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useful tip tuesday: real BUTTERcream


While mixing up a giant batch of my meringue buttercream, I started thinking about the color. My buttercream has a ivory/pale yellowish color. Every retail store’s buttercream is pure white. Butter is yellow – so why isn’t buttercream yellow?

Well this sort of goes back to my blog post about the mystery of grocery store whipped icing. If you didn’t know already, grocery store buttercream comes in a giant, commercial sized tub, already prepared. This is why they are so inexpensive! And in addition, they are non-dairy. Which means they contain NO butter.

Wikipedia defines buttercream as the combination of fat and sugar, with butter as the most common, traditional choice of fat. Well there are two kinds of fats used:


PROS: Traditionally used fat, delicate texture, superior flavor

CONS: Doesn’t hold up to heat well and color is yellow/off white


PROS: Holds up to heat and it is WHITE! The most common veggie fat is Crisco but margarine can be used too

CONS: Crisco doesn’t taste like butter so butter flavoring must be added. In addition, it leaves a greasy film in your mouth and can raise health concerns – margarine is a polyunsaturated fat.

If you google “White Buttercream” all of the recipes call for Crisco. So in the end, it really depends on your preference! Some people can eat spoonfuls of American Buttercream all day. I prefer the real stuff if the need for bright white buttercream isn’t an issue.

The moral of the story is this: If you absolutely have to have bright white icing, then use Crisco. But if you want quality, tasty buttercream, use butter.

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