Buttercream is one of those things that seems oh so simple until it comes to making it. It’s too easy to mess up and get the balance of ingredients terribly wrong. Too much butter can create a runny mess in the summer and taste a little too savoury. Too much sugar means stiff and gritty buttercream that looks unappealing. For silky smooth frosting follow our top 5 tips for perfect buttercream that’ll make your cakes the cream of the crop!
5 tips for perfect buttercream!
1: Softened butter only!
Make sure to use room temperature / softened butter to make your buttercream. It makes sense. Chilled butter just won’t cream or mix to a lovely silky texture. Room temperature translates at around 20 degrees C (that’s 68 degrees in F) for those of us in a chilly or insanely hot climate. If you live in the Yukon and your actual room temperature is 8 degrees C still aim for 20 degrees C butter!
2: Don’t over whip!
Mixing or whipping your buttercream way too much can mean lots of unsightly bubbles. Not only are these not so nice on an otherwise pretty bakery style cake, but they’re a nightmare when it comes to piping on top of cupcakes. Imagine bagging up all that buttercream and piping all your cupcakes only for those swirls to get messy and interrupted just because of massive air bubbles in the frosting. Tsk. Tsk. Two essential tools for whipping up perfect buttercream that we couldn’t live without are *drumroll*… a KitchenAid Stand-Up Mixer and our Mason Cash spatula!
3: Avoid artificial flavourings!
Not only are artificial flavourings quite icky and chemical in taste (seriously, they’re called artificial so they’re going to taste pretty fake compared to the real deal), but they just don’t help with buttercream texture. You want to use a flavourant that does help cultivate a silky look and feel to your frosting. Extracts are generally oil based which adds a little extra lubricant to your buttercream; perfect for smoothness! Things like vanilla bean paste can really help too as the paste is generally the texture of runny honey; also perfect for adding some smooth factor (plus those tiny flecks of pure vanilla just scream luxury). Essences, if they’re good quality, can also help keep your buttercream silky!
4: Test different butters!
Don’t buy whatever is on offer just to save money. Not only will you not understand the butter you’re working with, but you’ll end up changing brands and being insanely inconsistent all the time. Test lots of butters or buttermilk based spreads (steer clear of low fat as they contain higher ratios of water which is a definite no for buttercream as water takes away stability when means floppy and curdled looking frosting) to find the perfect butter for you.
5: Less sugar!
The last of our 5 tips for perfect buttercream is simple. You can tell bad and overly sweet frosting by just looking at it. It’s stiff as a rock and the edges aren’t smooth they’re ragged. Adding way to much sugar into your buttercream not only makes it sickly sweet and almost inedible it also makes it hard to pipe and just plain ugly. Cut back on your icing sugar. Taste test it too. We generally add in around 1 part icing sugar to 2 parts butter for our silky buttercream. To keep a track on all the ingredients you’re using in your buttercream we’d strongly recommend investing in a good pair of digital scales!