Buttercream vs. Decorator Frosting
Posted: 16 September 2010 08:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi!  I’m a brand new baker who is LOVING my Cake Bible.  After taking a Wilton decorating class, loving it, but being grossed out by the frosting, I discovered Rose’s book.  Now I’m not sure how to combine the two.  I made mocha espresso buttercream for her perfect chocolate cake…which was so good I could just eat the whole bowl with a spoon!  However, it was pretty soft.  I’m guessing this is not something I can use for piping flowers or decorations?  Do I use the gross frosting for decorations and this as the base?  I bought the Wilton teddy bear 3D cake pan for an upcoming baby shower and will need chocolate frosting.  I’d love Rose’s taste, but not sure how I can make “fur” out of it.  Also, I made the chocolate fondant and it didn’t quite work.  Tastes great, but whenever I would lift it up, it would crack into pieces.  Too dry?  I still have it…can this be salvaged? Thanks everyone who takes the time to read this or reply.  This has been quite a fun new thing for me.

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Posted: 17 September 2010 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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For some other ideas for pipeable frostings and a forum with lots of advice
and tried and true recipes for cake decorating go here:  http://www.cakecentral.com

This is a forum dedicated to decorated cakes for special occaissions

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Posted: 17 September 2010 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi, Sarah!

I am very inexperienced in decorating, but I do know that Rose does some awesome decorations and definitely doesn’t use the “gross” stuff!!  In the back of TCB (The Cake Bible) where Rose discusses piping techniques, she mentions various decorations and how stiff the frosting needs to be.  I also know that in the intros to several frostings, she mentions its stiffness (for example, in the Easy Chestnut Buttercream, she mentions that it’s a great one even for doing stringwork).  Something you probably know is that refrigerating frosting will stiffen it some, although usually not permanently.

I’m sure someone will lots of decorating experience will be able to answer your questions more specifically as to which frosting can do what, but I thought I’d throw that out there. 

And welcome!

—ak

p.s.  I have noticed that being grossed-out by the frosting in decorating classes is a common phenomena in this forum!

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Posted: 17 September 2010 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Sarah, and welcome!

Of Rose’s buttercreams, mousseline is the firmest and best suited to roses, etc.  However, because it is an all-butter buttercream, it is still temperature-sensitive.  If you are working in a warm room or have warm hands, try resting the pastry bag on a chill pack or rotating two bags (one in the fridge, one to work with, then switch).  Some forum members make roses with mousseline, while others use Cake Bible buttercreams for frosting/filling and borders, but use a stiff powdered sugar buttercream just for roses.  Whatever you’re making with buttercream or ganache, just remember that cooling it will firm it.

The chocolate fondant should work beautifully, but isn’t elastic enough to drape over corners- that’s why the cake on the cover has fondant in two pieces, so it doesn’t crack at the edge/corner.  Rose recommends a store-bought chocolate fondant for one that is flexible enough to drape.

Hector has made the chocolate fondant, you could PM him and I’m sure he’d know more about it.

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Posted: 17 September 2010 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thank you all for your replies!!  It is very helpful!!

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Posted: 17 September 2010 07:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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How timely that I should stumble upon your query today - I am a veteran cake decorator and have only recently begun to use Rose’s cake recipes - preferring to stick with the “gross” but reliable and sturdy Decorator’s frosting, Swiss Meringue, and/or Rolled Fondant for most of the special occasion and wedding cakes I do. It is just not worth the stress to try using other things for weddings! My worst cake nightmares have been doing that - creamcheese frosting nearly did me in! I will only use rolled fondant over a thin base of decorator’s - I don’t trust it to adhere successfully to anything else! I have not tried Chocolate Fondant - but suggest that the addition of more liquid and/or oil/shortening kneaded into the fondant should return it to a pliable state. It may also be nuked for a few seconds in the microwave to re-soften. I also have the 3-D Panda Bear pan (made it for my son’s first birthday 35 years ago - one of my first forays…). I used white decorator’s for the white parts, and a mocha buttercream made with chocolate, butter, coffee powder and icing sugar. It was extremely hard to pipe into nice rosettes and get good detailing - as is all “real” buttercream - if it’s too soft the piping droops (or slides off the side!) and if it gets too cold, it doesn’t pipe out uniformly, and breaks instead of making nice flowing peaks /lines. I will say though that although it is sweet, my Decorator’s is better than any other I’ve had, and everyone loves it. I make a very butter-rich mixture of about half stiff Royal icing (for durability) and half fluffy Icingsugar Buttercream (half Crisco, half butter, for flavour). Use about 1/4 to 1/3 c. fat to each egg white. (I never use meringue powder or homogenized whites - neither produce satisfactory results!) The buttercream’s volume is pumped up by the addition of (YES!) Salty water (again for taste), and lots of vanilla or almond extract, making it fluffy and light - not pasty. Both components are whipped up separately, then I gently and thoroughly blend them together, taste them and add any more icing sugar or flavour needed. For fancy tortes such as those in Rose’s repetoire I will only use her buttercreams, or a Pastry Cream based buttercream, as their flavour is far superior to anything else. Although my favorite to work with - by far - is Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I find it easier to make (that sugar syrup in the mouselline never fails to end up in hard globs on the sides of my mixer bowl instead of incorporated into the egg whites!) and it handles well, but is quite difficult to pipe with success. I have never tried roses etc with the buttercreams, preferring to use real flowers (thank goodness those hideous royal icing roses are a thing of the past!!!). The last time I made the bear I used another very rich dark chocolate buttercream - but again - it is tricky to pipe and melts if exposed to any warmth. You can view a photo of it on my photostream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44733706@N02/ For n.ow that’s all the advice I can give you. Sorry this is a rather long post… I too am still learning and always open to creative suggestions - so I will be watching this thread! I am especially intrigued with how one applies rolled fondant over a SQUARE cake - as I have not had great success with this yet! Looking forward to hearing from all of you! PS: the Dalek Cake was my son’s 36th Birthday enterprise. Next time he hopes it can be made remote controlleable…

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Posted: 18 September 2010 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Wow!  Thank you so much for sharing all of your experiences!  I really do appreciate it.  And the Dalek cake…my brother and his daughter would FLIP over that cake!!  I will definitely have to re-read your post and look into everything.  Thanks again!

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