One of the most delicious frostings to put on cake, cookies, brownies, or pastries is Cooked Buttercream Frosting. It is a little more work than it’s uncooked counterpart, Basic Uncooked Buttercream Frosting, but the results are smooth – no grit from the confectioner’s sugar – rich, and buttery. Of course, there is no point in making this decadent frosting if the plan is to substitute margarine or shortening for the butter; margarine and shortening actually have a different texture and if used, the frosting won’t set up correctly (not to mention the fact that it will taste awful). If the goal is to impress, then this Cooked Buttercream Frosting is a perfect choice.
Although this frosting is fairly simple to make, there are a few things that will help make your batch a success:
First, a mixer is a must; it would be very difficult to beat the sugar syrup mixture into the egg yolks with a whisk or by hand; the egg yolks might get cooked by the hot syrup and result in lumpy frosting. It would also take a long time of constant hand beating to get the mixture cool enough to beat in the butter (does anyone have the stamina or muscles to beat by hand that long?) so that it will stay firm and not melt.
Second, when cooking the sugar syrup, use a heavy saucepan with a lid to prevent burning or overcooking. Putting the lid on the mixture while it’s coming to a boil creates steam, which dissolves the sugar crystals on the sides of the pan; this insures that the syrup will be smooth and won’t go sugary (like when homemade candy goes sugary). It’s also a good idea to wash down the sides of the pan during cooking once or twice to prevent any new sugar crystals from forming.
Third, the butter must be very soft to insure a smooth frosting; it’s a good idea to take it out of the refrigerator several hours ahead.
Basic Cooked Buttercream Frosting
Makes enough to frost a 9” layer cake, a 13 x 9” rectangular cake, 24 cupcakes, or several dozen cookies, depending on size
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup soft butter
2 tablespoons flavoring such as liqueur, or flavored coffee syrup, or 1 teaspoon extract
- Place the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- When the mixture comes to a boil, remove the lid and wash down the sides with a little water and a pastry brush.
- When the sugar is totally dissolved (the mixture will be clear), and the mixture has thickened slightly, remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, while the syrup is boiling, place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl.
- Turn the mixer on high and beat the egg yolks with the whisk attachment until they are thick and lemon-colored.
- With the mixer on high, slowly (to avoid cooking them) pour the syrup into the egg yolks.
- Continue beating at high speed until the mixture has cooled, scraping the sides occasionally.
- Beat in the soft butter, a tablespoon or two at a time, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
- Add flavoring to taste.
- Use immediately before it sets,
Chocolate: Melt 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips; cool, then fold into the finished frosting.
Cream Cheese: Beat in 4 ounces very soft cream cheese with the butter
Amount Per Serving
Calories 124 Calories from Fat 115
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 92% Protein 3% Carb. 5%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 8 g
Cholesterol 82 mg
Sodium 119 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 1 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 0% Iron 1%