for Naked Cakes only: FROSTING – Buttercream and Cream Cheese

I’d like to start by saying that naked and semi-naked cakes are in trend, however there is a longer tradition for covering, frosting and dressing cakes. There is an infinity of Frosting recipes for a cake, cupcake, vegan cake, etc.

In this series we are going to talk about 4 Classic FROSTING universes:


In this post we focus on Buttercream and Cream Cheese If you want to see other posts in this series about Frosting:

Fudges and Ganaches ALMOST UP
Glazes WAIT a BIT

Classic Buttercream Recipe

The most classic ways to prepare Buttercream is using a Swiss meringue as a base or any other meringue, then adding butter at room temperature, until reach desired consistency (spreadable)

Classic Buttercream, meringue based

4 Egg Whites
1 Cup Granulated Sugar 1 Dash Sea Salt
3 Sticks Room Temp Butter
1 Tablespoon Vanilla essence

-Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in a metal bowl, using a double boiler, stir until  sugar has dissolved
-Take away from the stove and using an electrical hand mixer, beat until well-defined peaks form
-When your meringue is ready start adding 1 Tablespoon at a time of your butter   
-Stop when consistency is spreadable and stable, add flavors if you wish (Vanilla, lemon, mandarin, mint, alcohols, etc.)

Vanilla Buttercream using Whipping Cream

There are other Recipes for Buttercream which don’t include a meringue as a basis, they rather use whipping cream

American Vanilla Buttercream
(I don’t recommend this one, I think is overly sweet!)

 2 Sticks room temp Butter
4.5 cups powdered sugar
4-5 Tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk

-Start by beating the butter and when it’s fluffy add little by little the powdered sugar
-Add the cream/ milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until is spreadable consistency
-Add Vanilla essence or vanilla paste

Chocolate Buttercream

Here’s a Chocolate Buttercream which calls for Light Brown Sugar instead of Powdered Sugar, although is still sweet, the combination with Dark Chocolate balances out the sweetness

Chocolate Buttercream using Brown Sugar

1/3 C light brown sugar, packed, divided
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½  Tbsp boiling water
16 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 dash sea Salt
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 C confectioners’ sugar, sifted

-Use a Double boiler to melt the Chocolate and Half the Brown Sugar (the bowl should not touch the boiling water underneath and should not let scape the steam)
-In the meanwhile use an electric Hand Mixer or a Stand Mixer (Paddle attachment) to cream your butter with the other half of Brown sugar, the Salt and the Vanilla essence
-Mix the Cocoa powder with the boiling water to create a muddy mixture
-When the chocolate is melted add the muddy cocoa mixture and mix well, let come to room temp
-Add the chocolate to the creamed butter until is homogeneous, keep beating
-Add the sifted Powdered Sugar, keep beating until desired consistency is achieved

*If is too thin or runny, it could be your melted chocolate was too hot when added, let the finished buttercream cool in the fridge until it has a spready consistency. If is perfect off the bowl, you can use it right away to fill and Frosting .

Cream Cheese Frosting

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

½ Pound Cream Cheese / Mascarpone
½ Stick room Temp Butter
3 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar (sifted)
1 dash Salt
2 tablespoons Vanilla essence/ Lemon Juice/ other flavors

– Beat together the softened cream cheese with half of the softened butter until smooth, use an electric hand mixer  
-Slowly beat in 3 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted until very smooth
-Beat in salt, and vanilla extract/ lemon’ lemon zest, etc.

*Thin the frosting with a little milk if it seems too thick to spread

Hacks for Thickening your Frosting: Coconut Flakes

Frosting is sweet enough in most cases, there are several tricks to enrich and give consistency to your buttercream without having to add more sugar

Option #1: Add Cornstarch (sifted) in small amounts. Cornstarch has the consistency of Powdered Sugar but does not add sweetness, it comes naturally from corn

Option #2: Add Whipping Cream little by little until you reach the desired consistency

Option #3: Add Coconut Flakes, this will provide a nice texture and will help achieving the spreadable consistency a frosting should have

General TIPS about FROSTING

-A Cake should be flattened on the top before being FROSTED

-When using a Double Boiler, your bowl should never touch the boiling water and should not let the steam scape, always prevent water from getting into melted chocolate

-A Cake should be Room Temp before being FROSTED

-FROSTING should not be hot in the moment of the action, room temp is optimal

-You can loosen up your frosting with a bit of Cream/Milk/Water if is too solid before FROSTING

-A pedestal for cakes or rotating turntable is ideal to place your cake for FROSTING

-A serrated long knife is ideal to cut cake in even layers, if you’re planning to use frosting in between (9 ‘’ long minimum)

-Use an offset Spatula if possible to FROST, better than any knife or  other kind of spatula

-Place a cardboard or plate under your cake before FROSTING and DECORATING, it should be 1 ‘’ wider than your cake, so you can easily transport it from there

-Transport your cake in a high enough cake carrier, so the top isn’t ruined

Frosting away

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