With just two simple ingredients buttercream should be the easiest icing to make, but it can be really tricky to get a deliciously light and fluffy buttercream and is consequently another frequently asked question by class attendees.
By following this recipe and few simple tips your days of heavy stodgy buttercream will be no more.
Unsalted butter – 250g
Icing Sugar – 500g
Please do not be tempted to ever use any alternative to butter for your buttercream. The texture and above all the flavour of spreads will not give you anything like the delicious icing that we all love so much. The clue is in the title – BUTTERcream!! I always use French butter as it is much paler than our traditional English butters and so produces a light cream coloured buttercream. But any real butter will do. The ESSENTIAL tip is to soften the butter in the microwave on defrost, stirring occasionally until you have really super soft butter that a (clean!) finger can effortlessly glide through, but it is not runny and melted. Room temperature butter is just not soft enough, unless you live in the tropics. This is where buttercream can go wrong, as slightly hard butter will produce a dense heavy buttercream that will be difficult to pipe and will pull chunks of cake off as you crumb coat a sponge. Put the soft butter into your mixer bowl with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on the lowest speed gradually add the icing sugar a little at a time. A mixer guard, wet tea towel, cling film or shower cap wrapped around the mixer are all helpful at this stage so you are not lost in an icing sugar cloud!
Once all the icing sugar has been absorbed by the butter, turn the mixer up to the maximum speed and whip like crazy until you have the most perfectly light and delicious buttercream. The longer you mix the lighter the buttercream, in both texture and colour. Any flavouring can be added and thoroughly mixed in to suit your taste.
The result is such a deliciously light buttercream that it is often mistaken for whipped cream. It is so temptingly lovely that there’s almost no need for cake, just a bowl and a preferably large spoon.