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Old 05-30-2006, 11:00 PM   #1
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Will buttercream frosting last?

Hi, I need to make a birthday cake and plan to use buttercream frosting. I'm not sure if it will withstand heat though. The cake will be taken on a picnic and be out for about 3 hours. Will the frosting melt? Or any designs I put in not show up? I planned on using buttercream frosting as a base and add little royal icing decorations to it.

Thanks!

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Old 05-31-2006, 06:01 AM   #2
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Either type of buttercream - the traditional French or Italian, or the 'modern' buttercream made with powdered sugar - won't stand up to heat very well. I'd use a cream cheese frosting, or 7-minute frosting, or this, which stands up pretty well, even tho it's got butter in it:

FRENCH CREAM FROSTING
In small saucepan, make a paste of 2T flour and cup milk; whisk together to keep smooth over low heat, bring to a boil, and cook til thick, 2-3 minutes keep whisking!. Cool to almost room temp..

In a bowl, cream 4 minutes - cup crisco, cup butter, cup sugar.
Add 1 tsp. vanilla, and the flour mixture and beat another 4 minutes. You cannot cream this enough!! The more you do, the better the frosting!

Makes about 2 cups

For chocolate, add 1/3 cup cocoa to the crisco/butter sugar mix.

This recipe doubles and triples beautifully.

Or - another thought - do you have a cooler big enough to keep the cake in, that you could pack some ice around?

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Old 05-31-2006, 10:35 AM   #3
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Thanks Marm, not sure if we will have the cooler space. I'll use this recipe as a backup! :-)
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:00 AM   #4
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Wait!

I'm sorry, but I don't agree with the advice you've gotten thus far!

If you can't guarantee that this cake will be kept adequately cool until just about serving time, you don't want to prepare any icing (or filling) with butter, or eggs, or milk, or cream cheese. You're risking melting at least and food poisoning at most.

If you must have the cake outside in the summer heat, the only icing you can safely count on is rolled fondant. If you've never made it, now's not the time to start perhaps. You can buy Wilton's ready-made which is pretty palatable and very easy to work with.

Another BIG error above (one I learned the hard way): you cannot let anything made of royal icing come in contact with anything greasy! The royal icing will disintegrate and seep into your icing.

Royal icing can and should be used on rolled fondant, however, so that's another reason why perhaps you'd want to head in that direction.

Let me know if you need any more help on this -- I'm pretty experienced with all of the above.
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:50 AM   #5
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Here's a photo of my attempt (on my 12-year-old's birthday cake) using royal icing on buttercream.

Note how the colored areas (which were piped with nice definition -- stars, I think) have just disintegrated into colored soup?

Don't make this mistake!!
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Old 06-01-2006, 07:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayrton
Wait!

I'm sorry, but I don't agree with the advice you've gotten thus far!

If you can't guarantee that this cake will be kept adequately cool until just about serving time, you don't want to prepare any icing (or filling) with butter, or eggs, or milk, or cream cheese. You're risking melting at least and food poisoning at most.

If you must have the cake outside in the summer heat, the only icing you can safely count on is rolled fondant. If you've never made it, now's not the time to start perhaps. You can buy Wilton's ready-made which is pretty palatable and very easy to work with.

.
Ayrton - I appreciate your suggestions; however, I've catered for years and years, and the cooked French frosting I posted above works just fine; doesn't melt; there's a miniscule amount of butter in it, and the milk has been 'cooked'. I understand your concerns about melting and food safety, and I assure you this is an okay recipe.


HTC - Just thought of another idea - make your frosting, and keep it in a container cooled at the picnic - frost at the last minute!
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Old 06-01-2006, 02:38 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. I never thought of frosting at the park. I might be able to swing that since I will be the one setting up while the kids swim. But not sure if little bugs will land on the frosting. It takes me a long time to frost (not very good at it).

As for fondant. I am sure I won't use it. I don't know if the stuff you make at home tastes better than the store bought wilton stuff, but man, I don't like the taste of fondant at all! The cakes LOOK beautiful, but the taste doesn't appeal to me.

My non-cake backups would be a large chocolate chip cookie (like the sell at the mall) or else brownies. Even if I don't use my royal icing decorations, I think I am going to try my hand at making some. I've always wanted to. Hopefully I won't make too much of a mess!
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:59 PM   #8
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Make it easy for yourself..take a can or two of frosting and do the cake when you need it...
Marge
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:14 PM   #9
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re fondant icing, made at home it is MUCH nicer, incomperable really to shop bought. I pour it over genoise sponge cakes and that way I get an opaque and flawless but thin, thin coating of beautiful icing. The combination is also a great cake for summer/picnics because it looks beautiful but is very hardy, lol, and the fat in the genoise keeps it moist and delicious on a hot day, even when you go back for a cheeky slice much later when a normal cake might have cone a bit crusty, Otherwise I would ice it there, the recipient will think you are amazingly resourceful and clever....
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Old 06-02-2006, 02:06 AM   #10
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Hi Marmalady (and HTC, of course) --

I will happily bow to your experience if you've made that icing and it withstood heat without the guests landing in the hospital later ;-). My caution was intended very generally in any event although I still stand that one must err on the cautious side when preparing food for hot weather eating (I've had salmonella in my system -- six months of misery and I tend to look at anything cross-eyed since then to see if just shouts "SALMONELLA!". I'm sure this is a case of "once burned, twice shy"!)

As for the cream cheese idea, I still don't recommend it, for melting at least. I'm writing from a place with pretty hot summers (Greece) and it sure doesn't hold up here. Of course proportions matter greatly, but I still wouldn't vote that as No. 1.

And I hold to my claim that any amount of grease will interfere with royal icing. Feel free to try, but I've regretted it.

Lulu, poured fondant is different from rolled fondant. It's georgous, but it's a different animal. HTC, don't misunderstand me: I agree with you 100% about the taste of fondant although home-made is pretty inoffensive (some people actually like fondant), however, I still think it's unbeatable for keeping something fresh, especially in heat. And again, for decorating on, it's a beautiful 'blank canvas'.

The way I've come to think about it (because I really do have to use it) is more as a 'box' for the cake ... or a 'wrapping' -- i.e., something you strip off after you admire it, and toss it to the side. That helps ME deal with the quandry of serving a cake you've gone out of your way to make delicious covered in something you find bordering on repulsive...

Anyways, that's neither here nor there since you probably won't use fondant and will go with the (very good indeed) suggestion of icing at picnic. Either way, good luck and happy picnicing!
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