Tag Archives: icing

Strawberry Buttercream

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Strawberry Buttercream This truly is a party in your mouth.  A full pound of strawberries are added to a simple buttercream and the result is just short of amazing.

The recipe calls for freeze dried strawberries which can most easily be found in camping departments or stores such as REI.  One 1.5 ounce package equals a full pound of strawberries without the juice making them ideal to introduce into a frosting.  They need to be powdered in a blender or food processor with about half the powdered sugar.

This buttercream can be used to fill a cake or for cupcakes as I have.

Strawberry Buttercream
1.5 package freeze dried strawberries
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Red Food Coloring

Place half the strawberries and about half the powdered sugar in a blender or food processor.  Blend or process until all the strawberries are powdered.  You will have to stop the machine and stir the mixture several times.  Repeat with the second half.

Place the strawberries, powdered sugar, butter and almond extract in a mixing bowl.  Add 3 tablespoons of the milk.  Mix on low until blended; turn the mixer on medium high and beat several minutes, scraping often, to increase the volume and lighten the buttercream.

Add the additional milk, a bit at a time if needed to facilitate the mixing.  Add the red food coloring as needed to get a pleasing color.

I used a # 6 open tip in a pastry bag to finish 10 cupcakes with a generous amount of buttercream since in my opinion people eat cupcakes for the frosting not the cake or maybe it’s just me.

It is important to frost the cake or cupcakes several hours before serving as the strawberry buttercream needs time to develop its flavor.  But when it does it is beyond wonderful!

German Buttercream and American Buttercream

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Flower Cupcakes

Flower Cupcakes finished with American Buttercream

The German buttercream is based on pastry cream into which butter is beaten after it is cold. Truthfully, I have never made this so it was interesting for me to learn something new.  For this recipe, we are going to use my pastry cream but change the amounts of several of the ingredients slightly.  Maybe it was because I used my pastry cream, which is firm so it can accept whipped cream folded in and still hold up, but I found this to be really, really heavy.  Also, maybe because I am used to very light butter creams that are full of flavor, I found this to be a strange combination where I could still taste the pasty cream but with a lot of butter in it.  Personally, I will stay with the Italian, Swiss or French buttercreams.  I will say that when I started, I couldn’t imagine it working, but it did. While interesting, It just isn’t my favorite.

The American buttercream is the simplest of all.  For me to call this a buttercream it has to contain all butter.  It is basically butter, powdered sugar and flavoring – sometimes a bit of milk and cream to smooth it out.  You just put everything in bowl and beat it until it is light and fluffy.  We never used this for wedding cakes but we did use it for cupcakes, mainly because they had to sit at room temperature for a long time. I also used it for the cakes we sent in to restaurants.   One of our most popular cakes, the Espresso Fudge Cake uses a great Mocha buttercream and the Spirited Marble Cake which I posted recently is a great example of American Buttercream. Continue reading

French Buttercream

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Brown and White CakeFrench buttercream is distinguished by the use of egg yolks as well as whites.  A sugar syrup is used and it is flavored with vanilla or other flavors of your choice.  The combination of egg yolks and egg whites will whip into a foam that does not need to be stabilized as do egg whites alone.

This buttercream is the last of the European buttercreams based on an emulsion.  This is considered to be the most stable of all of them as it uses whole eggs and  yolks not a meringue as do the Swiss and Italian.   Although this is not as light as the Swiss and Italian, it is by no means heavy.  We are talking degrees here.   I think this buttercream has a richer, deeper taste due to the added richness of the yolks.

If  you research this along with the other two you will find varying amounts of the eggs, yolks and whites (for the Swiss and Italian) along with varying amounts of sugar and butter. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive recipe as long as the proportions are correct.  The French buttercream requires a hot sugar syrup as does the Italian.  However, because whole eggs and yolks are being used, they do not need to be stabilized as do egg whites alone.  Just beating them will obtain the desired effect.

Continue reading

Swiss and Italian Buttercreams

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Yellow Birthday CakeMany years ago when I realized that pastry was to be a major focus in my life, I was fortunate to have Andre Gotti, a French pastry chef as my mentor. Although I had no training except watching my grandmother and mother make pastries that were unparalleled – even in France- Andre saw someone with a burning desire to learn.  My mother made croissants, Schaum Tortes and Dobos Torte to name a few, long before many people in America heard of them.  I used to watch my mother and grandmother make phyllo from scratch and pull it out so thinly we could read a newspaper through it.  In fact, the only time my grandmother was ever cross with me was when I sat on the resting phyllo that was covered on a chair.  We had special table cloths that covered a big round table (corners would tear the pastry).  It was my job to sweep up the paper thin crumbs that fell to the floor while being pulled.  When I talk about this, I guess my interest in pastry is not such a mystery.  I should also share that my mother and grandmother were from the now defunct country of Yugoslavia.  What I remember most, is how they would chatter away in their native tongue, while I watched and waited for the phyllo to tear, which is never, ever did. Continue reading

All Manner of Buttercreams

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Buttercream blog photo

Key ingredients for European butter creams

Italian, Swiss and French buttercreams have long been the finish that defined upscale cakes and wedding cakes. The Italian and Swiss buttercreams get their name from the type of meringue on which they are mounted.  They have also been one of the most feared techniques in pastry making.  But I don’t know why!  They mainly consist of eggs of some kind, sugar and butter.  Although they do require more steps than the traditional American powdered sugar based frosting, the result is a smooth emulsion that literally melts on your tongue.  In the next few blogs, we are going to look at, not only the Italian, Swiss and French buttercreams, but also one based on creme anglaise and the American frosting, while sometimes a buttercream and sometimes not. I reserve the word buttercream for finishes using actual butter, not margarine or a plastic shortening like crisco.  Those are frostings to me. Continue reading