How to make a Geode Cake part 2 : The sweet betweens (Buttercream)
Today we will make the buttercream for our Geode Cake. This is the frosting that will bind our layers and stick the fondant to the outside of the cake tiers.
Before we start, I have a confession to make. I hate frosting. Well, I should probably distill that down to the type of frosting. Truth is, I thought I hated all frosting for the majority of my life. There is something about the sugary flavor of most frostings that turns my stomach sour. I just don’t have the palate for it. Every birthday, the cake would come out with the candles and I would grin and bear it, shuffle the fluffy flavorless bakery frosting to the side of my plate and eat the cake wondering why we couldn’t just cover the cake with jam or anything else, literally anything else… Well, this is what I had been searching for. It turns out, I don’t hate frosting, I’m just picky about which types I like and which I despise. This particular frosting is a buttercream, which is very popular with home and craft bakers. It just wasn’t something I had much experience with on my grocery store sheet cakes. It is very sweet, don’t you worry, but it has a body and substance that provides just enough for the sweet to meet it’s match.
Step 1. Gather your ingredients
For this recipe, you will need
- 2 cups of Salted Butter
- 8 cups of Powdered Sugar
- 4 Medium lemons to make
- 4 Tablespoons of Zest
- 6 Tablespoons of Juice
- 4 teaspoons of cream
Step 2. Whip it, whip it good
Allow your butter to rise to room temp before you start, making use of the time to zest and juice your lemons. We recommend using a very fine grater or preferably a micro planer, which should produce about 1 Tbs of zest per lemon. The reason for the fine grater and only so much zest per lemon is we want just the tangy flavor of the shiny outer peel, not the bitter flavor of the soft white pith below. We also don’t want chunks so, feel free to finely dice the zest even further. Now that you’ve got your lemons ready, your butter is probably still fairly cold. Feel free to use the rest of the time to ponder your life choices, or plan to stop procrastinating tomorrow. Your call, get wild with it, for 30 minutes to an hour.
Once the butter has warmed up, go ahead and whip it, whip it good. We are looking for a soft fluffy texture with plenty of air in there, which should take a couple of minutes. While the mixer is doing it’s magic, you will want to incrementally add in your powdered sugar, slowly… This means with the mixer on a slow speed, and no more than 1 cup at a time allowing it to fully incorporate before adding more. This is more for convenience than flavor. Trust me, if the mixer is going too quick or you add too much of the sugar at once, you’ll end up looking like Tony Montana in Scarface. Powder powder everywhere.
Step 3. The finishing touches
Once you have incorporated all of the powdered sugar, slowly add in the lemon zest and juice. Let that work in for a bit and then slowly add the cream. We want to thin the buttercream out so that it is easily workable, but not so much that it loses the ability to hold everything together. Because of the lemon juice helping to thin this out, go for only 4 teaspoons, more or less. If you make a mistake and add too much, you can fix it by slowly adding more powdered sugar.
Congratulations, that’s it! If you will be using the buttercream right away, nothing further is necessary. If you plan to use it in a day or two, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate it, removing it and allowing it to come to room temperature before attempting to spread it. This will take a few hours, so best to plan ahead a bit.
Thanks for joining us for buttercream, come back soon to see how we will make the cake and assemble all of these pieces into a social media worthy Geode masterpiece.