Icing, frosting, buttercream…which is it?! I grew up calling the sweet deliciousness my Mom made by combining butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and a few tablespoons of cream or milk, icing. My brother and I used to each get one of the beaters to lick once the Sunbeam Mixmaster had come to a stop.
In the U.S. I believe they refer to it as frosting, whether you make it at home or open a can off the grocery shelf.
If you were to talk to a pastry chef they would, most likely, screw their face up at what we like to top off our cakes and cupcakes with and whip out the egg whites and show us how to make buttercream. Swiss, Italian or French buttercream, they vary slightly, but taste like heaven whether eaten directly off the spoon or with a bite of cake.
Truthfully, I love it all. True buttercream is just that…lots of butter whipped into cooled egg whites and sugar. Add in some vanilla, fruit puree or flavourings and your buttercream varieties are endless. Butter is key so if you are not a butter lover you’d better stick with frosting from a can.
AND, what’s not to like about the slightly sweeter homemade icing my Mom made. I still whip that up and haven’t received any complaints on it to date.
I recently made some white chocolate cupcakes and topped them off with a White Chocolate Buttercream. Any leftovers of this soft, billowy icing can be wrapped well (like a Rubbermaid Foodsaver or Tupperware) and kept in the fridge for a week or so or even frozen for future use. Just bring to room temperature before using and give it another whip with your mixer. If just craving a sugar hit, well, I’m sure you know to grab the largest spoon you can find and dig in!!
This method is slightly different from most Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipes since your not whipping the hot sugar and eggs to make a meringue first. I followed the method described in thecakeblog.com by Summer Stone and will definitely be doing my buttercream this way again. Thank you thecakeblog.com!
White Chocolate Buttercream
6 oz good quality white chocolate, chopped into 1-inch or smaller pieces
4 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla paste
Heat egg whites and sugar together in double boiler being careful to whisk mixture to keep eggs from cooking. Bring egg mixture up to 160F to ensure sugar is dissolved and to kill off bacteria. Add in the tablespoon of corn syrup and mix.
Now pour egg white/sugar mixture into a heat proof bowl and put in freezer for 20-30 minutes to cool it down to about 45-60F.
Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler or in a microwave on low until melted and stir until smooth. Let cool.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter on high until light and fluffy. Scrap the bowl and beaters and beat for another minute. Add in the cooled syrup slowly and beat well on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla paste and the cooled chocolate and beat well.
If desired add in a few drops of food colouring. Now go ahead and swirl or spread onto your most recently baked cake or cupcakes or fill some macaroons. Mmmm Mmmmm Yum!