There are two kinds of people in life: People who love frosting, and people who do not like frosting at all. We all know those people who take a beautifully iced slice of cake, scrap off all of the icing, and proceed to eat it plain. Frosting lovers are divided up even further, into two other categories: Those who like sweet frosting, and those who prefer it to be a little less tongue curling. I happen to be one of those people that prefer to have their frosting on the sweeter side.
I favor buttercream over every other frosting. Fondant looks much sleeker, but the taste pales in comparison. I have tasted many cakes from many different bakeries and cake shops, and have always wondered how they make such delicious frosting. I’ve researched and tested many types of frosting. I knew they used shortening (in professional bakeries), because it works better for piping, but every time I tried a new recipe, it always had an overwhelming taste of powdered sugar. The thing about powdered sugar is that it does not dissipate, which causes it to leave that granular texture.
Knowing there was too much of a powdery texture in my previous attempts, I turned to Swiss buttercream frostings, but found them to be quite bland, and way too soft for detailed piping work. Powdered sugar has a much higher sweet content than granulated sugar, and works much better for piping designs. I knew I needed to find a happy medium. I searched far a wide for a buttercream frosting that comes close those used at those gourmet bakeries. After all this time, I have finally found it.
It is relatively easy to make, and rather resilient. As long as you do not over whip your frosting, you should have a perfect bowl of buttercream frosting.
The recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour: Fluffy Buttercream Frosting
You will need:
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (ONLY if you use unsalted butter)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) boiling water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) meringue powder
1 tbsp Vanilla extract or any other extract (If you are using flavor oils, remember they are highly concentrated and will only take a few drops to flavor frosting)
gel food color
4 cups (16 ounces) sifted confectioners’ or glazing sugar
2 cups (2 sticks, soft butter) 1 cup of vegetable shortening (you can do all butter, but if you are planning on piping, then I highly recommend using half shortening)
|Boil water, and remove from heat|
|Stir in sugar and salt (if using unsalted butter) with a metal whisk.|
|dissolve sugar, until a syrup forms. Allow to cool to room temperature.|
|Transfer simple syrup to a mixing bowl, and add merengue powder. Beat on low, until mixture is foamy. (This will take several minutes.|
|Increase speed, and beat until SOFT peaks form. Add powder sugar, and flavoring/extract.|
|Add butter and shortening a couple pats at a time. Add food coloring.|
Yield: Enough frosting to fill and frost an 8" layer cake or 24 cupcakes.