Lemon Buttercream too soft- help needed
Posted: 23 April 2013 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Joined  2013-04-14

I made TCB lemon buttercream recipe in the book, using the Classic Butttercream recipe as stated. I needed to add the juice of 3 more large lemons and 1/2 tsp lemon extract for our taste, after it was finished in the mixing bowl. Of course it was then too thin.  I added 1/2 c+ powdered sugar to thicken it a bit, which helped, but in the end, it was really too soft on the cake. I want to decorate with white chocolate flowers on top and the piping I did on my test cake was sliding off the edge.

1- In the recipe, the lemon juice replaces the water in the saucepan.  Do I add the extra lemon at that time and if so, what happens to the amount of sugar I have to heat it with?

2- I know there isn’t powdered sugar in the recipe, but do I add that again this time to thicken it enought to hold my decoration?

3- all of the other obvious issues need answering.

The taste and texture was great, so I’d like to stick with this recipe and whatever alterations are needed.
Thank you

Posted: 23 April 2013 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You may want to try the addition of white chocolate…it`s a great emulsifier, but I would caution its use as it will add considerable sweetness and alter the flavour ...I`m not sure how sweet your buttercream is with the addition of powdered sugar. 

You may want to try a recipe that uses lemon curd as opposed to lemon juice—as the curd is thicker.  I think the Mouselline uses curd and it`s a hit with many on the forum. 

Lastly, if you really like the buttercream as you made it, some of us have had some success adding roux to the frosting…look up roux frosting and it will give you an idea of how to proceed.  I don`t usually do this, but in rare cases when I`ve had problems it can help thicken the buttercream.

To answer your questions, you could try a little more lemon juice in the sugar syrup.  Did you find that you needed more sweetener after all the lemon juice was added (or did you just add it to help thicken the buttercream?)?  It shouldn’t matter too much if you add more liquid to the syrup…it will just need to evaporate more water.  In this case, I don’t know if the increased acidity will matter… If you are happy with the flavour…I wouldn’t add powdered sugar.

Posted: 23 April 2013 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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pamalbake - 23 April 2013 05:57 PM

needed to add the juice of 3 more large lemons and 1/2 tsp lemon extract for our taste

Probably should use lemon oil if you need a greater lemon kick.


If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Posted: 23 April 2013 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree with CharlesT, use lemon oil for more of a flavor boost. Boyajian is my favorite brand, and on rare occasions I’ve found it in Home Goods/TJMaxx/Marshalls in a tiny bottle.  Usually I buy it from one of my pastry distributors but a good kitchen store would have it as well.  The oil will not thin out the buttercream the way adding more juice will. 

Another option is to use the lemon curd to flavor the buttercream, but be careful as adding too much curd can break the buttercream.  If you’re looking for a real lemon kick, then try layering the flavors - lemon zest in a white cake, lightly moistened with a lemon syrup, then spread the cake with lemon curd, use a lemon buttercream for filling and finishing.


I Dream of Jeanne Cakes selected by Brides Magazine as one of their 100 Favorite Bakers (2013)

Posted: 23 April 2013 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Total Posts:  4698
Joined  2008-04-16

I’ve made the lemon neoclassic and I love it, especially with the buttermilk country cake smile 

This frosting is wonderful and delicious, but it is soft, there’s no way around it.  When I make the lemon neoclassic, I add the lemon juice afterwards along with the zest and it still works OK as long as I use temperature to keep the consistency right (keep it cool and work on a chilled cake).

A few things to check:
-Did your sugar syrup reach the right temp?  It should have boiled vigorously and thickly all over (not just a few bubbles)
-If you let the frosting sit for a while, did you re-beat before piping?  Most of the sugar syrup buttercreams need to be re-whisked after frosting the cake and before piping on decorations, especially if you chill the cake (recommended) before moving on to the piping stage.

If the specified abount of lemon juice and zest isn’t enough, consider the Boyajian lemon oil and also Limoncello.  You can add liqueur up to the amount of Kahlua specified in the flavor variation that uses Kahlua (I think it’s 4Tbs, but I don’t have my book in front of me so check before taking my word for it).  Unlike lemon juice, a liqueur will actually help keep the emulsion from breaking.  You might also taste the buttercream with some of the cake before deciding how much lemon flavor it needs- tasting it in the bowl, without the cake, can sometimes lead to a tendency to flavor the buttercream strongly and then it doesn’t balance with the cake (voice of experience).

If cooling the frosting and chilling the cake still doesn’t work for you, I agree with the others about moving on to lemon curd mousseline, it is also yummy, though it is more work.

Hope something here helps!

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