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Great Mother of Buttercream Frosting!

Dawn Mayo

Buttercream frosting brings memories of birthday parties, cake smothered in thick layers of yummy, creamy, sugary frosting made with creamed butter and lots of sugar. I think it has to be the best part of the birthday party, besides the gifts. Frosting, in general, when made in a buttercreamy fashion is quite a celebratory treat. You may even come to expect it or some other type of frosting to be a part of many American celebrations from simple birthday gatherings to large family reunions. Yet, as many times as I order a birthday cake from a bakery, or I follow a "best of the best" recipe for this creamy butter style frosting, it's hard to find a really good one that's creamy and not too sweet.

 

So what do you do when you get a really nice looking cupcake that's so cute that you have to think twice about biting into it, but when you finally do, the frosting makes you wish you hadn't? You just end up taking the rest off and throwing it away. What a waste! My question, is there somebody has come up with a buttercream frosting that's just the right amount of sweet, so the rest of us can enjoy our cupcakes?

Good news. I think I've found the recipe for the mother of buttercream frostings. My daughter and I made this frosting after I posted our buttercream candle on our Facebook page. It really made me hungry for a yellow cupcake with buttercream frosting, so I asked our fans where I could get a cupcake made with a frosting that wasn't extra sweet. Since nobody knew, I decided to start doing some research and experimenting, and I believe I've hit the jackpot! 

Making buttercream frosting isn't really rocket science (although it is more molecular science). I mean, really, everyone's done it from Wilton to Martha. But this, particular frosting, is a bit more than poofing out some confectioners sugar. It's a combination of both method and ingredients that makes this frosting so good. I'm not just hyping this up. This recipe is for the buttercream lover who doesn't want that crazy sweet sugar taste in their mouth when they bite into a cupcake. It's real buttery buttercream flavor. It's actually a classic recipe, and there's nothing wrong with going back to the classics. 

Now, I have to warn you that this frosting is not your quick whip it up recipe with your room temp butter and confectioner's sugar. This one's going to take a little heart, but I'm thinking that maybe that's just the nature of something good, it takes time. 

The entire process took us about 30 minutes in actual preparation time and another hour of idle time. So, if you're looking to make this rather quickly, as I said before, this is definitely not your recipe. On the other hand, if you're a bit like me, and you're looking for the perfect buttercream frosting, you'll love this one that I found in my Joy cookbook.

(Side note - Joy is my go-to cookbook for so many things, that I've actually gone through several, and currently own two, one of which is taped together because I refuse to get rid of it.)

The general gist of the recipe is to combine sugar, cream of tartar and water in a bowl, like we did here.

You heat this mixture to a soft ball stage. Then you put the eggs into a separate (metal) bowl to whip them using a double boiler method, after which the candy liquid (sugar mixture) is slowly poured into the eggs.

 

Then your muscles come in (unless you cheat and use an electric mixer). You'll whip it and whip it until you get a thick mixture. It may need to be refrigerated for a bit (ours was refrigerated for about an hour) so that it will thicken up more. Here's what I ended up with.

This is one amazing frosting, well worth the extra effort. If you're interested in trying this for yourself, try this recipe or grab The Joy of Cooking on Amazon.

 

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