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Dec 21, 2007 12:03 PM

Failed coffee buttercream

Not sure if anything can be done at this point. I'm making a 3-layer hazelnut and almond dacquoise torte with a coffee buttercream frosting. I used this recipe: which looked quite fabulous. But for some reason, the buttercream didn't come together the way it's supposed to. It's greasy looking and not at all fluffy or creamy. I'm thinking of chucking the whole mess (and wasting a POUND of butter) and just layering it with chocolate ganache and coffee whipped cream instead.

Any idea if the buttercream can be saved? I've got it chilling right now and I'm going to try beating it again when it's cold.

Grrr. I should know better than to do a new recipe for a friend's birthday.

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  1. Failed buttercream can usually be resurrected by either warming or chilling it. If chilling doesn't work, try warming a small amount and see if that helps. Usually, I'll take two small amounts, heat one and chill the other, and see which works. But since you've already committed to the chilling, no reason not to go for it. Sure hope it turns out for you. It looks like a super recipe.

    1. It usually depends on how it failed. If it's soupy, you can try chilling it first. If it separates, then usually warming it seems to work best. But good luck and don't give up yet on the buttercream (if necessary and chilling doesn't work, you can always try warming it) – it is a great recipe, I've made it and everyone loved it.

      1. Buttercream can always be rescued. When buttercream breaks it's usually because the butter is not at room temperature and is added too fast. So what helps is to heat it lightly over a flame and beat it mercilessly. Heat it just enough to melt a bit, but do not let it get soupy.


        1. Horrible tragic buttercream update. After trying everything: chilling and rebeating; warming and rebeating; adding some icing sugar and rebeating; using my immersion blender - to no avail. My husband stood there and watched in dismay as I scraped the whole curdly mess into a bag and threw it in the garbage. His suggestion was to just spread it on the layers and squash them together - "Looks aren't everything," he said. "It tastes great - who's going to care?"

          I'm going with Plan B. Ganache on all 3 layers, coffee whipped cream between them and around the sides. Chocolate shavings to finish.

          Sometimes things just don't work out.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Nyleve

            So sorry to hear it. I was rooting for you. Your variation sounds scrumptious, and only you and hubby will know.

          2. I have a coffee buttercream recipe (custard based) that works for me. Be glad to post it for you.

            3 Replies
            1. re: toodie jane

              I'd love to have it. It's too later for this time (I've already recreated the cake using whipped cream and ganache) but maybe next time because it seems like such a wonderful combo.

              By the way, not only didn't my buttercream work - which I am willing to accept because it was a new recipe that I'd never tried - BUT my ganache also began to horribly separate!!! I feel this cake is cursed. I've made this very same ganache a million times - I mean, give me a break. Anyway, I ended up using the immersion blender (again) and reintegrating it. But just. Jeepers I'll be glad to have this damn thing over with.

              At least the cream whipped.

              1. re: Nyleve

                from my Austrian Pastries instructor, Marika Kolinsky-Phillips


                1) Custard: 1 c. milk (whole)
                1/2 c. powdered sugar
                2 T. cornstarch
                2 tsp. flour
                2 egg yolks (large)
                3 T. sugar
                Bring 2/3 of the milk to a boil. To the rest of the milk add the constarch and flour, stir till blended, then add rest of the ingredients and stir smooth. Stir this mixture slowly into the boiling milk, bring again to a boil while stirring vigourously and continuously. (It will become thick) Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap against the surface of the custard and cool till barely lukewarm. (not cold--this is important)

                2) Cream: 1/2 pound sweet butter
                1 scant cup powdered sugar
                Flavoring of your choice: 3 oz. melted chocolate; 2 tsp instant
                coffee dissolved in 1T. boiling water and
                cooled; 1 T. liqueur, brandy, or rum, etc.

                Beat butter with hand mixer till creamy. Add powdered sugar and continue to beat until fluffy. Now, slowly, by spoonful, add the cooled, now barely lukewarm custard while continuing to beat. NOTE: Make sure neither the butter nor the custard are too cold. This will separate the mixture. Should this happen, adding rmore butter, a little (1 tsp) at a time, will tighten the cream again.

                Beat in the chosen flavor substance. Use as directed. (this pipes very well)

                *you may refrigerate, covered, for a day or so, but it may separate. If so, add the extra butter as directed above.

                Good luck!