Color Separating In My Buttercream

Baking By flourfacemommy Updated 2 Aug 2013 , 5:12am by cakemommy

flourfacemommy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
flourfacemommy Posted 2 Nov 2011 , 12:21am
post #1 of 11 I use the Sugarshack recipe for buttercream. But I use Crisco Shortening...Wilton Gel colors, and my color like IMMEDIATELY separates. It looks like it's marbled with little white specs. What should I do...especially for the darker colors (obviously shows up worse in those) to make it STOP?!?!?! It shows up more after I put it in the piping bag, but also shows up in the bowl. I've done everything from color the batch BEFORE putting in the powdered sugar, to refrigerating it for about 15-20 minutes and stirring it up again (which kinda defeats the whole purpose of the airless buttercream, cuz it gets air bubbles in it when I re-stir it). I've looked into getting the Hi-Ratio shortening but GOOD GRAVY that stuff's expensive!!! Any suggestions?!?!?

10 replies
osman1989 Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
osman1989 Posted 2 Nov 2011 , 3:38am
post #2 of 11

I know in some buttercream recipes the darker colors have a tendency to become speckled looking if you are using water. The shortening and water as they sit will start to separate and it will affect the color as well. Use whole milk or at least 2% instead. It add more fat to the icing and whips up a lot better plus the colors don't seem to separate as much. Also, when you mix up the recipe do the liquids first before adding the powdered sugar. I also sift my sugar before adding it. Hope this helps.

TexasSugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
TexasSugar Posted 2 Nov 2011 , 2:05pm
post #3 of 11

Dark colors tend to separate because you are adding a lot of extra 'liquid' into the icing. It especially happens when you start with a thinner icing to begin with.

When you know you are going to need dark colors, start with a thicker icing. You can always thin it down more later, but that way you don't have a lot of liquid in there to start with.

If the icing does separate on ya, you can always add in a little more powder sugar, or what I usually use is cornstarch. It absorbs the extra liquid and brings it all back together.

m_willford Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
m_willford Posted 2 Nov 2011 , 3:05pm
post #4 of 11

^ all they said!

I use milk because it cuts down on the sweetness. The sugar content stabilizes it so it's okay out for a couple days.

You could also try Amerigel colors. They have tended to just be a higher quality and more even mixing. Sometimes I use their oil colors because they mix in beautifully! My poor Wilton gels just sit there pretty much...

flourfacemommy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
flourfacemommy Posted 3 Nov 2011 , 7:57pm
post #5 of 11

Hey! Thanks everyone! I just did an Electric Guitar Cake that was Black and white and Silver and I tried using Milk with the creamer instead of water, AND I put it in a ziploc bag in the fridge before using, then took it out and squished it around in the bag a little bit, added a little cornstarch and some more powdered sugar and it came out AWESOME! No separating even when I put it in the bag and started squeezing it. And if you check out the guitar...You'll see I used A LOT of black (cuz i did little stars all over the cake). It didn't even separate under the heat of my hands. So THANKS THANKS THANKS for the suggestions!!! icon_smile.gif They worked MAGICALLY! I guess now I DON'T need to buy the expensive hi-ratio shortening! icon_biggrin.gif

flourfacemommy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
flourfacemommy Posted 3 Nov 2011 , 7:59pm
post #6 of 11

ok, i tried to add the picture of the guitar and it didn't add, but it's in my photos. icon_smile.gif

TexasSugar Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
TexasSugar Posted 4 Nov 2011 , 3:06pm
post #7 of 11

Glad we could help.

Good job on the cake. icon_smile.gif

cakemommy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cakemommy Posted 1 Aug 2013 , 3:34pm
post #8 of 11

I have the same problem, the color and the shortening separating.  It looks wretched!!  I use the Buttercream Dream recipe here on CC.  I've used it for a few years as it has the best taste overall....but my dilemma is that off and on over the few years and as recently as a few days ago, the color and the shortening are separating and it looks nasty.  I live in the heat/humidity of south Texas.  Even though my house is air conditioned, the icing still separates.  


How do I prevent this from happening?  Is there a better recipe for my conditions?  I've tried Indydebi's icing recipe and it was terrible.  It was bitter and grainy!  Not sure if that was because of the Dream Whip but it was not good.  I use a good quality butter and Crisco brand shortening and Americolor gels colors.  


How do I create an even colored frosting that pipes smoothly (current recipe, my #3 piping breaks) and tastes fantastic?  Plus I don't want to have to use a recipe that has me "add a little of this, refrigerate for 15 minutes then mix this in, beat this, fluff this...blah blah blah".  I'M REALLY NOT THAT PICKY!  ;-)


Thank you everyone for any input you can give me.  



cakemommy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cakemommy Posted 1 Aug 2013 , 11:57pm
post #9 of 11


kakeladi Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
kakeladi Posted 2 Aug 2013 , 4:54am
post #10 of 11

Have you tried the recipe "2 of everything Icing"?   I have used it for yrs and never had any problems as described in this post. 

Be sure to read completely through the recipe and all the posts for helpful hints.

cakemommy Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
cakemommy Posted 2 Aug 2013 , 5:12am
post #11 of 11

AI haven't heard of it. I will have to look it up. Thank you for your reply! :-)

Quote by @%username% on %date%