of 708

I have a great flavor combination for buttercream frosting - use 1/3 tsp of vanilla flavoring, 1/3 butter flavoring and 1/3 almond flavoring. That is the basic measurement for one pound of buttercream (using 1 cup of Crisco and 1 lb of confectioner's sugar). I adjust to taste and consistency if I have to add more confectioners sugar or liquid to the frosting.

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finally928 Posted 5 Oct 2005 , 6:00pm
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I've heard of that -- i think some people call that "Snow White Buttercream" ....

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CakemanOH Posted 11 Oct 2005 , 2:57am
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If you want to get away from the greasy tase of Crisco then switch to Hi Ratio and add an icing base. It puts crisco and butter to shame and does not break down like crisco.

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cocopuff Posted 11 Oct 2005 , 3:08am
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What's an icing base?

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CakemanOH Posted 11 Oct 2005 , 3:09am
post #60 of 708

If you want to get away from the greasy tase of Crisco then switch to Hi Ratio and add an icing base. It puts crisco and butter to shame and does not break down like crisco.

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