Here is a copy of eBook on American Butter Cream for free.
It has been long since I wrote in the Baking Basics series. The ganache post got so many views and I am so happy that it helps you with your cake decorating. I got so many positive feed backs on the post. And here is my next post on American Butter Cream usually referred to as butter cream which is one of the most sought after frostings for cakes. I started my cake decorating with butter cream and in these years, I have tried various proportions of butter and icing sugar. I even tried with vanaspathi. And finally I have reached a recipe which is very easy to make, the proportion very easy to remember and which makes beautiful and clean frosting.
When I first started decorating cakes, I used to powder the normal granulated sugar in the mixie and use it along with butter. The resultant cake used to be grainy but still every one who tasted used to compare it with the bakery frosting and praise my frosting a lot. I even once heard my friend saying that this was the best frosting she ever tasted. So I was satisfied and kept on using that recipe for so many years.
This video shows you how I make my version of butter cream. If you love the video, subscribe to my channel.
But my view on butter cream changed when I started blogging. When I saw the beautiful cakes and tried to obtain it with my recipe I was kind of stuck. It was horrible and my search for the perfect recipe began. For the past 5 years, I tried so many variations of butter cream and this post is the result of all my tries. Using confectioner’s sugar / icing sugar made a huge difference to the final look of the cake. The butter cream was absolutely smooth when compared to the powdered sugar. American butter cream has three main ingredients and the way you mix the ingredients decide the final out come.
There are two types of American Butter Cream – Crusting and Non Crusting. Crusting butter cream when left open develops a thin crispy crust. This type of icing is great when you pipe flowers or any other details. The icing will not sag and will hold its shape perfectly. It is also easier to make it smooth. My recipe is crusting butter cream. The non crusting butter cream has less sugar and more butter and milk. It is good for frosting cakes but they are not suitable for piping.
The type of butter used affects the quality of butter cream. Always use good quality unsalted cooking butter. Amul, Nilgiris, Hatsun and Aavin are great for this recipe. These butters are all yellowish in colour and so the butter cream also is cream in colour. If you want really white butter cream, you need to find butter which is white in colour. In Tamil Nadu we get Oothukuli butter which is pure white and so the butter creams also turns out super white. But nowadays there are so many brands that sell oothukuli butter and the quality has gone very bad. So I avoid using it. You can also use white gel colour to make the butter cream whiter.
Here is the recipe for the Butter Cream I use:
Butter-100 gm / 1/2 cup
Extra Fine Icing Sugar / Confectioner’s Sugar – 200 gm / 2 cups
Essence of your choice
Cream together butter and essence for 5 minutes.
Sift icing sugar in a bowl and keep it ready.
Add 1/2 cup of icing sugar, mix it with a spoon to avoid the dust in kitchen.
Then beat it with an electric whisk until combined. Do not over beat.
Now add another 1/2 cup of icing sugar and again mi with a spoon before beating it.
When all the icing sugar is used up, the icing will be very stiff.
Now add 1 tsp of milk and beat.
Add another spoon if you find it very stiff.
Once you reach the correct consistency, beat the butter cream for another minute.
Use immediately or cover with a cling film and use it later.
Points To Be noted While Making Butter Cream:
Cream butter and essence for 5 minutes until light, fluffy and pale. This is the only stage where you can beat so much. Once sugar is added you need to keep beating minimum because air gets incorporated and the resulting butter cream will have lots of air bubbles and will not be smooth.
Do not skip this step. Sift icing sugar at least once or twice. Any lump in the sugar will result in lumpy butter cream and when you use tiny nozzles for decorations these tiny sugar lumps can make your life very hard.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the butter. Adding the whole amount will make beating very tough. So add it in batches.
As the icing sugar is super fine, even a slight force will create a sugar dust and once the butter cream is prepared you and other kitchen appliances nearby will be fully covered with icing sugar. To avoid this and to minimise the sugar dust, mix the butter and icing sugar gently with a spoon until incorporated before using the beater.
You can also use a hand whisk or a wooden spatula but electric beater makes the job easier.
This stage should not last more than 30 seconds – After mixing with a spoon, use the beater while counting 30.
Stop the beater immediately. Add another batch of icing sugar, mix with spoon and then beat to a count of 30. Repeat this until the icing sugar is all used up.
Once you finish incorporating the icing sugar, the icing will be very stiff. Do not panic. There is one more step for the perfect butter cream.
Add a teaspoon of milk to the butter cream. Beat until incorporated. Add one more teaspoon of milk and beat again. If you are satisfied with the consistency, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the butter cream for one more minute.
The butter cream after adding milk will be beautiful to look at and will be so soft, smooth and fluffy.
Dip a spoon and remove it. The butter cream should form a stiff peak. This is the perfect consistency for frosting and piping.
Have fun decorating the cake with this delicious butter cream.
Dos and Don’t of Butter Cream:
- Never use cold butter.
- Use only good quality unsalted butter.
- And never use butter which has started melting on a very hot day.
- Butter needs to be in room temperature and should be soft.
- Sift icing sugar at least once before adding it to the butter.
- Add the essence with butter.
- Do not over beat once icing sugar is added.
- Always keep butter cream covered with cling wrap when not in use.
- Once you have finished with the project, place the remaining butter cream in two or three layers of cling wrap, wrap it well and refrigerate.
- You can also freeze the butter cream for up to three months.
- Wrap in cling film, place in air tight container and keep it in freezer.
- Allow it to thaw inside the fridge for a day before removing it to the counter.
Trouble Shooting Butter Cream:
If the butter cream is too stiff, add a teaspoon of milk and beat. Add milk until the required consistency is reached.
If by any chance, you kept the bowl of butter cream open and it has started crusting, give a gentle mix with a spatula to make it creamy.
If you have added too much milk and the butter cream is runny, add 2 tbs batches of icing sugar and beat until the required consistency is reached.
If you have started making butter cream with melted butter, any amount of icing sugar will not bring it to the correct consistency. Place the bowl in refrigerator for 10 minutes and then beat. If it still runny, keep it for 10 more minutes in refrigerator before proceeding.
Even the heat of the palm can make the butter cream shiny. SO while piping if you feel the butter cream is thin and shiny, place the icing bag in refrigerator for a minute or two before proceeding to pipe. You can also wear gloves while piping if you have very hot palms.
Flavour Variations of Butter Cream:
You can add any flavour you want to make the butter cream of your choice.
You can add nutella or peanut butter to the butter cream. Substitute 1/2 the butter with nutella or peanut butter and proceed as explained above.
You can also use instant coffee powder for making coffee butter cream.
Add the coffee powder while adding icing sugar. For 1 cup of butter add 2 tbs of instant coffee powder.
You can make chocolate butter cream by adding melted and cooled chocolate to the butter cream. While doing so reduce the amount of milk added in the recipe.
You can add choco chips, butter scotch chips, powdered oreo or candied fruits to the finished butter cream. These types of butter creams can be used as filling cakes.
For citrus butter cream, add zest of orange or lemon along with the essence for a nice tangy butter cream.
Colouring Butter Cream:
For colouring butter cream you can use gel colours, liquid colours or powder colours. The only fact you need to keep in mind is any colour will darken after a few hours in the butter cream. So if you want dark pink, tint the butter cream to a shade lighter than the shade you want. After 2-3 hours, the pink will darken and you will obtain the colour you want.
If using liquid colours, the butter cream will become thin and this can be rectified by adding some icing sugar to firm it up.
Gel colours are the best to colour butter cream. Take a small amount of the gel colour with a tooth pick and add it to the butter cream. Use a spatula to mix it well. Then use it for decorating.
If using powdered colours, you should not add the powder directly. It will result in speckles in the final butter cream. Dissolve the colour in warm water and use drops of that in the butter cream. Again if the butter cream goes thin add a little bit if icing sugar to bring it to correct consistency.
For those who want to perfect their butter cream, I would advise you to go through this post twice or thrice before attempting it. And if you have any doubts regarding this, please feel free to comment here in this post and I will try to clarify it. And remember practise makes perfect. So practise, practise and practise and one day you will be doing great butter cream cakes..
My other posts in the Baking Basics Series:
- Homemade Pan Release
- Ingredient Substitutes
- Eggless Baking
- Flax Gel
- Dark Chocolate Ganache
- American Butter Cream
- Homemade Veg Fondant- Gelatin Free
- How to do Frozen Butter Cream Transfer / FBCT
- Italian Meringue Buttercream
- Homemade Mascarpone Cheese