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!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for explaining the different buttercreams!