Lets Play Experts Help The Idiot-Please! Buttercream Cracks

Decorating By chellescountrycakes Updated 29 Apr 2010 , 9:42pm by chellescountrycakes

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chellescountrycakes Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 12:49pm
post #1 of 25

I know y'all have talked this to death, but can we go over it one more time? icon_smile.gif

I make a cup crisco cup margerine buttercream. 3 teas butterflavor, 2 teas vanilla, salt, and a bag of PS

HEre lately, everytime I make it, my frosted cake cracks something awful. I have lots of support under it, (3 to 4 boards), and sometimes it does it before I even move it.

I cant even get it to smooth out.

I am thinking its also too greasy. and I cant get it to crust for the life of me. I was using a recipe that I could do the viva method on, and lost it. I went through about 5 more that sounded simmular, but I cant smooth them, or they are not buttery enough, or whatever.

I was able to fix it somewhat. but was still not happy with it.

ALSO, my trees were pretzel sticks, covered in fondant, stuck in the cake. they tore and fell.. I used an apple corer on one, and it seemed to stay a little better, but how could I have made them not tip? they just would NOT stand up. should I have used the apple corer and filled the hole with icing to maybe 'glue' them?



24 replies
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chellescountrycakes Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 1:03pm
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let me clarify (sorry, day four on a miagrane) this recipe will NOT crust. if I stick something to it, it just sticks right to it. I cant viva it, use copy paper on it, and HEAVEN FORBID I use a paint roller...

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scionmom Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 1:12pm
post #3 of 25

Could it possibly be the humidity? I know that I have faithfully used Indydebi's BC and it has worked great till my last cake. The humidity would not let it crust. Every time I went to smooth it, the paper towel would just stick to it. I know in my part of TX last week the humidity was about 90% and boy did it do a number on my cake. You might also try Indydebi's recipe, it is really good and you can flavor it anyway you like.

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ddaigle Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 1:15pm
post #4 of 25

It's the boards. Even though you have "3" boards...together, the boards that you used are not enough stability. Your recipe is fine. Smoothing butter cream takes a lot of patience and practice.

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mamawrobin Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 1:16pm
post #5 of 25

I use Indydebi's receipe and I've never had any problem with it. I have had problems with other buttercreams. I had some of the same issues that you have with your receipe. Since I switched to using her receipe I've never had another problem.

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sugarlovemom Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 1:21pm
post #6 of 25

My Teacher gave this recipe for Snow white Buttercream and it works so nicely and smooth... cream 1 crisco stick ( the white one), the in a little bowl mix 2 tablespoons of water or milk + 1 teaspoon clear vanilla + 1 teaspoon butter extract + 1/2 almond extract ( you can mix and match but always 2 1/2 teaspoon) and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. mix it well so the salt desolves completly. so start adding the sugar ( 454g by weight!) and half of the liquid.. keep beating, then add the rest of sugar and the rest of the liquid mix and keep beating until everything is well mixed... it should take you more than 5 min.
Good Luck!

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dalis4joe Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 1:27pm
post #7 of 25

I love the title of your topic hehehehehe

do u add merengue powder???

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tastyart Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 1:48pm
post #8 of 25

I use the less-sweet buttercream recipe from here on CC. So far it has been a no-fail for me. It crusts only lightly, but enough to use the viva method.

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chellescountrycakes Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 2:02pm
post #9 of 25

Thanks y'all- I'll check out indidebi's recipe.

jenjcakes, I'll try that one too icon_smile.gif you dont use butter at all? just one stick of crisco? I'll have to see if my walmart carries that... thanks

ddaigle, what boards should I use? and it was cracking before I even moved it. honestly. And the sad part is, I have gotten my cakes smooth before using the paper towell or copy paper method (I never can keep the paper towells here- it never fails, someone uses them all instead of the bounty that hubby insists I buy. LOL ) . The last cake I did, I couldnt use the paper towel/copy paper method at all on it. it just stuck to it.

and this one WAS smooth with my drywall tool. I was so happy with how smooth I got it, I even commented that I didnt have to take the chance on it not crusting and sticking to my towell, because it was smooth as glass. I came back hours later to start decorating, and it was cracked. It hadnt moved. we had LEFT the house! LOL it just broke my heart- because I really did have it PERFECT!

I did keep the AC On in the house. Set to 74.
and its ALWAYS Humid here scionmom. LOL I live in deep Southeast Texas. 50 miles from the La border and about 80 from the gulf. But thats the issue I've had lately. I lay the paper down on the cake, and it literly STICKS to it. if I was going for a spikey cake, I'd have that MASTERED! LOL

And I cant use my cheat thingy for writing.. it sticks to it!!

dalis4joe, icon_smile.gif Thanks LOL and No, I didnt add merangue powder- should I? LOL

Oh and the darker green blobs all over the cake were small piles of grass, they did look better up close. LOL I was only going to use them for around the signs and such, and not put the grass up the side of the cake. But I had to. The grass had to hide as many issues as possible.

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TexasSugar Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 2:12pm
post #10 of 25

I can't read half the screen because of the pictures and there is no bottom arrow to scroll over.

Did you say you used 1 cup crisco + 1 cup margarine to 1 bag of sugar?

Is the bag 2lbs of sugar? If not you don't have enough sugar to make it crust.

Margarine also has more liquid in it than butter so that could be causing the icing to stay soft and part of the crusting issue.

Meringue powder, while it is suppose to help make the icing more stable in heat and humidity, it doesn't make your icing crust.

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ddaigle Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 2:16pm
post #11 of 25

Some people make their boards from foam core. I used to glue the boards you used together and it still just didn't feel sturdy. It all depends on your cake design also. For your design, especially with the weight of the fondant pieces, I would've used a 1/2" cake drum.

There are lots of (good) butter cream recipes here on CC. How long did you mix the butter/crisco before you added your PS? After you added your PS...how long did you mix. I mix for evvvvvvver. I think IndyDeb said one time, she turns on her mixer and takes a smoke break! LOL. I think your mixing times may have been the culprit also.

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chellescountrycakes Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 3:35pm
post #12 of 25

uhh... your right texassugar, its butter.. well its imperial. That was something I read on here a few times, to use imperial. so I do. icon_smile.gif
and yes the 2 pound bag. How much merangue powder for a batch?

ddiagle. LOL, well I have a sunbeam mixer, and my butter and crisco tend to clog up in the beaters, so I set one of my kids down over there and have them keep it going. Honestly, the last time I mixed my BC, I did take a smoke break. and sat down to play farmville on facebook. I forgot it was mixing. LOL I was afraid I over mixed, but it seemed to be the same as the last few batches. LOL

AND usually, when I am making a large amount of color, like for the green, I will let it make, THEN I will go back in a little while and put in my green, and let the mixer mix it.

I usually leave it going while I work on other stuff. I tend to multitask. and I'm absend minded.. LOL

I really am an idiot, what is a cake drum and where do I buy it? I have a walmart within driving distance- that is IT. Do they have foam board? Normally I just take two boards (depending on the weight) , cut to size under my cake- stick the cake to it with icing- and then set that on 2-3 other boards. I am spending a fortune on boards as it is. and I always 'glue' my boards together.

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ddaigle Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 3:53pm
post #13 of 25

I used to make/wrap my own boards but I hated it. I now get my boards from BRP. You have to buy at least 50..but the price is worth it.

I always heard margarine does not make a smooth butter cream....but I am not an expert. When I did use butter & shortening, I only used "butter". I now have a shortening only recipe to cut down on the cost.

I hope you get the answer you need.

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TexasSugar Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 3:56pm
post #14 of 25

I haven't seen butter butter made from Imperial, but I could be wrong there.

As far as MP goes, I add two tablespoons to a two pound bag of sugar.

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dalis4joe Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 4:11pm
post #15 of 25

you can buy foamcore boards at Walmart.... the big rectangular ones... the thick ones... and cut to size and cover or just buy the cake drums (walmart has them sometimes in the Wilton section) but if u r saying that it happened before you put on the cake board then it's just something else... I think it's like stated above... might be the margarine... so try using real butter for your next batch... and the merengue powder is a must in my opinion to get a good crusting buttercream.... then again I do a creamcheese crusting buttercream that uses NO merengue powder so I might just not know what I am talking about... there are quite a few good tried and tested recipes you can use... like they said... indydebi's (I haven't tried that one) but I have tried Edna's recipe (which is very good), it's the Wilton recipe and the most widely used and recommended... and recently Sugarsharck's buttercream which I swear by now and it's my go to recipe.... great flavor... excellent consistency... it's just perfect...
Good Luck

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ddaigle Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 4:12pm
post #16 of 25

Imperial is not butter....it is margarine.

Is anyone's screen all jacked up?

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newmansmom2004 Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 4:19pm
post #17 of 25

Try adding some meringue powder in your buttercream to help it crust. A couple T. should do it with the measurements you gave.

Also, try adding just a touch of vinegar - yes, VINEGAR - to your buttercream. Marina Sousa swears this keeps buttercream from cracking and you can't taste it (apparently).

Good luck!

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TexasSugar Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 4:40pm
post #18 of 25

I think the Imperial/margarine what is causing the crusting problem.

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chellescountrycakes Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 4:53pm
post #19 of 25

Great- icon_smile.gif
I 'll try to find the foamcore board. icon_smile.gif

I did get this recipe off here. I had gotten my first one off here, then lost it. I Made like 7 of the ones I found on here and my hubby and kids all said this one tasted more like the first.

But I might try Indydebi's and a few others.


Thanks y'all!! icon_smile.gif

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TexasSugar Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:33pm
post #20 of 25

You can use the same recipe. Just switch the Imperial for Butter, Land of Lakes makes it or you can get a store brand. Should keep close to the same taste.

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Tilisha Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 5:48pm
post #21 of 25

I altered the Wilton recipe a little bit for my icing...same regular crisco, butter flavor crisco and just a touch of regular butter...i need the crisco so that the icing will crust over like i want.

You do want to make sure you use butter/margerine and not spread margerines, low fat, etc...I use I can't believe it's not butter alot as well. It has 79% veggie oil in it. You want your baked goods to have more than 80% fat/veggie oil in the margarine as a substitute for butter. Imperial only has 60% and is a spread type of margerine. The imperial is truly the culprit.
I had problems with my cakes and icing until i learned this.i got a book at home all about substitutions just in case i run out of something at home... 911 baking link is great for the at home baker:


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sugarlovemom Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 6:48pm
post #22 of 25

yes... no butter... you only add butter extract!!! i like it because its so cool to decorate...!!! and viva method will work perfect, just give a few min after you iced the cake... also u can use a mist bottle with water on it and spray a little bit the cake surface u want to smooth.......

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chellescountrycakes Posted 28 Apr 2010 , 2:59pm
post #23 of 25

OKay- I can handle changing out the impereal.. not a problem. I only buy it for cakes. I eat country crock for dinner. LOL

I think that first picture is too big, and its jacking up the screen.. I dont know why, they were both sent out of my computer in the same batch and the second one is showing up as a good size for me.... ???

Thanks y'all for the help, I'll work on that, and see about skipping the butter period.

I did finally find the foamboard at walmart. It does seem much more stable. do you use one or more than one? icon_smile.gif

Y'all are SOOOO great!! icon_smile.gif Thanks!

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mlsousa Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 5:32pm
post #24 of 25

Hi there! Just want to clarify... I've actually never used vinegar in my buttercream. I think I was credited with it because during my demo at the OSSAS (two years ago) an audience member suggested it in a conversation about buttercream and no one in the audience was able to hear their answer so I repeated it using the microphone.

I've gotten a couple private messages about it as well asking how much to add and since I've never used it I just don't know. It could very well work... I just don't have any personal experience with it!

I will tell you the one kinda random ingredient I do use in my buttercream is vodka! I find it helps cut the sweetness.

Good luck and happy caking to all icon_smile.gif
xo, Marina

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chellescountrycakes Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 9:42pm
post #25 of 25

Vodka.. that I can handle! LOL I use it to paint with... sometimes, when the kids are begging to help- I wish I could drink it... stupid miagraines.... LOL

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