Introduction to butter creams
Buttercream is an indispensable ingredient in pastry. It plays an important role in masking and making borders on cakes, another words finishing a cake.
There are several ways to make butter creams. You can make buttercream using whole eggs, whole eggs and egg yolks, only egg yolks, only egg whites, or only fondant, and of course lots of butter. A cheap version of buttercream is to use shortening instead of butter.
Making buttercream using cooked sugar
One way you can make buttercream is by cooking sugar and adding it to the egg mixture (usually eggs (whole, egg yolks, or egg whites) plus a bit of sugar). If you simply bring the sugar mixture to a boil and then pour it over the egg mixture, you are using simple syrup, while if you continue cooking the sugar after it comes to a boil, you are using cooked sugar.
General procedure when cooking sugar
- Start by beginning to cook the sugar.
- Once sugar reaches a certain temperature, start beating the whole eggs and/or egg yolks to ribbon stage (for egg yolks) OR egg whites to stiff peak (for egg whites).
- At the right sugar temperature AND once eggs are at stiff peak or ribbon stage, start pouring the cooked sugar into the egg mixture.
- Continue beating at medium high speed until mixture has cooled down.
- Once mixture has cooled, begin adding the butter, and continue beating to proper consistency.
Coloring butter creams
Butter creams can be colored using gel colors, but use sparingly, for it is best to aim for pastel colors.
Flavoring butter creams
Butter creams can be flavored with a variety of flavors such as vanilla extract, coffee extract, chocolate, caramel, pistachio paste or praline paste, liquors and liqueurs.
Storing butter creams
- Buttercream can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. It must be wrapped with plastic wrap.
- Buttercream can be frozen for several weeks, again, wrapped with plastic wrap.
Tips and tricks when making buttercream
- Butter should be room temperature. It would be best to leave at room temperature the night before.
- You can cook the sugar to a higher temperature if you are using only egg whites, while if you are using only egg yolks, you must cook the sugar at a lower temperature, due to the lower water content of the egg yolks.
- Place frozen buttercream in the fridge 24 hours before use.
- Refrigerated butter creams can be warmed up over a bain-marie, and brought back to original consistency by whisking it.