In seeking out a “classic” buttercream with which to frost my chocolate cake (my post on the Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake will be coming later), I figured there was no better place than The Cake Bible – I might as well test two recipes at once! Unfortunately, this is not a buttercream recipe I can see myself whipping up ever again.
When I found the “Classic Buttercream” recipe in The Cake Bible, I was surprised to see an ingredient list I was completely unfamiliar with. Thanks to Wilton’s 7 Types of Buttercream Frosting list, I have learned that the recipe Rose Levy Beranbaum included in her recipe book is a French Buttercream: made with egg yolks, a sugar syrup, and unsalted butter (extract or liqueur optional). Definitely a few degrees away from American Buttercream (which I’m most familiar with) and Meringue Buttercreams.
Since I am far more familiar with a buttercream recipe requiring a combination of unsalted butter, confectioner’s sugar, and heavy cream—a combination that can be simply mixed together—having to make a sugar syrup (bringing a mixture of granulated sugar and water to boil and then to 238°F/soft-ball stage) was much more time-consuming than I’m used to. And based on my end result, this process (and thus, the entire recipe) seems too volatile and takes too much time to be worth it.
This ultimate buttercream is so silky smooth, creamy, and buttery, it complements just about any cake.
I should have paid more attention to “buttery” in this introductory sentence for the Classic Buttercream, because this frosting tastes just like sweet butter. I’m not sure if more mixing would have reduced this, but even adding in almost 3 teaspoons of coconut extract couldn’t get me past the butter taste—in every taste test I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was just eating room temperature butter. Additionally, the color ended up being more yellow than I wanted, especially for a chocolate cake, and was the sour cherry on the melted ice cream sundae of this entire experience.