It’s all about the Buttercream

Our Chocolate Perfection cupcake, a chocolate cupcake filled with raspberry mouse, topped with buttercream frosting, dipped in chocolate ganache, and sprinkled with sea salt.

Our Chocolate Perfection cupcake, a chocolate cupcake filled with raspberry mouse, topped with buttercream frosting, dipped in chocolate ganache, and sprinkled with sea salt.

The 1600s was a time of innovation and creativity. Isaac Newton began his experiments with gravity. Both Boston & New York City were founded. And the frosted cake was invented in France by a chef who also introduced the first frosted, multi-layered cake. The first documented record of frosting appears around 1655, and included eggs, sugar, and rosewater. A new trend emerged about one hundred years later, the frosted wedding cake!

While frostings have existed for well over 350 years, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Buttercream made it’s first appearance.  In the culinary world, it’s a relatively new entrant at only 60 years old, and the recipe for our beloved version of Buttercream has been around over 30 years! Those that have visited our Shoppe know that The Bake Shoppe Buttercream is different, and amazing. Not all frostings or buttercreams are created equal and understanding what makes ours unique requires a little bit of explanation about the different types of frostings out there.

First let’s discuss the difference between sweet frostings and buttercream. The difference between the two can be inferred from the name. To be a buttercream, the recipe needs to include butter! Sweet frosting is a very low-cost way to top a cake and is typically what you will find at your local grocery store bakery, or in a Betty Crocker at home baking container. Rather than butter, sweet frostings are made with shortening, or solid fat that is made from vegetable oils like soybean or cottonseed oil. Because shortening lacks taste, these frostings often need to be reinforced with artificial flavorings or additives. And the texture of sweet frosting tends to be a bit gritty. If you grew up eating box-mix cakes with pre-made frostings, you’ve probably had lots of sweet frosting!

Buttercream is much more popular among our customers. There are four common types of buttercream: American buttercream, Swiss buttercream, Italian Buttercream, and French Buttercream. American buttercream is your made-it-at-home style, because quite simply it’s the easiest frosting ever to make. You simply combine the main ingredients (butter, sugar, milk, vanilla), refrigerate, and you’re done! Swiss buttercream is a meringue-style buttercream, meaning it contains whipped egg whites. Swiss buttercream involves cooking the egg whites and sugar together, whipping them into a meringue, and then beating in the butter. The result is a smooth, silky buttercream that can be spread smooth on cakes and can also be used in pipe decorations.

The third type of buttercream, and the style from which our recipe is derived, is Italian buttercream. Italian buttercream is the most complex recipe to make because it involves whipping the egg whites at room temperature, and then pouring the hot sugary mixture into the egg whites to cook them, and then beating in the butter and other ingredients. While the change is subtle, its important because the result is a buttercream that is the richest, smoothest, and most stable of the buttercreams. And if you want to turn an Italian buttercream into a French one, simply use the whole egg rather than egg whites only.  

Italian buttercreams like the one we make from scratch here at The Bake Shoppe at Country Table is the style most typically used for wedding cakes, but we proudly use our trade-secret version of Italian buttercream for everything from the simplest of our cupcakes to the most extravagant of celebration cakes. If you are in the mood for a delicious, silky, not-too-sweet frosting paired with a deliciously moist cake, stop by our Shoppe in Mount Joy, PA. We would love the opportunity to serve you!

Jessica Daly