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Need help with my buttercream! I'm Desperate!

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I've been making cakes for a couple years now and never really realized until recently that my basic buttercream tastes like crap! I mean it has somewhat of a "chemically altered" like after taste and it doesn't smell very good on the cake. (I dont know how else to explain it really) I use the recipe of half butter (salted) and half crisco, milk, powdered sugar, and wiltons clear vanilla. I even added a tsp of butter flavored extract to this last batch I made and it still had that taste. I havent been able to find a lot of people who have had this problem. I always see everyone suggesting this basic BC recipe but yuck! My only guess is that the Crisco is the problem...because the last cake I made I used all butter and it was delicious, no nasty after taste. (and of course i can't use all butter BC for the wedding cake.. the darn thing will melt to the ground!)
I've went through a few cans of crisco, so I know it wasn't just a bad batch. Anyways, I have my first ever wedding cake to do by May 19th and I NEED my buttercream to be amazing! Do you know if Sweetex high ratio shortening would be a better choice over Crisco and possibly get rid of that nasty taste? Or something else to substitute the crisco with? Any suggestions would be appreciated! Or if you have any awesome BC recipes to share that still hold up to wedding cake standards (stability...) do share!
post #2 of 36
I've never had this exact problem, but I can tell you one time I bought shortening and did not look at the lable close enough and when I made icing it was horrable. I realzed later that it was NOT all vegetable shortening. Make sure what you get is all vegetable. The other stuff is made with meat fats and makes it taste funny.
The recipe I use is an all shortening recipe. I use 1 cup all vegetable shortening, dash of salt, 1 tsp. clear vanilla, 2 tsp. clear butter flavor, 2 lbs powder sugar, and 1/2 to 3/4 cups water (depending on the thickness I want). I've never had any problems except for that time I got the wrong shortening.
Hope this helps
Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think
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post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashtree250

I I mean it has somewhat of a "chemically altered" like after taste and it doesn't smell very good on the cake. (I dont know how else to explain it really) I use the recipe of half butter (salted) and half crisco, milk, powdered sugar, and wiltons clear vanilla. I even added a tsp of butter flavored extract to this last batch I made and it still had that taste. I!



I will leave the shortening for others. I would suggest however that the offputting taste and smell is in part due to your choice of flavorings. Clear vanilla is artificial, it is imitation vanilla, it will taste like imitation vanilla. I used it once because I wanted a "pure" white frosting (along with shortening) and while I will incorporate some shortening to help when it is hot and humid I have learned have never used Wilton's clear vanilla again.

IMO buttered flavor extract only makes things worse. I will admit I never tried it because when I smelled it I had no desire to use it. There are those that will say they cannot taste a difference maybe that is true but there are those that can. Given you are using a butter/shortening combination I would encourage you to leave the extracts and imitations vanillas out---get some real vanilla or better yet make your own thumbs_up.gif
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 
...also i notice the funky taste gets worse the longer it sits... refrigerated or not.
post #5 of 36
Crisco is the problem! Try high ratio shortening or a house brand like Flavorite or IGA
Being perky and kind is the is the only way to go! Now let's decorate and make someone happy.
I operate legally out of The Cake Studio. It would have been easier to be based at home but my little boys were eating the the fondant flowers and accents!
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Being perky and kind is the is the only way to go! Now let's decorate and make someone happy.
I operate legally out of The Cake Studio. It would have been easier to be based at home but my little boys were eating the the fondant flowers and accents!
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post #6 of 36
I seriously doubt it's the Crisco that gives an aftertaste. It's probably the nasty butter flavoring. That stuff is just gross. If you're getting a chemical aftertaste, it's almost certainly the flavorings. I know a lot of people don't like the Wilton clear vanilla, but I use it and I use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, and my icing tastes like melted vanilla ice cream.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and use high ratio shortening. It improves the quality of your icing significantly. It's well worth the cost. Crisco is crap.

Tonedna has a decent shortening based icing that I think is listed on this site. You can use half butter and half shortening, or just all shortening if you want it white-white.

Some people are very sensitive to chemical aftertastes in food (super tasters). You may be one of them. I don't taste it when I use the Wilton clear vanilla. You can also find some higher quality clear vanillas, but they're all artificial.
It's not good enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.

Winston Churchill
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It's not good enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.

Winston Churchill
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post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth0209

I seriously doubt it's the Crisco that gives an aftertaste. It's probably the nasty butter flavoring. That stuff is just gross. If you're getting a chemical aftertaste, it's almost certainly the flavorings. I know a lot of people don't like the Wilton clear vanilla, but I use it and I use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, and my icing tastes like melted vanilla ice cream.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and use high ratio shortening. It improves the quality of your icing significantly. It's well worth the cost. Crisco is crap.

Tonedna has a decent shortening based icing that I think is listed on this site. You can use half butter and half shortening, or just all shortening if you want it white-white.

Some people are very sensitive to chemical aftertastes in food (super tasters). You may be one of them. I don't taste it when I use the Wilton clear vanilla. You can also find some higher quality clear vanillas, but they're all artificial.

You are right! I forgot about that stuff (the butter flavoring). I mixed it with luster dust and painted on a cake and the whole cake smelled off.
Being perky and kind is the is the only way to go! Now let's decorate and make someone happy.
I operate legally out of The Cake Studio. It would have been easier to be based at home but my little boys were eating the the fondant flowers and accents!
Reply
Being perky and kind is the is the only way to go! Now let's decorate and make someone happy.
I operate legally out of The Cake Studio. It would have been easier to be based at home but my little boys were eating the the fondant flowers and accents!
Reply
post #8 of 36
I vote Crisco is the culprit. But also just for kicks and giggles try using water instead of milk.

Try hi ratio shortening instead of Crisco. It's also doesn't have that greasy feel in your mouth like regular shortening.

There many occasions where the customer wants pure white icing, so using standard brown vanilla won't work either. And as quickly as you can toss that nasty Wilton's clear vanilla and try something else. I highly recommend Magic Line products especially their butter vanilla flavoring.
If you can't find time it do it right..how will you find time to do it over?
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If you can't find time it do it right..how will you find time to do it over?
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post #9 of 36
Why can't you use all butter? I do. The bakery I worked for did...it didn't 'melt to the ground' as you put it! They used it for all their cakes...weddings in particular as it was the frosting that usually won the bride over in the tasting! They used the same recipe under fondant covered cakes...although not many people requested fondant because once again...the BC was too good!

Why do you think it will melt? Unless you're serving outside in extreme heat.

If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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If I am ever on life support, unplug me...

Then plug me back in.  See if that works!

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post #10 of 36
I will say that it is definitely the artificial vanilla. That stuff makes me physically nauseous when I smell it. If I make American style buttercream I use a 2:1 ratio of butter to shortening (2 cups of butter to a scant 1 cup shortening), and I use three tablespoons of real vanilla. Yes it will be ivory, but you can explain to the client that look it's real butter and vanilla, and that stuff doesn't come in white/clear. You can always add a little violet to lighten it up a bit.
post #11 of 36
I hate to hear you are having problems with the icing. I too went thru a similar buttercream issue. For me, it was the cheap powdered sugar. When i remade the icing with Dominos powdered sugar, all was fine. The bad taste i was getting was more like a metal taste.
I used clear wilton vanilla extract, and a trans fat shortening (food city brand). I use the american buttercream, equal parts of butter and shortening. Hope you can find the stckler and get back on track. Wedding cakes are stressful enough, and the to add icing research on top of that....eeks.
post #12 of 36
I vote for the artificial butter flavor being the problem too. If you have butter in the icing then you don't need an artificial additive.
post #13 of 36
My vote is the Crisco as well. I can NOT make frosting w/ Crisco. It leaves this nasty film of grease in my mouth. I too use hi-ratio when I can get it and store brand shortening when I can't.
post #14 of 36
Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla!! The better quality you use, the more of a difference you will notice!!!! I have tried it myself with both all-shortening and all-butter frostings and you will see (and smell and taste) a WORLD of difference! Try some good quality true vanilla - not the fake clear stuff!

Come to the Dark Side - we have cupcakes 

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Come to the Dark Side - we have cupcakes 

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post #15 of 36
I vote for all real vanilla, and all real butter. There's probably a good reason why a recipe specifying those ingredients has been on the back of the powdered sugar box since before most of us (myself included) were born.

James H. H. Lampert
Professional Dilettante

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James H. H. Lampert
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Web site: http://www.hbquik.com/jamesl

Flickr "baked goods" set http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvZvdTh

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