Buttercream Nightmare

Decorating By Shannon1129 Updated 14 Mar 2009 , 2:12pm by klat7292

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Shannon1129 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 12:24pm
post #1 of 26

Hidy Ho CCers! So, yesterday I made my first 3 tiered cake in all BC. It's actually the very FIRST cake I've made covered in only BC. What a nightmare! Fondant is SO much easier. What gives? It was so soft. I actually had it in the fridge decorating it there. If you BARELY touched it, it dented it or marked it. The edges softened and lost that crisp look. Am I mising something. Oh - and I used a buttercream recipe from this site. It tasted great - but was a nightmare to work with.

25 replies
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bettinashoe Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 12:42pm
post #2 of 26

I also prefer fondant but have used buttercream successfully in the past. It sounds as if the icing may not have been stiff enough. Was it more of a medium consistency like your crumb coat? Was your cake chilled? Those are the only two things I could possibly think of that might have been an issue. I'm sorry this happened to you; don't let it cause of buttercream fear as there are customers who only want buttercream and it really can be "user friendly."

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Shannon1129 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 12:47pm
post #3 of 26

Do you have to keep chilling in every so often? I was worried because there were fondant decorations on it. I thought maybe the fonadnt would sweat and bleed colors onto the white BC.

I think it was stiff enough. It was fairly difficult to spread. My crumb coat was a bit thinner. I will have to practice more. In the meantime, I am going to keep coaxing my customers into fondant. icon_smile.gif

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ddaigle Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 12:48pm
post #4 of 26

Shannon....did you use a "crusting" buttercream recipe? Though different, you should not have had a nightmare experience. I only use buttercream and have crisp edges with a crusted, sealed effect. Sorry for your probs.....especially on such a big cake!

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bettinashoe Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 12:53pm
post #5 of 26

You shouldn't have to keep chilling your cake/buttercream. Icing works best on a cooled cake. I'm not sure a crusting recipe is the issue here although I always use a crusting buttercream. The icing should have stayed where you spread if whether it was a crusting recipe or not. Was your cake crumbling underneath the icing? Could your cake have been the problem?

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Shannon1129 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 1:46pm
post #6 of 26

I think the cake was pretty firm. When I was leveling them off I didn't have to gingerly handle them. they had the same stability they usually have when I use them for fondant cakes.

I do believe I have the crusting BC recipe. Here it is:

2# Powdered sugar
1 stick of butter
1.5 c Solid shortening
2 T Clr Vanilla Extract
1/3 C h2o for icing & 1/4 c h2o for stiffer icing
1/4 t Almond Extract

I am open to new ones. This one seemed pretty dang solid when it first came out of the fridge and I used the Viva papertowels on it. I put it back in the fridge for a few hours. After I took it out and began decorating (over the course of an hour) it softened A LOT.

Is there a better recipe?

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3GCakes Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 1:59pm
post #7 of 26

Your recipe seems like quite a bit of water, not enough fat to sugar.

I usualy use atleast a cup of fat per pound of powdered sugar.

I also measure the water in tablespoons, usually don't use cups.

A lot of people will add more powdered sugar if the icing is too soft, but I prefer to add more fat. Sugar attracts water molecules and can do the opposite of stiffen icing, especially if it is humid.

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jammjenks Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:07pm
post #8 of 26

Shannon - make it again omitting the water. Only use it at the end to thin as needed and even then only use it in small amounts. Also make sure your butter is room temp and not melted. HTH

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kakeladi Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:14pm
post #9 of 26

It definitely has too much liquid in that recipe.
The fat to sugar ratio is fine. Do as jammjenks said icon_smile.gif

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Shannon1129 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:20pm
post #10 of 26

Thanks! So I am going to try this again minus any of the water. Are all the extracts still ok?

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newnancy Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:28pm
post #11 of 26

Everyone seems to love Indydebi's crusting buttercream & it has 1/3 cup water in it?

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iluvjay829 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:29pm
post #12 of 26

You may want to add some meringue powder as well, around 2 tablespoons, that should help. Good luck!

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butterfly831915 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:33pm
post #13 of 26

extracts are fine, omit the water until you need to thin and add a little at a time. I agree that was a lot of water. also if it does go to thin, i would add a little "fat" and a little sugar, don't want it overly sweet.

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step0nmi Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 2:38pm
post #14 of 26

That recipe is the exact recipe I use...it may be too much water for your area...but, the water IS needed. event though is says 1/3 a cup or 1/4 a cup that is really only the correct amount of tablespoons you should be using...I think it's like 8

Also, what was the climate like in your area? some times that has a big effect on the buttercream. But, all around that recipe is the best I've found and I've never had a problem with it, it's always crusted over nice with me and attaching fondant to it has never been a problem.

could it have also been that you are just not use to using buttercream? I know that I always have issues covering with fondant because that is what I'm not use to.

couple scenarios there icon_lol.gif

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Shannon1129 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 4:10pm
post #15 of 26

Oh - I am SURE it does have something to do with me not using BC before. My hands were shaking and my palms were sweating. icon_lol.gif

I live in Ohio. Yesterday was dry and REALLY cold. I will try again. Hopefully it is better. Just to clarify - once you crust it over in the fridge the first time - it should stay hard right?

Sheesh - I am going to be the only gal in town that charges more for BC than fondant! LOL

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step0nmi Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 8:51pm
post #16 of 26

well...i guess the weather was not it icon_razz.gif normally crusting buttercream does really well in dry and cool. what happens is that the bc will form a crusted layer..and that stays firm...but it's not "hard" per say. also, your shortening could be the culprit. when making crusting buttercream you want to find a shortening that has trans fat and if you bought the new crisco is has NO trans fat...this might have kept your bc soft.

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sugarshack Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 8:58pm
post #17 of 26

keep your fat to sugar ratio 1:1

one CUP of fat to one POUND of PS

and make sure not to add too much liquid.


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Shannon1129 Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 8:59pm
post #18 of 26

You guys are simply fantastic. I just finished cleaning the kitchen so I can dirty it up again. I'll post later to see if this worked. icon_smile.gif

And thanks for the tip on the Crisco. thumbs_up.gif

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sweetjan Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 9:07pm
post #19 of 26

Use Shgarshack's recipe, and you won't have a problem....... thumbs_up.gif

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gerripje Posted 13 Mar 2009 , 9:32pm
post #20 of 26

I use Serious_cakes and Indybebi's buttercream recipes. They both work great for me. Once I finally get the hi-ratio shortening and get around to ordering the DVD, I'll be giving SugarShack's
recipe a try. I live in a mostly dry area, but one day the humidity was up and I made BC the way I always do and it was soooooo soft I couldn't believe it!

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grannys3angels Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 7:18am
post #21 of 26

Hey Shannon1129, notice were you said "you live in Southern Ohio". Do you mind if I ask where? My son lives in Mason, not to far from Kings Island. I was just up there 3 weeks ago.
Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread. Good Luck on your next batch of icing.

gerripje, I use Sugarshacks recipe, love it and her bc dvd is amazing!

God Bless,

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Marianna46 Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 7:42am
post #22 of 26

I'm at a loss to understand why your recipe didn't work icon_confused.gif . It's the Crusting Buttercream-VIVA method recipe found right here on CC. It's the only one I've ever used, and it´s never failed me. Best of luck to you when you try again thumbs_up.gif . Is it possible that you mismeasured something? No insult intended: I'm the queen of mismeasurement icon_redface.gif , so that's what I think of first when something I do comes out wrong.

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bettinashoe Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 1:23pm
post #23 of 26

Interesting comment on Crisco, step0nmi. I was always told to use Crisco but I had someone else pick me up some shortening last week and they bought the cheapest kind at the market. I went ahead and used it and I have to say it was the best bc I have ever made. The consistency was great and the taste was exceptional. I had no problems with the crumb coat or the crusting coat. Very interesting--I just thought I was getting better, but now it sounds like the cheaper shortening was the trick.

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bcake1960 Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 1:43pm
post #24 of 26

Ya know I had the same experience "Not fun" by any means.. I think it was the shortening I started using the high ratio shortening and have had no problems since. I purchased Sugarshacks DvD's OH MY WORD what a huge help.. Kicked my cakes up a notch! Thanks SShack..icon_smile.gif Don't give up... it doesn't sound like you are going to.. just a bump in your frosting trails.. Oh I too found the cheaper shortening worked better, but was still inconsistent compared to High ratio shortening.. jmo.. good luck..

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Necey Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 1:55pm
post #25 of 26

So sorry this happened to you. It can certainly be frustrating when you go through all the work and something doesn't turn out the way you expected it too...but, don't be discouraged, the help on here is second to none and even though I hate the saying...practice does make perfect. icon_smile.gif I've never had to use as much water as it says in your recipe for buttercream... the recipe I follow is:
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 cup marjarine ( I don't use butter)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond
4 c powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
Dash of salt ( cuts down on sweetness)
Also, as I've learned from this site, if I have to thin my icing, I use a small amount of corn syrup , not water.
Hang in there thumbs_up.gif

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klat7292 Posted 14 Mar 2009 , 2:12pm
post #26 of 26

Sugarshack's recipe ROCKS!! I love the fact that I can combine the 'crusting' agent (coffee creamer) and water at the same time...I don't use the hi-ratio shortening yet - (I don't make enough cakes to justify the cost) BUT I do use the Crisco individually wrapped 'sticks' and lately my icing is fantastic! You just have to modify and tweek a recipe that is great and then you come up with your very own 'signature icing'! I agree with everyone here, the area in which you live makes a HUGE difference! I live in southwest Louisiana and most of the time the humidity is so thick you can cut it with a knife LOL - but you just have work with what you have and come up with your own version. The only problem I have now is that sometimes the icing crusts TOO much and then I get 'cracking' in the cake...practice makes perfect, right?! icon_biggrin.gif

God speed on your journey to making a perfect buttercream! If I can do it, you can too!!


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