Friday, August 27, 2010

yummy butter cream frosting!

One of my close friends, J, is getting married in September and I am one of her bridesmaids!
We threw her a bridal shower last Saturday and I baked the cake for it. 
This is the frosting that I used and I always get great compliments on the taste. 
It is not as sweet as a traditional buttercream and it has a great texture especially for decorating.
I know the recipe can look a little daunting but it is not as complicated as it seems.


Makes 7 cups
1 & 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 & 1/2 pounds(6 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
temp, cut into small pieces

1.  Place the 1&1/4 cups of sugar and water in a small
saucepan. Stir to wet all of the sugar. Bring to a
boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan
occasionally to help dissolve sugar. Dip a pastry
brush in cold water and wash down sugar crystals from
the sides of the pot once or twice. Turn down the heat
so the mixture simmers gently. You want to be able to
bring the syrup to a rapid boil when needed. 
2.  Meanwhile, place the whites in your clean,
grease-free mixing bowl and whip until frothy on low
speed using the wire whip attachment. Add the cream of
tartar and turn the speed up to medium-high. When soft
peaks form, add the 1/3 cup sugar gradually.  Continue
whipping until stiff, glossy peaks form. This is the
meringue part of the butter cream.

  3.  Return the sugar/water mixture to a rapid boil and
cook until it reaches 248-250 degrees. The trick here
is to have to syrup ready at the same time as the
glossy meringue. If the meringue is done before the
syrup, turn the mixer speed down to the lowest setting
so that the whites are continuously moving, but not
highly agitated. If the syrup is done first add a bit
of hot water to lower the temperature and continue to
cook until meringue is ready.
4.  While the syrup is cooking at a rapid boil, there
are many visual clues to use to see how it is
progressing. It starts out thin with many small
bubbles over the entire surface. As it cooks, the
water evaporates and the mixture will become thicker.
The bubbles get larger and do not rise to the surface
so rapidly. The bubbles will become thick and sticky
and pop open more slowly as well. At this point, the
syrup definitely looks thickened, but it has not begun
to color, which would mean it is about to turn into
caramel. The stage you want, called the firm ball
stage, is right before the sugar starts to color. If
you drop a bit of the syrup into a glass of cold water
it will harden into a ball. When you squeeze the ball
between your fingertips, it will feel firm.

5.  When the syrup is ready, with the mixer running on
medium-high speed, pour in the syrup in a steady
stream, without getting any on the rotating whip or
the sides of the bowl. If it does, the syrup will
harden and cling and not make it down into the
meringue mixture. Turn off the machine to add the
syrup if you find it easier. You just do not want to
let the meringue sit still for longer than a few
6.  The meringue must be whipped until it cools, which
may take as long as 15 minutes, depending on the
ambient temperature. At this point, beat the meringue
on high speed. Occasionally touch the outside bottom
of the bowl; you should be able to feel it cooling
down. When the bowl is no longer warm, stop the
machine and touch the surface of the meringue with
your finger to double-check that it is indeed cooled.
If you add the butter while the meringue is warm, the
butter will melt and ruin the texture of the
butter cream by turning it liquidy. It will also
decrease the volume of the final product.

7.  When the meringue is cool, turn the machine down
to a medium speed and begin to add the butter, a
couple tablespoons at a time. The meringue will
change the moment the butter becomes incorporated; the
texture becomes thicker, creamy, and smooth as it
turns into butter cream. Continue to whip the
butter cream, adding the remaining butter. Keep beating
until the butter cream is completely smooth.  If at any
time the mixture looks lumpy or separated, just
continue to beat; it will come together.

8.  After butter cream is completely smooth you can add
1 tablespoon of flavoring (ex. vanilla), if desired.