Not all buttercreams are created equal
Up until I developed a palate for particular foods, I never really noticed much difference between certain items. Unless the taste or texture was tremendously different, it all tasted pretty much the same to me. Now however, that has changed, whether for good or bad I am unsure. But I am now usually able to detect specific ingredients incorporated into the prepared goods I sample. Sometimes it is pretty cool, other times it can be annoying, but I guess that is just my cross to bear...pity right?
I am always amazed that of all cakes, treats, desserts, etc I make, my butter cream frosting consistently gets the most praise. I am usually shocked by this because I never used to be able to tell the difference between butter cream recipes. They all tasted the same to me and I thought were generally crafted the same way, butter, sugar, milk and maybe a splash of vanilla. But after I started baking and cooking everything from scratch for my family, I began to really disect what went into our meals and figure out how to enhance them to the fullest. Alas, the creation of my butter cream recipe emerged and stepped into the spot light.
One of the biggest downfalls for being an at home cook with a heart after my Italian great-grandma's, is that I rarely measure. I know, I know, blasphemy! How do I put up recipes without accurate measurements!?! Most times when I test a recipe for the first time, I will follow it to a T. After that I generally will adjust accordingly. However, I can gauge the measurements appropriately, therefore, giving you an accurate recipe. This butter cream recipe uses unusual quantities, which I believe is the reason it always comes out consistently delicious. I have had so many people ask me how I make it, usually they scratch their heads and ask me what in the world a butter emulsifier is. I have included a picture of that, so you can see the one I use. So without further ado, here is the sought after recipe!
- 2 cups (4 sticks) Unsalted Butter, slightly softened
- 1 bag Powdered Sugar
- 2 pinches Salt
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract, (not imitation)
- 3 teaspoons Butter Emulsifier or Butter Extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons Half and Half
- In a mixer bowl, put in the 4 sticks of softened butter. Start to beat with a paddle attachment, so that it begins to get nice and smooth.
- Once butter is smooth, start adding in powdered sugar. About 1/2 cup to a cup at a time. Do this slowly and carefully, if you do it all at once, it will get everywhere when you turn your mixer on. Gradually beating in the total amount of powdered sugar.
- Once the sugar is incorporated, add 2 pinches of salt. Keep beating and scraping down the sides.
- Turn the mixer off. Then add in the vanilla extract and butter emulsifier. Resume beating to medium-high speed, again scraping the sides down.
- Add the half and half. And continue beating on high until very fluffy.
* It is entirely possible that you will need less sugar/more milk or vice versa. It depends on your taste and sometimes even the area you live in. Altitude, humidity, dryness, etc, all play a huge factor in cooking and baking.
* The butter should be fairly soft, but not mush. I put the butter on the counter for maybe 20 minutes prior to using. If it is still a little too firm, I will hold the sticks (still wrapped) in my hands for a few minutes to soften.
*When adding food coloring to the frosting, I add it to the half and half and incorporate it in that way. Sometimes I will need to add extra color to the butter cream itself. Be sure to use gel paste coloring though as the liquid will change the consistency of the frosting. If that is all you have, then be mindful to subtract some liquid from the half and half to compensate for the extra food coloring liquid.
* I have cut this in recipe in half successfully before. Sometimes you just don't need to frost an entire cake. Or you can freeze the remaining butter cream, that is another option too.