Mock Shack Crusting Buttercream has been my go-to recipe for about 5 years now. Since I hobby bake, I purchased a 50 lb. box and stored my excess pounds of the original Sweetex WITH trans-fat in my manual defrost freezer (to essentially "stop time). About a year ago I finally ran out and purchased a new 50 lb. box of the re-formulated SweetexZ with Zero trans-fat.
Within the past month I have made about 25-30 quarts of my best frosting recipe, Mock Shack, listed below using the SweetexZ. It is AWFUL.
Tons of air bubbles even though made the same way I've made it for about 4-5 years.
When left in a frosting bullet, frozen, then thawed, frosting separates and becomes very thin consistency.
IS SWEETEX Z THAT DIFFERENT????
My large wedding cake project was dreadfu;l I ended up sobbing in despair and if my friend hadn't been staying overnight to attend the wedding and calm me down, I would have literally scrapped the whole cake except for the 6" top square tier and spent all night making cupcakes. Thank GOD it was a freebie for a relative and not a paid job. I was able to get by with the square, 3 tier cake and groom's cake that was "good enough".
About a week before the wedding debacle, I'd shared the recipe with my 20 students in adult school, but substituted Crisco since they will not need to purchase 50 lbs. of SweetexZ. I thought their frosting the following week was weird because of the Crisco. It was thin, runny, separated. So I brought in my Mock Shack made with SweetexZ to show them the dramatic, wonderful difference. Oooops.... my recipe was the same.
Now I have to make new batches of all my old recipies (Indydebi, Wilton, etc.) to see if ANY of them are worthwhile. Any thoughts?
MOCK SHACK CRUSTING BUTTERCREAM
2 cups unsalted butter....softened to room temp!
1 Tablespoon vanilla flavoring
1 Tablespoon almond flavoring
1 Tablespoon butter flavoring
1/3 cup extra rich dry coffee creamer
1/3 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon popcorn salt
4 pounds pure cane powdered sugar
Place softened butter and shortening into your mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment for about 7-8 minutes until it has lightened in color and is nice and creamy in texture. (I use Kitchen-Aid mixer, speed 6.) This recipe nicely fits in 6 quart bowl lift KA.
While that is mixing, measure out 1/3 cup of water. Place this into the microwave and heat till boiling. Combine the boiling water and the 1/3 cup of dry coffee creamer. Stir until it has dissolved completely. Add in the popcorn salt to this hot liquid and stir to dissolve.
Then add liquid flavorings to the shortening/butter mixture, blend well.
Using the lowest setting on your mixer, alternate the powdered sugar and coffee creamer liquid until all is incorporated nicely. Turn the mixer up to speed 6 and beat for 8-9 minutes. The frosting will get nice and fluffy and a wonderful creamy texture.
It is known to most bakers who have come to rely on "bakery" style american buttercream that shortening without trans fats is much less stable than shortening with trans fats. Since trans fat has become a dirty word (and with good reason), I would suggest learning new frosting recipes all together.
The only frosting my mother ever made was american buttercream. Of course, when I was growing up I loved it, I just thought all cakes were always frosted with that icing. But when I started baking myself, I discovered a whole wider world of frostings that tasted SO much better. Whenever I take cake or cupcakes to people who haven't had my cake before, they seem shocked that the cake isn't covered with super sugary, super fatty american buttercream. Shocked in a good way. Including the weird ones--you know, those people who say they don't like cake. Because they don't like icing. Bakery style american buttercream icing, anyway.
Try Italian Meringue Buttercream, it pipes beautifully, and it's what I always use when doing a buttercream piping project. It's a little tricky to make until you get used to it. Once you've made it a couple of times, though, you'll be able to make it in your sleep.
My favorite frosting is a whipped cream frosting stabilized with cream cheese. It is the best-tasting frosting ever. Super easy to make. It also pipes quite well, but it is less stable than IMB. It has to be refrigerated. My recipe for that frosting can be found here: http://www.sweetkittycakes.com/2015/09/carrot-cake-cupcakes-with-perfectly.html
Ganache, white or dark, is what I use as a base for fondant-covered cakes, or for anything I want chocolate frosting on. If I want to pipe the ganache, I whip it after it's set.
If you need "sturdy" piping, go with royal icing. There are all kinds of piping tricks you can use with royal icing that you can't do with buttercream, too.
Thanks for the input, @ChefKitty. I may have to switch to Italian Meringue. I was just shocked at the massive difference in something that has been consistently wonderful to work with for frosting and piping.
I was hoping to get former members of the Wilton Forum to chime in, since many of them also use the exact recipe above, but, no such luck. I do know how to make and use ganache, royal icing, and cream cheese frostings, and often prefer using ganache or whipped ganache for chocolate/white chocolate 'frosting' or 'filling'.
I must prepare to say a tearful goodbye to my trusty buttercream. Egad.... now I have 45 pounds of Sweetex Z.
I have seen them sell other brands of hi ratio shortening that has the trans fat in it which would be like the old sweet tex shortening. Why in the world would they take out the trans fat when that is what makes the better frosting? Thanks for the warning about Sweetex Z. I will never buy it!! I have been thinking of buying some of the other brands which do have the trans fat just to see if the frosting comes out better. According to the customer reviews the frosting does come out better. Sweetex made a big mistake taking out trans fat because people will stop buying their product!! They will lose money!!!
@remnant3333 The manufacturer didn't do it by choice, they, and all the other manufacturers were forced to transition to a zero trans-fat formulation by law. Different food manufacturers (donuts, cakes, breads, frozen pizza, etc.) were given about 1-5 years to completely transition to a new, trans-fat free formulation of their products. When the law was passed in about 2010 or 2011, the people that make Sweetex went through a bunch of different trial formulations with beta testers (one is in our Cake Club), until they got something that was as close as possible.
I think if you check the brands that supposedly still have trans-fat that you will discover that the amount is vanishingly small and will do you little or no good. In Dec 2011 I was able to purchase a 50 lb block of the original Sweetex and froze it in my manual defrost freezer (which stops 'time'). I finally used up the last of it about a year and a half ago and hadn't had any big cake projects since I ran out. I was hoping that other users of the Bunnywoman's Mock Shack version of the Sharon Zambito frosting might chime in with suggestions, but, alas, they seem to have all disappeared when the Wilton discussion forum was shut down by Wilton. (boo hoo.....sniff, sniff...)
As to "why" there are no more trans-fat products on the market:
I purchased some supplies sufficient for a double recipe of my Mock Shack recipe above and will make it in a few days and see if it is air-bubble-free with his method. I still have questions about my former very easy method of puttingleftover colored b/c in frosting bullets--will they all become separated and thin? Ah well..... I'll keep working on it.
I make my buttercream with sweetex and brite white and the combination works well. Haven't had any problems since the removal of trans fat.
Apti, Thank you for the information about the law forcing them to take out the trans fat. I was not aware of that law. It would seem a waste of money to buy the shortening if it is no better than the ones you can buy at the store if they all have zero trans fat in them.
remnant3333 - You may wish to make your recipe with Crisco and SweetexZ and compare. Even though commercial solid shortenings like Alpine and Sweetex are different now, they may still be a better alternative than Crisco. The only way you'll know is to try both and do a comparison. Perhaps you could just order sufficient SweetexZ or Alpine or other brand to make a single batch to compare with a Crisco batch.