Meringue based buttercream has been incredibly popular in Europe over the decades. In fact, if you talk to a European, chances are that this is the only form of buttercream they know of. It is an incredibly versatile buttercream which keeps its form and has a silky smooth mouthfeel. There are three kinds of buttercream – Italian, Swiss and French meringue. Of this, Swiss Meringue Buttercream is the easiest to make because you do not have to worry about hot syrups and such like.
Now, shall we talk a bit about buttercream flowers? Sure, fondant or florist paste flowers are easy to make and store. But, lets face it, they are crunchy. That’s right, they are crunchy. Your cake is lovely and moist, your buttercream is sweet and pillowy. Your flowers are, err, crunchy. Enter, buttercream flowers.
Not only are these absolutely stunning to look at, I mean, look at them, they are also lovely to eat! So you get the best of both worlds. You really do.
Of course, there is always a catch. These flowers do not work well in hot climates. Sorry. In our experience, if you are keeping your buttercream additive free, then any higher than 22C and you start getting into melting point troubles. In fact, a case in point is this gorgeous cake that I worked on last summer. It was one of those unusually hot days in London when people are surprised by how much they can sweat. The flowers simply slid off this cake as they melted. But look, how pretty!
Since buttercream flowers did not work out in the summer, I tried these again, with the weather a bit cooler. And bingo! They work a treat. Rule of thumb – if you are not sweating, your buttercream flowers will be ok. Pretty certain this is true.
You will have seen a number of buttercream wreath cakes on the internet. The reason this particular design is so popular is because it is pretty difficult to show off buttercream flowers on the side of a cake. They need a bit of help from gravity. Which is why you will mostly see buttercream flowers either on the top of a cake (see below) or delicately positioned on the ledge on a tiered cake (see above).
Of course, whatever you put on a cake, you can put on a cupcake. In fact, cupcakes are particularly fun to decorate with buttercream. It is great fun to use the other very popular trendy design, that of succulents – these are super easy to pipe and make for fabulous fillers. Win win! Here are some of our very own designs:
Are you a tad worried about all this food colour?
Allow me to explain. Well, we use all this food colour to make our buttercream flowers look extra special. It is our job. But, even if you used a tiny little bit of food colour, or none at all, your cake will still look absolutely scrumptious. Such as this one:
Now, lets talk about crunch. There is a teeny tiny little bit of crunch in the above picture. See those blue flowers? Well, they might not exactly melt in your mouth. Sorry. But, it is a fact of life, widely acknowledged, that when a photographer is taking a cake picture with a bit of blue plate peeking, she cannot resist a smattering of blue flowers.
Fancy having a go at adding this gorgeous skill set to your cake repertoire? We have two one day classes to choose from:
See you soon!