Friday, August 31, 2012
I am finally posting my recipe for American Buttercream. American buttercream is much sweeter than the European buttercreams, and much easier to make. It takes just a couple of minutes, and is much cheaper (and arguably better) than frosting in cans.
It took me months to develop a recipe that I liked, but please don't let that put you off. There are many good recipes. Serious Cakes has an entire blog devoted to her buttercream, and check out Arti Cakes to see the art that can be created with frosting. It's only those of us that work with it all the time that are so picky about our frosting.
This is the exact frosting recipe that won my Frosting Taste Test by a mile. It is based on the Wilton buttercream recipe; not the one on their web site, but the one they teach in Decorating Basics. It makes a lot of frosting, enough to frost and decorate a 2 to 4 layer cake.
Why shortening? As I wrote previously, shortening is soft at a wide range of temperatures, has emulsifiers that stabilize the frosting, and is already aerated with little gas bubbles.
I also here add 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring. You can of course use any flavorings you like, and as much as you like. If I wanted the frosting to be very, very white I would use clear vanilla and premium butter, which isn't yellow.
I add my sugar all at once, but most people are less reckless and add it a little bit at a time.
If I want chocolate buttercream, I also add 4 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unsweetened cocoa. The quality of the cocoa really affects the flavor here, so make sure it's a cocoa you like. I've recently used Scharffen Berger Natural Cocoa, and it was very good. Natural or Dutched doesn't matter in this application.
I mix in the sugar at the very slowest speed, and I don't have too much problem with flying sugar, but your experience may vary.
Strawberry Cassata Cake) on my turntable, and a large glob of frosting in the middle.
789 Icer Tip and piping bag. I need to get a bigger bag, like this Ateco Icer bag, as this one needs refilled two or three times to frost a whole cake.
After I've applied the frosting with the Icer tip, I use the spatula and turntable to smooth the sides, then the top, then the sides . . .
If this cake were for a special occasion, I would use the Viva Paper Towel method, demonstrated here by SeriousCakes, to get it very smooth. Serious Cakes has made a lot of very good YouTube tutorials if you're interested. Why Viva? It's the only brand without embossing. Parchment or wax paper, smoothed with your hands, works too, but only with a frosting that forms a crust.