Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 9, 2006 05:39 PM

Buttercream... ?

Why does my buttercream look like it wouldn't stay on the side of a cake if I tried ti ice one now....does it have to set up again in the fridge or have I done something wrong.....?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Post the recipe so we can see the proportions & also your method of making it. There are many types of buttercream ..meringue based? yolk based?

    1. If you have no a/c, it just might be too hot for buttercream. It tends to separate more easily when the temp is too high, or at least the non-stabilized kinds of buttercream tend to separate (kinda looks like scrambled eggs).

      1. I actually used THIS (SEE BELOW POST)recipe from an old's a"shortcut" recipe...but..I was unprepared for how much of it there I had to seperate the first stage into 2 batches...(the whisked eggwhites and sugar) ...I think on the first batch I added in the butter before the eggwhites were all the way cooled..... and then to add insult to injury...I added a shot of expresso (or some of a shot) and melted chocolate....It has set up again in the fridge and look like it will work. The second batch I did...the other half that had been waiting around for a while and was cool by the time I started mixing and then ading butter worked's a little disconcerting how much butter goes in..... and I love butter...but's one of those things better made by others so you can enjoy it without so much knoledge/guilt of what's inside!

        Celeste...It's not a heat problem...I am in Calgary where it is on the cool side for August.

        recipe follows....

        "I stole this recipe from a bakery I worked at a few years ago, and haven't made buttercream any other way since:
        Whisk 1 cup egg whites & 2 cups sugar over simmering water until hot (160F), then whip on high speed in mixer until cool & tripled in volume. While whipping on medium speed, add 1# 10 oz. softened unsalted butter bit by bit. Then 7 oz. melted chocolate, any color, and vanilla or liqueur of choice. Works great!"

        1 Reply
        1. re: Susanbnyc

          The eggs were probably still too warm. Something that's mostly butter will firm up with chilling because butter of course is firm when cold. Or if it just needs to stiffen a little, you can dip the bowl in ice water as you stir to cool it. Buttercream like that can take a lot of semi-melting and re-beating to get it smooth (would use the paddle attachment at that point). It also freezes well. Just thaw to (cool) room temp and beat.

        2. That recipe looks fine to me. It might be that you didn't mix it long enough after adding the butter. As well as I remember, it looks bad before it actually comes together. You didn't melt the butter did you? Was the chocolate hot when you added it?

          Wait, I just read your last post. I believe it was the heat of the other ingredients that melted the butter & caused problems.

          Butter cream always does seem like a lot of butter, but when you have it on the cake it will balance out.

          1. "If you have no a/c, it just might be too hot for buttercream. It tends to separate more easily when the temp is too high, or at least the non-stabilized kinds of buttercream tend to separate (kinda looks like scrambled eggs)."

            This is exactly what happened to me earlier today. I was making Krissywats vanilla frosting, posted here about a year ago. All of a sudden I had something that looked like scrambled eggs. Perfect description. Tasted great, just looked a little funny. No time, or enough additional ingredients, for a do-over. Birthday boy is due in a couple of hours. So I just firmed it up a bit in the fridge, spread it on as best I could, covered the top with sprinkles (the birthday boy is 10), and have it sitting in a box directly on top of my air conditioner. With fingers crossed. I was afraid the frosting would fall apart and start melting. But so far so good. Try putting it in the fridge for a bit and see if that works for you as well.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JoanN

              I've given up on homemade buttercream in the coastal south except in cooler weather. It's depressing to make a lovely buttercream, set it in the fridge to firm up, then take cold frosting & a cake chilled in the freezer and STILL HAVE THE FROSTING FALL OFF THE CAKE before you're done with it. Italian, french, whatever...I haven't found a truly heat proof buttercream yet. My SO requests a cake with buttercream every year for his June birthday, so I go thru this annually.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                Can you substitute ganache for buttercream? It's very easy to make, tastes delicious and is fairly bulletproof. You can make it out of white or dark chocolate so if your cake will go with those flavors you may find this option to be a solution.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Humidity sucks. Not only is buttercream a problem, i had my normally bulletproof 7 minute frosting start to leak off a cake last week.