Bad Icing?

Decorating By sweetooth94 Updated 3 Feb 2010 , 7:32pm by tootie0809

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sweetooth94 Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 2:17pm
post #1 of 13

I'm home based and just do this for a hobby. I had a cake to do this past weekend for a first time customer. I used a FBCT and it peeled perfectly, my top iced smooth, my sides looked great, my corners were neat... to be honest, it assembled without a hitch. I was very pleased with the end result. So was the customer when they picked it up. Anyway, I always request the customer call me if there was a problem with their cake. (No way to fix a problem if you never know there was one, right??) If I don't hear from them, I always follow up within the week.

I emailed the lady and she got back to me saying that they loved the cake and filling, but the icing was bitter. It was so bad that they didn't finish their pieces the day of the party and they took the remaining cake to work to get rid of it instead of slicing it and keeping some in the freezer for later ~ and that's why they bought a larger cake than they needed.

I've been baking cakes for years and this is only the second complaint I've ever had. I must say, the icing recipe I used was somewhat new. I've only used it a few times on cakes where I need a pure white icing since there isn't any butter in it. A lady I know gave me this recipe, she's been using this for years and uses it for all her cakes, even wedding cakes. Has anyone else had complaints about their buttercream being bitter. I'm wondering if it was the clear vanilla I used. It's a huge bottle, can it go bad?

Needlesss to say, I won't use this recipe again. I'll go back to my old tried and true buttercreams that I've always used and a few I've found on here. I must say it ruined my day yesterday icon_cry.gif ! I'm fretting that other cakes might have been bad in the past. I don't really like icing, so I don't eat much of it. I always take the inside slices and avoid the end pieces where all the extra icing is.

Sorry, guess this was more of a "vent" post. I was so embarrassed! I felt like crying when I got her email back! I also still have her check, which I'm planning on mailing back.

12 replies
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TexasSugar Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 5:10pm
post #2 of 13

Did you use any dark colors on the cake?

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jammjenks Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 5:17pm
post #3 of 13

That was my first thought too. What colors did you use? Smell the shortening and flavoring. Do they smell ok? I got ahold of some rancid shortening once and it made my bc awful. It smelled like watermelon and tasted like #(*$&%!

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sweetooth94 Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 7:53pm
post #4 of 13

The vanilla smells good & I didn't open it all that long ago. I also checked the Crisco. Smells a little "tinny" like the metal can, but otherwise doesn't smell sour or anything...

All white icing (that's why I used this particular recipe, no butter in it so I could make a true white), with only some dark piping on the FBCT that I made. I used "store-bought" chocolate frosting that I added black colored gel to to get the black I needed for the logo. The chocolate frosting is fine too, I checked. The other colors I used on the cake were mixed from my buttercream, same as the entire cake was iced in.

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JanH Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 5:26am
post #5 of 13
Originally Posted by sweetooth94

I also checked the Crisco. Smells a little "tinny" like the metal can, but otherwise doesn't smell sour or anything...

I don't think Crisco has any discernible odor. So if yours smells "tinny", it might be "off" or rancid. IMHO, rancid shortening doesn't smell "sour" - but it will taste BAD.

What does your Crisco look like. Fresh shortening is a solid creamy white, as it ages it becomes yellowish and transparent.

Might also help if you posted a link to the recipe or the recipe itself.


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sweetooth94 Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 1:36pm
post #6 of 13

I really think the Crisco is fine - I checked again. I also think this is a pretty basic buttercream people use when needing a true white icing. I've seen several variations of this same recipe in books and online. I have also seen this recipe with 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter added. Maybe the customer just couldn't be pleased??? I just don't know... anyway, I won't use it again.

1-1/2 C. shortening
2 lbs. powdered sugar
2 Tbs. clear vanilla
1/4 c. water

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bakingpw Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 4:04pm
post #7 of 13

I really think it was the clear vanilla, which I have had problems with an off taste before.

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vdrsolo Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 4:15pm
post #8 of 13

Flavorings can go rancid, so double check your flavoring. Butter extract is goes bad fairly quickly.

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brincess_b Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 4:38pm
post #9 of 13

lets face it, you already told the customer to phone if there was a problem, and she didnt phone. they didnt eat the cake it was so bad - if that was me, i would be on the phone by at least the very next day looking for a refund - or at least asking was it supposed to be like that? scepticism radar!

maybe it was bitter, maybe it wasnt - i would say make up a small batch of the icing with the same ingredients and see - i would say to taste the ingredients, but eugh plain crisco!

if you want a white bc, try indydebi's, very nice. a bit mopre taste, to me, than plain shortening bc.

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Mike1394 Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 5:01pm
post #10 of 13

Why didn't you taste it?


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sweetooth94 Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 5:34pm
post #11 of 13

Mike - I did taste it. I got icing on my fingers while I was emptying the pastry bags and I tasted it then, but I didn't notice anything off. Then again, I'm not much of an icing fan! I prefer the cake and fillings over the icing.

brincess_b - The indydebi's recipe is already in my recipe box to try. It sounds wonderful and I've read many compliments to this recipe.

The vanilla smells fine, but it may have been the culprit. I don't know... this has just been a bad week! Vacation sounds nice right about now (sunshine, ocean, drinks with umbrellas in them...)

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TexasSugar Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 6:37pm
post #12 of 13

If you tasted it and it tasted fine then I wouldn't stress over it.

Everyone has different tastes. If the colors on the cake were dark colors then I'd say that the coloring could be to blame. Everyone has different taste buds. Personally I prefer clear vanilla in buttercream over real vanilla, I know that would freak out the purest out there, but real vanilla has a weird taste to me. I can use it in cookies and stuff, but not when it is the main flavor.

Did she ask for a refund? If not then I wouldn't give her one, or if you do, not a full one. I would, if you feel the need to offer her a discount on her next order.

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tootie0809 Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 7:32pm
post #13 of 13

I don't ask for feedback on a cake. I figure if I don't hear anything, they were happy with it. People nowadays will complain over anything and everything, so my policy is no news is good news. I'm all about wanting customers to be happy, but people are going to be more apt to finding something to complain about if you are asking how it was than if they are compelled on their own to complain about it. I also think it is more often going to be a valid complaint if they come to you without you opening that door first. Just my opinion.

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