Problem With Consistency Of My Buttercream In Hawaii

Decorating By kahealani Updated 25 Apr 2009 , 8:01pm by superstar

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kahealani Posted 23 Apr 2009 , 8:22am
post #1 of 15

I live in Hilo, Hawaii and I am a beginning cake decorator. I have been asked by a friend to do her wedding cake in June, and I am so very excited. I have been working on perfecting my buttercream recipe, and as of this day, I have gotten nothing but mushy and very airy results.
I have been using real butter along with crisco, but I still have not tried sifting my powdered sugar.
The consistency is not very smooth, and it does not hold up very well, neither will it dry completely. I live in very humid, tropical weather and was wondering if this could be the problem and if anyone has had the same problem and how they solved it. I am thinking of trying a recipe that just calls for shortening and omitting the butter entirely, but I am very concerned about how it will taste. I have read here that omitting the butter might help with the buttercream holding up better as opposed to turning to mush. I do understand that the amount of milk or corn syrup that I use also affects the consistency, but trust me when I say, I use very little milk and/or corn syrup. maybe 1tbsp. (although, I could try using less next time if need be)
Any help would be greatly appreciated.


14 replies
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underthesun Posted 23 Apr 2009 , 9:04am
post #2 of 15

I'm fairly new at this, but I live in florida with the humidity and have had several failures due to it. As of now, I use a Buttercream recipe on this site by Serious_Cakes: (I cut the liquids down to 4tbl cream and 2tbl corn syrup.) I really do like it and I've never had an issue with air.

If you're using less liquid than this, and still mush, you may need to use the Sugarshack Buttercream recipe, however you do have to find high ratio shortening :

I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of my high ratio shortening today, so that I can make my first batch of Sugarshack buttercream this afternoon. Everyone says it's great and no greasy taste. We'll see.

If you can't find the high ratio shortening (I ordered on internet), I've learned that white chocolate is a great trick. It is used often by pastry chefs to stabalize due to temp and humidity. I use a fondant recipe that I always add 6 oz melted white chocolate to. It has made a huge difference! I would add it just like making chocolate buttercream. I would think it would make your buttercream firm up really well and will withstand the temps and humidity.

Good luck!

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kahealani Posted 23 Apr 2009 , 6:58pm
post #3 of 15

thank you so much underthesun, for your help and feedback. I did read about the high ratio shortening, and yes, I will give it a try. I will also try the recipes that you suggested and alter my existing recipe per your recommendations. Believe it or not, I am currently using serious_cakes' buttercream recipe already, and thats the recipe that I am having problems with. I must be doing something wrong. I did watch it on youtube, and I thought it would be okay, but no success on my end yet. I will try again. The cost of food here in Hawaii is outrageously high, and my trial and error sessions are costing me. (I guess its just the price you HAVE to pay icon_rolleyes.gif)
I am willing to do whatever it takes to master this thing! I will order high ratio ASAP.
I will let you know how it turns out!
Once again, thank you so much for your suggestions.


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underthesun Posted 23 Apr 2009 , 7:42pm
post #4 of 15

kahealani - I know what you mean about the cost of experimenting. I had some problems with the SeriousCakes recipe, also, until I reduced the liquid. But, I'm don't do buttercream decorations due to being worried about them melting into a puddle. I'm going to try the high ratio, although it hasn't arrived, yet, and I've been watching for the UPS truck all day. Let me know if you try the white chocolate trick and how it works for you.

I have only worked with fondant (and am not an expert), but after several successes and then several failures (as it warmed up), I started adding the white chocolate to my fondant. It was an amazing difference! good luck!

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superstar Posted 23 Apr 2009 , 10:17pm
post #5 of 15

Kahealani, Sharon's (Sugarshack) BC is very good, I would try that one & I am sure you will not have a problem. I actually have never had a problem with any BC, just be careful about adding liquid & always use a good brand of PS.

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kahealani Posted 23 Apr 2009 , 10:47pm
post #6 of 15

I love Sharon's work!! She is absolutely fabulous!!
I have not used her recipe, but will try today, as I wait for my high ratio.
Any suggestions on "Good Brands" of Powdered Sugar?
I currently use whatever is on sale, and right now I'm stocking "Western Family."
Yes, its a generic brand, but I am willing to switch if you swear by it.
Looking forward to your suggestions.
Thank you so much!!
Superstar...where do you live? Are you in tropical weather?
I'm sort of beginning to believe that aside from my not getting the exact formula correct (recipe), the weather has a lot to do with the outcome of my bc consistency, and its ability to hold up (keep its form and dry after a long period of time).
Thanks Again for your Wisdom!!

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sandykay Posted 23 Apr 2009 , 11:12pm
post #7 of 15

I am also from Fla, plus I just returned from visiting Hawaii, you climate is much like ours. The one good thing you have is although it's sunny you heat doesn't seem as intense.
I know it may sound strange but have you tried Wiltons recipe? Or even adding meringue powder, I noticed you had Wal-Mart and Target there and I know here, while it's not High fat the store brands do have fat versus the Crisco which is trans fat free. As for the sugar make sure you sift it, here I have had horrible results if I don't.
I also noted a recipe on Wiltons website for a high humidity icing, while I haven't tried it maybe it'll help. Here is the link

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superstar Posted 24 Apr 2009 , 3:40am
post #8 of 15

Kahealani, I am right here on Kauai, Hawaii, I saw that you live on the big island & we have the same climate, although I know Kauai is milder in every way. I only use C&H PS, you would be surprised at what a difference it makes. The generic brands have quite a lot of cornstarch in them so all you will be doing is wasting your money. I have never had a problem with any BC recipe, even SMBC comes out perfectly. Make sure your coffee creamer is hot when making Sharon's BC. I have a couple of other favorites & they are all great.

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underthesun Posted 24 Apr 2009 , 10:31am
post #9 of 15

superstar: First, I can never figure out how to add a quote to this post reply form. it drives me crazy, but I guess, you know I'm referring to your post... I am making Sugarshacks buttercream today and I'm a little nervous. It's a lot of ingredients to mess up. It seems very odd to add hot liquid to the sweetix, but I'm going to trust the recipe. About how much liquid do you end up using (just a guestimate)?? Also, I'm making a raspberry filling with Chambord (sp) and wanted to add the chamboord to the buttercream. Is this okay? I figured I'd add about 1 - 2 tbl. I was going to add it along with the hot liquid. If you don't recommend the chambord, any thoughts on the creamer with a french vanilla cake and raspberry filling?

Thanks for the info! icon_smile.gif

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superstar Posted 24 Apr 2009 , 9:36pm
post #10 of 15

It is a big batch of BC but it freezes very well if you don't use it all. I have made 1/2 the batch too & it worked well. Use all the liquid Sharon says, you can always add a little more PS. Add the chambord with the hot liquid & use a couple of teaspoons of raspberry extract for more flavor. I add liqueurs to a lot of my BC's I even add them to my fondant. If at the end of your mixing you think it need more flavor, go ahead & add it. I am sure it will turn out fine. Let me know.

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kahealani Posted 24 Apr 2009 , 11:09pm
post #11 of 15

you are in Kauai? Wow!! Okay so i feel very confident now. I must have missed that in your forum info section.
It's great to know that someone other than myself is here from hawaii.
I dont know why I tend to think that I'm the only one. :p
Do you do cakes professionally? Do you sell your work?
I am seriously thinking about taking this hobby up a notch.
Well, thank you for making the "quality of sugar" thing clear. C&H sugar, huh?
Will Do!!
Thanks again for the wealth of advice and information.


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superstar Posted 25 Apr 2009 , 3:17am
post #12 of 15

You are welcome Kahealani, anytime I can help let me know & please let me know how your BC turned out.

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cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 25 Apr 2009 , 3:38am
post #13 of 15

I live in Wahiawa(Schofield) and have not had a problem with my icing(yet?). I don't use one specific recipe, i've tried many different varieties. When i make SMBC though, i can't get the 'stiff peaks'.

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Tipper12 Posted 25 Apr 2009 , 3:48am
post #14 of 15

I live on Maui and have consistently excellent results using Sharon's (Sugarshack) recipe for BC, it crusts like a dream! I also use C&H ps and always sift first. Good luck!

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superstar Posted 25 Apr 2009 , 8:01pm
post #15 of 15

There are quite a few of us in Hawaii, Aloha cupcakesnbuttercream & Tipper12, I know there was someone in Oahu, haven't seen her around here for a very long time. I am sure there are others!!
Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get together at least once a year for a day of sharing.......I would love that.Come on all Hawaiians, where are you?

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