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JoyfullyUnavailable

American vs Swiss Buttercream

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JoyfullyUnavailable

I have 2 questions regarding this topic:

1.  Which do you prefer the taste of, American or Swiss buttercream and why?

2.  Has anyone done a buttercream image transfer from wax paper and have it turn out? Will it work with a Swiss Buttercream? 

I'm making a birthday cake in about a week from now and I am having a terrible time making decisions on flavours and methods.

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adidas

First, two disclaimers:

1. I am a semi professional baker (I'm in the process of expanding my business so that I am a 'true' professional).

2. I am Australian. Our methods and preferences tend to be different. Australians tend to prefer classic buttercream IME.

 

I would choose classic buttercream over French, Italian or Swiss any day. My classic buttercream is the number one thing customers comment on, without fail. The secret (well one of them) is the amount of time you whip the butter, then the amount of time you whip after the sugar is added. If you finish your buttercream in anything less than 15 minutes after you start it ... it is too rushed. Whip the butter by itself for at least 5 minutes, then ditto the sugar mix. It is also weather/temperature dependent. It sounds like you have a good amount of experience already, but when most people ask me how to improve their classic buttercream it is usually because they haven't taken long enough to really, really, REALLY beat it. It makes an amazing difference not only to taste but to working with it as well.

 

There is is a great tutorial on a YouTube channel called Mycupcakeaddiction. She whips it good, lol. I do other things to my buttercream as well, but I can't give away all of my secrets ;)

 

With regard to the transfer, the best thing you can do is experiment, IMO. Actually that is pretty much my approach to everything buttercream related. Try it - what have you got to lose? Except a few bucks worth of sugar and butter.

 

Good luck!

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PennySycamore

What adidas said.  I will say, too, that classic buttercream is much easier than one that involves making any kind of meringue.  (Note to self: email daughter and ask her if she wants to come over on Saturday to make her dad's birthday cake.  She can use the Kitchen-Aid.)

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Pretzel

I hate American buttercream with the white hot passion of a thousand blazing suns. It would be Italian, French, or Swiss buttercream if I had to choose. For fillings I'd prefer German buttercream. Why? Because butter mixed with sugar is the basis for (pound) cake batter, not something the cake should be iced with IMHO. The texture feels so awkward in my mouth. Heavy, dense, you name it. I have yet to meet a central European native who really likes American buttercream. 

Btw, I'm not sure but I think the actual "classic" buttercream would be the French one. 

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JoyfullyUnavailable

I'm pretty sure I will be baking a classic yellow cake with raspberry filling. Which buttercream do you think would compliment the cake best?

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adidas
5 hours ago, Pretzel said:

I hate American buttercream with the white hot passion of a thousand blazing suns. It would be Italian, French, or Swiss buttercream if I had to choose. For fillings I'd prefer German buttercream. Why? Because butter mixed with sugar is the basis for (pound) cake batter, not something the cake should be iced with IMHO. The texture feels so awkward in my mouth. Heavy, dense, you name it. I have yet to meet a central European native who really likes American buttercream. 

Btw, I'm not sure but I think the actual "classic" buttercream would be the French one.

Re bolded bit #1: but adding egg to the buttercream doesn't change that. It is still the basis for cake batter ;)

Re bolded but #2, as I said earlier, our methods could be different, but as a general rule, Italian and Swiss butter creams use egg whites. French buttercream uses the yolk. German uses the white and yolk. American buttercream is known for having shortening in it (good stabiliser and leads to good crusting, but can be greasy). Classic buttercream has no eggs or shortening. 

 

 

1 hour ago, JoyfullyUnavailable said:

I'm pretty sure I will be baking a classic yellow cake with raspberry filling. Which buttercream do you think would compliment the cake best?

Yum! I would be tempted to try a very light, fluffy cream cheese buttercream. IME raspberry always pairs well with the cheesecakey taste.

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PennySycamore

My buttercream isn't heavy (at least my family doesn't think so) and I don't use shortening.  It's all butter, baby! Unless I was making a cream cheese buttercream.

A really great frosting is Gravy Icing.  I found the recipe in a Fanny Farmer Baking Book but here is another iteration and looks to be the same recipe.  Gravy Icing is divine! And yes, it has flour in it.  You may have to make it to believe it.

The best frosting I've ever had

 

ETA:  Don't be turned off by the fact that Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, posted this on this blog.  It is really good!

Edited by PennySycamore

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Pretzel
5 hours ago, adidas said:

Re bolded bit #1: but adding egg to the buttercream doesn't change that. It is still the basis for cake batter ;)

Re bolded but #2, as I said earlier, our methods could be different, but as a general rule, Italian and Swiss butter creams use egg whites. French buttercream uses the yolk. German uses the white and yolk. American buttercream is known for having shortening in it (good stabiliser and leads to good crusting, but can be greasy). Classic buttercream has no eggs or shortening. 

You do have a point with #1. I'm not a big fan of French buttercream or Swiss/Italian meringue buttercream either.

To #2: German buttercream, however, is buttercream + pudding(which would include egg yolks). German buttercream may be too runny to ice a cake with, though. I'm not a big fan of any buttercream actually. Though I do like cream cheese frostings on cup cakes. 

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JoyfullyUnavailable
11 hours ago, adidas said:

Re bolded bit #1: but adding egg to the buttercream doesn't change that. It is still the basis for cake batter ;)

Re bolded but #2, as I said earlier, our methods could be different, but as a general rule, Italian and Swiss butter creams use egg whites. French buttercream uses the yolk. German uses the white and yolk. American buttercream is known for having shortening in it (good stabiliser and leads to good crusting, but can be greasy). Classic buttercream has no eggs or shortening. 

 

 

Yum! I would be tempted to try a very light, fluffy cream cheese buttercream. IME raspberry always pairs well with the cheesecakey taste.

I'm guilty of putting shortening in my American Buttercream. I will usually try to do more butter than shortening, but if the weather is hot, I will do a 50/50 ratio of butter and shortening. Still tastes good, but sometimes I feel awful doing it. It just feels icky! Luckily, it's winter here in Canada right now.

I love the creamcheese icing idea. I will consider it. Your suggestion has also inspired me to think outside the box. Maybe I could even try adding a bit of white chocolate to the buttercream.

 

 

11 hours ago, PennySycamore said:

My buttercream isn't heavy (at least my family doesn't think so) and I don't use shortening.  It's all butter, baby! Unless I was making a cream cheese buttercream.

A really great frosting is Gravy Icing.  I found the recipe in a Fanny Farmer Baking Book but here is another iteration and looks to be the same recipe.  Gravy Icing is divine! And yes, it has flour in it.  You may have to make it to believe it.

The best frosting I've ever had

 

ETA:  Don't be turned off by the fact that Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, posted this on this blog.  It is really good!

This appears to be a recipe for flour buttercream. I have never heard it be called Gravy Icing before. Not sure how I feel about that name to be honest.  

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PennySycamore

@JoyfullyUnavailable,  gravy icing is the only name I've ever seen for this recipe before.  One thing that's great about it is that you use granulated sugar and not confectioner's sugar.  Whether you call it flour buttercream or gravy icing, it's good!  From the comments I read on the blog post of Ree's, it's fairly traditional on Red Velvet Cake.  I need to teach it to my daughter and then get her to bake a Red Velvet Cake for my birthday.

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JoyfullyUnavailable

Maybe I should add this the the thread of shit I fucked up because I apparently do not know how to read the measurement markings on a block of butter. My yellow cake now has double the butter the recipe called for. No wonder the bottom of my cupcakes kept burning, and I'm lucky my cake didn't. I hope I didn't ruin it since I don't have extra to taste test. 

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Mela99

This makes me wonder if I've ever tried Swiss buttercream. I'm intrigued for sure. 

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RosyDaisy

I just mix confectionery sugar, butter, milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

For a thin glaze I mix confectionery sugar and water, vanilla extract, andalmond extract into a thin glaze. For a lemon flavored glaze, I substitute lemon extract and lemon juice for the vanilla and almond extracts.

I use my mothers fudge icing recipe for chocolate icing. It's a secret recipe and is to die for.

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Pretzel
1 hour ago, RosyDaisy said:

I just mix confectionery sugar, butter, milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

For a thin glaze I mix confectionery sugar and water, vanilla extract, andalmond extract into a thin glaze. For a lemon flavored glaze, I substitute lemon extract and lemon juice for the vanilla and almond extracts.

I use my mothers fudge icing recipe for chocolate icing. It's a secret recipe and is to die for.

Care to share?  :my_blush:

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Grimalkin

I had no Idea there were so many variations! I will have to google swiss buttercream now. I have made marshmallow buttercream. It was excellent. It is basically buttercream with a jar of marshmallow fluff whipped into it.

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