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"Broken" French Buttercream with meringue

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone.  I had 2nd icing disaster today.  I made French Buttercream (from The Perfect Cake) which was a recipe with egg yolks and simple syrup and, of course, butter.  But even though I doubled the recipe, I realized I needed a lot more, so I tried a variant which adds meringue and increases the volume.  I made the egg yolk buttercream last night, and it seemed like it looked correct.  I refrigerated it overnight and then added the meringue and flavoring the next day after whipping the icing brought to room temperature.  The book says you're supposed to fold in the meringue (just egg whites & sugar) instead of actually whipping the 2 together.  It was incredibly hard to work with, just melted at room temperature, kept separating like curdled milk.  I was worried about whipping it, as I had seen in some posts since the recipe book had said to just fold in the egg whites.  I also had a similar problem with my last cake where I tried to make strawberry swiss meringue buttercream, which was a different recipe, but still had that butter emulsifying thing going.  Should I just have whipped the whole thing?  Is it supposed to be more stable or is it just a soppy mess at room temperature regardless?  A while ago, I made a recipe, I think for French home-style (menagere) buttercream which used raw egg yolks.  It was similar to this French buttercream, but didn't use a simple syrup.  However, it turned out beautifully, very smooth, a dream to pipe designs with, and was very stable, even at room temp.  What is the difference between all these egg-based buttercreams?  Which ones are more stable at room temperature?  Thanks for your help!

post #2 of 22
Meringue based buttercreams, if chilled and then beaten while still somewhat cold, can separate and liquify, The secret to fixing it, sounds odd but it really works, is to take about 1/4 cup of your liquified buttecream and microwave it until it's warm, 30 seconds or so, and then add it back in and beat it in your mixer. It should come back.

Swiss and Italian meringue buttercreams are the stiffest for piping, and also the lightest in flavor in texture. French is softer and quite rich in flavor.

Swiss MB is made by whisking egg whites and sugar in a double boiler until it reaches 150-160 F, and then beating it in the stand mixer on high speed until it comes back to room temperature, about 7 minutes. It should be a stiff, glossy meringue at this point, and then you beat in soft unsalted butter until it smooths out. I use 1 egg white to 1/4 cup sugar to 1 stick of butter.

Italian meringue buttercream is made bu heating a sugar and water syrup on the stove, and then drizzling the hot syrup into the egg whites as they beat, creating a stiff, glossy meringue, Then you add in the butter, just as with Swiss. The two come out identical.

French buttercream is made with the same method as Italian, but using egg yolks instead of egg whites. It does not create a meringue, but the yolks will be thickened and pale in color. Recently, I discovered that you can also make French buttercream using the Swiss meringue double boiler method, too. You will need equal weights of egg yolks and sugar to make it. 2 oz egg yolks to 2 oz sugar to 1 stick of butter.

My favorite bittercream of all is a combination: I use whole eggs and the Swiss meringue method. It does not create a meringue, but it will be thickened and pale yellow. One whole egg to 1/4 cup sugar to 1 stick butter. It is not as rich as French, which I find can be a little too rich, but a nice balance. It does come out an ivory or yellow color, though, so if you really need white, go with Swiss or Italian. You can also replace some or all of the butter with shortening if you absolutely must have pure white.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Awesome!  I was looking through all the past posts trying to figure this all out (without much luck), but you laid it all out so nicely for me.  Thank you for taking the time to reply!

post #4 of 22

Quote:

Originally Posted by sarahgale314 View Post
My favorite bittercream of all is a combination: I use whole eggs and the Swiss meringue method. It does not create a meringue, but it will be thickened and pale yellow. One whole egg to 1/4 cup sugar to 1 stick butter. It is not as rich as French, which I find can be a little too rich, but a nice balance. It does come out an ivory or yellow color, though, so if you really need white, go with Swiss or Italian. You can also replace some or all of the butter with shortening if you absolutely must have pure white.

sarahgale314; What does this taste like?  I've never had French Buttercream, but imagine it to be like a cooked Pastry cream.  How long do you cook the eggs/sugar on the double boiler & how long do your beat the mix before adding butter?    Your recipe is interesting & I'd like to try it as a filling.

~~We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman  
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~~We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman  
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post #5 of 22
It doesn't taste like pastry cream... it tastes like Swiss Meringue buttercream, but with a bit off added richness, and is also a bit more sweet (some people complain that Swiss Meringue isn't sweet enough, and tastes like pure butter. French or the whole egg hybrid fixes this.). Here's my exact recipe:

For a standard 8-inch round cake, 4-inches high, or 24 cupcakes

4 whole eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 sticks imsalted butter, room temperature

Place eggs, sugar, salt, amd vanilla in the metal bowl of your stand mixer and place over a pan with one inch of gently simmering water. Whisk constantly (you don't have to whip it fast, just keep it moving) until it reaches 150 degrees, 5-7 minutes. It should feel very warm to the touch with all the sugar dissolved. Place the bowl into the mixer with the wire whisk attachment and whip on high speed for 7 minutes. The bottom of the bowl should feel lukewarm to room temlerature, and the mixture should be thickened and pale in color. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed. Add butter 2 tablespoons at a time, then increase speed to medium high and beat until smooth. The mixture may look curdled as you add the butter and start whipping it, but it will smooth out after a minute or two.
post #6 of 22

You might like this recipe. I've made it and it's definitely a favorite; I like the combination of the Swiss Meringue with the butter and custard. It's definitely time consuming but worth the trouble.

 

http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/224688/custard-buttercream

post #7 of 22
Martha's recipe is a German buttercream. Very delicious,
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahgale314 View Post

Martha's recipe is a German buttercream. Very delicious,

Ahh, good to know, thanks. And yes, very delicious. Labor intensive, though, so even though it's my family's favorite, they don't get it very often icon_biggrin.gif.

post #9 of 22
French buttercream tastes more creamy than the meringue ones. It is truly my favorite taste wise, but because you can't really leave it out for too long I don't use it very often. It also makes an amazing chocolate buttercream.
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post #10 of 22
Why is my buttercream sooooooooooo sweet??? I think I did something wrong, so upset!!!
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by kisses86 View Post

Why is my buttercream sooooooooooo sweet??? I think I did something wrong, so upset!!!


What recipe did you use?

post #12 of 22
Powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla
post #13 of 22

I too love french buttercream so rich and smooth and elegant. Yes taste like smbc and imbc. I love them all!!!!

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by kisses86 View Post

Powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla

Try adding 1/2 to 1 tsp of lemon juice.

post #15 of 22
ok so Martha stewarts german buttercream is swiss meringue and custard...could I cut corners and just add a boxed pudding?
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