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Why is my buttercream gritty?

(21 Posts)
marchez Tue 08-Oct-19 17:03:53

Started baking recently, cakes come out brilliantly but I'm really struggling with the buttercream.

I have tried no end of different recipes, and all turn out with a gritty texture.

I have used different butters, different ratios of butter to shortening, different icing sugars and they all feel like they have sand in.

I have even followed a recipe where the sugar is dissolved first then added, all the comments say how smooth it is yet mine feels grainy!

Ive used a stand mixer and a hand mixer, and i cannot get silky smooth buttercream.

Any ideas?

Perch Tue 08-Oct-19 17:05:31

Do you sieve your icing sugar?

SleepyKat Tue 08-Oct-19 17:06:34

How long are you mixing for? Have you tried mixing with just a wooden spoon? I just use a spoon and have smooth icing.

NeedAnExpert Tue 08-Oct-19 17:07:07

I find cheaper icing sugar does that due to the anti-caking agents they contain.

I buy squires kitchen icing sugar now (about £4 a kilo) and my icing is perfectly smooth.

lekkerkroketje Tue 08-Oct-19 17:07:32

A splash of milk at the end and a last whizz with the mixer always seems to sort the grittiness for me

WinkysTeatowel Tue 08-Oct-19 17:07:35

I’d agree, sieving the icing sugar is essential.

ChickenyChick Tue 08-Oct-19 17:07:51

Whip the butter first, until soft and fluffy, almost like whipped cream.

Then add sieved icing sugar, mix gently, add maybe 2 teaspoons of milk

Use about twice as much sugar as butter

marchez Tue 08-Oct-19 17:53:00

I sieve the sugar, i whip the butter then add the sugar gradually, whipping in between each addition.

I have seen advice to stop as soon as the ingredients are combined, and also advice to whip the bejesus out if it, which i have done both.

I have made smooth buttercream today, but I replaced the the sugar with condensed milk, think this is called Russian buttercream. It's nice and not overly sweet, but still doesnt solve the mystery as to why I cannot achieve this simple task

Greenvalleymama Tue 08-Oct-19 19:38:10

No idea, but our local tea shop sells beautiful cakes with gritty icing inside ☹️ I wish they would sort it out.

MustardScreams Tue 08-Oct-19 19:47:04

You need icing sugar that uses tapioca flour rather than cornstarch as the anti caking agent. Cornstarch is what causes the grittiness. You can whip until the end of time, but you need to heat cornstarch to 90+ degrees to get it to dissolve.

MustardScreams Tue 08-Oct-19 19:48:39

Ex Michelin chef here, my old pastry chef made the most stunning buttercream and I asked him the secret.

Kerning Tue 08-Oct-19 20:03:13

There was a bit of a fuss when Tate and Lyle changed the formulation of its icing sugar:

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/aug/10/switch-in-sugar-ingredients-provokes-cake-decorators-wrath

Have you tried a meringue buttercream? A lot more effort but silky smooth.

QuimReaper Tue 08-Oct-19 20:05:50

How funny, this has never happened to me; what exactly is your recipe?

marchez Tue 08-Oct-19 20:10:16

Thank you, the thing I dont get is my girlfriend uses the same icing sugar, just the Sainsburys own brand and she doesnt get the same result as I do. I follow her method as well.

The thing about heating, I did a method where the icing sugar was dissolved, using boiling water so that would have been over 90 degrees.

I have seen some icing sugar that uses Tricalcium Phosphate, such as Sainsburys own brand, but they only have one type of fondant icing sugar that uses something different, but not sure if that can be used.

MustardScreams Tue 08-Oct-19 20:30:31

You can make your own icing sugar in a blender on high speed with arrowroot or tapioca flour. Takes about 30 seconds.

I often do this with coconut sugar to make really delicious buttercream, or use demerera for brown sugar frosting. Really good!

marchez Tue 08-Oct-19 20:44:54

How funny, this has never happened to me; what exactly is your recipe?

I've followed loads of different recipes, I've done all butter, half butter half trex, ive dissolved the icing sugar, ive sieved it, I think i've tried every single recipe of normal buttercream there is.

Even used Mich Turners, weighing the ingredients to the gram and still had the problem.

The only time it's not happened, is when I used condensed milk earlier today instead of sugar. But that makes is too expensive to use a tin of that every time

Falafel19 Thu 10-Oct-19 16:07:11

Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

yearinyearout Thu 10-Oct-19 16:09:18

I use sieved Tate and Lyle icing sugar and never have any issues.

QuimReaper Fri 11-Oct-19 08:28:35

Can I just say, this thread is on my TiO right under the "best twin names" thread and in my morning brain fog I skimmed past them both and thought yearin's post was saying she'd met twins called Tate and Lyle! I quite like that grin

yearinyearout Fri 11-Oct-19 10:17:21

Haha very American twins!

BrightYellowDaffodil Sun 13-Oct-19 17:06:51

If you can, listen to one of the recent episodes of the Kitchen Cabinet on Radio 4 - it should be on their website or on the Sounds app. Someone asked this very question but I can't remember what the recommendations were smile

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