Thursday, August 16, 2012

Betta with Butta- Basic buttercream

So y'all know by now that I have this little side hobby of fooling around and baking cakes. I am in the middle of writing material to teach a basic cupcake decorating class soon and figured it was time I should share a good old basic buttercream recipe with you. Now, this is not the buttercream I use in my business (we must have some secrets between us) but this is a great buttercream to use for any flavor cake. This is a spin on the traditional Wilton buttercream that has been around since the beginning of time. This is what some might call the "crispy" frosting because it tends to get a light crisp on it once it has been exposed to the air. I learned quickly in my early decorating days that not all buttercreams are created equal. I am not a fan of using shortening in a buttercream for many reasons. The buttercream with shortening in it can last for months on end on a shelf and that alone is very disturbing to me. This buttercream can be altered very quickly to match whatever flavor cake you are making. The trick is to let it beat for a while to get a light and fluffy texture...and salt. Salt is key to this because it helps just make it perfect, weird as it may sound. So, grab your favorite recipe, wipe the dust off of that big fat mixer that has been lonely in the cupboard and get to cookin'!

Basic Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
1 lb box or 4 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp cream (preferably heavy cream but if you don't have it on hand, half and half or milk will work)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract*

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat your butter for a minute or two until all lumps are removed and you have a good creamy mixture to work with.
With the mixer on low, slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  One trick I have found is to wet a hand towel and drape it over your mixer while you are adding the powdered sugar. This will help you from covering your entire kitchen with magical sugar fairy dust. Just lift it when you need to add a scoop of sugar then drop it down again. Pour in the cream, salt and extract. Turn the mixer to medium high and let that baby beat for about 5-7 minutes. It will take on a nice airy texture that will be perfect to put no any cake (or dip your spoon into). Use right away. If you have to let it sit for a bit be sure you beat it for a minute or two to make it get nice and soft again. You can keep any unused portion in the fridge for up to one week or you can store it frozen up to one month. Just be sure you let it get to room temp again and beat it.
If you are having a hard time spreading the buttercream onto a cake, add an additional teaspoon at a time of milk until it is right. If it gets too runny then just add more sugar. Easy peasy. 

*So, this is where you can play around with your flavors. You can add any kind of extract at this point and can add up to 2 tsp if you want a stronger flavor.
Examples would be:
almond (great with white cake)
lemon (and add the zest of 1 lemon)
coconut (then fold in 1/2 cup shredded coconut and/or nuts and pair with in Italian cream cake)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (yumminess with a dark chocolate cake or vanilla)
strawberry (can even add in 2 Tbsp fresh strawberry puree in place of extract)
add in 1 tsp of cinnamon with vanilla (pair with gingerbread cake)....need I go on???

Enjoy Y'all!

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