Am I Overbeating My Buttercream?

Decorating By mmgiles Updated 27 Jul 2017 , 5:30pm by theresaf

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mmgiles Posted 8 May 2007 , 3:57pm
post #1 of 17

I've been decorating cakes for a few months now, and I just started Wilton Course 1. My instructor doesnt seem too knowledgeble but she said the reason her icing didnt come out smooth last night was because she over beat it and it had air bubbles. I though it looked just like my icing always does. That's the reason I'm taking the course, because I cant seem to smooth my icing.

16 replies
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indydebi Posted 8 May 2007 , 4:13pm
post #2 of 17

I find the longer I beat it, the fewer air bubbles.

here's my logic .... and it could be totally off base ... just my unscientific opinion.

The more you beat it, the more you break down the pieces of fat.... be it crisco or butter. If the pieces of fat are not broken down into teeny tiny pieces, then when you spread the icing, your knife will move those pieces of fat thru the icing and they will act like little rocks .... the knife moves the fat and it leaves a "trail" .... like a comet. When you beat it longer, those pieces of fat are beaten down to nothing so when you move the knife thru the icing, there are no "hunks" of fat to move across the cake and mess up your smooth icing.

I run my KA for about 5 minutes.

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McMama Posted 8 May 2007 , 4:21pm
post #3 of 17

I agree with indydebi, but you shouldn't beat your icing on a high speed. I think if you beat your icing on high speed it actually whips up air bubbles. So use a medium speed.
Is this what you do indydebi?

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indydebi Posted 8 May 2007 , 4:43pm
post #4 of 17

yes,it is. excellent point. on my mixer scale of 1-10, i put it on 6.

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mmgiles Posted 8 May 2007 , 4:49pm
post #5 of 17

I think I'm using a medium speed too. I usually use my handheld mixer though because I can make it get the sides of the bowl and I dont have to scrape it down like in my stand mixer. But I think I'll try mixing it longer and see.

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musicmommy Posted 8 May 2007 , 4:52pm
post #6 of 17

the instructor I had for wilton classes was very good and said your icing isn't smooth enough because it is too thick, I use a thin icing and it smooths great, I also tak classes from a cake store ran by a pastry chef and very skilled wedding cake designer and she says she whips her icing for a LONG time while she is preparing other things for the cake at a medium high speed and it creates more fluff and smoothness, I have done this for about 4 months now and everytime someone new comments on the great taste and texture of the icing. It really adds to it in my opinion!

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imartsy Posted 8 May 2007 , 5:35pm
post #7 of 17

oh yeah! I'm glad I learned this! I always have trouble w/ smoothness - and sometimes I make my buttercream a day or two before i use it. I try to let it come to room temperature and put it in my KA again to mix it up - and I seem to get bubbles - and I've had those little pieces of Crisco & stuff in icing before too - so maybe I'm just not beating long enough! I'm always worried about overbeating it - maybe this last batch I just made and put in the fridge - I'll take out and beat it for a few minutes and see how it turns out.

Thanks for the tip!

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CherryBomb Posted 8 May 2007 , 6:26pm
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by imartsy

oh yeah! I'm glad I learned this! I always have trouble w/ smoothness - and sometimes I make my buttercream a day or two before i use it. I try to let it come to room temperature and put it in my KA again to mix it up - and I seem to get bubbles - and I've had those little pieces of Crisco & stuff in icing before too - so maybe I'm just not beating long enough! I'm always worried about overbeating it - maybe this last batch I just made and put in the fridge - I'll take out and beat it for a few minutes and see how it turns out.

Thanks for the tip!




I usually make my frosting a few days in advance too. I let it warm up on the counter for a bit. When I'm ready to use it, I take a large spoon and smash it down to get all the air bubbles out. For me, this seems to work better than re-whipping.

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aastorga Posted 23 Jul 2017 , 5:43am
post #9 of 17

is it best to use all shortening for buttercream. I am new to the decorating business and a majority of my cakes are iced with whip cream. but i am determined to perfect a buttercream recipe. I either have gritty buttercream or bubbly. i also find sometimes you can taste the shortening even though i use the wilton meringue powder. PLEASE HELP!!

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cutiger Posted 23 Jul 2017 , 1:13pm
post #10 of 17

Try using half shortening and half butter.  And mix for a long time, like they are saying above.  Or try indydeb's recipe.  It tastes wonderful.  Play with the flavorings you are using as well.  It can take awhile to get the taste you prefer.


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gscout73 Posted 23 Jul 2017 , 8:14pm
post #11 of 17

It has always been my experience over beating adds too much air and therefore does not apply smoothly. Remember, once you've blended the ingredients you are aerating, or adding air. The longer you go at a higher speed the more air you are adding. The creamier the ingredients the smaller the air bubbles and you get fluff, like whipped cream and meringue. The ingredients for buttercream are more firm and behave differently. My recommendation is to use medium speed and do not beat for too long.

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kakeladi Posted 23 Jul 2017 , 8:42pm
post #12 of 17

.......aastorga said:   ........ I either have gritty buttercream or bubbly... find .....you can taste the shortening even though i use the wilton meringue powder. PLEASE HELP!!.......

I DONOT agree that "over beating adds too much air or causes gritty results".  In fact S L O W mixing for long periods produces wonderful, smooth icing.

I have been decorating for more than 30 years.  Of course over that time I have improved my b'cream skills -  tried many different recipes  from composure to mixing it to piping/using it.  This is the best one I have come across:     http://www.cakecentral.com/recipe/22469/2-icing.   Using Wilton meringue powder really does NOTHING to improve taste, or  the icing overall.   It only helps it crust a tiny bit....it's NOT WORTH the cost :(  


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aastorga Posted 26 Jul 2017 , 1:41am
post #13 of 17

Thanks for all the advise. It is very much appreciated! I will let you all know how my next batch comes out!! 

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Jeff_Arnett Posted 26 Jul 2017 , 2:01am
post #14 of 17

I agree....I let mine mix on low 5 to 8 minutes once it all comes together...smooth as silk.

The real trick is to make sure there's enough icing in the bowl to cover the beater all the way up to the stem so that the entire beaters is submerged...this prevents beating a lot of air into the icing.


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aastorga Posted 26 Jul 2017 , 4:57pm
post #15 of 17

What attachment do you use?

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Jeff_Arnett Posted 27 Jul 2017 , 12:33am
post #16 of 17

I actually use both the whisk and paddle beaters.

I combine my butter and shortening, along with the vanilla, and whip with the whisk attachment for 5 minutes...this really lightens the color of the butter to just a slight off-white.

I add all the sugar at once and switch to the paddle beater (my mixer has a bowl cover...if yours doesn't then cover the mixer with a damp towel.

 Turn the mixer on LOWEST SPEED and mix until the icing begins to come together.  Scrape down the bowl, then turn mixer to low-medium speed and mix 5 to 8 minutes....it will come together and be smooth as silk.

REMEMBER you need enough icing in the bowl to cover the paddle beater so that only the stem is out of the icing….otherwise you will beat in air!


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theresaf Posted 27 Jul 2017 , 5:30pm
post #17 of 17

 I come to Cake Central less frequently these days but I am always grateful to come across threads like this with helpful info from both @kakeladi and @Jeff_Arnett! Love the idea of using the whisk attachment then the paddle and will definitely try that next batch (or should I say - double batch to cover the paddles!!)

Thanks all! kissing_heart

Theresa

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