Does Buttercream Have to Be Refrigerated?

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A creamy mix of whipped sugar, eggs and softened butter, buttercream contains at least two ingredients regularly stored in the refrigerator. Despite the fact that buttercream is often preferable to whipped cream because the processes needed to keep a cake frosted with the latter are even more stringent, buttercream in its prepared form is perishable and requires refrigeration. Any baked items containing buttercream should also make their way back to the refrigerator when not in use.

Wrapping It Up

  • Cakes and other baked goods containing buttercream require refrigeration immediately after preparing and serving. Cover with a bowl or cake cover before transferring to the refrigerator. Slide a knife under the cover to allow a small amount of ventilation if the buttercream is warm, or the baked item may absorb it. Plastic wrap or aluminum foil makes a fine cover for cooled buttercream. Store leftover buttercream in a plastic storage bag or airtight container with a good seal.

Ready to Serve

  • Buttercream is at its best when served at room temperature. Served cold, the buttercream tends to be too firm, robbing the food item of the smooth texture associated with room-temperature buttercream. Allow buttercream to stand outside of refrigeration until it reaches room temperature, prior to spreading it on a baked good or serving it up on a cake. If the buttercream separates after chilling in the refrigerator, stir or beat to recombine the ingredients, returning the buttercream to its previous fluffy texture.

Long-Term Storage

  • Buttercream not eaten in a week requires freezer storage if it is to remain safe to eat. In the freezer, buttercream lasts up to three months. For whole cakes, pop the cake into the freezer until the buttercream freezes, and then wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Freeze leftover buttercream in freezer storage bags or airtight freezer containers. Thaw the buttercream in the refrigerator prior to use.

Thawing Concerns

  • Once thawed, buttercream should stand at room temperature before use. You may notice that the combination of refrigerating, and then freezing, may give the buttercream an unnatractive curdled appearance. This is rectified by adding small amounts of melted butter to the buttercream and whipping it up with a whisk or beater. Add teaspoons of melted butter at a time, adding only as much as necessary to regain the original smooth texture to the buttercream.

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