I've tried a few buttercream recipes and all of them have turned out the same - spongey appearance and gritty texture
After watching sugarshack's youtube video several times and reading the entire thread on it, I made a batch of her icing... with the same result!! I could just cry!
Can someone please tell me what I'm doing wrong? I really don't want to throw out an entire bowl-full of icing, can I save this batch somehow? Should I try heating it & re-mixing, chilling, adding more ps or adding more shortening?? I don't know what to do
Please please if anyone can help I'd really appreciate it
Here's what it looks like:
Hmmmmm, sorry. I wish that I had a better answer for you, but are you mixing it well enough? When you speak of the grainy texture, it makes me think that the salt might not be mixed in all the way. If this is the case, make sure to mix the salt in at the same time with your liquids so it can dissolve a little easier. Like I said, i wish I had a better answer for you though, because it seems like there might be more to your problem. I've never had this happen before though myself.
Actually, now that I'm thinking about it....the spongey appearance may be from mixing the icing too much. Possibly adding too much air into the frosting???
Did you sift your sugar?
AZCakeGirl thanks for replying There's no salt in there so that's not it lol.
I wondered if I'm under/over mixing? Could it be my climate (it's hot & humid here). Crisco is hard to get here in Aus so I'm very reluctant to throw it out.
Did you sift your sugar?
Idon't think I'm overmixing, it was only going about 5 mins total. I also made sure there were no air pockets & it was full to the brim...
Has this happened to anyone else? Were you able to fix it? I'm pretty sure I remember someone else posting a similar pic a while back.
I really think its because you are over beating it. especially if there is heavy cream or egg in your recipe. i would try beating it for a shorter time or maybe using a lower speed on ur mixer.
The recipe I used was sugarshack's (no cream or egg). I used the lowest speed until all the sugar was in and then on 6 for about 3 mins.
Charmed-one - It could be the type of powdered sugar youre using.
if there is more corn starch in your powdered sugar???
we were doing royal icing lessons, and the one lady's royal looked like that every time, till she changed her brand of icing sugar, then it worked well everytime since then, the teacher we have thought it could be the powdered / icing sugar, and it definately was, they were adding more corn starch to it than other brands!!!
Maybe buy a small packet of another brand of powdered sugar and try that, if you dont have the same problems then you know it is the powdered sugar.
with the royal icing, she tried everything, more beating more egg white - i know im talking different icings, but i do believe the principles are the same!
Hope this helps, and let me know please if you try it and the results are better or not - would love to know as im sure it works the same for all icing types
So sorry charmed_one - I don't know the answer but I do have a question for you. I'm in Bris too. I just assumed that Copha was the same as Crisco - is it different? The weather here is disgustingly humid at the moment so is it possible that's it's crusting slightly as you are making it to give that gritty texture? I had my first attempt at using fondant on Friday (that horrible day) and it took me two hours to get it on the cake! It kept sticking to the bench after I'd rolled it out and it was black so it was covered in the icing sugar I was using to make it not stick to the bench. I ended up rubbing a thick layer of copha into the bench and then a thick layer of icing sugar and I could finally pick it up. It was a nightmare! So I'm hoping it was the humidity that caused the problem?
When I use SS icing, I use high ratio shortening, C & H powdered sugar (not sifted), the hot coffee creamer(I boil the water in the micro then ad the powdered creamer). I use 1 tsp canning/pickling salt dissolved in the liquid I use. After adding all of the PS I then let the mixer go..sometimes I have actually forgotten about it for about 10 minutes then ran back and it was fine. the only thing I could guess and I could totally be way off base here is the creamer HOT? The heat probably contributes to the PS dissolving. That's the only thing I can think of. Overmixing doesnt seem to affect it.
I think it's both the sugar and the humidity. I don't know about cornstarch content, but the powdered sugar I get where I live is just not powdered as finely as others I have used, and the consequence is a somewhat gritty texture. The climate here is cool and dry, but I spend a lot of time in an extremely humid place on the Caribbean coast. When I make buttercream there, it looks exactly like your photo. On another note, how's your ratio of butter to shortening? I was using all butter buttercream for a while there, and that got me exactly nowhere in the humid climate. I hope the next time I go there that my new recipe, which is 3 to 1 of shortening to butter, will work a lot better. Unfortunately, the degree of pulverization of the sugar (unless you can get another brand) and the humidity where you live are out of your hands. I wish you the best, and if you ever get your problem solved, I'd be delighted to know how you did it!
Janine1972 you may be on to something with the sugar, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's managed to achieve this horrible consistency lol.
We don't have 10x etc sugar here, only pure icing sugar or icing mixture (which has cornflour added to prevent clumping). It's the mixture I was using so maybe I need to try pure (or another brand).
Funnily enough though my royal always turns out fine!
Melnick, great to hear from another Brissy decorator The weather has just been horrid hasn't it? I tend to use cornflour for fondant this time of year - far less sticky. Copha works well too, as you've now discovered!
Crisco is very different from copha. I buy it online from usafoods.com.au
Strangely enough I have tried copha in the past for buttercream and got the same result. Maybe it's just me... I'd blame my mixer but they say a bad tradesman blames his tools lol!
kbak37 I'm glad to hear overmixing doesn't cause problems for you. I used just-boiled water from the kettle to make the liquid. I'm starting to think maybe I didn't mix the shortening/liquid for long enough before adding the sugar. Sadly hi-ratio is even harder to get here than crisco
I'm tempted to heat the mixture and re-mix. What do you think?
I think you need to mix your frosting longer, and maybe add a little more milk or creamer to it. My frosting used to look like that before I got my KA (hand mixers - ugh). Once all is mixed in I just let that baby go for as long as 10 or 12 minutes. The longer the better in my experience. Also, are you creaming the crisco or crisco/butter first? It seems to need to be worked first before you add any PS. I also put my flavorings in at this time and then add the PS. Once the PS is worked in then I add cream and just let it run.
Marianna46, thanks for your reply
I've haven't tried to make buttercream in winter here yet so it'll be interesting to see if the cooler weather makes a difference. We don't have much choice when it comes to icing sugar either unfortunately.
Eme I might try mixing it a little longer with a bit more (hot) liquid and see how it goes. Failing that, I'll bake some cuppies and give the icing to the kids to have some fun with!
Thanks so much for your thoughts on it everyone, I'll let you know if I'm able to fix it
Thanks for the info. Thanks for calling me a 'decorator' too ... I'm so not ... still just learning! I looked up that site and you are right - that Crisco doesn't seem to look anything like Copha! I'll try cornflower next time too. I just thought it would be much easier to use fondant! As for the mixer ... well, I'm happy enough to blame it too!!! he he!
I just checked out your pics and for your first fondant cake you're off to a flying start, I love the design! It sure leaves my first fondant cake for dead lol.
Once I got the hang of it I found fondant so much easier than trying to get a smooth finish with buttercream, mind you I'm yet to make a decent batch of the stuff! The only buttercream I've used with any success is smbc, but so far I've only used it for fillings and under fondant. Hoping to try an all-smbc one soon
Aww thanks. I'm sure I'll love it once I can use it. I've only ever tried the Women's Weekly buttercream - I find it melts as I'm going. It starts out the right consistency but keeps getting runnier as it moves through the piping bag! If you find a good BC recipe that doesn't taste greasy, please let me know so that I can try it too!