Just like cake, buttercream is our favorite accessory.
Paint is to Artist as Frosting is to Baker! When we are talking about decorating, we can’t skip out on the frosting talk. This is where your design turns into reality.
The topic of buttercream has many different facets to it! Are you the type of person who asks for the edge piece of cake covered with decorations and borders to maximize your consumption? Or are typical frostings just too sweet for you, the people we call “cupcake scrapers”? Whatever your frosting journey is, there may be a version of your perfect buttercream out there that you haven’t discovered just yet! Let’s break down some of our favorite styles of frosting.
Types of Buttercream Frosting
French Buttercream: This one might be newer to you! French buttercream is made with egg yolks instead of egg whites! The yolks are whipped up until they are thick, and then, like Italian meringue, a sugar syrup is added, cooking the yolks. We then whip in more butter, and voila, a new style of buttercream! This style is quite loose and is intended to be used as a cake filling, but it is SO delicious. One of our favorite styles and techniques for sure!
Italian Meringue Buttercream: (Italian buttercream for short) This frosting is similar to the Swiss process. Sugar syrup is made on the stove and then streamed into whipped egg whites, which cooks the eggs and creates a very stable meringue! Butter is then added and whipped up. Italian meringue tends to be relatively stable and will hold up in warmer temperatures.
Royal Icing: Okay, this one is a bit of an exception, not really a buttercream (because there is no butter) but it is a classic, so we threw it in here. Made using only three ingredients, royal icing is great for outlining and flooding sugar cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, adding icing flowers to treats, and other intricate designs. Because this icing hardens as it dries, it’s not usually recommended for cakes and cupcakes. Still, it’s a perfect stiff icing for sugar cookies with its smear-proof finish that will keep your fingers icing-free.
American Buttercream: This is the standard buttercream we see in the US, made with butter and powdered sugar! This frosting takes color and flavor well and is a cinch to pipe. It is a perfect all-purpose frosting and works well in many applications!
Swiss-Meringue Buttercream: This recipes starts by whipping up some egg whites! Then you add some sugar and cook it on the stove before being whipped to stiff peaks and then adding buttercream. This silky smooth frosting is very butter forward, but the fantastic texture makes intricate piping a breeze!
German Buttercream: Another style that you might just be hearing about, German buttercream is a custard-style buttercream. When making this, you start off by making pastry cream. This is then chilled and mixed into softened butter, creating a very rich and thick buttercream! This style has quite a process to it, but it takes flavor really well, especially when you infuse the milk used in the pastry cream!
This post is part of our Gygi Guide to Decorating. We’re sharing all our ideas for making your decorating dreams come true.
Check out this post all about Decorating Bags!
And this fun post about the perfect accessory for any baked goodie: SPRINKLES!