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Buttercream Frosting Question?

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I have been in search of an answer about refrigerating buttercream frosting. I would like to know if your items need to be refrigerated after frosting. I am going to be baking almond cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and I do not want to leave them out and they spoil.

It seems that everywhere I look I find multiple recipes for buttercream, some with cooked egg and some with just milk. (Both of which I know need to be regfrigerated) Yet no information on storage after you frost your items. Most just reference refrigerating while they are using the frosting so it doesn't melt.

If anyone can offer me some information that would be great!!!

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  1. I always refrigerate, but I'm not sure it is necessary. Just seems safer to me.

    1. I refrigerate too - just make sure you allow time for the cakes/frosting to come to room temp. before you want to eat . . . .

      1 Reply
      1. re: gansu girl

        Good point. I hate when I order dessert when I'm out and it comes out cold.

      2. I was actually watching a Food Network or Martha Stewart (can't recall which one) special a few weeks ago on wedding cakes, and the baker made a traditional egg-based buttercream which he left at room temp overnight. So go figure. Perhaps when they are cooked by the hot syrup and enmeshed with sugar the eggs are safe.

        Could you make it day-of? I'd look this up online too. Or call a local bakery.

        1. When I worked in a bakery we did not refrigerate cakes, frosted or not. The only exceptions were wedding cakes, which needed to be made well ahead of time and last hours before serving.

          1. If you're going to serve the cupcakes within four-six hours, the buttercream icing will be fine at a cool room temperature. However, if they will not be utilized until later, it is best to refrigerate them until about an hour or two before serving. Hence, the buttercream (whatever recipe you're using) should soften to the appropriate consistency before the cupcakes are consumed.

            1. Thanks everyone for your responses, it will help when I get to baking this week! Thanks again!

              1. Sugar is a preservative! Need I say more? '-)

                I refrigerate only if I'm concerned about a filling, but my fillings are usually well fortified with booze, so no worry there either.

                Sometimes bringing a frosted cake/cupcakes out of the refrigerator in a humid climate can lead to a lot of condensation on the icing as it comes to temperature, which is another reason I'm not too keen on refrigerating cakes. If it's a matter of something tasting better cold, then by all means, refrigerate. Otherwise it's strictly optional.

                1. I never , ever refrigerate cake unless it's iced or filled w/ whipped cream or something otherwise very perishable. It ruins the texture of a butter cake to refrigerate it. Chiffon and other oil type cakes can handle it btter. IMO you can leave buttercream frosting out in a reasonably cool environment for a very long time...much longer than the cake will remain uneaten.

                  Of course, if the buttercream is not stable, and the room is warm...it's another story entirely.

                  I must admit, I learned that there IS a point at which filing can go bad. I made a coconut cake for valentine's day (thursday) and filled it with a cooked custard of milk and eggs and sugar. I left it on the counter, and by the following wednesday...the filling took on the flavor of milk beyond it's expire date. fortunately there was only one piece left at that time. Glad I could push the envelope for everyone ;-) In the future, I believe I will refridgerate this cake after a couple of days on the counter.