Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Buttercreams--French, Italian, Swiss, German and American

The world of Buttercreams is rich, and a little confusing for some.  In the old days (back in the early years of cakes and decorating--I'm talking the 17th and 18th centuries, there was royal icing, and buttercream.  Buttercreams were cooked frostings, using one of three basic methods:

  • ·        heat whites and sugar over double boiler till hot, whip till cool, add butter

French MethodFrench Buttercream

  • ·        heat sugar and water to 240°F, beat yolks and salt till tripled in volume, and add hot syrup, beat till cool, add butter

  • ·        heat sugar and water to 240°F, beat whites until soft peak, add hot syrup and beat till cool, add butter

 You can see that the biggest differences were either the use of yolks versus whites, or the cooking of whites and sugar together, or cooking the water and sugar together.
In more modern times, there came frostings which involved no cooking at all, unless you were making Cooked Frosting**, or Heritage Frosting as it's also called.  That recipe was the original favorite topping for the newly invented Red Velvet Cake, back in the early part of the 20th century.

American Method--American Buttercream

Shortening or butter (or both) is mixed until creamy, liquid added (water, milk, cream, juice, etc)until emulsified, then powdered sugar is mixed in until creamy/fluffy.

The Cooked Frosting : a cooked paste of milk and flour is started and cooled, then added to the other ingredients and whipped up fluffy.

Step One: Mix 1 cup milk with 4 Tablespoons of flour (COOK & STIR UNTIL THICK, COOL).
Step Two: Beat 16 Tablespoons of butter (unsalted) with 1 teaspoon of vanilla for four minutes.
Step Three: Slowly beat in 1 cup sugar (regular or superfine granulated) on high speed four minutes until fluffy.
Step Four: Add cooked and cooled flour mixture and beat four minutes more. 

This leads me to German Buttercream which is  a thick custard made of eggs, yolks cornstarch, milk and vanilla, cooled to REAL COLD; then whipped up creamy; then butter is added and it's beaten until thick and creamy, then flavorings can be added if desired.

So, now with a little luck, you are more informed about Buttercreams and some of the choices that exist for you to find the perfect frosting for your favorite cake recipe!  Try them all--each has something to offer!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Not Just Wilton Stuff...Recipes, too!

While a lot of my posting will be related to Wilton classes and products and what to do with all that cool stuff, I'm also sharing tasty tidbits from my hug3e recipe collection.  If there is anything you've been looking for, just ask, I may just have it!

Here's a classic I made a small batch of just yesterday, all the ingredients should be at room temperature:

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (edited 5-6-13 to fix ingredient amounts--way off earlier)

10 egg whites from large eggs
2 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 c unsalted butter (if you use salted butter, it will taste a lot less sweet)
4 tsp of your favorite flavoring extracts--I used vanilla and almond, 2 tsp each.

Place the egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl (I used the bowl from my Kitchenaid stand mixer), and whisk it till just broken up, combined and frothy.
Place over a saucepan of simmering water and continue whisking until it's hot (140○F). Remove from the heat and begin whipping it at medium high speed with the whisk attachment.  Whip it until it's cool to the touch.
While that's happening, cut your butter up into small chunks.  It should be cool on the inside, but soft on the outside, separate it in half, and when the sugar egg mixture is cool, slowly add half of the butter, mixing on slow, and on and off till all the butter is coated with the meringue.  It looks a lot like Marshmallow Fluff at this point (hmmm..I see another recipe coming from that!)
Then add the remaining butter and beat it, increasing the speed every ten seconds or so until it's at medium high.  Beat it there for about a minute, then turn off the machine and scrape the bowl.
Add your flavorings and continue beating it for 45 seconds at medium high, then on high for a full minute.

Voila! You have beautiful Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Place it in a covered bowl in the fridge, if it's very soft, before using it.  You can store it in a zip bag in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Thaw it in the fridge and beat it up smooth before using.

This batch easily makes enough to frost 2-3 dozen cupcakes, or a double layer cake.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Welcome to My Blog!

Hi All! Finally, a place to keep my Wilton students and others better informed of what's happening at our Michaels stores and all the new things coming up.

May is a whole new month of classes at Michael's in Lisbon and Dayville.

There are schedules for each store available on Michael's Classes 

--just choose your state and nearest city and store for the calendar to pop up in a pdf format.

Soon, you will be able to sign up online for your favorite classes!

We have scheduled some new extra Wilton Adult classes-- in Lisbon:

  • Tues., May7--6pm-8pm--"Sweet Treats"--Kind of a generic name, but we'll be decorating cupcakes and brownies in fun new ways

  • Tues., May 28--6pm-8pm--Candy Making--So many of you have mentioned seeing the candy melts and all the molds and accessories, but don't really know what to do with them, or how to start--this is the perfect chance to try some new things, and get going on something yummy to WOW your friends and families!

I'm working with the Dayville store to schedule some extra classes there, too!

If you have an interest in any of the extra classes, like Tall Cakes, or Cake Pops, Please call your favorite store and express your interest.  These classes are great times for small groups, too.  Maybe your sit-n-stitch group would like to try something different?  Grandmas, Moms and daughters can share a fun experience that they can continue playing with together at home.  Grandpas, Dad's and Sons aren't excluded--all are welcome! Make it a family affair!

Michael's--Lisbon: 860-376-3516

Michael's--Dayville: 860-779-0572


Mother's Day is coming up, and a gift of Cake Decorating classes is a great idea, don't forget to add in a gift card for supplies!