Faux French Buttercream · GF (8 cups)
When setting out to conquer the macaron, people often fail to anticipate the inevitable result of their quest: a near infinite supply of egg yolks. Indeed, anyone with a fondness for mile high meringue, angel food cake or pavlova has faced that same problem. Standing in front of the fridge and staring down a bowlful of egg yolks, we’ve all thought with dispair, “not another batch of lemon curd.”
Some may have the fortitude to dump a dozen yolks down the drain and call it collateral damage, but the rest of us have to face the Egg Yolk Dilemma. Put simply, after transforming egg whites into some lovely dessert, no one wants to make another dessert. With a chocolate meringue pie already on the counter, crème brûlée doesn’t have quite the same allure. But it doesn’t make pitching the yolks any easier.
Enter French buttercream. It tastes (and looks) like French vanilla ice cream and solves the Egg Yolk Dilemma elegantly. A single batch will clean out your stash of egg yolks and then wait patiently in the freezer until you need it. Having a supply of read-to-use buttercream makes layer cake a weekday affair and cupcakes faster than ever.
So how come most people have never tasted, much less made, French buttercream?
Because professional kitchens have an insatiable appetite for egg yolks. Squandering them on a buttercream just doesn’t make sense when Swiss or Italian will get the job done while using up the less desirable egg whites instead. Meanwhile, cookbook authors and bloggers hesitate asking readers to undertake a recipe that involves pouring molten sugar syrup into the bowl of a mixer whipping on high speed. Especially considering said danger-syrup will burn the crap out of human flesh yet fail to cook the egg yolks enough to eliminate the risk of salmonella.
Rather than give up on French buttercream as too fussy and too potentially risky, I wanted to fix it. Maybe in the tradition of renaming French titled foods I should call the result “Freedom Buttercream” since some less than traditional methods liberate you from the tyranny of boiling syrup and food poisoning.
My friends at Oculus Studios stopped by the restaurant for an impromptu video shoot and a chance to peek in the kitchen. Unlike the Cylons, we didn’t have a plan…or a script. They did their thing while I did mine. My “thing” just so happened to be white chocolate cream cheese (pseudo) French buttercream. I didn’t do a voice over, so don’t think of this as a traditional “how to” video but rather a visual guide to the main points of the recipe, which I’ve detailed below. You can check out another video how to crumb coat a cake for more details on how to use the finished buttercream too.
Faux French Buttercream
This recipe yields enough to generously frost and decorate a 3 layer cake or approximately one million cupcakes. Skip to the bottom of the page for details on the white chocolate cream cheese variation.
1 vanilla bean
10 1/2 ounces sugar
10 1/2 ounces egg yolks (from about 15 eggs)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
32 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft)
Split and scrape the vanilla bean, rubbing the seeds into the sugar.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the vanilla sugar into the egg yolks, along with a pinch of salt.
Place the bowl over a pot of water, set over a medium low flame. If the water starts to boil vigorously, turn the heat down. All you need is enough heat to make the water steam.
The price of eliminating the sugar syrup from the recipe is that you must babysit the yolks over the water bath, stirring and scraping the bowl frequently, if not constantly. Don’t multitask or you’ll wind up with a bowl of sugary scrambled eggs.
Heat the yolk mixture until it reaches 150° then transfer the bowl to the mixer and whip on medium speed until the bowl is cool to the touch. It will roughly double in volume.
This is ridiculously important: do not, under any circumstance, begin adding the butter until the egg yolk mixture and bowl have cooled to room temperature.
Your butter should be at room temperature and quite soft, but because that’s a bit of a subjective description, here’s a test. If the butter is too firm for a knife to pass through it effortlessly, it’s too cold. Zap it briefly in the microwave to soften.
With the mixer whipping on medium low speed, begin adding in the butter, one chunk at a time. When you’ve added all the butter, shut off the mixer, scrape the bowl down, then mix just a minute longer.
If the mixture starts to look broken or curdled, it’s generally because the butter is too cold. Simply place the bowl of buttercream over the water bath again for 10-15 seconds, until it gets a little melty around the edges, then continue whipping until smooth.
If using vanilla extract, now’s the time to splash some in; or any other flavoring, if you like.
Use immediately or transfer to a heavy duty zippy bag and stash in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
To make the white chocolate cream cheese variation, whip in 12 ounces of cream cheese after adding the butter and 12 ounces of melted and cooled white chocolate and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste. If you like your cream cheese buttercream a little tart, also whip in the juice of 1 lemon at the end.
Jun 11, 2012 · 1:46 AM
wow! just what I needed hoping to nail the art of macarons in my upcoming holidays
· Tina · foodfortina.blogspot.com
Jun 11, 2012 · 10:02 AM
Oh no. Not another buttercream I’m going to fall in love with!
· Kasha the FarmGirl · www.thefarmgirlcooks.wordpress.com
Jun 11, 2012 · 10:23 AM
@Tina, this is definitely the perfect companion for macarons! Use up those leftover egg yolks and make your buttercream at the same time.
@Kasha, I know, what is my deal with obscure buttercreams?!
Jun 11, 2012 · 11:53 AM
Great video, loved the way it was shot, as well as the music. I’d been doing the sugar syrup into the egg yolks method but I might switch to this one instead…!
· amrita · www.thesweetart.com
Jun 11, 2012 · 1:10 PM
You’re one sweet genuis I must admit I’ve washed my fair share of egg yolks down the kitchen sink…no more! And I love a reason to test out any new frosting recipe. French buttercream is somehow so rich and so light to me – my absolute favorite method for chocolate frosting.
Jun 11, 2012 · 2:02 PM
Great post! I have had difficulty with curdling and now I know that my butter was too cold. Thanks Stella. You rock!
PS Loved the video!
· saltandserenity · www.saltandserenity
Jun 11, 2012 · 2:02 PM
@amrita, I think I’d have to do a side by side comparison to discern any difference. Such a time saver and fewer dishes too!
@SamCyn, refrigerate the cake if it’ll be a few days before you get to it (refrigerate until hard, wrap in plastic, then back in the fridge. remove plastic and bring to room temp.). But if you’ll get to it within 48 hours, room temp is fine. Or at least I’ve been doing it that way for years and haven’t seen any negative results yet.
@kate, French buttercream with chocolate is really the best chocolate buttercream out there. Absolutely agree! Happy to meet someone who’s made it before, too.
@saltandserenity, thrilled to help you get to the bottom of the problem. Hurray!!
Jun 11, 2012 · 4:51 PM
I didn’t realize you could freeze the buttercream! That makes me so happy for those times when I make some and have some leftover.
· Aly · fudgingahead.wordpress.com
Jun 11, 2012 · 4:56 PM
This looks amazing! Is it a good fit for filling the macarons you just made its all those whites?
Also, any tips on keeping buttercream in hot, humid weather? How well does this hold around room temp? I’ve been experimenting with gelatin, but the trial and error process takes so long!
Jun 11, 2012 · 6:55 PM
@cgs9267, ever since I told you about it I’ve been meaning to type up a proper recipe and I finally have! I’m glad you were able to give it a shot anyway, glad you liked it.
@Nate00117, ice cream is great, but it’s nice to be able to mix it up a bit!
@Aly, yes, yes, yes! Frozen buttercream is a godsend when it comes to last minute cakes…
@Brianna, it is wonderful with macarons. I haven’t experimented with this buttercream in a wide variety of situations, but I’d say it’s as stable as Swiss (which I’ve used for outdoor wedding cakes in July). I don’t like to keep buttercream around longer than 48 hours at room temp.
@Tanya, awesome, thanks for sharing!
Jun 12, 2012 · 8:58 AM
I can’t wait to try this! A couple of questions, though. For the white chocolate cream cheese variation, the amount of butter remains 2 lbs? Also, do the variations listed in your swiss buttercream recipe work for this as well (i.e. peanut butter, chocolate, etc)? Thanks for all you do!
Jun 12, 2012 · 9:42 AM
Thx for connecting with me on foodbuzz. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!
· CJ at Food Stories · http://www.foodstoriesblog.com
Jun 12, 2012 · 10:12 AM
@Tesei, absolutely pipeable! It won’t crust of course, so it may not be ideal for roses, but you can certainly pipe boarders and swags and such.
@Amy, Yeah, I like adding in the cream cheese on top of the butter. You can reduce the butter by 12 ounces, but the result is a little less stable. I’ve found a good squeeze of lemon brings out the cream cheesiness even though there’s ultimately not that much. And yeah, all the variations for the other recipes will work here too!
@CJ, aw, thanks so much! It may not be the very next post, but the guys from Oculus shot with me all day, so I’ve got several more videos yet to come.
Jun 12, 2012 · 2:03 PM
I just had a mini heart attack watching you slap that butter into the mixing bowl, yet strangely I want to eat that entire bowl of buttercream.
· hungry rabbit · hungryrabbitnyc.com
Jun 13, 2012 · 12:22 PM
I’ve recently been following your blog—your recipe index is a black hole that I fall into and can’t seem to get out of! So far I’ve tried the German Buttercream and the Strawberry Reduction – yum! When I read this post, I feel like it might not be entirely respectful, but I’m mentally classifying this as “Swissified French Buttercream.”
Jun 13, 2012 · 6:38 PM
I have enjoyed your site so I’ve nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award for illuminating, informative blog content. If you’re interested, you can check out the details here … http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/ … Hope you’re having a great day!
· Rollin' Momma · firstname.lastname@example.org
Jun 14, 2012 · 10:15 AM
@rabbit, haha, yeah, my heart tightens a little every time too. Fortunately, it makes a ton of servings so it’s not too bad. Right?
@Kristin, I love it! Swissified has a nice ring to it and is a totally accurate description of the process.
@3petitsprinces, so say we all.
@Rollin’ Momma, you sweetheart! Thank you so much.
Jun 18, 2012 · 2:07 PM
What a great easy to follow video! I must try to tackle different macaron filling flavors now with all the buttercream variations. I enjoyed reading about you in Food and Wine magazine and I can’t wait to see what you post next.
· The Culinistas · twitter.com/#!/TheCulinistas
Jun 19, 2012 · 9:43 AM
@The Culinistas, ahh! Thanks for coming by! I’m glad you caught my be-sprinkled debut. This really is a great way to clean those yolks outta your fridge; hope you try it out!
Jun 19, 2012 · 1:37 PM
Hi, what a great post! I love making buttercreams and will definitely give this one a try. To turn this recipe into a chocolate buttercream, would you recommend adding chocolate in the same way as you do to your Swiss buttercream? I was looking at the “chocolate” variations in that post and wondering if I should follow the same guidelines and proportions listed there?
Thank you, Cat
Jun 19, 2012 · 2:26 PM
@Cat, you’ve got it! You can follow any of those variations with this recipe. Thanks for mentioning it, I will edit this recipe later to include a link so others can check out all the variations too. Or maybe just paste ‘em on here. The only thing to keep in mind with this buttercream is that some flavors don’t jive as well with the custardy flavor. Chocolate and vanilla, yes! Green tea, not so much (or at least, in my opinion). Let your taste buds be your guide.
Jun 22, 2012 · 3:16 PM
Pinned! What a great way to use up excess yolks so you don’t have leftovers when making macarons.
Our issue at work, however, is we use a lot of yolks in the current lot of dessert recipes so we have a backlog of whites. We already do macarons and “quiffs” (meringue treats) to try to use them up but need other single-serve goodies to eat up the rest.
Any suggestions you find really fly off the dessert shelf?
· Yumarama · Yumarama.com
Jun 22, 2012 · 7:02 PM
@Yumarama, most of my whites go toward macaron making and Swiss buttercream. Beyond that, I’ve done pavlova, but no doubt you’ve already gone down that path! I don’t do them now cos of our storage problems, but mini-baked Alaskas (covered in Swiss meringue) are another good solution…
@Sheila, this is a great buttercream to frost a cake. It will keep for a day or two at room temperature, or four or five days in the fridge. If you refrigerate it beforehand, just chill the cake down until the buttercream firms up, then wrap it well with plastic and re-refrigerate. The buttercream is very good for absorbing odors in your fridge, so it’s important to wrap it! Before you’re ready to eat the cake, take it out of the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and let it come to room temperature. Depending on the size of the cake, it can take four to six hours.
And yes, you can absolutely use vanilla extract. Just whip in a tablespoon or so during the final mixing. Happy baking!
Jun 22, 2012 · 11:05 PM
Stella, thanks so much for your quick reply. I have another question. Can this recipe be done with just a hand mixer? Also, I cannot seem to find how much frosting this makes. It will be helpful to know so I’ll know if I need make a double batch. I’ll be frosting a 1/2 sheet cake.
Jun 22, 2012 · 11:54 PM
@Sheila, ah! apologies for the lack of concrete info; it makes about 10 cups, I think. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with a hand mixer, it’s mostly a matter of convenience.
Jun 23, 2012 · 1:56 AM
Thanks so much! Sorry with my never-ending string of questions, but I have one last question. What is the color of this frosting? I’m looking for a white frosting, but I’ve read many french buttercream frosting recipes and mostly all of them say that the frosting is slightly yellow due to the egg yolks..so, I was just wondering, is your recipe noticeably yellow or just slightly yellow? or is it not yellow at all? I’m trying to keep a color theme of white and blue.
Jun 25, 2012 · 12:22 PM
This sounds like a great recipe to try! I have a question though. Can you please specify what kind of sugar I should use? In the ingredients list, you write “sugar” but in the instructions, you refer to a “vanilla sugar”, so do I just use regular sugar or vanilla sugar? Please let me know. Thanks!
Jun 25, 2012 · 3:00 PM
@Cindy, it’s just regular sugar. I say “vanilla sugar” in the instructions because in the first step the vanilla seeds are mixed into the plain sugar, making it all vanilla-y. Happy baking!
Jul 01, 2012 · 8:09 PM
@Adjey, absolutely! The white chocolate truly doesn’t lend much flavor, it’s there for stability more than anything else. If you use dark chocolate, you may want to use much more. The quantity given will only yield a very subtle flavor.
Jul 02, 2012 · 4:02 PM
@Adjey, absolutely! I love and adore my Ateco turntable. It’s made of cast iron and is incredibly heavy, which is exactly what you need when decorating a cake. Other cake tables are cheaper but because they’re lighter you wind up scooting the cake across the counter as you try to apply the buttercream. Supremely annoying! Ateco is absolutely worth the money.
Jul 09, 2012 · 11:51 AM
Thank you for this! I no-longer have to make countless portions of scrambled egg yolks and custard. I tried the buttercream before storing it away, and have to say that it really was delicious.
· Janine at Cake Of The Week · www.janinebakes.blogspot.co.uk
Jul 09, 2012 · 4:38 PM
@Janine, oh, I’m so glad to hear it!! It’s such a handy thing to have in the fridge for cake emergencies. Like, surprise, I forgot my in-law’s birthday tomorrow…. Haha.
Jul 18, 2012 · 3:37 PM
Stella I just love your blog – it’s so full of great ideas. I just taught a class on making 5 different kinds of buttercream last night and we had to use pasteurized yolks because of the salmonella issue. It’s been a while since I’ve made French buttercream but either I heated up the sugar too high or got my ratios messed up (checking the recipe today) but it seized up and got a little grainy. This is a really clever solution to simplifying French buttercream and make it food and safety acceptable without having to spring or hunt for pasteurized yolks. Keep sharing your insight and I can’t wait for your cookbook!! And you better tour when it comes out too, because I definitely want mine signed!!
· Jason S · www.TheAubergineChef.com
Jul 19, 2012 · 9:42 AM
@Jason, a buttercream class sounds incredible! What a great idea. I am such a lazy girl in the kitchen, a pot of boiling syrup is so annoying to me, haha. I’m glad you like my cheat! I hope, hope, hope I get to go on a book tour when the book is out. Fingers crossed!
Jul 19, 2012 · 3:27 PM
Hi Stella! After a few batches of failed Italian meringue cream cheese buttercream, I tried your Faux French cream cheese variation, which worked beautifully! I think one more test run and then I’ll be ready to bake strawberry cupcakes for an upcoming August wedding Thanks!
Jul 19, 2012 · 3:52 PM
Oh my god Stella… This has to be the best buttercream ever! I just made it with the cream cheese and white chocolate and wow. More than enough to fill your red wine velvet cake that I just made ( going to cover it with ganache and then with fondant) and also fill my macarons….
Jul 20, 2012 · 9:31 AM
@Buttered Toast, congratulations on your success! I am such a lazy bum, I hate Italian meringue buttercream. Just way too much work. (This coming from the girl who makes her own sprinkles… Thrilled you found this to your liking, good luck with your wedding-baking!
@Adrienne, omg what is your address?! I love this buttercream with the red wine velvet!
Jul 24, 2012 · 4:28 PM
@Adrienne, I’m so thrilled to hear it!! That was probably the fanciest baptism cake anyone’s ever had, haha. Happy baking!
Jul 26, 2012 · 3:05 PM
Oh this looks so delicious, I was planning to take a break from baking cakes and hit the gym… but I can’t anymore. I need to bake a cake just to use this marvelous recipe! Thank you for sharing! This made my day haha
· Ajda · http://askanam.blogspot.com/
Aug 26, 2012 · 10:58 PM
Made your Faux French Buttercream on the weekend, I wasn’t diligent with the instructions and after I removed the mixing bowl from the heat I didn’t start the mixer straight away (O.O).
My buttercream ended up being very very soft (100% not pipable, doubt it would even stay on the side of a cake) even after adding the chocolate and cream cheese. We’ll see what it looks like when I defrost it next February but not looking good.
Is there anything I can do to save it?
Thanks in advance!
· TheTravellingWhisk · thetravellingwhisk.blogspot.com.au/
Aug 28, 2012 · 8:29 AM
Hi TheTravellingWhisk, yeah, buttercream is one of those things where it’s very important to play by the rule. When you didn’t start the mixer straight away, how long are you talking about? Just a few minutes, or a half hour? That could make a big difference depending on how long it was.
As for the trouble you encountered, it sounds like the eggs or the bowl was still warm when you added the butter, which would have melted it into the soupy mixture you describe.
It’s often possible to save a mixture like this after freezing, but since I’m not sure what went on during whipping, it’s hard to say. For example, if the egg yolks weren’t beaten until much later, it’s possible that the yolks simply never aerated enough and there may be no saving it. Let me know and we’ll see if there’s anything that can be done.
Aug 28, 2012 · 6:50 PM
Hi Kaity. If it’s just overnight, you don’t need to worry about refrigerating them. They’ll be fine out (since the buttercream is cooked). But if you do refrigerate them, either have them in an airtight container or refrigerate them for about 10 minutes, until the buttercream sets up. Then take them out, wrap them in plastic wrap very well, then put ‘em back in the fridge. The next day (or whenever) take them out of the fridge, remove the plastic wrap, and let them sit out at room temperature for 4-6 hours or until the buttercream has completely come to room temp. They should be fine and dandy!
The only important thing to remember is covering them or the buttercream will absorb odors out of the fridge like crazy. Hope that helps!
Aug 29, 2012 · 6:02 PM
Kaity, when baking at home for birthdays and what not, I’ve left the buttercreamed cake out for about 48 hours all together. Generally, the cake itself starts to dry out and get yucky around that time anyway… If you’d like to more info on storing cake & buttercream, I had a chance to answer a bunch of different questions about it over at <a href=“http://www.thekitchn.com/expert-advice-how-to-wrap-stor-151924”>the Kitchn</a>.
Sep 06, 2012 · 11:25 AM
I made this today, and to ensure that it would set in the humidity of the monsoon season (I’m in India) I added a lot of dark chocolate. I made SMBC as well, and my personal preference is for the French Buttercream, it is just so yummy! Thanks for simplifying the process of making this buttercream.
Sep 06, 2012 · 6:22 PM
Preet, that’s so cool you tried both! I’m glad to hear you like this one, I think the flavor is a lot deeper compared to SMBC, such a good canvas for flavor. But sometimes the simple, clean flavor of the Swiss is nice too (especially for flavors like lemon or cranberry). Good luck in the monsoon!
Oct 03, 2012 · 9:28 AM
Hi Anaweb! You shouldn’t have any trouble making it with a hand mixer, just don’t get impatient; it’ll take a while. You have to whip the yolks until they are fully cooled before adding the butter, so it might get a little boring standing there and whipping, whipping, but hang tight!
Oct 24, 2012 · 11:03 PM
Hi Denis! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it. It’s a great change of pace from Swiss, I think.
Oct 28, 2012 · 1:43 AM
Hi Stella! Thanks for the wonderful recipe and video. I was wondering if the firmness of this buttercream is comparable to that of SMBC or if it’s a bit softer? -Xiaolu
· 6bittersweets · www.6bittersweets.com
Oct 28, 2012 · 10:57 AM
Hi Ann! Absolutely, the buttercream holds up fabulously in the freezer. To thaw, I like to leave it in the fridge overnight, then microwave in a few short bursts until it’s semi-soft throughout. If the mixture is roughly room temperature when you whip it, it will turn out nice and fluffy. If it seems curdled, don’t stress. Just scoop out about a cup of the buttercream and melt it completely. Then add it back into the curdled looking buttercream and rewhip, it should smooth out. If not, just keep melting little bits to add back in until it’s warmed the mixture enough to whip smoothly. Sounds complicated, but it’s just about warming the buttercream so it’s not too cold.
@xiaolu, hey girl! It’s totally comparable to Swiss in every way. The cream cheese version is, naturally, a little softer but with all butter they’re pretty much texture twins.
Nov 22, 2012 · 1:30 PM
I was planning to make a chocolate layer cake, but couldn’t make your Nouveau-German, because it had to be nut-free.
Do you, by the way, have a classic chocolate cake that you may be willing to share?
But I kept seeing the caramel buttercream and had to at least make that.
So I made a sour cream cocoa layer cake instead, and prepared your caramel sauce (can’t thank you enough!) for a Swiss buttercream variation. But then I started thinking that some folks in the crowd might find the Swiss too buttery, and that maybe I should switch to French.
Could you please tell me if there’s a way to make a caramel version of this one?
How much caramel sauce should I add?
And looking for other variations, is it possible to make a dark chocolate one? Do you know how much should be added?
Or if I wanted to use the white chocolate one, but had to leave out the cream cheese (some are adamant that cheese and dessert do not belong together), could I?
Sorry about taking so much space, and hope you may be able to help.
Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Nov 24, 2012 · 1:01 PM
Hi mics! Sorry for the delayed response! Oh yeah, the nouveau German chocolate is definitely a death trap for someone with a nut allergy.
All the variations listed under my Swiss buttercream recipe will work for the German and French recipes too. Swiss buttercream usually tastes its butteriest when in a simple form, like vanilla or almond. But once you start loading it with caramel or chocolate, then the butterieness instantly takes a back seat to those dominate flavors.
Really, adding caramel or chocolate is pretty subjective and you can pretty much just keep adding until you get the flavor you like. But use the ratios listed under the variations on the Swiss buttercream recipe as a starting point, if you like. I hope that answers your questions, let me know if I can help any more.
Nov 25, 2012 · 12:46 PM
Thank you, Stella!
I ended up doing just that. Hoping that with added chocolate, even the Swiss Buttercream won’t taste all that buttery, I made the milk chocolate variation. Now I can’t wait to try the dark! Thank you for sharing it. I really enjoyed the whole process of making it.
I decided to keep the caramel, so I have to try that one pretty soon too. And since I’m definitely in the cream cheese-dessert camp, I really want to taste the white chocolate-cream cheese variation, as well.
Too many frostings, and no cake. Is there a nut-free, no-fruit (difficult people!), basic cake you can recommend?
Thank you so much for replying!
Have a good week!
Nov 27, 2012 · 1:27 PM
With a capital T… You’re the best, Stella
I would have made this cake ages ago, if it weren’t for the, well, Bourbon… But anything over one or two tablespoons might be too much for some. Now, there’s trouble…
Is there any chance I can make it using all buttermilk, 17 ounces in total?
Thanks again, Stella, for all your help!
Nov 29, 2012 · 9:20 AM
Hi mics! Are you talking about the bourbon buttermilk layer cake? It’s really not very bourbon-y at all, believe it or not. By the time the bourbon is heated and then left to steep overnight, there’s significant evaporation. The end result is that you can’t just replace it with the same amount of buttermilk because that would be too much buttermilk. The real deal with the bourbon is that you’re making your own micro batch of vanilla extract, essentially. The bourbon is just a vehicle for the vanilla, and very little of its flavor winds up in the finished cake. You may taste it in the batter, but after baking and cooling, it’s all but gone. Hope that helps!
Dec 23, 2012 · 4:57 AM
Long time reader, first time poster. Your macaron recipe has inspired a new found passion in my kitchen! Quick question though, is the 150 degrees C or F? I’d assume F, because I live in ‘murica, but can’t assume everyone does. Happy holidays!
· Aimee · homemademacarons.tumblr.com
Dec 23, 2012 · 11:27 AM
Hi Aimee! Yes, I’m a ‘murincan too so you can count on Fahrenheit from me!
Jan 26, 2013 · 8:16 PM
Thanks for sharing, Stella. This is a lovely recipe. I just used it on a carrot cake. Any advice for how to avoid little lumps of cream cheese? It was very soft, but still left a few lumps, and I didn’t want to overwork the buttercream for fear it would become soupy.
Jan 28, 2013 · 9:34 AM
Hi Stanza! Cream cheese can often be soft even when it’s still cold, and that might have been the problem. It may just need more mixing; no need to fear overworking, I’ve never heard of that (or experienced) problem with buttercream.
In a future batch, you can beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth and creamy, then add that mixture to the custard base. It’s not a necessary step, but I’ve found it’s a good way to homogenize the ingredients if you’re new to the technique. Hope that helps!
Jan 30, 2013 · 1:31 PM
Do you have an opinion on the “custard” style French buttercream? 4 yolks, 1/3 to 2/3 cups sugar, 1/2 cup hot milk: stir constantly over direct heat till very thick, beat until cool, then add 2 sticks of butter and flavoring.
I like it because you thicken it over direct heat and it goes very quickly (I’m impatient and hate whipping eggs over a bain marie), you can make it very thick without using a lot of sugar and I find it has a more velvety mouth-feel. I have long preferred it to the yolks/whites and sugar syrup versions.
I’ve also found that you can make Pierre Hermé‘s justifiably famous lemon tart filling (which I use as a lemon butter cream) by heating the egg, sugar, and lemon juice mixture over direct heat as long as you stir vigorously and constantly. That beats whipping it for ten to fifteen minutes over steaming water to reach the required 180 degrees.
Jan 30, 2013 · 3:05 PM
Hi Candide! I haven’t tried the anglaise method, though a pastry chef friend of mine swears by it. I do something a little similar with German buttercream, which also uses cornstarch for thickening. Whether I’ve got a meringue over a bain marie or a cooked custard, I’m stirring at the stove so it feels pretty equivalent in terms of time and work (I crank the heat up on the bain marie). I’ll have to give the anglaise method a shot so I can compare them directly.
Apr 23, 2013 · 9:41 AM
In case no one has told you today….YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! Thanks for the recipes…and the cake/cookie/dessert delish love!
· jeaneve25 · www.flickr.com/photos/cakeitezy
Apr 23, 2013 · 9:11 PM
HI jeaneve25! Awww! Thanks so much, lady. Happy baking to you!
Jul 11, 2013 · 4:50 PM
Aw, yeah this is probably not the best job for the Littlest Helper. Hopefully you can bribe someone into babysitting by offering a slice of the finished cake!
Jul 18, 2013 · 6:35 PM
I made this buttercream a few days ago and I absolutely love it! I think I like it more than swiss buttercream, and that’s saying something. Anyway, I’m thinking of making a salted caramel version. Would it be alright to add some caramel sauce to the buttercream for this variation?
Jul 19, 2013 · 3:46 PM
Hi Jackie! Yes, you can absolutely whip in some caramel! If you’re making it from scratch, scale back on the cream to make a very thick caramel; that way you get more flavor ounce-for-ounce compared to a thin, creamier sauce. Just whip it in after you add the butter! Hope you love it!
Jul 19, 2013 · 9:20 PM
Hi! I love your blog and am a new follower. Tried the faux French buttercream. Somehow the sugar didn’t incorporate into the eggyolk mixture so much such that I can still taste the sugar beads. I did go up to 150f while cooking the yolks. Is their anyway to save this? The butter is already in. Thank you!
· Georgina · Www.georginna.com
Jul 21, 2013 · 6:30 PM
Hi Georgina! That is super weird, I have never heard of such a thing!! Just to make sure I’m on the same page for diagnostic purposes, did you use a scale to measure the ingredients? Also, plain granulated sugar? And whisking frequently while over the water bath?
Aside from those things, the only thing I can think of was that maybe your thermometer was off and it didn’t actually heat up as much as it needed to (although if it felt warm to the touch you should have been fine). The water content of the yolks is enough to dissolve the sugar on its own, even without heat, so I’m really confounded as to what might have caused such a problem. Let me know and we’ll go from there!
Sep 27, 2013 · 6:55 AM
I am very impressed after reading through parts of your blog. With your cooking skills I think you could be interested in this competition I have found. You cook your national dish and then you have the opportunity to win an iPad mini or money. It could also be a good chance for you to let more people know about your blog since you will be shown on their homepage and in a cookbook!
Here’s the presentation about the competition:
<a href=“http://www.slideshare.net/IngredientMatcher/competition-from-ingredient-matcher-cook-your-national-dish-25773568”>Competition: Win iPad or Money</a>
And here’s their facebook page:
<a href=“https://www.facebook.com/IngredientMatcher”>Facebook Page</a>
I hope you will be win..
· ashiqsmi · http://ttps24.blogspot.com
Nov 03, 2013 · 11:33 AM
I made the original version yesterday. Boy, my egg yolks must have been dark yellow as it definitely is yellow in color. But that isn’t important as it tastes wonderful! I’ll be using it as a filling for a cake.
· Miss Tori · mycakebytori.blogspot.com
Nov 05, 2013 · 10:11 AM
Hi Miss Tori! It sounds like you were using some top-notch eggs! It’s pretty crazy how much the color can vary depending on the eggs involved. So glad you like the flavor, though. Hurray!
Jan 06, 2014 · 5:42 AM
I think you should consider a putting a warning on this page, this stuff is dangerous!! I have done waaaaayy too much sneaking of the leftovers…(I made a half of this batch into eggnog buttercream to go in macarons for Christmas, and today I defrosted the other half and did the cream cheese version to top some lemon cupcakes. Both ways = amazing)
Jan 07, 2014 · 10:23 AM
Hi araikwao! Hahaha, yeah, I probably should. Especially with the eggnog variation!!! It’s like this buttercream’s ultimate destiny, flavors just meant to be together.
Feb 07, 2014 · 11:46 PM
This—and the German buttercream—are a real find. I’m one of those weirdos who really dislike the texture of Swiss or Italian buttercream (which is bizarre, because I adore butter), but want something more than the usual powdered-sugar frosting. I’ve made the German Buttercream a couple times, and love the stuff. Now I’ll have to try to this! Oh, darn…
Feb 08, 2014 · 12:13 PM
Hi trav45! Yeah, pure Swiss and Italian have such an extreme silkiness. Combined with the intensity of the butter flavor, I understand how they’re not for everyone. I think you’ll really like this! It’s got an even richer “vanilla ice cream flavor” than German Buttercream, but a little bit of a glossier texture. You’ll have to let me know how you like it!
Apr 18, 2014 · 3:01 PM
Hey Stella. Made a batch of this (spectacular chocolate and raspberry) and was wondering how to defrost it? I am making macarons tomorrow for Easter Sunday so I need to know.
I’m sure you’ve answered this bit just double checking. Could I simply leave it out to defrost? Thanks
Apr 21, 2014 · 1:59 PM
Hi Lys, ahh, I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to reply before now. I hope you were able to puzzle out a solution. I usually thaw it overnight in the fridge, then set it out for a few hours at room temperature and rewhip. Alternately, you can microwave it too, until about 2/3 of the block has been softened. From there, you can slowly mix until homogenous and then whip until fluffy.
Hi Lucky, that’s awesome news. So glad to help you balance out the white to yolk ratio in the fridge.
Jun 10, 2014 · 11:10 PM
I’ve just finished a batch of your foux french buttercream and froze for later use. I’ve made regular french buttercream before and it didin’t annoy me that much (I make marsmallows all the time) but your method certainly is easier! I loved it.
I wanted to ask about the creamcheese variation. I only buy chocolate in bulk and I’m not really a fan of white chocolate so I was wandering if it would work without it, and how much cream cheese I should add then (only 12oz? or a full 24oz? maybe add more butter to increase estability? would it mute the flavour? so many questions… ).
Also, do you think it would work to flavour the buttercream with strained yogurt (labneh), or is it too unstable? Too wet? I’ll try it out (I’ve been dreaming of labneh frosting for months) and report back, anyway, but I’d appreciate your thoughts on it – you’re so clever!
· Maria · Naturalcomo.wordpress.com
Jun 11, 2014 · 11:28 AM
It just occured to me that I also have swiss buttercream stached in my freezer. In you cream cheese variation for swiss you say to substitute butter for cream cheese – but I cant’t do that since the bcream already has the full amount.
If I’m only adding cream cheese to the bcream, which one do you reckon would taste better/have a better texture, swiss or french? I imagine the cream cheese flavour would come trough better in the swiss variation, but maybe the curtardyness (is that a word?) of french would complement the cream cheese and make a less buttery-tasting and an overall tastier frosting?
· Maria · Naturalcomo.wordpress.com
Jun 11, 2014 · 3:06 PM
Oh I think I didn’t submit my last comment!
The thing is I realized I also have swiss buttercream frozen and I was wandering if I should use it instead of french to make cream cheese frosting. The thing is in your cream cheese variation for swiss you instruct to substitute some of the butter for cream chee, but my buttercream already has the full amount of butter. Could I just add it on top? If so, which one would carry creamcheese flavour better? I imagine swiss would make for a brighter flavour, but maybe the extreme butteryness will get in the way? Does the custardyness of frech buttercream contribute to the cheeseness of the cream cheese flavour or does it get in its way?
Well, I think you understood my point. Thank you very much for the input!
· Maria · Naturalcomo.wordpress.com
Jun 12, 2014 · 10:42 AM
Hi Maria! With or without white chocolate, the buttercream can’t handle more than 50/50 split of butter/cream cheese. Without white chocolate it will be fine, but a bit looser. I definitely wouldn’t trust labneh in a buttercream like this, just too much liquid content. But I think it sounds fabulous, and it’s something you could probably get away with in the German buttercream (by say reducing the milk by 6 oz, then whipping in 6 oz of labneh at the end).
In the case of an already made buttercream, I think you could easily whip in some cream cheese on top. It will, of course, be more rich and less tangy this way, but a hit of lemon juice will go a long way in coaxing out the right level of tartness.
Jun 16, 2014 · 3:39 PM
Hi! Thank you so much for posting this cream! I’m making 220 macarons for my sister’s wedding using your recipe This is such a great solution for all the leftover yolks! I was wondering if I could add some Dulce de Leche to the buttercream for a caramel flavor? I’m pressed for time and won’t have a chance to make your caramel sauce and need a quick alternative.
Jul 02, 2014 · 8:24 PM
Hi! Thank you so much for posting this cream! I’m making 220 macarons for my sister’s wedding using your recipe This is such a great solution for all the leftover yolks! I was wondering if I could add some Dulce de Leche to the buttercream for a caramel flavor? I’m pressed for time and won’t have a chance to make your caramel sauce and need a quick alternative.
Jul 07, 2014 · 4:36 PM
Hi Anna! I think you could definitely add some dulce to the buttercream, though the flavor may not come through very strongly. One way to punch it up would be to make the buttercream with brown sugar instead of white. This would give it a deeper flavor to start, and help play up the dulce de leche's caramel-like qualities.
Jul 17, 2014 · 10:55 AM
Hi Kay! I’m afraid not, this recipe needs pure, granulated sugar to achieve the right texture and volume.
Jul 17, 2014 · 3:12 PM
Stella, I made your faux buttercream with cream cheese and white chocolate. I weighed the yolks and measured everything carefully. The taste was fabulous but the buttercream was too soft at room temperature. Wondering what I did wrong and what I can add (more chocolate perhaps?) to thicken it up. Your macaron recipe is absolutely the best.
Jul 17, 2014 · 10:45 PM
Hi Prisca! Quick question just to be clear: did you follow the cream cheese variation, or did you substitute all of the butter for cream cheese? In all likelyhood, the mixture was probably a little too warm. All you need to do is pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so and then rewhip (with the whisk attachment), and repeat as needed if it still seems soft.
Jul 19, 2014 · 10:28 PM
Stella, I followed the cream cheese variation exactly. I also froze the buttercream for a week, thawed it and then rewhipped it. I piped the buttercream and filled the macarons. As I said great taste but as soon as the filling warmed a bit it had the consistency of butter left on the counter too long. When you bit into the macaron the filling sort of squished out from in between the cookies. I thought that the filling should be a little thicker – have more “tooth.”! Everybody thought the macarons were wonderful but I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Thank you again for your website, your knowledge that you share with your readers is amazing.
Jul 28, 2014 · 9:21 PM
Hi Stella! So I’m planning on making this again after my great success last time. I am planning on splitting it up into three portions and flavoring each differently: cranberry, (with your cranberry ganache of course!), white chocolate raspberry, and pumpkin this say I’ll have perfect flavors for holiday baking since it freezes so beautifully. However, I was wondering how to make the pumpkin variation? Add maybe a cup of pumpkin purée (Libby’s Brand)? I was thinking it wouldn’t damage the structure much since the purée is so thick unlike other fruit purees but was unsure. Help!
Aug 01, 2014 · 1:49 PM
Hi Prisca! It sounds like perhaps the filling was too cold, even after thawing, which created something of a broken texture as it then continued to warm. In the future, just make sure to warm the buttercream until it’s fully room temperature rather than softened. It should be nice and creamy, without a watery or broken texture. That being said, this buttercream is definitely in the softer style of a European buttercream, as opposed to an American style powdered sugar buttercream. What you can do, however, is refrigerate the macarons after filling to help re-harden the buttercream. Hope that makes sense!
Hi Lys! I haven’t tried a pumpkin variation, but that sounds fantastic! Most pumpkin purees have been cooked to concentrate their flavor, so I’m hopeful that it will be a good texture for the buttercream. Just add it slowly, maybe an ounce or two at a time, and if you notice any breakage you might try counteracting it with a bit of extra butter (softened, of course). You’ll have to let me know how it turns out!
Sep 02, 2014 · 6:34 PM
My daughter’s birthday is coming up, and I have struggled over and over again with a chocolate frosting that isn’t gritty, grainy, overly sweet, and/or doesn’t melt off a cake in September in GA. I made a test run of your vanilla faux French Buttercream (did I see Swissified in a post up there somewhere? Brilliant!) and it was a hit. The cake needs CHOCOLATE frosting though, and I always have problems with ‘mini chips’ when I add melted chocolate to regular SMB. So, my question is, what are your thought on using cocoa powder instead? Would you just add it after adding all the butter? Or use some of the butter to ‘reconstitute’ it into chocolate? Or really just figure out how to add melted chocolate to frosting correctly?
Sep 12, 2014 · 10:42 AM
@Frankie, I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the Faux French buttercream! You know, part of the problem you’re having with chocolate frostings may be with the mini-chips. They’re very low in cocoa butter, which means they don’t melt well, and that can make them very difficult to use as a melted chocolate. They’re also very low in chocolate, maybe only 50% or so, so they’ll add more sweetness than flavor overall. If you try a dark chocolate in the 70% range, you’ll have much better success. Melt it in a few bursts in the microwave, then stir until creamy, add to the finished buttercream all at once, and immediately start whipping.
@Natalie, I’m so glad I could help demystify the buttercream for you! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Jan 01, 2015 · 4:23 PM
Stella, this is the most perfect butter cream I have ever made. Fluffy and delicious. After reading a few other recipes for French buttercream, I discovered that up to 1/2 cup liquid per pound of butter can be added, so I pureed some raspberries and champagne reduction and added it: heaven in butter cream.
· Andi · survivalofthetwentiest.wordpress.com
Apr 04, 2015 · 8:32 PM
Ok granted this is my first pastry chef quality buttercream but holy crap loads of butter! I thought for sure it had to be a typo but after reading all the comments I guess it’s correct. I had to add some powdered sugar to final product cause I felt like I was eating straight butter. I guess I’m just used to a simple frosting with powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla. Am I really the only one who thinks the amount of butter in this recipe is completely ridiculous?
Apr 26, 2015 · 9:15 PM
I made a batch of this buttercream last night, to go along with my first ever batch of Macarons. The buttercream is amazing! I split it in half, and did the white chocolate cream cheese version along with a strawberry version. I can’t believe how much I ate from the bowls! Absolutely divine…. it makes a TON, so just a suggestion to half or even quarter the recipe. I probably only used 10% of it for 40 macarons.
May 06, 2015 · 10:25 AM
I have tried using Italian buttercream for filling Macarons and find that they loose their body and become slippery and greasy when they sit at room temp. Does this work better than Italian buttercream in Macarons? Can I add things like seedless jams, curds etc. to give it specific flavor?
· Patty · www.PattyCakeandPetals.com