7 Secrets To Smooth American Buttercream
Buttercream is also referred to as frosting, and there are many types of frostings that you can use to fill or cover cakes. I use all sorts of buttercream frostings in my baking, from American to Swiss Meringue buttercream. You can read an entire post about The Different Types of Buttercream and if you are adventurous you may even try the Swiss meringue buttercream recipe, but here I’ll explain in-depth the seven secrets to getting smooth and delicious American buttercream.
American buttercream is made mainly from icing sugar and butter. It’s sturdy and strong, so it holds up very well under fondant. It can also dry and crust, suitable for making stiff flowers. Finally, and most importantly, it’s very easy to make. So if you are starting to explore baking and the world of frostings, I recommend starting with American buttercream. Follow these steps and check out the video recipe below, and you can easily avoid grainy texture or your buttercream being too sweet, and it will be effortlessly smooth to use.
- The first step is the butter. Even though the butter must be soft, I like to use semi-cold butter, meaning it should still be cold to the touch. You’ll be able to make a slight imprint with your finger. Beat the butter for a good 3 – 5 minutes using the stand mixer. The more you beat it, the lighter in color it gets. If you’re going to color it and don’t care to get it so white, at least beat it for 3 minutes to aerate and fluff it up.
- While you beat the butter, start measuring and sifting the powdered sugar through a mesh strainer to get very fine granules and avoid lumps. This step is essential to achieve smooth buttercream.
- Then turn the mixer on low speed and gradually add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, ensuring that you wait until each cup is mixed well before adding the next one. The gradual addition of icing sugar is crucial to avoid grainy or gritty frosting.
- Make sure to add a good amount of salt. I don’t believe in “a pinch” and always use 1/4 teaspoon instead. This step ensures that your buttercream is well-balanced and not too sweet.
- Add the heavy cream (or whipping cream) one tablespoon at a time to reach the right consistency, as you may not need all the amount. Some recipes call for milk or water, but whipping cream gives the best taste.
- Before you start decorating your cake with any buttercream, get all those air bubbles out to get a smooth finish on your cakes. Grab a spatula and stir the frosting for a few minutes by hand. This will push out the air pockets and give you a smooth buttercream that is easy to spread on the sides of the cake.
- If you want to achieve white buttercream, add a tiny amount of violet and mix it. I use a toothpick and dip just the tip into the food coloring to get a small amount. That will offset the yellowish under-tone in buttercream and make it white.