Crusting Vs. Non-Crusting Buttercream?

Decorating By TracyLH Updated 3 Aug 2009 , 4:23pm by TracyLH

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TracyLH Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 11:51am
post #1 of 5

Okay, this is just so embarrassing to ask as I think all of your on the cake-side-of-things know this like the back of your hand, but I am a cookier who has a daughter who wants to learn cakes. She wants me to teach her (uh, oh! icon_eek.gif ), so I am trying to get up to speed a.s.a.p. as she wants to do her first cake this week. The first one she wants to do will be covered in fondant and the next will be covered in buttercream..

We made our fondant yesterday (Michelle Foster's - yum!!) for a fondant covered cake, but now need to figure out buttercream as I at least know that we need to do a crumb coat so the fondant looks smooth (whoo hoo! I DO know something! icon_biggrin.gif )

So... the question is, I see that there are crusting and non-crusting buttercreams. What is the difference and when do you use each one and when you look at a recipe, how do you know which is which? Is it crusting if it has shortening in it? (I am grabbing at straws here).

Is the non-crusting for filling and the crusting for the outside? But then I even see where some use a crusting buttercream to cover and others use a non-crusting buttercream to cover. Much confusion on this end. icon_confused.gif

I am treading into unknown, intimidating territory here and any help would be very sincerely appreciated. Cookies, I know, cakes I am clueless. icon_redface.gif

Thanks for any help you can give me! It is very sincerely appreciated!

Tracy (from the cookie-side-of-things)

4 replies
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drakegore Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 12:54pm
post #2 of 5

hey there tracy!

there are always exceptions but generally, crusting buttercreams are made with powdered sugar beaten into butter, and shortening (some are all butter or all shortening). non-crusting (swiss meringue bc, italian meringue bc are the ones you see most) are made from whipped eggs whites and granulated sugar plus butter.

the crusting bc are generally sweeter. there are certain techniques, like stencilling, that you are able to do with crusting that are difficult or impossible to do with non-crusting. they are usually more heat resistant than the non-crustings.

i think (this is my opinion only) that the non-crustings have a superior taste and feel on the tongue. it's like silk with absolutely no grainy feeling icon_smile.gif. plus you do not have all the huge powdered sugar mess, lol. i would recommend smbc because it is easier than imbc plus you heat the eggs/sugar to 160 degrees so no worries about egg safety. both imbc and smbc take a lot of flavor. where you might use teaspoons to flavor a crusting, you can easily use 1/4 cup+ flavoring in the mbc. some folks feel that the mbc taste like butter but if you are using unsalted butter and using the correct amount of flavoring i don't think you will find this is the case.

you may find smoothing the bc easier with the crusting because you can apply a number of fairly easy techniques to smooth it out (rollers or paper towels for example) while the non-crusting rely on the traditional bench scraper method to get smooth. but with a little practice and a using slightly warm (not hot, just barely warm) scraper on your last smoothing, you can get a glass like finish.

i think what it really boils down to, is taste plus what kind of techniques you want to do with it. either works beautifully under fondant.

there is a hybrid buttercream from the whimsical bakehouse that doesn't crust, is like silk, and only uses ps, butter, shortening, water. do you have access to either of their books? if not, i would be happy to PM you the recipe. this is really a lovely recipe and kind of gives you the best of both worlds.

ok, i am writing a novel icon_smile.gif.

i suggest you try smbc; it is easy (so much easier than the intimidating imbc, lol) and it tastes out of this world icon_smile.gif. but, i am blatantly biased, lol.


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TracyLH Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 1:34pm
post #3 of 5

Thanks, Diane! If you don't mind PMing me that, we would really appreciate it!

Boy, so much to learn, but you have been a huge help! Is there a SMBC recipe you recommend? I did see the paper towel idea and one that Melvira had with a roller, so i am trying to figure it all out, but admittedly, it is a tad confusing.

Thanks again for all of your explanations! This is all like a foreign language, so it is very sincerely appreciated!

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JanH Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 3:02pm
post #4 of 5

Everything you ever wanted to know to make, decorate and assemble tiered/stacked/layer cakes:

Above superthread has popular CC recipes for crusting American buttercreams, several types of fondant, doctored cake mix (WASC and other flavor variations) - and so much more.

Just about everything you ever wanted to know about the meringue buttercreams (and other types of frosting) with recipes, comments and more:

Hi-ratio frosting recipes:

Good luck on the cake. icon_biggrin.gif

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TracyLH Posted 3 Aug 2009 , 4:23pm
post #5 of 5

Oh, thankyou Jan!! icon_biggrin.gif I brought out my normal baking books last night and got nowhere. This really helps!

Thanks again to the both of you! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

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