Buttercream Icing is a type of icing usually used to fill or decorate cakes or other desserts and it is sometimes known as mock cream. The basic recipe involves creaming the butter and icing sugar and it can be flavored with vanilla, chocolate or coffee. A colored version of the icing can be simply made by adding color paste or liquid colors. The consistency is usually thick which can be varied with changing the sugar content. Traditionally sweet unsalted butter is used in buttercream icing recipes. Margarine being a cheaper variety is sometimes used in the preparation of the recipe. Normally it can stay good for hours. For preserving the icing for a longer duration it has to be refrigerated in an air tight container. The recipe is brought back to room temperature for a few minutes to regain its original consistency. If needed, it can be whipped again or heated in a double boiler depending on the ingredients used. The cakes and cookies decorated with the buttercream icing are an indispensable part of holidays and parties. Apart from the homemade icing there are some commercial brands of the buttercream icing recipes. Betty Crocker Frosting and Kroger yellow Butter Frosting are some of the popular brands of buttercream icing and are available in numerous flavors and colors.
Origin of Buttercream Icing
In around 17th century the practice of icing a cake emerged. The icing used to be prepared as a boiled composition of sugar and egg whites. It was spread on the cake and heated in an oven which when cooled regained its consistency. Later, in around 20th century the traditional boiled icing was replaced with the buttercream icing. The finished product glazed and seemed to resemble ice and thus, the name icing was given to the delicacy. Very soon the use of nuts was also introduced in icing.
Methods of Preparation for Buttercream Icing
The basic buttercream icing can be made with solid vegetable shortening, butter, vanilla extracts, icing sugar and milk. The shortening and butter are creamed in a bowl with the help of an electric mixer and vanilla is added. Slowly sugar is added churning the cream with the medium speed. As the sugar gets mixed the icing becomes dry. Gradually adding milk and whipping the mixture the cream becomes fluffy and light. The buttercream icing recipes are covered with a damp cloth. A thin buttercream icing can be made by adding corn syrup, extra milk or water. A stiff consistency white icing can be acquired by substituting shortening for butter and butter flavor instead of regular butter. Buttercream icing recipes icing can be used as a spread filled between the layers of the cake or to cover it from the top. The thick cream recipe can be piped and used to decorate the cakes and desserts.
Cuisines Commonly Making Buttercream Icing Dishes
The buttercream icing made with butter, sugar and egg is most popularly used in the American cuisine. They use the basic recipe with numerous variations to decorate their cake. The corn syrup is heated and added to the egg white before using butter to make the recipe renowned in Italy. Varieties of buttercream are a part of the French dessert which is prepared by churning heated egg yolk with sugar.
Preferable Methods of Cooking Buttercream Icing
The most popular method of preparation of buttercream icing is whipping the shortening with sugar. In a few varieties hot corn syrup unlike the usual method where the temperature of all the other ingredients is kept cooled. To regain the consistency of the refrigerated icing the cream can be heated in a double boiler.
Nutritive Value of Buttercream Icing Recipes
The basic buttercream icing recipes made from butter is a caloric food with rich source of fat and cholesterol. The Kroger yellow buttercream frosting also contain smaller supplements of sodium, protein and vitamins. The high cholesterol butter in a buttercream icing is nowadays being substituted with a low fat version.
Types of Buttercream Icing
There are numerous varieties of buttercream icing depending on the recipe it is to be used in.
Simple Buttercream icing - It is also known as American Buttercream and is the simplest cream prepared sometimes with addition of egg. The consistency can be made to thin crust by increasing the amount of sugar and the result obtained is not sticky.
Meringue- based Buttercream – This variety of buttercream icing recipes are usually light, creamy and rich. It is made by addition of glucose or corn syrup as in Italian Meringue. Swiss Meringue can be made with egg whites and sugar which are heated in double boiler. French Meringue is prepared with egg whites and caster sugar which is usually piped.
French Buttercream – This buttercream icing is made with egg whites and hot sugar syrup. It has a tendency to melt faster and is used as filling or icing and not for decoration.
Custard- based Buttercream – This type of buttercream icing is also called German Buttercream and is made with custard pastry cream, butter and sugar. It is smooth and is not used for decoration.