Making A Wedding Cake With Butter Cream For The First Time

by Marla

My Wine Themed Wedding Cake

My Wine Themed Wedding Cake

Making a wedding cake with butter cream for the first time was a challenge but after many late hours and lots of tears my wedding cake with fondant grapes was a huge success!

I made your white cake and wedding cake frosting recipes and the cake tasted like a giant sugar cookie! Of course you know that! It was incredibly delicious! Thank you for sharing.

Butter cream Frosting Questions

I had no problems with the cake recipe but several with the Italian meringue buttercream frosting. So..I would like to ask you a few questions so that I may do better next time.

Your suggestion to whip the heck out of the butter to increase whiteness was wonderful!

When making the sugar/water mixture I cooked to exactly 245. When I let it cool down it started to harden so I could not use it. This time I poured it into the egg whites while it was still quite hot before it could harden and then whipped it until cooled. Seemed ok.

Then I added the butter slowly and the finished product was light, quite white and delicious. I did a crumb coat on the cakes and put them in the fridge for a bit. During this time the remaining frosting seemed to be getting so soft I was afraid it would just melt off the cake. So I put it all in the fridge for a while to firm up a bit. When I took it out to put on the final coat it seemed to be turning back into butter so I beat it again. All this liquid came out of it. Finally it seemed usable again but no longer was the beautiful, light and fluffy frosting it once was.

I was able to get the final coat on the cakes, but it pretty much looked like butter to me. Somewhere here I really messed up and went wrong. How do you use this frosting for piping and making flowers, etc with it being so soft. How do you get it to hold up in warmer weather? Should it not be refrigerated.

Fondant Grapes Question

And the grapes....they started out looking great. I got the bride's color right and the little grapes I was rolling were fine. A week before I had done a cake with multi color layered flat fondant flowers that (as per instructions) glued together with a bit of water brushed on. Worked great! So I did the same with my grapes. Let them sit over night and in the morning they just fell apart. I made a quick batch of purple royal that I tried to glue them together with. That did not work well either and the clusters fell apart again. So I gathered everything and went off to the wedding where I assembled the cake and re-glued it as best I could (praying no one would touch anything).

In The End - Huge Success!!!

The main thing is that the bride and groom and all the guests loved it.
How do you attach decorations to your frosting with it being so buttery?
Sorry I am such a dummy. I think I had better go take some classes! Wish you lived here!

Thank you so much for your help!


Comments for Making A Wedding Cake With Butter Cream For The First Time

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Apr 25, 2010
Italian Meringue Buttercream
by: Lorelie

Hi Marla,

First of all your cake is so very beautiful! No one would know that you had any problems with it.

You were correct to pour it into the beaten egg whites while still hot (that was a mistake on my part.)

If you do refrigerate it make sure that you bring it to room temperature before beating it again.

I used to make a heck of a lot of cakes when I worked at the banquet hall and made this frosting in large batches each week. It is not necessarily the best for piping because it tends to be on the softer side, but I still prefer it because it is soooo delicious. I sometimes use butter cream made with powdered sugar for the flowers roses and leaves.

I found this video which is pretty good from Warren Brown of Cake Love. He does it pretty much the way I do, with the exception of brushing down the sugar crystals, and I noticed he puts a little sugar in the whites which makes sense too.

As far as the grapes go. I would use royal icing to stick the bunches together. But it would be tough to get them to stick to the buttercream. If you were using fondant it would have been easier to stick them on.

You did a fabulous amazing cake. Congratulations! I'm sorry you had a few tears with it. Believe me I have had many of those in my 25 years of caking.

Oct 01, 2012
Wine Wedding Cake
by: Colleen

First off, your cake is beautiful and second, we all cry at times when things aren't working out. The first couple of times I made Italian Meringue I had trouble. Then when I figured out to boil the sugar syrup to 238* THEN start beating the egg whites (make sure you are adding cream of tartar), and bring the syrup to 248* and add it to the egg whites that are stiff. Make sure your butter is room temp and not to soft (hard in the summer) and not too cold (lumpy frosting). It always looks curldeled at first but just 'look away' and it will come together. You can't hurry this frosting. Putting it in the fridge will firm it up if you goof with it. Sometimes for an hour or more and then rebeat it. If I make this a couple days or even a few hours ahead, I always rebeat it with the paddle.

I've made grapes and other decorations and I find candy clay makes the best ones. They stay firm and I brush them with a little egg white and roll them in sparkle sugar.

Word of warning: you can't put royal icing decorations on IMBC or SMBC, it will melt. The butter (fat) melts the sugar. Found that out the hard way after making 54 royal icing carrots, twice!I finally called the lady that I took classes from and she said that's a no no. Hmph...they were so pretty too! If you have to use them, put down parchment paper between the cake and flowers. I do that for alot of my gumpaste stuff too if they are going to set on the cake for awhile.

If you are makeing a large batch of buttercream, 11 cups or more,start your egg whites at about 235*. It takes a little longer because of more mass. Be sure you are weighing all of your ingredients too. Makes a huge difference. A cup of sugar is 7oz and an egg white is 30grams.

Good Luck and smile!!

Oct 01, 2012
Awesome post about IMBC
by: Lorelie

Thank you Colleen!!!! As usual you have wonderful helpful tips. I laughed when I read the comment about looking away while beating the buttercream so as not to see the curdled mess that it starts out to like.

Thank you soooo much for your help. :-)

Oct 01, 2012
by: Colleen

Almost every cake I do I use Italian Meringue Buttercream. All of my wedding cakes are done that way and the customers fall in love with it after they taste it. I had one lady tell me, the cake was good, but just give her a spoon to eat the buttercream!!

It pipes well, decorates well, holds up well in heat and you can vary the flavor with liquors, flavorings or emulsions. Add some lemon curd, jam, ganache, chocolate, fresh fruit, fillings, peanut butter, I could go on and on. I've even mixed Martha Stewart's chocolate frosting in with it for a filling and it was to die for..yummmy I think it is one of the most versatile buttercreams that you can use.

Don't be afraid of it,just go with the flow.

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