Swiss Buttercream Disaster

Decorating By starlet Updated 29 Jul 2008 , 6:29pm by starlet

starlet Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
starlet Posted 26 Jul 2008 , 6:55pm
post #1 of 10

Okay...I haven't posted before but I was devestated. I got a call from a freind on a wed, her cake lady backed out, the 10 year anniversary wedding is FRIDAY. I said yes, she wanted all white buttercream, 4 teirs, like her first cake. I usually use fondant, but I thought this would be easier. Because of the time, I didn't make cakes from scratch, but I was going to make buttercream (sugar and egg whites cooked, beaten to stiff peaks and add butter-which I have made before).

Now the problem...The first batch when I started to add the butter it was melting and turning to soup, so I dumped it to start agian thinking I didn't wait long enough to let it cool (I was cutting a million strawberries for the filling). Sooo I started agian and this time paid close attention to make sure it cooled completely...same thing icon_cry.gif ! NOW I am in So Cal so it's HOT, but I had my air on to keep house 78-80. I'm thinking that that might be it and it needed to be even cooler. I threw the second soupy batch in the freezer and ran to my local cake supply and bought a buket ( oh yeah its 3:00 the wedding is at 7:00 and I am to attend, no shower yet icon_surprised.gif ) I tried to save the second batch, didn't work. I used the bucket of shorting buttercream from shop- didn't have enough, but luckaly I had some fondant to make bands for the bottoms of the cake.

When I delivered, I snaged some roses of the tables to cover some of the spots. I was scarded to death that when I walked out of the chapel the frosting was going to be sliding off the cake icon_sad.gif . But I came out to the bride in tears that it was great and looked like her first cake 10 years ago thumbs_up.gif . Thank You ahhhh!

So, I have just started doing cakes for pay...I have done them for fun un til recently.

Does anyone know about why the buttercream did that...was it just the heat and what would be the ideal temp in house. Thanks for listening to my sob story and I look forward to some advise.

9 replies
mclaren Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
mclaren Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 1:16am
post #2 of 10

starlet, my 1st two SMBC batches prev had turned soupy as well.
at least the 1st batch wasn't so soupy, i could still salvage it after putting it in the freezer, & later on added more PS into it, tho it defeated the purpose of getting a mildly sweet BC.
2nd SMBC was too soupy, had to chuck that one out.

my 3rd attempt was successful. since the room temp around here stays the same when i made the 1st two, the only thing i made sure i kept an eye on was the egg white & sugar temp.
when i made my first two, i followed the advice of touching the stuff to see if all the sugar has melted, then it is time to take it off of the heat (the first attempt was a tad longer being left on the heat).

for my 3rd, i used a thermometer & waited till the EW + sugar mixture reached 160 deg (tho many suggested 140 deg was enough, i just didn't want to take chances). & voila, this time it worked.

in my case, i know that the 1st two attempts failed because the EW + sugar mixture wasn't cooked up to the right level, eventho when i touched the mixture, it was already smooth & not gritty.

PinkZiab Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
PinkZiab Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 5:19am
post #3 of 10

Just for future reference, a soupy meringue buttercream is not necessarily ruined. When that happens, finish adding all of the butter, then stick it in the fridge. Let it firm up, then back onto the mixer and BEAT THE HELL OUT OF IT until it gets fluffy again.

Lynnzee Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
Lynnzee Posted 27 Jul 2008 , 5:46am
post #4 of 10

The temp could have been the issue. But perhaps you may not have gotten your meringue stiff enough. That has happened to me when I am in a hurry. I jumped the gun and ended up with soup. LOL icon_smile.gif

aswartzw Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
aswartzw Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 4:44pm
post #5 of 10

You can save soupy SMBC just like PinkZiab said. Nothing that more whipping and cooling it down can't fix. Also, if you can touch your bowl and it's not hot to the touch (warm but not hot) then it's not too hot to begin adding butter. How long did you whip it for? It takes at least 10 minutes minimum before reaching the right consistency. Sometimes more. Also, be sure to only add a few pieces of butter at a time and let them be well mixed before adding more.

FYI... the temperature for heating the eggs has nothign to do with how SMBC turns out; it's only to pasteurize the eggs. As long as the sugar is dissolved in the eggs then you will have no issues. If you use pasteurized eggs, you don't even need to heat it.

jennym0904 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
jennym0904 Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 4:57pm
post #6 of 10

invest in a candy thermometer! icon_smile.gif I always rely on them when I make my italian meringue buttercream or anything that requires a certain temperature (i'm not good enough to tell by adding a bit of the mixture to water or whatever the nonsense is to check the consistency!).

glad the bride liked it!

FromScratch Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
FromScratch Posted 28 Jul 2008 , 4:57pm
post #7 of 10

SMBC is supposed to turn to soup before it gets fluffy and wonderful. Whenyou start to add the butter to your meringue it will fall and be soupy.. keep at it.. finish adding the butter and let it beat up. It will come together. Becareful chilling it.. only do it in short bursts because if you try to whip it up too cold it will separate and look horrible.. but even that will come back together if you warm it up a little. SMBC is pretty indestructible. icon_smile.gif I posted pictures of the process of making it you can peek at it if you'd like.

mclaren Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
mclaren Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 12:05am
post #8 of 10

i had beat up mine for another 30 more minutes & it was still soupy & never gotten there.

that was when i decided to use the thermometer for my 3rd attempt, just to see if that was the reason.

mj812 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
mj812 Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 3:07am
post #9 of 10

I've had some SMBC disasters as well, but mostly when I've tried to make the cream cheese SMBC. Lately, though I've discovered that it always turns out fine if I beat the egg whites and sugar mixture really well in the mixer. I beat it until it is quite firm, probably at least 5 minutes on high. By then it is almost cool, and I add the softened butter and it does not take long for it to all come together. Tonight, I made some, and after the butter was added and mixture was firm and creamy, I added softened cream cheese and beat for a few minutes to ensure it was all blended. Looks fine. icon_smile.gif


starlet Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
starlet Posted 29 Jul 2008 , 6:29pm
post #10 of 10

Everyone THANK YOU! I guess it's on a learning curve. I felt much better and took all the notes for referance.

I'm trying it agian next week...

Thanks agian

Quote by @%username% on %date%