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La Belle Cuisine
Classic Buttercream Collection

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La Belle Cuisine


Classic Buttercream Collection

Basic Buttercream
Bon Appetit January 1988

Bon Appetit - One Year Subscription

This recipe makes enough to fill, frost and garnish
an 8-inch 3-layer cake or a 9-inch 2-layer cake.
If desired, the basic recipe can be doubled.

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
8 egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into
10 pieces, cool room temperature
Flavoring (see Variations)

Cook sugar and water in heavy small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring until candy thermometer registers 248 degrees F. (firm-
ball stage), brushing down sugar crystals from sides of pan with pastry
 brush dipped in water, approximately 4 minutes. Meanwhile, beat yolks
with electric mixer until well blended and light.
As soon as syrup is ready, gradually beat into yolks in thin, steady stream. Beat mixture at high speed until completely cool and thick, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice, about 20 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low. Add butter pieces 1 at a time and beat until incorporated. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead and refrigerated or 3 months ahead and frozen. Cover tightly. Before continuing with recipe, bring buttercream to room temperature. Work with spatula until completely smooth.) Using wooden spoon or paddle beater (not whisk), very gradually mix in flavorings.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.


Chocolate: Melt 10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate in
double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. Remove from over
water. Cool melted chocolate to 98 degrees F. before adding
to buttercream.

Espresso: Dissolve 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder in 2 table-
spoons hot water; let mixture cool completely before adding to

Raspberry: Purée one 8-ounce package thawed frozen raspberries in
blender or processor until smooth. Strain to eliminate seeds. Combine
5 tablespoons raspberry purée (reserve remainder for another use) and
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam.

Hazelnut: Use 1 cup hazelnuts. Toast in shallow baking pan in 350-
degree F. oven 7 minutes. Transfer to strainer. Rub hazelnuts against
strainer with towels to remove skins. Cool completely. Grind in
processor until very fine.

Almond: Use 1 cup whole unblanched almonds. Toast in shallow
baking pan in 350-degree F. oven 7 minutes. Let cool. Grind in
processor until very fine.

Walnut or pecan: Use 1 1/3 cup nuts. Toast in shallow baking pan
in 350-degree F. oven 7 minutes. Let cool. Grind in processor until
very fine.

Spirits: Use 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier, rum, kirsch, pear eau-
de-vie or Framboise.

Lemon: Use 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest and scant 2 tea-
spoons strained lemon juice.

Orange: Use 4 teaspoons finely grated orange zest and scant 2 tea-
spoons strained orange juice.

Cinnamon: Use 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Vanilla: Use 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.


•  Because buttercream is rich, it is best used on light cakes such as
génoise. Spread buttercream thinly.

•  Cakes filled and frosted with spirit-flavored buttercream should be
served the same day; otherwise the taste of the spirits will diminish.
Other types can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, covered tightly
and refrigerated.

•  To facilitate cutting, chill cake for about 1 hour, then let stand at room temperature briefly so that the buttercream can soften slightly.

•  Do not add flavorings too quickly or more than recommended amount,
or the buttercream will separate. To correct this, chill buttercream 30 minutes. Set bowl of buttercream over pan of warm water for a few
seconds. Remove from heat. Beat with wooden spoon until smooth.
If necessary, rewarm again as above. If buttercream is still not smooth,
melt 2 tablespoons butter and gradually beat into buttercream.

•  Cakes may be garnished with fruit, nuts, grated chocolate or small
candies to match flavor of buttercream. Try fresh raspberries with
Framboise buttercream, for example.


Orange Buttercream
Gourmet September 1996

For orange curd:
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted
butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For buttercream:
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
5 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 1/2 sticks (3 1/4 cups) unsalted
butter, cut into pieces and
softened to cool room
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly grated
orange zest

Make orange curd:  In a small heavy saucepan whisk together yolks
and sugar and whisk in orange juice, butter and a pinch of salt. Cook
the mixture over moderately low heat, whisking, until it just reaches
boiling point, 5 to 7 minutes (do not let boil), and strain through a fine
sieve into a bowl. Whisk in lemon juice and cool the curd, its surface covered with plastic wrap. Chill orange curd, covered, until cold, at
least 4 hours, and up to 2 days.

Make buttercream:
  In a heavy saucepan bring sugar and water to a
boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, undisturbed, until it
registers  248 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.
While syrup is boiling, in large bowl of a standing electric mixer beat the
whites with a pinch of salt until foamy and beat in cream of tartar. Beat
whites until they just hold stiff peaks and beat in hot syrup in a stream
(try to avoid beaters and side of bowl). Beat mixture at medium speed
until completely cool, 15 to 20 minutes. Beat in butter, one piece at a
time, and beat until thickened and smooth. (Buttercream will first ap-
pear very thin and at some point look like it is breaking, but as more
butter is beaten in, it will thicken and become glossy and smooth.)
Beat in orange curd, salt and zest until smooth. Buttercream may be
made 4 days ahead and chilled in an airtight container or 2 weeks
ahead and frozen in an airtight container. Bring buttercream completely
to room temperature (this may take several hours if frozen) and beat
before using. (If buttercream is too cold when beaten it will not be
glossy and smooth.)  Makes about 8 cups.

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