Friday, July 25, 2014

Vanilla Buttercream Icing Recipe for Cupcakes; Light in Colour, Rich in Flavour

Let's face it, if you use real butter to make a buttercream icing, you will end up with a yellow-ish icing colour.  But what if you want a whiter colour to match a wedding cake or to follow through on a theme, but you still want real butter?  Well, you could use 'butter flavouring', but that is full of unnatural and artificial ingredients that you might not want. Or you could make a mixed recipe, that has a rich butter texture and flavour, but adds no unnatural ingredients.

This recipe is creamy and has a good butter flavour, and is much lighter in colour than my regular buttercream recipes.  And if you want it even lighter in colour, omit the canola oil (or change it to Grapeseed or another clear-coloured oil), and by omitting the oil, you will also have a thicker icing.

Recipe:
(covers about 60 cupcakes)

What you need:
  • 1 lb unsalted butter
  • 1 l pure lard (you can use shortening, but that has hydrogenated oil in it, lard is natural)
  • 1 cup of canola oil (or Grapeseed or other light-coloured oil)
  • 1 package of icing sugar (1 kg)

To make the icing:
  1. Either soften the butter on the counter overnight or remove packaging and microwave for about 20 seconds until soft (not melted until liquid though!)
  2. Beat together the softened butter and the lard until fluffy and well whipped.  Add the canola oil in quarters and whip in between. Be sure to use a spatula and stir the bottom into the middle regularly. Whip until fluffy.
  3. Slowly add the sugar through a sifter.  Mix well from the bottom of the bowl. Beat well until lumps are gone.  It is best to stop after half of the package is added and beat until fluffy, then do the same with the other half of the package.
  4. Add 2 tsp of real vanilla (or vanilla bean if you want the speckled appearance) and whip briefly until mixed.
Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap. Or place the entire amount in a large Ziplock bag, which makes it easier to freeze or use later to fill a pastry bag. If you freeze it, let it come back to room temperature naturally on the counter rather than microwaving before using it.

See the difference in colour between a 'full-butter' buttercream icing and this 'half-butter' recipe by comparing these two pictures (below):


Cupcakes decorated with icing made with the recipe above
- with half-butter and half lard.


Cupcakes decorated with icing that is made with only butter
(no lard) and white daisies.

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