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Egg yolk/whole eggs in buttercream

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Hi all,
I'm still on my (eternal) quest for the perfect vanilla buttercream recipe. I am currently using this one (scroll down to bottom of page for "Marshmallow Frosting" recipe)--

http://kbkbakery.wordpress.com/tag/bu...

I like this recipe because it seems to be just the right mix of rich and sweet. And, when it is at room temperature the texture is also close to there I want it to be. Note, I usually use less butter than the recipe calls for. However, not only is this recipe not perfect, but I wonder whether I really want to be in love with a recipe that uses Marshmallow Fluff as an ingredient. I love the stuff, but would also love to graduate to a buttercream with a more "adult" ingredient list.

Regardless of what recipes I've tried (I've made custard buttercreams, basic butter/10x sugar buttercreams, swiss meringue buttercreams, etc) I am never fully satisfied with the results. I want something sweeter than the meringue buttercreams I've tried, as those come out tasting too much like solid buttercream, tastier than the basic butter/10x butter creams I've tried, and altogether less finicky than the custard buttercreams I've tried. Basically, I want something very fluffy that is rich and sweet, though not so rich as to taste like butter and not so sweet that it burns your teeth. A tall order, I know!

My newest idea is to further explore one of the recipes that utilizes either whole eggs or egg yolks, uncooked, in the buttercream. Can anyone who has tried a recipe along these lines let me know your thoughts? Though I've tried most of the recipes or versions of the recipes that people have posted on chowhound in the last few years, if any of you have a killer buttercream recipe that seems to fit the bill I'd love to see it. Thanks!

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  1. I tried " Neoclassic Buttercream" from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, which uses egg yolks. You can google the recipe or buy the book. Its sooooo easy to make, fluffy, not too sweet, and if you make sure to follow the directions, sets up really well room temperature. I didn't find it tasted so great solid cold from the fridge though...
    I made it twice. The first time it came out perfect. The second I didn't do it exactly correct (was in a rush) and the frosting was a bit too loose. Still tasted great, I just had to chill it a bit. Hope you like it (if you try it)

    18 Replies
    1. re: junglekitte

      I guess you're comfortable using raw eggs in your buttercream recipe. I would be nervous about the potential for salmonella. Consuming raw eggs, whether in buttercream, caesar salad, or in anything else just makes me say, "thanks, but no thanks." Just my opinion. I know many people who don't share my concerns, but again, I know many who do. Florence Braker, in her book, The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, has egg based buttercream recipes, but she has Baker's notes about raw eggs in the margins. Laura, good luck in your quest to find the perfect buttercream. Please share when you do (and if it doesn't include raw eggs, I might be willing to try the recipe)!

      1. re: addicted2cake

        I understand what you mean and should have prefaced my post by saying that I both wasn't entirely sold on the idea, and would possibly sub in a pastuerized egg product (accepting that it might affect that results slightly) if the recipe called for a whole egg...I couldn't/shouldn't do that with one calling for only an egg yolk, though I'll keep you posted if I find anything, though!

        1. re: addicted2cake

          I really don't get the huge concern is over illness from eggs. I guess because its never happened to me? I've eaten countless things from raw eggs (and so have all of you without knowing it) and never had a problem.
          Even in other countries they don't even store eggs in the fridge like we do in the US!
          I really wonder what are the chances of getting salmonella from raw eggs is these days...I do, however, respect other's opinion of not wanting to use it. But anyway the recipe I recommended is not really raw eggs anyway...once you pour in the boiling hot syrup it cooks the eggs while its mixing.

          1. re: junglekitte

            I agree in that I don't really care about eating raw eggs, since I eat cookie and brownie batter all of the time without any problems, and since I've read that it is pretty unlikely you'll contract salmonella if you handle eggs from a reliable source in a safe manner. However, I worry about making something with raw eggs without making those who will be eating it aware that there are raw eggs. People just seem to get "funny" about stuff like that. I do, however, realize the the recipe you suggested is perfectly safe and doesn't involve raw eggs since they are heated somewhat. Thanks again for your input!

            1. re: Laura D.

              I must admit - I'm a confirmed raw dough eater BUT once I got terribly ill with food poisoning and the raw cookie dough was the only thing I could trace it to. So - I'm very vigilant keeping my young son away from it and now only have a tiny taste.

              1. re: lupaglupa

                I also do raw eggs often, and while I am pregnant I admit to still eating my yolks runny (they are the most sterile part of the egg), but I do warm my egg whites before making a meringue to 160.

                Salmonella isn't all that common in eggs. From the CDC:

                "Although most infected hens have been found in the northeastern United States, the infection also occurs in hens in other areas of the country. In the Northeast, approximately one in 10,000 eggs may be internally contaminated. In other parts of the United States, contaminated eggs appear less common. Only a small number of hens seem to be infected at any given time, and an infected hen can lay many normal eggs while only occasionally laying an egg contaminated with the Salmonella bacterium. "

                I always wash the outside of the eggs well before cracking them, and use the fresh eggs if I am worried about contamination. I don't let my kids near the cookie dough either, but I think my intentions are more selfish than trying to keep them from illness : ).

                1. re: jsaimd

                  Interesting - I've always heard that the whites are safe but the yolks are not. I don't know why, just had that in my mind as a rule.

          2. re: addicted2cake

            I actually feel very comfortable making neoclassic buttercream from the Cake Bible, and I don't normally serve anything with raw eggs. I am pregnant, have small kids,a nd regularly feed cake to large crowds, and I don't worry about salmonella in these recipes, because you add boiling sugar syrup to the eggs. It's in a moving mixer, so the eggs don't look "cooked" but they get VERY hot. It seems hot enough to me to kill salmonella or any other bugs that are in the raw eggs.

            FYI I also make neoclassic buttercream with all egg whites, to increase the volume I get, and to have a lighter colored buttercream.

            I really think it's safe, you should try it if you're comfortable.

          3. re: junglekitte

            Junglekitte,
            I keep going back to and then shying away from this recipe. I think the last time I looked at it I almost made it, but I was worried that two huge sheet cakes I was making for a party would be destroyed if the buttercream didn't work out as I expected. I may take a shot and try this one for the cupcakes I'm doing this weekend. Overall, though, I've been disappointed in the Cake Bible recipes. It's not that they aren't good...it's that they just don't seem to be anything better than what I am finding in other cookbooks. And, it seems like they should be better. In all fairness, though, I've only made a handful of recipes from the book so I'm not the best person to judge.

            Thanks for your suggestion!

            1. re: Laura D.

              I also have only made two recipes from the Cake Bible. One being this buttercream and another the all occasion downy butter cake. The buttercream was great, the cake was not. :)

              Good luck on your recipe hunt!

              1. re: junglekitte

                I think that was one of the other ones I made too! It was good, but I wasn't blown away by it.

                1. re: junglekitte

                  The trick with the cakes from Cake Bible is that they all need to have syrup added or they are hopelessly dry. Bernbaum makes cake layers with very strong structure - perfect for multi-layed things etc. But they aren't moist at all. She includes syrup recipes and recomendations for most cakes and they make a huge difference. The syrup adds flavor too. It is time consuming adding the surprisingly large amounts of syrup she asks for (I did not belive it would work the first time - and I've worked in a professional bakery!). But - the layers will soak it up and they are quite moist and tasty after.

                  1. re: lupaglupa

                    Oh how I wish I knew this before I made the downy cake! I DID use a sugar syrup but it sounds like I didn't put nearly enough because it was very dry. I was so embarrassed but the guests seemed to like it (I suspect just being nice). The neoclassic buttercream is what saved it from being totally doomed! :)

              2. re: junglekitte

                All of the buttercream recipes I've tried from the Cake Bible have been great so I'll second junglekitte's recomendation. I've made buttercream with eggs for over 20 years and have never had any hint of illness in any of the hundreds of people who've eaten the cakes I've made. But - if eggs make you nervous you might want to try a recipe using only egg whites. The Cake Bible has a very good one - I use it whenever I make a wedding cake. It's very smooth, easy to pipe with and has a great taste.

                1. re: lupaglupa

                  Hi Lupaglupa,
                  Do you find this buttercream you mention to be overly buttery? The ones I've made with egg whites only always taste too much like I'm eating butter. While these types of buttercreams were a nice change at first, I realized after I had it a few times that I didn't really like them. I do, however, think that the temperature that this type of frosting is served at makes all of the difference, since allowing it to warm up (as you probably should any buttercream) really removes the butter-texture aspect from the equation. Thanks!

                  1. re: Laura D.

                    It is very buttery, which I don't find off putting. It's a big difference from the confectioner's sugar style buttercream in terms of mouth feel and I understand why it isn't a favorite with some people. I find the egg white only frosting less buttery - but that may be psychological! The yellower buttercreams look like pure butter too and somehow I notice it more.

                    One difference with the 'true' buttercream (made with eggs etc.) is that one usually uses a lot less frosting on the cake. Americans tend to heap frosting on and when you do that the flavor of the frosting becomes more prominent. If you are using a thin layer, more for decoration and to seal in the moisture of the cake itself, then the frosting has less impact.

                    I eat it at any temperature but it is best at room temperature.

                    1. re: lupaglupa

                      Thanks for the additional information!

                2. re: junglekitte

                  yup, that's the one i use when i make wedding cakes. it's fool proof.

                3. I'm not sure it this will end up the same as the marshmallow fluff consistency, but in Baking from My Home to Yours, Dorie Greenspan has a devils food white out cake that has a marshmallow frosting. It's very light but it's not super rich. It's mostly egg white and sugar.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    Hi Chowser,
                    I've actually made that one before. While it is a great consistency, I think I need something with fat in it in order to meet my goals. Basically, I'd love the fluffiness of the Marshmallow Frosting with the richness of a buttercream. Thanks for the suggestion, though!

                    1. re: Laura D.

                      Laura, you might want to check out baking911.com. You need to be a premium member (fee involved) to access Sarah's recipes (some people are put off by this, but I've found her site and personal help invaluable), but you can post in the general forums. Sarah Phillips often answers with specific advice and the community is very passionate about baking and offering suggestions. Maybe you might get some helpful feedback for a buttercream frosting that would suit your tastes - that cross between fluffiness and richness.

                  2. Sorry -- I pushed "send" too soon.
                    Because of all of the above (and yes, I'm sure you do wash your hands!) I only use pasteurized eggs in my frosting. Yes, perhaps the texture suffers. But better than my friends suffering!