Now I know that you THINK that the shit that comes out of a can is good enough….You most likely THINK that you looooove that shit that they give you on birthday cakes at the grocery store….Trust a bitch, ok? Try this. I swear you will not be disappointed and your friends will fall to their knees at your feet, weeping tears of joy with their arms to the heavens and frosting slathered all over their bodies.
It’s really easy, I swear. Let’s get started.
You will need three simple ingredients:
egg whites 8 oz. (1/2 cup)
granulated sugar 1 # (1 cup)
unsalted butter 1# (1 cup)
Before we get into this rad step-by-step photo tut I have going for you guys, let me note a couple of things. Use fresh egg whites, not the suff from a box. Some of the boxed whites have an additive which I can’t remember the name of that will hinder the whites from whipping up like a meringue. Not to mention, fresh is best right? (Use leftover yolks for lemon curd, ice cream base, mousse, etc.) Second, we are making BUTTERcream. This is the time to splurge on really high quality butter. Don’t use the shit that has been sitting open in your fridge for a month. Let’s do this!
1) Separate your whites from your yolks. Place them in a large heat proof bowl. There are a few different ways to do this. You can crack the egg into your hand and let the whites fall through your fingers (clean hands please!!), crack the egg and shift the yolk from one half of the shell to the other, letting the whites fall into the bowl, or use one of those fancy schmancy egg separator doohickys from target or whatever. Whichever you do, the most important thing to remember is to not get any yolk into your whites. Any amount of fat in your whites will keep the meringue from whipping up completely. When i was first starting out, I would separate one egg at a time into a different bowl, then pour the white into the bowl i was using for my recipe. This way if you totally break a yolk, you didnt just waste a batch of whites. If you get a couple of specks of yolk into your whites, let it sit for a minute (the yolk will rise to the top) and carefully scoop them out with one half of your shell. Your whites will look like this:
2) dump your sugar in:
3) Whisk the sugar into the yolks until it is completely homogenous. Like so:
4) Place your bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl or you will end up with scrambled egg white bits. ew. Also if the whites get too hot your buttercream will taste eggy. ew x 2=yuck.
5) Let the whites and sugar kick it for a while. Give it a little whisk every few minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with the whisk when you do that so that its all incorporated. You will be ready to go once all the sugar has dissolved (there are temps for this but I am too busy to dig around for a thermometer so I do it by feel. And so will you.) One way to tell that the whites are ready is to look at the consistency of them. They will seem almost watery compared to what they were in step 3. They will look like this:
When you have confirmed said wateryishness, you then want to dip your whisk into the bowl and pull straight up. If the stream of whites falling from your whisk is thick and, well, streamlike….you’re not done. If it falls off the whisk in droplets, chances are you are ready. The final check is to feel the whites. Let one of the drops fall onto your finger and rub your fingertips together. If you feel the sugar grains between your fingers, let it go a bit longer. If it’s completly smooth, continue to the next step.
6) Pour that into your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and start whisking at high-speed. It will start to look thicker and more white almost immediately. (I should note that I am using a bigger recipe and mixer in the pics than the recipe I gave at the beginning. I broke down that recipe to fit a standard kitchenaid mixer.) It will look like this at first:
After a few minutes the bowl will feel cooler to the touch and the mixture will have whipped up to what we call “full volume.” If you let it go much past that, it will deflate and become grainy and you have to throw it away and start over. It should look like this:
7) Turn off your mixer and take your butter out of the fridge. Here is the butter I use which is AMAZING:
8) Chunk that shit up!
9) Turn your mixer back on to high, start chunking in a few pieces of butter at a time. Add whatever flavorings you want somewhere around this time. Vanilla extract (the clear kind will keep the color pristine, you can find that by wilton at Michael’s), almond extract, maple syrup, etc.
Now here is where problems may arise, but you can ALWAYS fix buttercream. Remember that folks. From this stage forward, nothing that happens to the buttercream is unfixable. I mean unless your cat pees in it or something then you should probably scrap it and start over.
My kitchen was around 95 degrees this day, which obviously is going to effect the BC in a negative way. We wanted the butter to be nice and cold when it went in, but the temp of the mixture plus the outside temp makes it all melty. Like so:
Not what we want. If this happens , add a little more cold butter. For this big batch it only took like 4 oz to get it right. That is of course variable depending on the temp in your house, the temp of your mixture, how long you mixed it….etc….you most definitely do not want to add more than like a quarter of the original amount of butter you added. If it is still soupy after that, throw it in your fridge and let it set up for a couple of hours. Put it back on your mixer with the paddle attachment and rewhip and it should be fine!
Now….are you ready for this? When your buttercream is all done, it will be what we call in the industry, “sexy.”
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm yeeeeeeeeeessssssssss. Who needs a cupcake?! shit.
Gustavo is ready to dive in!
This will keep for a while in your fridge, but honestly after about a week it starts to TASTE like fridge, so I don’t keep it beyond that. Plastic wrap directly on top and seal with a lid in an airtight container for the best storage…AND ALWAYS DATE YOUR PRODUCT! I cannot stress this enough. Very important, not just for buttercream but for anything perishable that you make yourself. How often have you almost ate something store bought then caught a glimpse of the “use by” date? huh? huh? Same idea.
If you put it in the fridge to use another day, when you are ready for it, rewhip it in your mixer with the paddle attachment until it is sexy again. It may start to look broken, grainy, or just weird. ITS COOL! Don’t freak. It just needs more friction so let it keep a-whippin!
I hope this helped someone out there to score luscious buttercream that will be the envy of the whole neighborhood. Any questions don’t hesitate to ask!