Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Flour Fail Frosting

Here at our house we're not huge cake fans...unless it's done really really well, and then we love it. When I happen on a recipe that looks like it'll spruce up regular old boring cake I usually stop and take a look. Had I seen this Original Pin, I would've stopped and taken a look, just like Kala did. 

The Original Pin
http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2010/09/frosting-that-will-get-you-hugs-and.html

That looks like Whipped Cream frosting...well it's not. It's a flour frosting! Now that right there sounds a little odd to me...I've never heard of it at all (which doesn't mean it's bad, I'm just saying it surprised me). Looking through the recipe it looks like basically you are making a whipped sweet gravy. I'm incredibly curious now and want to try it out. This is now on my To Test board. The ingredients sound sketchy, but the reviews it has received say it's divine. Kala decided to give this a whirl and things did not go well. 

The Pinstrosity

Kala decided to try out this frosting recipe for some cupcakes her mother made while visiting.  "Needless to say I had high expectations after reading all of the reviews. In the end the final product was kind of a disaster. The flavor was actually quite good,the problem is that it kept 'breaking.' The frosting just kept separating even while it was in the piping bag. I experimented and iced one cupcake but after a few minutes there was some kind of liquid which had separated from the rest of the frosting and started dripping down the sides. Believe me, I waited until the milk/flour mixture had cooled completely and followed all the instructions and pictures word-for-work. But, never once did it resemble whipped cream. I even looked at the original recipe by The Pioneer Woman and hers never looked like whipped cream either. At first I counted exactly 45 seconds (that Pioneer Woman instructs) of whipping once I added the mixtures together, that didn't work. The pin link says "If it's not looking like whipped cream, keep on whipping." So when it didn't work after 45 seconds, I kept whipping and it only got worse... The picture shows that I had to refrigerate the frosting to keep it from melting away and it ended up a horrid, lumpy mess."

To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what happened. I have a few ideas now without having had time to test this (and Kala may have followed these and it was something else completely...these are just possible ideas from looking at the picture and hearing her story). 

Idea # 1: The dry ingredients didn't get mixed into the wet ingredients all the way. From the original recipe on tastykitchen.com, the instructions say "You don’t want any sugar graininess left."
Idea #2: The original instructions also say "If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough!" 
Idea #3: This recipe was on three sites I looked at (www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.comtastykitchen.com/blog, and tastykitchen.com/recipes) and each of them stressed having the milk/flour mixture all the way cool before you stir in the vanilla and before you add it to the butter/sugar mixture. Now what all the way cool is, I'm not quite sure. Room temperature cool? Refrigerated cool? Perhaps it was the refrigeration that was the problem here. 

Again, since I can't test it right now, I can't give more help on how to fix it yet other than those 3 ideas above. Any knowledge on this out there for Kala? 

                                                                                                       

28 comments:

  1. I make this frosting all the time! My mom calls it "fluffy frosting". I have noticed that it will separate after a couple of days, but I haven't had the problem of it separating immediately. I've also never tried to put it in a piping bag. I will say that food coloring makes the "separation" more apparent, so I only leave it white now. This is by far my favorite frosting for cupcakes - on cake it kind of makes the layers slide around.
    Once you've made the flour/milk mixture, refrigerate it for half an hour or so, *then* mix in the rest of the ingredients.

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  2. I make this frosting all the time, as it is light and fluffy and delicious. But it is tricky, and I think I figured out why it sometimes turns out grainy and separates. The key is in the temperature of your butter. You MUST let the butter come to room temperature completely by sitting out on the counter, and it must be soft but not too soft. If you try to microwave the butter slightly to get it soft, it WILL NOT work. The other key is to whip the butter and sugar long enough. That has been my experience, anyway...and I have made it many times with success and a couple failures.

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  3. I have made this frosting several times, as well...not the Pinterest recipe, but an old family recipe. It is delicious, but you do have to have the perfect butter temp to avoid the curdling and separation.

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  4. I have made a similar frosting from our best bites ( http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/09/perfect-cupcake-frosting-and-filling/ ) and was skeptical as well, but it turned out perfect. Not sure what the difference is between the two.

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  5. This is my favorite frosting, I've made it many times. If I had to guess I'd say #3 is the culprit. The flour mixture has to be completely cooled but not chilled. Basically, that AND the butter have to be room temp. If either is too cold it won't come together properly, if either is too warm it will separate.

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  6. This is my favorite frosting. But, I also have had this same failure.
    My answer: shortening. I know it's gross, but it's temperature stable and contains emulsifiers.
    When I had this happen for an important cake, I made another batch with all shortening (so the final proportion would be half butter, half shortening). The new batch was super smooth, and I added the curdled frosting a little bit at a time. The fixed frosting wasn't perfect, but near enough that nobody else noticed. AND I felt like a genius for fixing it.
    I think the culprit is he butter, which is up to 20% water and not very stable

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  7. Flour frosting has to be beaten a ridiculously long time.

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  8. I use this same frosting in Gobs (Whoopie Pies) all of the time... with one minor change... half shortening/ half butter. With that change and making sure the flour/ milk is chilled and the butter is room temp. there should be no issue!

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  9. This is my favorite frosting. My mom made it for years and now I make it. I am an ALL butter kind of girl, my mom is not (she likes that crap they call margarine). She started having problems with hers separating, well she switched to regular butter and no problems. Everytime she attempts to use margarine...she gets separation. The other KEY thing to this recipe is I put all my ingredients (except the flour mixture) into my kitchen aid and I just let it beat for at least 15 mins!!! You have to get that sugar broken down and if you do this, it will come out..promise! As for refrigerating the flour mixture - I put it in the fridge to cool. I get antsy and sometimes pull it out and it's still slightly warm, I have had no problems.
    Good luck, don't give up on this one just yet!

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  10. I had this exact thing happen to me when I made this icing. I was so disappointed because it tasted amazing, but just looked disgusting. I belong to a very large baking/cake decorating forum and asked what on there for suggestions. The answers I got were similar to what everyone else is saying (make sure the milk/flour mixture is COMPLETELY cooled) and make sure the butter is room temperature. But another suggestion I got was to add a little more butter - up to 1/4 cup.
    I haven't tried making this again, but I plan to. I want to master this icing as it's so delicious!

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  11. My mom made this frosting for us growing up...we called it 'lard frosting' behind her back. It is delicious but she always made it to look 'curdled'. I didn't know there really was a recipe for it...we thought she made it up. It is quite tasty, but we really preferred frosting out of a can.

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  12. We called this Mock Whipped Cream. My mom's recipe is a mix of Crisco and butter.

    The separation comes if you add ANY of the ingredients too quickly. Add everything slowly......beat till completely mixed in, then add a little more. If you dump in sugar, or flour, or milk - you're screwed.

    It really does taste like whipped cream, and it's table stable. They have now made a mock whipped cream canned frosting, though, and it's a close immitation of this one.

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  13. Ourbestbites.com recipe is the way to go...they have step by step instructions with pictures...

    Best frosting EVER....aaannd there is a chocolate version!

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  14. Just made this for the fourth of July and it's a family favorite. I'd say to make sure everything is room temp before you beat it and to make sure you beat it at least 10 min. Hope this helps! :)

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  15. NOOOOO! DO NOT REFRIGERATE! I did that to quicken the "cool down" process once, only to then have a "lumpy" finished product. Tasted great but that lumpy texture is just as awful as a lumpy homemade cheese cake. Not the texture you want to bite into. That flour mixture needs to be a "toothpaste" thick consistency. I make this recipe all the time. In the beginning, each time there was some sorta disaster but by the 4th time i figured out all the kinks and its been my go-to since. I live in AZ. it's DANG HOT! If you make this on a HOT day(hot kitchen) that butter tends to separate from the mixture causing another issue. Its a testy recipe but once conquered its, ugh, so GOOD!

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  16. I've made this for *years*, and agree with many of the other posters. Crisco is the sure-fire way to make this frosting, but as I've gained experience in the kitchen, I now make it with all butter. Flour and milk should be whisked CONSTANTLY over very low heat. It will look like nothing is happening for a long time, but the agitation and the low heat will eventually cause the starch molecules in the flour to burst and it should thicken rapidly from there - you want a mashed-potatoes-that-have-been-put-through-a-blender consistency. Transfer the flour/milk mixture to a room temperature bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on top of the surface so it doesn't form a 'skin' on top as it cools. The sugar you need for this recipe is called "superfine" sugar, or caster sugar. It can usually be found in the baking aisle in small boxes. If you use regular granulated sugar, you will have to beat the butter and sugar in your mixer for too long and the butter will warm up too much. If you use powdered sugar, it will be hideously sweet. So find the superfine sugar and use only that. Your butter should be on the cool side of room temperature - not too soft, because it will get warmer as your stand mixer does the job. Whip the butter and the sugar mercilessly on high speed until it's fluffy as all get-out. Add the flour/milk mixture to the mixer only once the bowl you've put it in feels the same temperature as any other empty bowl in your kitchen (i.e., completely cooled), and do NOT refrigerate it to speed the process. Add liquids, including vanilla, sparingly - it'll mess with the consistency. For the same reason, don't attempt to use this recipe if you want to add food coloring. If you want to pipe this frosting rather than spread it, you're going to need to use only Crisco. And never attempt to frost your cake or cupcakes while they are still warm - I always refrigerate mine before frosting. Is it a pain in the butt to make? Yes, kind of. Is it worth the trouble to do it right? Yes. Yes, it is.

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  17. you never melt the butter!!!!! you have to let it either sit out for a bit so it softens to room temperature (best choice) or not even try to melt it.
    because melting the butter ruins the texture

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  18. I love this frosting recipe, and I first tried it by mixing it by hand because I had no electric mixer. It was grainy but still tasted good. The next time I made it I had finally purchased a kitchen aide mixer. I forgot to cover the milk/flour mixture with plastic wrap and it formed a skin that remained chunky even after mixing for 20 minutes or so. I tossed that batch, the same day I made this again, covering the milk/flour mixture this time and using my mom's hand electric mixer on the highest speed for a long long time. It came out fluffy and smooth. From now on I'll use an electric hand mixer and this really is my favorite frosting recipe!

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  19. When I look at the picture I immediately think of checking what's happening with the butter and sugar. I usually do a 2 to 1 ratio of butter and shortening to stabilize it. Butter should be at room temperature, but if you do use the microwave to soften it make sure that you do NOT use any part of it that has melted, as that will mess up the texture. Creaming butter and sugar together means whipping those two ingredients until they're white. Having not tried this recipe itself, I can't say this is exactly the problem, but I've made regular icing that turned out looking the same and the butter/creaming process was the key to it. I have to give this one a try sometime!

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  20. My moms Garden club cookbook from the 1960s calls this Butter Cream Frosting We called it delicious. Start by putting your 1 cup butter and 1cup sugar and 1 t. vanilla in your mixing bowl and mix well. Leave it sit while making the paste. It calls for 1/2 c. flour and 1 c milk cooked together. The picture shown with the recipe shows it very liquid when they mixed it, We cooked it to a VERY THICK PASTE. No pouring possible. Then let cool completely. While that is cooling mix the butter/sugar mix some more till granules are mostly gone. When the flour mix is cool start adding the paste a few dollops at a time.. I started making this as a teenager for moms favorite birthday cake. White cake as directed for a 2 layer. Take about a cup of the frosting and mix with 1 can of WELL drained crushed pineapple. Put that between the layers and frost with rest of frosting and load the top with coconut. Put in fridge to harden tastes like unfrozen ice cream. Another fav for us chocolate lovers is split chocolate layer cakes into 4. Alternate cake then (cool) hot fudge topping then cake then buttercream, cake hot fudge, cake then frost all w/ buttercream and shave chocolate on top. Several people told me that was THE best cake they had EVER eaten. WAY worth the effort. It stores for days in fridge.

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  21. Admittedly, I haven't read through all the comments, so i have no idea if anyone said this yet. My mother's recipe for vanilla frosting is the absolute most delicious frosting I've ever tasted. It's a flour frosting. When she finally passed the recipe on to me I quickly whipped up a cake and the frosting to go along with it. It was a huge fail. Big hunks of fatty *whatever* all throughout, it wasn't smooth at all. It was gross.

    I realized you cannot cut corners on this recipe at all. You have to use WHOLE MILK. You must use real butter. It must be room temperature. You have to sift the flour. You have to stir constantly. And most important, when the recipe said "sugar" I used granulated sugar. WRONG! You have to use powdered confectioner's sugar. You have to whip it with a whisk attachment on a mixer (hand mixer is fine, but you still need whisks, not just plain old beaters.)

    Flour frosting, in my experience, doesn't tolerate heat or cold very well so don't try making it when it's 95 degrees out and also do not put it in the fridge. Room temp, around 70-75 degrees is absolute best for it. And make absolutely certain the cake you are frosting is 100% cooled.

    hope that helps.

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    Replies
    1. Did your frosting recipe have an egg in the flour/milk mixture?

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  22. My mom made flour frosting on a chocolate cake for my birthday every year, it was my favorite! I started making it when I got into cooking/baking and I definitely know that the issue was that the frosting wasn't beaten enough. It took me a long time to perfect, but oh was it ever worth it!

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  23. I encountered this issue when I made this frosting for a birthday cake. I fixed it by setting the mixing bowl in the sink with about an inch of very hot water and mixing on high speed until the mass became cohesive again. It's often a temperature thing. Mixing while getting the temperature of the mixture up did the trick for me. And I agree, this (French buttercream )frosting is the best frosting I've ever tasted!

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  24. Snugglebugmom -- I just wanted to say that you saved my husband's birthday cake! I've made this frosting a few times before today, so I am not sure what went wrong, but the water in the sink + mixing trick brought it back to life! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  25. I made this frosting just now and it looked amazing, but 10 mins later the entire thing curdled. It still tastes amazing and has a light, fluffy texture, but it looks awful. Im gonna try Snugglebugmom's solution because I really really want to fix it :(

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  26. This frosting works better if you add the sugar in with the flour & milk as you make your roux. The consistency of the roux is a little different, not as thick, but it doesn't change the final result. It completely eliminates the grittiness from the sugar and you can use regular sugar instead of superfine (which I never have). Also, if you need a quick fix for bringing your butter to room temperature, shred it with a cheese grater and it will come to room temperature while you cook your flour mixture and let it cool.

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  27. I was making this frosting for my daughter's wedding & my trial runs worked perfectly but when it came to the day of the wedding the frosting curdled! I started panicking & my husband suggested I try microwaving it a little bit. So I took a little bit of the frosting (just in case it didn't work)& microwaved only for a couple seconds on low power. It fixed it completely! The frosting whipped up beautifully & the wedding cake turned out great! I also made the frosting with blueberry jam mixed into it and used it on some lemon cupcakes. It's awesome!

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