Buttercream Blunders

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What should I have done differently?

Beat the buttercream longer.
1
50%
Beat it less, you maniac!
0
No votes
Open a can of icing and get over it.
1
50%
You could have had a V8! *forehead smack*
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 2

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KMD
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Buttercream Blunders

Postby KMD » Fri 03 Jul, 2009 07:49 pm

My son asked for cake, and I had plenty of time today, so I baked a cake, for no reason whatsoever. When it came time to consider icing, I decided to try my hand at a buttercream. I've never made one before. I usually either use canned stuff (I know, I know...) or what my mom calls a "royal icing", which is mostly powdered sugar, milk and crisco. Anyway, I downloaded Alton Brown's recipe, and here it is.

4 eggs (room temp)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
10 oz (2 1/2 sticks) butter (room temp and cubed)
1 tsp vanilla.

Beat the eggs until fluffy. Put the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan, cook until it comes to a boil. Take off the heat, drizzle into the eggs while beating on low. Add vanilla. Once all incorporated, add the pieces of butter, one by one. When they're all in, beat until creamy. Frost cake.

So, that's what I did. Now, here's what happened. The egg and sugar mix was incredibly watery. When I went to add the butter, it still stayed watery. I beat and beat, but every time I'd stop to check it, it looked "separated" and very not appetizing. I called my mom, she said to beat the heck out of it. So, I did. Eventually I checked on it, and it didn't look as separated, it looked like icing, but when I went to put it on the cake, it was still too loose, and just glooped off the sides. So, I put it in the fridge, hoping this would stiffen it. Well, it did, but then it was too stiff. It wasn't spreadable, it was clumpy. So, I let it sit a couple minutes, hoping it would loosen up, and instead it just separated and looked like lumpy, separated, partially-melted butter in a puddle around the cake.

So, the good news is, I didn't have to take this anywhere, my son and husband don't care what it looks like, they just want to eat it. But, what I want to know is, what did I do wrong? What should I have done? Help?
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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Fri 03 Jul, 2009 08:30 pm

I don't know what you did wrong, but I also don't see any reason to go to all that trouble when you can take 1 cube of butter, 1 pound of powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. of vanilla, and about 2 Tbsp. of canned milk and come out with something really yummy in about 3 minutes. Oh, and a dash of salt. Notice that it's a tablespoon of vanilla -- I think that's what makes it really good. And for chocolate, just add 1/2 cup of cocoa and some more canned milk.

Try it! You'll like it!

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Fri 03 Jul, 2009 11:38 pm

I'd say open a can of pre-fab frosting, but that's only because I'm pretty clueless in the kitchen and that's what I'd do if encountered the need to frost a cake. But I wouldn't have baked a cake in the first place, so really, I'd do nothing and call it good. Or just buy a cake, take it out of whatever packaging was provided, and consume it.

I'm a sad, sad man.

Edited to correct missing words above indicated by italics because I'm stupid.
Last edited by SDR on Sat 04 Jul, 2009 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

Benny
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Postby Benny » Fri 03 Jul, 2009 11:47 pm

your butter probably should have been colder. I beat the eggs a LOT ( a nice yellowy froth) before pouring the syrup in.

As far as soupy, you should cook the syrup more than just a boil. You want it a little more towards the soft crack stage*, and where it darkens. This way it cooks the eggs, and thickens like fudge as well. Then you beat on fairly high until your butter dissolves one pat at a time. I also add chocolate to it. Some of the best frosting ever.

I also ignore Alton's advice to use a baster thingy to drizzle it in. Just slow the mixer or turn it off for a second and pour a little stream from a spoon or fork (I like it thick enough to use a fork, almost like honey) while keeping the syrup warm on the stove. If you don't drizzle, then it hardens and you get crunchy bits in your frosting


If it looks like sand and oil mixed together, you over beat the eggs.

Alternatively, my friend's wife makes some [url=http://bettyrockers.blogspot.com/2009/01/favorite-frosting.html]wicked awesome frosting
[/url]

*soft crack is when you drizzle the syrup in a bowl of water and it immediately hardens into a soft lollipop-like consistency
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Lady Celtic
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Postby Lady Celtic » Sat 04 Jul, 2009 07:14 am

I'm a huge fan of the cream cheese frosting recipe ImAdhis posted some time ago. It makes a lot, so you can save some for later, and it's easy to adjust. I add melted chocolate and cocoa powder to make chocolate frosting, and I'm tempted to make it a caramel frosting at some point.
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KMD
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Postby KMD » Mon 06 Jul, 2009 11:06 am

Thanks guys for the feedback. I'd say I didn't cook the sugar enough, I pulled it as soon as it hit a boil. I did drizzle it with a spoon, which, since I'm a messy cook means there's bits of hardened sugar on my KitchenAid now. I did beat the eggs to a yellow froth, so I don't think that was it. And the butter was a little cooler than room temp, but not by much. Anyway, in the end, it still tasted pretty delicious, it just didn't look pretty. But I think I've learned to just try one of these other great recipes next time. SDR's sounds favorite right about now. :D
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ImAdhis
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Postby ImAdhis » Thu 16 Jul, 2009 09:28 am

Momma Snider wrote:I don't know what you did wrong, but I also don't see any reason to go to all that trouble when you can take 1 cube of butter, 1 pound of powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. of vanilla, and about 2 Tbsp. of canned milk and come out with something really yummy in about 3 minutes. Oh, and a dash of salt. Notice that it's a tablespoon of vanilla -- I think that's what makes it really good. And for chocolate, just add 1/2 cup of cocoa and some more canned milk.

Try it! You'll like it!

Momma, what do you mean by canned milk? Evaporated milk or condensed milk?
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Momma Snider
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Postby Momma Snider » Thu 16 Jul, 2009 01:47 pm

Not sweetened condensed milk, just basic evaporated milk.

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ImAdhis
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Postby ImAdhis » Fri 17 Jul, 2009 01:22 pm

Thanks!
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Momma Snider
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Re: Buttercream Blunders

Postby Momma Snider » Thu 27 Feb, 2014 04:47 pm

I'm just browsing recipes, and saw this one. I'm going to try making a half batch of this buttercream frosting, because that's a lot of butter to waste if my family doesn't like it. I'll be able to approximate the taste that way, even if the consistency doesn't turn out exactly right. Can you tell Cheat Day is coming?

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Momma Snider
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Re: Buttercream Blunders

Postby Momma Snider » Sat 01 Mar, 2014 10:10 pm

Tried it. SO not worth the effort! It tasted okay, the texture was okay, but it can't even spit on the shoes of my basic powdered sugar/butter/vanilla/canned milk frosting.

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Momma Snider
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Re: Buttercream Blunders

Postby Momma Snider » Sat 01 Mar, 2014 11:32 pm

I just Googled the Alton Brown buttercream recipe, and it specifies dark corn syrup. It's funny, because I had some of that but didn't have light, so I borrowed some light from my sister. Maybe I will try it again with the dark syrup. I also read a lot of the comments, and a lot of them seemed to think it might take MORE butter than called for, but added more slowly than I did it. That won't change the taste, though, which I just didn't think could compare to my regular stuff.


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