This week I'm talking about buttercream icing which is a staple in cake decorating and when prepared correctly will save you much frustration and allow you to focus on the fun part of caking; decorating! If your buttercream is made incorrectly you will end up fighting with your icing rather than being able to focus on piping beautiful art!
There are a number of ways to make buttercream. Some recipes call for butter only some call for shortening only and some call for half and half. Today we will be talking about shortening based recipes, but we have included two recipes in this article for you to enjoy.
Shortening usually can be purchased in your local supermarket two ways. White shortening, which is unflavored shortening or yellow shortening which has been flavored to taste like butter. If you are making white icing you will want to make sure that you do not use butter flavored shortening otherwise your icing will not be white.
I will tell you that since Crisco changed their recipe in an effort to cut out trans-fats it has effected the way the buttercream icing tastes and feels. The trans-fat found in the original Crisco is what made your buttercreams tasty and didn't leave a greasy film on the roof of your mouth.
There is also another type of shortening that will make your buttercream tasty; High Ratio Shortening, which is a little harder to find but whips up smoother, creamier and is less greasy than traditional shortening. What's the difference you ask? High ratio shortening contains emulsifiers that allow your buttercream to hold more sugar and liquids before breaking down.
I will tell you that High Ratio Shortening is very expensive compared to Crisco but you will use less in your recipe and once you've tried it you'll have a hard time going back to Crisco. Use 2/3 cup of high ratio shortening for every 1 cup called for in the icing recipe.
Where can you buy it? Well that can be a little tricky. It's not readily available at the grocery store and if by chance your store does carry it, it will be packaged as just "High Ratio Shortening". It can be found online at CK products (packaged as High Ratio Shortening) or through a bakery supply company (or Cash & Carry/Smart and Final) as Sweetex. Sweeter also makes trans fat free shortening so be sure you check that label.
I have been told by other decorator's that a less expensive route is to purchase store brands of shortening. Just check the label and if it contains trans-fats then that shortening will be like the old Crisco before they changed the recipe. However, keep in mind this route will not have the same flavor as a Sweetex, but it will be easier on the pocket book and give you some of the other qualities that the new Crisco recipe no longer has.
The other thing I wanted to say when making your buttercream icing is that you don't have to use 100% shortening in your recipe. If you want to make it a little tastier, you can take the shortening amount called for in the recipe and split it in half using real unsalted butter for the other half.
So go which up a batch of buttercream and go create beautiful art!
Make it sweet or savory, but always delicious!
Fall is finally here! The days are getting shorter and Halloween is right around the corner. During a recent Epicurean Delights teaching trip I spent a few days at The Cake Cottage in Murietta, CA. Susan Carberry is the shops owner.
If you live in Southern, California you may be familiar with her shop, her classes and her delicious jumbo cupcakes.
Can I just talk about those cupcakes for a minute...20 flavors to pick from. They are moist and iced with a tasty American Buttercream and adorned with cute edible decorations. My favorite picks include; Pina Colada, Cinnamon Streusel, Caramel Apple and Smores.
I just love wandering around her shop looking at the custom molds, sprinkles, tools and the largest selection of cutters I've ever seen. I have many of her custom copper cutters and use to sell them in my retail shop in NH. I just love them.
I had an opportunity to catch up with Rose who keeps The Cake Cottage in tip top shape and is Susan's right hand gal! She shared this fun tasty recipe with me on how to make Fall Candy Corn Bark. It consists of three layers of colored candy melts (Merkens) and each layer is flavored a different flavor. Its fast, fun, colorful and tasty.
I'm pleased they are allowing me to sharing the recipe with you! I can also tell you that it's a tasty addition to the top of one of The Cake Cottage's Pina Colada cupcakes. Perfect for a Halloween party. Enjoy this Epicurean Delight, we give it a big thumbs up!
Candy Corn Bark Recipe:
Courtesy of: The Cake Cottage