Butter Cream Tips

by Ann Warren & Joan Lilly

The Cupcake Cafe

Unless you want to eat your cake neat—no frosting, just cake you'll need to prepare butter cream to frost (or baste) the outside of the cake and between the layers. (A good jam is nice between the layers, too.) The butter cream you use to baste your cake is the same stuff you'll use later for writing on the cake-and decorating it, if you choose to go the whole way.

Butter cream does not take very long to put together, but the syrup you make must cool adequately before it is added to the buffer, so consider making it a few hours (anywhere from 2 to 12 hours) before you plan to do your frosting. Also, remember to set out the butter to temper (that is, come to room temperature) if you will not be assisted by a microwave. Your eggs should also be room temperature (uncracked in the shell).

Equipment you will need:

  • a saucepan or pot at least 2-quart size with a not-too-thin bottom, and a close-fitting lid
  • a stove top
  • an electric mixer (almost essential; second best is a blender and a food processor -you'd need both) or amazing strength, the patience of Job, and a heavy whisk.

Optional but very handy:

  • a candy thermometer
  • access to a microwave

Hazards To Butter Cream

Humidity can adversely affect butter cream; so can barometric pressure (changing weather conditions). After butter cream is almost mixed together it will sometimes separate somewhat, looking "cracked" and not smooth at all.

What To Do with "Cracked" Butter Cream:
If the butter cream separates a bit after it has been well beaten, try melting about 1 or 2 cups of it in a microwave (or slowly over hot water) and adding it back into the cracked butter cream, beating until the butter cream comes together again.

Barometric Changes:
On "bad butter cream days," when the weather is not clear, butter cream may tend to be less stable and is more likely to separate a bit. To avoid this, you should pay careful attention to the following:

  • Take particular care to see that everything is the correct temperature. Butter that is too cold or too warm, syrup that hasn't cooled enough or that is too cold from being stored in a refrigerator, can cause the cream to separate or not combine properly in the first place.

  • Mix everything carefully. Be patient, when it is ready it is ready. Sometimes it will just require longer beating. Don't be upset if at some point it looks more like soup than butter cream. Eventually, it will pull itself together and be fine.



The Cupcake Café Cookbook
by Ann Warren & Joan Lilly
ISBN: 0-385-48339-2
208 pages
12 full color photographs
Black & white photographs throughout
$25.00 hardcover
Reprinted by permission.


The Cupcake Café Cookbook



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This page created October 1998

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