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to expect my buttercream not to curdle

(83 Posts)
farewellfigure Thu 16-May-13 13:31:35

I'm trying to cut costs by using marj instead of ridiculously expensive butter, but the icing just turns to a wet curdled mess and looks utterly gross and unusable. My sister says she has never made butter icing with butter and always uses marj. Why won't it work? I've tried the soft stuff, and also the hard baking fat stuff, but both failed. Yuck. Any advice?

IsaacCox Thu 16-May-13 15:54:22

Holly Bell of Great British Bake Off fame, says that buttercream needs 3 ingredients: butter, icing sugar and air. She says to whisk it for 7 minutes with an electric whisk (she uses a KitchenAid). I do this all the time now and it is perfect, light and delicious.

piprabbit Thu 16-May-13 15:59:08

farewell - yes I think the hot water might be the problem. Try milk cold from the fridge instead.

SkinnybitchWannabe Thu 16-May-13 16:14:29

I use any marg, stork or shops own and it's always as good as 'bought' buttercream.
It doesn't have to be butter at all.

KobayashiMaru Thu 16-May-13 18:10:28

It does have to be butter, otherwise its not buttercream.It's margerine-cream, which is disgusting beyond words. If you can't afford butter for buttercream, use icing sugar instead. Anyone who doesn't think marg-cream is vile has no tastebuds.

Bunbaker Thu 16-May-13 18:31:11

A lot of misinformation on this thread:

1) Buttercream should be made from butter. The clue is in the name - unless you are dairy intolerant
2) Adding water to margarine will make it curdle
3) If you use an electric mixer and beat the buttercream for 5 minutes the extra air beaten into it will make it appear almost white
4) Margarine isn't significantly cheaper than butter if you shop carefully - I always use value butter and just buy whatever is cheapest

I have just checked butter and margarine prices. 250g of the cheapest butter is 99p, 250g of block Stork is 69p. For the amount you would need to ice 12 fairy buns (I'm not talking about those over-iced confections known as cupcakes with far too much icing BTW) or a 7" sandwich cake you would make a saving of approximately 10 - 15p. Is the sacrifice in taste worth 10 - 15p?

Bunbaker Thu 16-May-13 18:32:07

"I use any marg, stork or shops own and it's always as good as 'bought' buttercream. It doesn't have to be butter at all."

Bought buttercream is vile because it hasn't been near a cow.

sweetkitty Thu 16-May-13 18:59:47

Totally agree bunbaker grin

soverylucky Thu 16-May-13 19:12:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

soverylucky Thu 16-May-13 19:14:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bunbaker Thu 16-May-13 19:16:18

Butter isn't hugely more expensive than margarine if you buy value butter. Cake topping made with margarine is desperately disappointing.

KobayashiMaru Thu 16-May-13 19:20:25

It doesn't taste lovely if you use stork. Stork is revolting, and I'd be surreptiously be spitting your cake into a napkin. Sorry. I'm sure I'd tell you it was lovely though!

MrsMangoBiscuit Thu 16-May-13 19:24:56

Water won't mix with marg, so will curdle. I also wouldn't be suprised if using hot caused problems as the marg could well seperate as it melts.

If it had to be marg, I would either just use marg and icing sugar, or use a little bit of cold milk to loosen it if you must.

As far as buying butter goes, I just stock up with whatever is on offer and freeze it. I don't even use marg for sandwiches, can't stand the taste. sad

Sokmonsta Thu 16-May-13 19:25:47

I always used stork in a tub as that's what I grew up using. Cut up stork and put in with appropriate amount of icing sugar and vanilla and mix until creamed with a hand blender - mines a £5 job from Tesco. Tasted just fine and never had a problem with it curdling, just followed the quantities on the back of the icing sugar pack.

It's only recently I've converted to butter as I can get it cheap enough in places like heron foods and I'm using it straight away. Otherwise it sits in the fridge forever and a day.

Bunbaker Thu 16-May-13 19:27:25

"and I'd be surreptiously be spitting your cake into a napkin"

grin. I ended up nearly doing that at a school Christmas fair. I had taken a big bite of a beautifully decorated fairy cake and was horrified to find a mouth full of sweetened margarine shock

Sorry, but I am a purist.

As for shortbread not containing butter - don't even go there.

phantomnamechanger Thu 16-May-13 19:36:50

I make margecream because have dairy intolerant child and DH
I use slightly higher ratio of sugar to fat, so its not too soft/runny - and my technique....use a potato masher

how do all you who use electric mixer avoid the clouds of choking icing sugar that go everywhere?

Bunbaker Thu 16-May-13 19:40:33

My food mixer has a lid to prevent this. If I were you I would start mixing slowly by hand, adding the icing sugar slowly and when it is all incorporated you can use the mixer to get the light fluffiness effect.

I also have a spatter guard. Ignore the customer review as I thought it was brilliant. The reviewer must have been rather inept.

AnneEyhtMeyer Thu 16-May-13 19:45:21

I very rarely eat cakes outside of the home because I have found many people seem to think margarine is a butter substitute.

I think some people are brought up with margarine and so to them it is normal, but it is vile if you know what you should be tasting.

I look at butter prices every time I go to the shops and buy when I see a good deal. I never pay more than a pound per 250g. My freezer currently has a pile of packs of Lurpak as a few weeks ago Tesco had 2 packs for £2.

Butter is not significantly more expensive than margarine and it is vastly superior in taste.

Katnisscupcake Thu 16-May-13 19:48:31

Don't knock trex until you've tried it...

I have attended a cake course with an award winning cake maker/decorator who uses trex in her buttercream. It tastes really lovely and is better for you than using butter. Plus you can colour it easier because it is white and also adding flavour for it is easier because you don't get the buttery taste.

Having said all that, I still use butter because I am not fussed about buttercream anyway and tend to eat my cakes before I decorate them...

phantomnamechanger Thu 16-May-13 19:53:31

thanks for replying bunbaker smile

farewellfigure Thu 16-May-13 20:02:23

OK I'm going to try marj without adding any water. Wish me luck. I'm making up to 3 kilos of it a week which is why it's working out so expensive (various cake making commitments!). 2 kilos of butter = £8 whereas a 2 kilos of marj = £2! I will make a little bit to try first though and if it tastes gross I'll have to go back to butter. Can't have people spitting into napkins. Yuck!

farewellfigure Thu 16-May-13 20:02:44

I might try trex as well! Oh the horror!

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Thu 16-May-13 20:03:04

Wow, I can't believe how cheap butter is in the UK...! shock

It is usually around $5 (c £2.50) for 500g here, sometime $6 (£3)-$7 (£3.50).

I beat my butter (sometimes with a bit of creamcheese added, depending on the cake) until it is soft and pale, and then gradually add the icing suar. Milk - if needed at all - to loosen. It is definitely all in the beating.

Just no to margarine. For the difference in price, it has to be butter. And think of us in the Colonies, paying way over your odds for butter - hopefully that will make you feel a bit better.

Forgetfulmog Thu 16-May-13 20:04:54

Phantom - you can also drape a tea-towel over the mixer to contain the clouds of icing sugar

phantomnamechanger Thu 16-May-13 20:11:53

yeah, we do the draping tea towel - following The Major Cloud Of Icing Sugar Incident grin

Bunbaker Thu 16-May-13 20:39:38

2 kilos of margarine for £2! What kind of marge is it?

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