How to Work With Buttercream

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A pastry chef enhances his masterpiece wtih buttercream embellishment.
A pastry chef enhances his masterpiece wtih buttercream embellishment.

Buttercream, the foundation frosting universally used by pastry chefs, has a versatile nature that makes it suitable for many delicious creations. Working with buttercream frosting, however, can be a trying experience for novice cake decorators. Practicing cake projects using the frosting eases uncertainty and turns possible frustration into an enjoyable artistic venture.

Things You'll Need

  • Buttercream frosting in large mixing bowl
  • Electric hand mixer
  • Measuring spoons
  • 3 pint-sized plastic containers with lids
  • Corn syrup
  • 1 box toothpicks
  • Food colors
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Instructions

  1. Flavor

    • 1
      Many forms of buttercream are used in cake creations.
      Many forms of buttercream are used in cake creations.

      Add clear extracts to flavor buttercream. Note that vanilla's brown coloring muddies white and alters other colors.

    • 2
      Brown vanilla bean's tinted flavor may discolor frosting
      Brown vanilla bean's tinted flavor may discolor frosting

      Add flavor to the buttercream by following the directions on the extract bottles' labels. Beat well with hand mixer after adding.

    • 3
      Tinted flavors may alter desired colors of buttercream.
      Tinted flavors may alter desired colors of buttercream.

      Taste the frosting to discriminate correctness. Add more extract if the flavor is weak. Add more buttercream if the flavor if too strong.

    Divide

    Color

    Storage

Tips & Warnings

  • Substituting water for milk as a recipe ingredient will increase the shelf life.

  • Alter a frosting's thickness at room temperature for perpetual accuracy between batches.

  • Oil-based colors blend better than water-based.

  • Buttercream will spoil quickly at room temperature.

  • Sunlight and high summer temperatures will melt buttercream.

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References

Resources

  • The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Cake Decorating; Carol Deacom; 2003
  • Photo Credit NA/Photos.com/Getty Images Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images Steve Baccon/Photodisc/Getty Images Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

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