Mylifesamess's Blog

Buttercream Icing

Posted in baking, cooking, motivation, Organization by mylifesamess on 06/07/2011

I went to my mom’s after work today and baked a cake.  It turned out ok.  Tasty, but not very pretty.

Luckily, during my afternoon break at work, I took a moment to study my recipes a bit and discovered a difference that I hadn’t noticed when I first compared the Julia Child buttercream recipe to the one accompanying the Martha Stewart recipe.  The Martha Stewart recipe creates the syrup for the icing using egg whites and sugar.  Julia Child creates the syrup using sugar and water, then calls for it to be whisked in with egg yolks.  I’ve made the mistake before of using the wrong part of the egg because I didn’t read the recipe close enough, so I’m very glad I caught it.

The Julia Child recipe was much tastier, but it was quite a bit thinner and difficult to spread, even after whipping in additional butter.  Part of the problem could have been that the egg yolk / syrup mixture didn’t form properly while I had it sitting over the pan of simmering water.  I don’t believe I got the “ribbon” effect that Child describes.  I’ll also try to remember next time to make the icing ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge for a while to see if that might help with the firmness.

The cake portion turned out fantastically, as it did last time.  It turns out a beautifully moist cake with the perfect blend of raspberries.  I made two tiers and frosted it, then decorated the top with fresh raspberries.

I thought about posting the Julia Child recipe, but I hesitated as it may constitute copyright infringement.  The recipe I used was called “Creme au Beurre, au Sucre Cuit (French Butter Cream Made with Sugar Syrup)” from her book “The French Chef Cookbook.”

I don’t know if it’s true, but I often feel like being organized and prepared is still new to my life.  Today was a hectic day, but I enjoyed it because I had my shit together and was ready to go.  I was able to attack the daunting tasks I faced today with order and precision, and it was totally satisfying.  I’m wondering if my motivation for an organized life waxes and wanes depending on whether I feel challenged in my life.