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May 23, 2005 03:30 AM

Krissywats Buttercream Question

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I am making a birthday cake for a 3 year olds party this weekend. On request, the cake will be a simple buttercake, shaped in a 3 and covered in Smarties.

After the great report I was going to use Krissywats' buttercream from the post below to cover the cake and use to stick the Smarties on - can you just confirm that this would work ok?

(PS Would love to get a bit more adventurous on this but gotta go with my customer!)


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  1. I think it would work perfectly. Learn from my mistake this weekend, however in having my custard too warm and my butter too soft and ended up with an unspreadable glop that had to be placed in the fridge to firm it up to spreadability. AFter that it was fine.

    I'd put the smarties on right away as this frosting sets up fairly quickly. I think the smarties with the background of this buttercream would be great.

    Of course I'm still having trouble making it into chocolate buttercream - but I'll keep working in it!!

    6 Replies
    1. re: krissywats

      Thanks for getting back so quickly, that has really helped. I'm going to have a dry run with the cake and icing tomorrow so that means I wont be panicking when I come to put the whole thing together on Saturday morning!

      1. re: krissywats

        This worked out great - sooo delicious I could hardly believe I had made it... but any idea why mine turned out with tiny tiny lumps in it? I whippped like crazy but the lumps stayed, with a watery like liquid in between. Luckily it didn't spoil the cake as the smarties covered it all up :-)

        1. re: naomi
          Caitlin McGrath

          Did you sift the powdered sugar? I always sift powdered sugar, as it tends to form tiny clumps from humidity that seem impossible to break up through beating.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            No I didn't sift the sugar - but will try next time. I also noticed afterwards that I used 'icing sugar mixture' and not pure icing sugar, so the added conrn starch could have made a difference?

          2. re: naomi

            I've also found that you can add all the sugar to the custard as it comes off the heat - this melts the sugar and leaves you with no worrisome glops. I still prefer the half and half version I originally posted, but it works the other way as well.

            I discovered last weekend how to make a chocolate version (correctly, I might add). I had one failed attempt by adding melted chocolate to the custard that ended up separating and getting too soupy in the final product. However, adding cocoa powder to the softened butter while it was whipping and before adding the cooled custard mix (I used about five tablespoons for a double recipe)turned out a perfect chocolate buttercream. It was actually better than the cake!!

            But that cake is another story - nothing like using someone's tilted oven on a sheet cake....ugh. Looked like a skateboard ramp.


            1. re: krissywats
              Caitlin McGrath

              Krissywats, I want to thank you for sharing your custard buttercream find. I made a half recipe last weekend, which generously frosted a dozen cupcakes, with enough left over for a few more. It has a lovely fluffy texture, and is extremely easy to make. I didn't bother with the ice bath; I made the custard after the cupcakes came out of the oven, scraped it into a bowl, and let it cool on the counter. By the time the cupcakes were cool and ready to be iced, the custard was cool, and whipping up the icing took less than five minutes. This recipe is a definite keeper, and I look forward to flavoring it in various ways.

        2. Upon the suggestion of another posted I made Krissy's buttercream recipe this weekend for a cake I was making. I've made a similar recipe in the past that involved this custard process, so was fairly familiar with both the process and the expected results. And, overall I was really pleased with how the frosting came out--rich but not so buttery as to resemble a french/italian buttercream, and sweet but not so sweet as to resemble the typical american buttercream. The process was fairly straightforward, and the icing was reasonably easy to work with.

          But, I did run into the same problem as a previous poster and I was wondering if anyone could lend some advice as to what I did wrong. I both fully cooled the custard mixture and I sifted the powdered sugar before beating everything together. However, as I was mixing the mixture together I too seemed to get some little clumps, almost as if the icing was seperating. Now, I have had this problem before when making meringue buttercreams, and have learned that it comes from overbeating, so I wonder if I overbeated the mixture in this case too. However, I was just trying to get it light and fluffy and it seemed to begin seperating before that could happen. Upon further inspection it become clear that the little clumps weren't powdered sugar but were instead tiny clumps of butter.

          Does the icing still taste good and serve it's purpose? Yes. However, I'd like to know what I did wrong so that I can prevent this seperation in the future. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as I'd like to use this recipe again.

          Thanks in advance!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Laura D.

            I'm thinking of trying this recipe again this week for a chocolate cake with oreo whipped cream filling that I'm making (I typically ice this cake in either chocolate buttercream or cream cheese icing but while exercising this morning...yes I know it is ironic to think about cake while exercising but I do all of my best thinking while working out...I decided that perhaps a light and fluffy icing such as this custard icing would be great for the cake/filling combination I have planned). Does anyone have any suggestions for why my icing seemed to seperate the first time around? I'm willing to give it a whirl again with the hopes that it will work but with a back-up plan if necessary, but if anyone can give me suggestions before I make this for what I should and shouldn't look out for then that would be great. Thanks in advance!

            1. re: Laura D.

              Well, I tried this again this afternoon and got a pretty similar result to last time. Though the icing didn't seperate as much, it doesn't didn't have the consistency or taste I was looking for, and there still appeared to be very small chunks of butter in the icing upon refrigeration. I wound up using the icing to ring each of the layers of cake in an effort to keep the oreo cookie whipped cream filling from gushing out, but as an icing for the outside of the cake I used my standard chocolate buttercream. Oh well, if anyone ever figures out the secret to this recipe, or can let me know why they like it so much I'd be happy to give it another whirl. Until then, I think I'll stick with some tried and true options that haven't failed me.