The Four Buttercream Types… oh and the other one.
Buttercream... you may hear that word and recoil after you had a few failed attempts where it turned out lumpy or soupy, too yellow, too rich, too sweet or just plain wrong. Well, you may have made mistakes in the method in which you made your buttercream or it might have been the case that you just used the wrong buttercream for the wrong situation.
We’ll explain in this post about what buttercream types there are available for you to make, the benefits of using them & what you would use them for.
Buttercream is an essential preparation in cake making and decorating. Made with fresh, sweet butter, natural flavourings and other top-quality ingredients, it is a delicious filling or icing for many cakes or pastries. Classically there are four main types of buttercream: Italian, German, French & Swiss. There is another that is actually the simplest buttercream and that is American buttercream AKA simply buttercream or decorators frosting. Each of these buttercreams has different characteristics that make it best suited for different applications.
Allow cold buttercream to come to room temperature before using. Then place it into the bowl of the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until smooth and spreadable.
American Buttercream is the simplest style of buttercream to make with the least ingredients and steps. American buttercream is a classic with home bakers because of how quick it is to Mae and how versatile it is for cupcakes and cakes.
American Buttercream is also known as simple buttercream or decorators frosting, if you have ever made a frosting by creaming together butter and icing sugar with vanilla or any other flavourings then you have made American buttercream! Typically it has a ratio of 2:1, two parts sugar to 1 part butter which is creamed together with a small amount of milk.
You can see our recipe for American Buttercream Here
Italian buttercream is made with meringue, butter and flavourings. A meringue-based buttercream may be made with either Italian or Swiss meringue. The use of egg whites in Italian buttercream results in a relatively white product that is very light in texture. The light colour and texture of a finished Italian buttercream make it a common choice for wedding cakes or for any pastries requiring a white frosting.
You can see our Recipe for Italian Buttercream Here
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
The egg whites in a Swiss meringue buttercream are aerated through whipping and stabilised by the dissolving of sugar, creating a meringue able to be successfully incorporated into other ingredients. The combination of a fluffy consistency and the paleness of the Swiss meringue buttercream makes it ideal for use in wedding cakes and any pastries where a white buttercream is desired.
You can see our Recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream Here
German buttercream is a combination of pastry cream (creme patissiere), butter and flavourings. The pastry cream contributes to the buttercream colour. Because it is yellow in colour, it is unsuitable for some purposes where white icing is required. German buttercream has a richer texture than meringue-based buttercream due to the whole eggs present in the pastry cream.
You can see our Recipe for German Buttercream Here
French buttercream is made with either whole eggs or egg yolks, butter, cooked sugar syrup and flavourings. It is similar to meringue-based Italian buttercream in technique, but the egg yolks make it richer and give it a yellow colour.
You can see our Recipe for French Buttercream Here
Many different flavourings are compatible with buttercream. Depending on the intended use, the amount of flavouring can be reduced or increased. Flavours may also be combined. It is often practical to make a large batch of buttercream ideally should be at room temperature so they can be easily incorporated.
- Luke Quinton