In the future, how to prevent chocolate frosting splitting?

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BAPyessir6

Senior Cook
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The recipe I used is as follows:

1 cup butter (taken out of the fridge, heated in the microwave for 2 seconds bursts on power 5 to soft consistency, none melted, seemed okay)
1 lb powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (bloomed in about 1 tbsp boiling cream and cooled)
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, mixed with 1/3 cup cream, melted together, and cooled
1/2 cup cream (cold)

I beat the butter 2 minutes, added sugar slowly, beat 2 minutes, added chocolate and cocoa, beat 1 minute, then finished with cream to final consistency. When I looked at the frosting, it seemed to have an almost curdled consistency. It hasn't split fully, tastes/texture is fine, but it looks a bit unsightly. How can I improve this in the future? Was my butter possibly too soft or too cold, or was my cream too cold? Was it a bad idea to soften my butter the way I did, and I ruined the buttercream prematurely using this method?
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I don't know. But, I recognize that texture from having that happen. I vaguely remember it happening when adding a cold egg to whatever it was I was making, probably a cake because I remember I added the cold egg to room temperature butter, beaten with sugar. If it happened to me, I would let it come completely to room temperature and beat it some more to see if that fixes it.
 
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I've done something similar and it was with chocolate also. But I don't remember what I did! I do remember at the time that I knew what I had done wrong.
So sorry I can't help but just know you are not alone in your predicament.

It is possible it was softening the butter that way. Next time just take it out of the fridge sooner to reach romm temp on its own. Plus the cream at the end - maybe room temperature for that as well.
 
yeah, thinking about it, I really think it was the cold cream. My thing happened with a cold egg. I have never used a mixer to cream butter with sugar, that's why I know the butter was room temperature, when similar looking graininess happened to me. Butter that is cold is just too difficult to cream by hand with sugar. I don't think I have ever used cream or milk when making a buttercream frosting. I made it for years without know its name. I just watched my mum eyeball the amounts of the ingredients and did the same.
 
I've made cakes (including for weddings) for years.

I think that your problem could be softening the butter in the microwave. I leave mine on the counter for about an hour (depending on time of year). The microwave can break it down. Also, when working with chocolate, temperature can be key. I would make sure your cream (both melting with the chocolate and adding after) is not too cold. Chocolate frosting can be a lot more finicky than vanilla.

The Hershey recipe looks good.

Hope that helps.
 
Interesting. Buttercream in the UK contains no cream - just butter, sugar, and whatever flavouring is required. (So Aunt Bea's recipe would match what I would do.) Never had any issue with the "splitting". So I suspect that the cold cream could be the "villain" here.

Personally I don't like buttercream and after discovering "American cream cheese frosting" (which I used just today for the topping on Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes), I hardly ever use anything else.

I do melt butter in the microwave - it is so difficult to remember to leave it out for hours in a cold climate! (Or not very long at all in the rare mini heatwaves...) But I think it makes a difference as well.
 
Interesting. Buttercream in the UK contains no cream - just butter, sugar, and whatever flavouring is required. (So Aunt Bea's recipe would match what I would do.) Never had any issue with the "splitting". So I suspect that the cold cream could be the "villain" here.

Personally I don't like buttercream and after discovering "American cream cheese frosting" (which I used just today for the topping on Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes), I hardly ever use anything else.

I do melt butter in the microwave - it is so difficult to remember to leave it out for hours in a cold climate! (Or not very long at all in the rare mini heatwaves...) But I think it makes a difference as well.
Would that be like the butter cream you are used to, but just with the replaced by cream cheese?
 
I guess so Taxy. The texture is so much better (softer) and the whole thing is less greasy and sickly. Don't get me wrong, I love butter! I refuse to use "spreads" or, heaven forbid "margarine". But the first time I used mascarpone, icing sugar and coffee instead of butter, I was sold!
 
I guess so Taxy. The texture is so much better (softer) and the whole thing is less greasy and sickly. Don't get me wrong, I love butter! I refuse to use "spreads" or, heaven forbid "margarine". But the first time I used mascarpone, icing sugar and coffee instead of butter, I was sold!
I'll give that a try. I have been making buttercream frosting since I started baking. Back in the day, I used margarine. But, then I decided that butter was not only better tasting, it was probably healthier. We just called it quick or easy frosting. It wasn't until I joined this forum that I learned the name buttercream.
 
I'll give that a try. I have been making buttercream frosting since I started baking. Back in the day, I used margarine. But, then I decided that butter was not only better tasting, it was probably healthier. We just called it quick or easy frosting. It wasn't until I joined this forum that I learned the name buttercream.
I learn new stuff all the time here. :wub:
 
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