"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > Recipes & Ingredients > Desserts, Sweets & Cookies & Candy
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-04-2012, 07:54 PM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1

I'm hoping someone can help me understand what I've done wrong!

My favourite recipe for buttercream contains egg white, sugar, unsealed butter and vanilla. I have made this recipe over and over again without fail until just recently. The directions say so whisk the egg whites and sugar over boiling water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm to the touch this is when I transfer the mixture to my mixer and whip it into glossy peaks. At this point, the last 3 times, I can already tell its wrong. The meringue doesn't fluff up like it used to. It does keep its form but it doesn't whip up and make the amount it usually does. Then I add the butter and it becomes sloppy. Usually this recipe make more then enough icing to cover 18 cupcakes but when it goes wrong it barely covers 12.

What is wrong?? If I can already tell in the beginning stages then it must be my eggs? The egg/sugar mixture is too warm? Am I mixing it too high?? Please help!

Thanks in advance


Jhouze is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2012, 08:10 PM   #2
Chef Extraordinaire
Addie's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: East Boston, MA
Posts: 18,778
How old are your eggs? The shells are porous and lose liquid from the egg whites while they are just sitting there in your fridge. That alone will alter your recipe. Are you using the same size eggs every time? Are you timeing the amount of time it sits over the water? Is the water touching the bottom of the bowl while you are stiring it? Is the water too hot? Are you allowing the mixture to get too warm?

It would help if you prints the recipe so we can take a look at it.

Illegitimi non carborundum!
I don't want my last words to be, "I wish I had spent more time doing housework"
Addie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2012, 10:15 PM   #3
Head Chef
GLC's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Near Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,216
If nothing in the recipe has changed, perhaps it's something outside the ingredients. One problem can be any trace of oil or fat on any tool or the bowl. This could be from having recently relocated bowl or beater storage to an area where it gets spatter fallout from the range. Or someone washing them poorly. The oil problem is a sensitive as the problem of getting yolk in with the whites. It only takes a trace. Plastic bowls are the worst for retaining oil. Also consider a tiny oil seal leak in a mixer shaft. Be suspicious of changes in dishwashing liquid or dishwasher products and dishwasher functioning. Especially if mixer bowls are washed with greasy cookware. If there's any suspician, specially hand wash everything right before attempting the meringue.
"Kitchen duty is awarded only to those of manifest excellence..." - The Master, Dogen
GLC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2012, 05:54 AM   #4
Executive Chef
Hoot's Avatar
Site Moderator
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: The edge of the Great Dismal Swamp
Posts: 3,307
Welcome to D.C.
Addie and GLC make very valid points. I reckon unsealed butter is the same as unsalted butter. Is it the same brand you always use? Some economy brands might have another oil blended in. Just a thought.
I used to be a racist, but I don't have much interest in it since Dale Earnhardt got killed.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement.
Hoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-05-2012, 01:03 PM   #5
Chef Extraordinaire
Addie's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: East Boston, MA
Posts: 18,778
Hoot, sometimes we get so familiar with a recipe that we have made over and over with success that we tend to take little shortcuts. And then disaster strikes. The recipe doesn't work. Unlike a stalk of celery, eggs are delicate and you can't take them for granted. And like GLC has stated, even just a very light coating of grease or oil on any of the instruments used, can changed everything.

If your recipe call for three eggs and they have been sitting in the fridge for more than a week, they have lost a lot of their water in the whites through evaporation through the shells. That's why you find a bigger space at the top of the egg than you do with a fresh egg. Even storing them improperly with the pointed side up can make a difference.
Illegitimi non carborundum!
I don't want my last words to be, "I wish I had spent more time doing housework"
Addie is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:08 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.