Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 29, 2007 09:20 AM

Mousseline Buttercream - Neoclassic Buttercream

I am just finding out about these two. Have any cake bakers on this Board ever used these two? How do you use them? For what types of cakes? What makes them different from other buttercream frostings?

Hope you can excuse my ignorance on the subjest, but I just found out recently about these two. Never knew that there were such frostings. Guess maybe this falls into "dumb question" catagory ??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. In The Cake Bible, Rose Levy Berenbaum says the neoclassic buttercream is easier to make and "yields identical results" to the classic buttercream so it can be used in exactly the same way. I prefer sugar to corn syrup in my buttercream, so I've always stuck with the classic recipe.

    A mousseline buttercream is lighter in texture than the other two because it contains beaten egg whites. In hot and humid weather I've had the mousseline buttercream break down on me so I tend to make it only during the cooler months. I find it a bit fussier to make since the butter--as well as the room--need to be just the right temperature. But I also find it to be a better piping buttercream so will use it if I'm doing more than just slathering it on.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      I agree with you on the desirability of corn syrup. Moreover, I have not had too many problems making classic buttercream, so don't see any reason to try neoclassic. As for mousseline buttercream, based on your description JoanN, that sounds like what I consider to be Italian Meringue buttercream. Lisbet, trying googling Italian Meringue buttercream and you may get more info than mousseline buttercream. (or, maybe no! Just a thought)

      1. re: Smokey

        I think the mouselline buttercream contains only egg whites whereas a meringue buttercream has a creme anglaise base that includes egg yolks as well. A meringue buttercream is also great for piping but since it's more work than the mousseline, I think I've only tried one once. I do a lot of baking, but make buttercreams almost exclusively for birthday cakes so I tend to stick with what I know and what I know works for me. That said, I just happen to have been researching buttercreams since I have two cake layers in the freezer and a 13-year-old birthday boy arriving next week.

        1. re: JoanN

          I was taught that an Italian Mereingue buttercream uses egg whites only. Maybe another meringue buttercream uses creme anglaise (e.g. Swiss, French, some other European country!)? Not sure.

          1. re: Smokey

            I think you're right, Smokey. Did a bit more research and it seems as though Italian, Swiss, and French meringue buttercreams do use only whites, not yolks. The recipe I was thinking of that's based on a creme anglaise is an RLB recipe that she calls Silk Meringue Buttercream that danna (below) referred to. It's entirely possible that it's just an RLB adaptation of the more traditional meringues. And now, after all this discussion, I'm even less certain what I'm going to put on my grandson's birthday cake.

            1. re: JoanN

              Swiss and Italian are both egg white based - Swiss heats the egg whites and sugar together over heat. Italian heats the sugar before incorporating into the egg whites. French is also sugar heated before incorporating into the eggs, but yolks are used instead of whites.

        2. re: Smokey

          Sugar, when heated to the proper temperature before incorporating into a meringue base, will result in a much more stable buttercream - even in the most hot and humid summer months. Accuracy is essential, so for anyone who reports having had any problems with Rose's Mousseline Buttercream "breaking down" or not holding up in the heat, I would suggest the sugar was not brought to the correct temperature when it was cooked.

      2. I've made Rose Levy's neoclassic buttercream almost exclusively til now. I like the texture and flavor and it's easy to do.

        @JoanN - I'm intrigued by your comment about preferring sugar in your buttercreams - as until recently I hadn't given another thought to using corn syrup. (I just finished reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and am trying to get as much corn-based product out of my life as possible.) Question for you - Does the sugar disintegrate so there isn't a gritty texture in RLB's classic buttercream recipe?

        2 Replies
        1. re: HungryLetsEat

          For RLB's classic buttercream you make a sugar syrup by boiling sugar and water to the soft-ball stage, so grittiness is definitely not a problem.

          1. re: JoanN

            For all buttercreams I've made (none of which have been an RLB buttercream), you make a simple syrup. So, I'm with Joan--no grittiness. The grittiness probably comes from the 10x style buttercream of powdered sugar/milk/flavoring/butter, but that's just a guess.

        2. Hi Lisbet -

          Remember my "thrilling" buttercream thread from a couple of years ago? THAT was the mousseline buttercream with the variation of a fruit curd. DON'T DO IT!!!! Slides right off the cake when the room gets warm.

          Silk Meringue Buttercream is the way to go.

          8 Replies
          1. re: danna

            I've been making Mousseline Buttercream for years, with and without the fruit options. This is absolutely the most stable 'real butter' buttercream around. Best tasting too. Hands down. I've never had a problem with it sliding off a cake - as a matter of fact, its my buttercream of choice when making wedding cakes.

            Mousseline uses only egg whites, therefor is much lighter in color, while the Neo-classic uses egg yolks, so is tinted a light yellow color (which affects the final color if adding optional fruit purees. Strawberry and Raspberry will end up being peachy-orange colored instead of pink).

            1. re: Patrincia

              Patricia, how do you use purees without the buttercream getting runny? I haven't been able to do that (I use the egg white buttercream), at least not with strawberries. I've got a wedding cake to do this weekend (for a friend - I'm no professional) and she wants a strawberry buttercream and I'm in a panic cruising the internet looking for a solution. I've got other fillings I like, but she wants strawberry (sigh).
              P.S. Love your blog - those are just the kinds of cakes I'd love to be able to make.

              1. re: margiev

                I've used seedless berry jam or freeze dried strawberries pulverized in a blender. The latter you can get at Whole foods type places (just Strawberries) or Trader Joes.

                1. re: jsaimd

                  Interesting - I've never thought of freeze dried strawberries. I thought of jam, but thought it might be too sweet. I wanted a more intense flavor - the freeze dried berries might do it! Thank you for the idea.

                  1. re: margiev

                    I think professionals use some kind of flavor concentrate. You don't have a lot of room to add liquid to a buttercream, so it needs to be pretty concentrated to add sufficient flavor. It's the reason why (I was told) you use lemon oil instead of lemon juice to make a lemon buttercream. You would have to add so much juice to make it taste lemony that it would totally throw off the balance of water to, well, non-water!

                    I think the freeze dried strawberries sounds like the best bet. I have the feeling that jam would be too sweet and insufficiently concentrated (my word for this post, apparently!).

                    1. re: Smokey

                      Yes, the freeze dried strawberries (pulverized) worked well. The taste was bright and fruity without being too sweet (with the buttercream taking on a pretty pink color) plus the buttercream texture was unchanged. When I tried fresh berries (straight or cooked with cornstarch) my cakes would fall apart due to the wet filling. This time the cake sliced beautifully. I'm a beginner at wedding cakes, so I appreciated this suggestion "jsaimd."

                      1. re: margiev

                        I just made RLBs Mousseline buttercream and got frozen strawberries, defrosted them in the microwave, smashed them, then microwaved them til all of the extraneous liquid boiled off and I was left with almost solid strawberry goo. Adding that to the buttercream didn't affect the runniness of the buttercream at all.

              2. re: Patrincia


                I live in india where the room temperature is between 35 to 38 degrees. So I work with mousseline buttercream with air conditioning on. In my experience even at 17 degree c air conditioning temperature the buttercream starts melting. Do you think that its the temperature or sugar not cooked well???


            2. I need help. I am looking for a great butter cream recipe that is creamy and smooth that will hold its shape for cupcakes. I would like to make cup cakes and frost with a butter cream with a large tip -- to look sort of like an ice cream cone, high with a tip on top. Does anyone know how I can achieve this? I sometimes see cupcakes with piped on swirls that are not smooth and look jagged. I appreciate any help.

              1 Reply
              1. My wife and I are amateur chefs/bakers. I bought my wife The Cake Bible by RLB for Christmas, and she attempted a cake while I was at work today. The cake turned out just fine, a classic butter cake. We made the frosting together when I got home, and following the recipe to a T, it came out disappointedly runny. And it tasted too buttery. We attempted the neoclassic buttercream, as RLB says this is the same as, yet easier than, the classic buttercream.

                I've read what y'all have discussed here, and I've read on other threads about too much liquid leading to a runny frosting. I'm just wondering what we did wrong to make the frosting runny. We definitely brought the sugar and corn syrup to a rolling boil, but perhaps we should have let it boil longer to lose liquidity? RLB says to take the mixture off the stove the moment it reaches a rolling boil. We did that, and yet it turned out runny. Any suggestions about what we're doing wrong? We're going to try the Silk Meringue buttercream next time, as y'all recommend below, but perhaps we should try the classic buttercream to see if that turns out better? Thanks much for any advice!

                3 Replies
                1. re: ttsilvester

                  You may have added butter while it was still too hot - it melts the butter.

                  1. re: ttsilvester

                    I just watched Rose make mouselline on You Tube. She said that you need to use a butter with a low water content and to make sure to make it on a day that is NOT humid otherwise, it'll come out runny and won't pull together. I'm thinking you'd need to use something like Kerrygold unsalted butter or another European brand because I believe they have less water than most American brands.

                    1. re: camiller

                      Not buying it. I've got all of RLB's books, and though I think she's brilliant, I also think that sometimes she's just too fussy. I think it's all about heat, plain and simple. I've made her Mouselline buttercream for years, with both Plugra (european style) and cheap-o butter, and it works fine either way. The Plugra has a better butter flavor, and I think is probably a bit denser, but butter with a higher water content is certainly not going to make it runny. That would be caused simply by the butter breaking down because it got too hot. The only other way that I've "broken" my buttercream is by adding too much of a liquid flavoring, but generally if I warm it up slightly and whip it like mad, it will all come together again. I've never had to dump a batch, but I have had to put it in the fridge for a little while when I got impatient and added the butter before the meringue cooled enough (or if the butter was just plain too soft in the first place). As long as you don't see pools of grease in it, it'll come back together. As Julia would say, you need to be fearless! :o)

                      (Came back to edit this after watching the You Tube video. Notice that she's adding the meringue to the butter? I've never heard of anyone doing it that way, and I don't recall her using that method in the Cake Bible, but I'll have to go home and look. I was taught to beat the butter into the meringue a tablespoon at a time until it's all incorporated. It starts to look curdly until I get to the last 1/2 to 1/4 cup of butter, and then all magically comes together, but if it's still too soft, then I pop it in the fridge for a bit and whip it again.)