Buttercream 101

Buttercream 101

Grasp three completely different kinds of buttercream with frosting connoisseur Erin Clarkson of Cloudy Kitchen.

On the subject of frosting, buttercream is a baker’s greatest buddy. Wealthy, creamy, and sugary, it’s silk on the tongue, but stiff sufficient to carry. It’s the structural “glue” that holds your candy masterpiece collectively and the crowning glory that makes it look clever. There are quite a few kinds of buttercream, however right here, we cowl three of a very powerful: American Swiss meringue and German. A grasp vanilla bean cake, twirled up with numerous stir-ins, pairs fantastically with every frosting. Learn on for incisive suggestions, visible tutorials and unbelievable layer cake-frosting combos and designs that may have you ever dreaming of piping and swirling.

USE ROOM TEMPERATURE INGREDIENTS. Eggs will whip up higher, and extra flavoring components will preserve the feel of the completed buttercream.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BUTTER. It must be delicate sufficient to interrupt off items, however not overly greasy on the outside. If it’s too delicate, butter is extra more likely to curdle and separate when being included. Nonetheless, in case your butter is simply too chilly, your combination will look lumpy. To repair this, take away about ½ cup of the buttercream and microwave in 10-second intervals till heat. Add again to the mixer bowl, and whip to mix. The heat ought to assist the butter to include.

ALAS, SEPARATION HAPPENS. Swiss meringue and German buttercream can look separated, soupy, or curdled through the mixing course of. If this occurs to you, don’t fret. Continued vigorous mixing often solves this, so proceed so as to add in all of the butter after which depart the mixer going for a couple of minutes to let it come collectively.

STORE IT RIGHT. Buttercream will be made forward and refrigerated for as much as 1 week in an hermetic container. Let it come to room temperature and briefly rewhip earlier than utilizing.

With my go-to piping suggestions, the French star tip and the open star tip, you possibly can create a variety of frosting finishes. When piping frosting, don’t fill the piping bag greater than midway. Maintain the highest of the bag in your dominant hand—this can be your squeezing hand—and let your nondominant hand steer the bag. Get a number of suggestions in the identical measurement so that you don’t have to change out suggestions if piping completely different colours.

OPEN STAR TIP (resembling Wilton 1M) is ideal for piped borders, rosettes, and ruffled factors on high of desserts. (Pink frosting pictured above.)

FRENCH STAR TIP (resembling Ateco #866) is nice for stars and shell borders. (Cream coloured frosting pictured above.)


Butter + confectioners’ sugar + heavy whipping cream or milk

Most likely the best buttercream to grasp, American buttercream is made by creaming butter with confectioners’ sugar till the combination is spreadable. Cream or milk assist give it a silky texture, nevertheless it’s nonetheless firmer and thicker than most different buttercreams. American buttercream doesn’t maintain up very properly in hotter temperatures and is greatest used on the day it’s made. If you’re not working with it, place a bit of plastic wrap straight towards the floor to stop a crust from forming.


Utilizing a French star tip to do a end resembling this one is one among my favourite methods to complete a cake. Beginning on the high of the cake, start including little stars of frosting to cowl the floor.

Maintain the piping bag straight above the place you wish to apply the buttercream, and squeeze gently to launch it. Cease making use of strain to the bag as soon as your star is sort of completed, and draw back shortly so the frosting involves a pleasant closed level on the high.

Transfer onto the perimeters of the cake. I discover it much less time-consuming to use the celebrities ½ inch aside at first after which return to fill within the easy house with extra till all the cake is roofed.


Butter + pastry cream

This lesser-known model of buttercream has a stunning yellow tint and is softer than most and particularly mild in texture and style. Since you begin with pastry cream, it’s simple to infuse the milk with quite a lot of flavors, like tea, espresso, or herbs.

PRO TIP: Just be sure you depart sufficient time for the pastry cream within the German buttercream to chill. You are able to do this by making it upfront (as much as 2 days), or cool it shortly by putting it in a shallow dish or rimmed baking sheet, urgent plastic wrap straight onto the floor, after which refrigerating it, stirring often. The bigger floor space will assist it cool extra shortly. Alternatively, you possibly can place the bowl of pastry cream in an ice bathtub and stir often till cool.

Ring Across the Layer Cake

Begin on the outermost fringe of the cake and pipe a shell design. Maintain tip at an angle, with the tip pointing towards the center. Utilizing even strain on piping bag, type a shell form by making a easy movement together with your wrist to pipe buttercream towards periphery after which again towards the middle on itself as you launch strain.

Create a hoop of smaller stars piped straight in entrance of every piped shell on the periphery. Maintain your piping bag straight up and down above the cake, and gently apply strain to pipe. End by releasing your grip and pulling up barely.

Maintain piping tip at an angle, with tip pointing down. Type a shell form by piping the buttercream up and over onto itself after which giving it just a little tail. End the form by releasing your grip on the piping bag. Pipe the next shell over the tip of the earlier one to offer it a seamless end.


Butter + Swiss meringue

Swiss meringue buttercream is fast and straightforward to make, holds up properly in hotter temperatures, and is greatest for piping intricate frosting designs. Due to its mild texture, this model is nice for constructing and frosting layer desserts. It’s additionally whiter than different kinds, so it’s the best choice for those who’re including coloration to your frosting.

Creating an Ombré Impact

Divide a batch of Swiss meringue buttercream into three equal parts. Tint one darkish pink, one mild pink, and depart one white. Use an off set spatula to create an ombré impact by spreading the underside one-third of the cake with the darkish pink Swiss meringue buttercream.

Then coat the center with the sunshine pink Swiss meringue buttercream, and the highest one-third and high of the cake with the reserved white buttercream.

Do just a few passes with a cake scraper to mix the colours, including extra buttercream the place wanted to assist mix and fill in any patches. Use a clear offset spatula to create swoops and swirls on the aspect of the cake to offer texture.

PRO TIP: If you pipe frosting on the highest of the cake, fill the piping bag with the remaining pink and white frosting. It will create a reasonably two-tone impact on every ruffle. Maintain your piping bag straight excessive of the cake, and pipe across the perimeter. No want to maneuver your hand to create the swirl impact as you pipe—the star tip will create the ruffles for you.


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