german buttercream frosting

german buttercream | movita beaucoup

As I write this, I’m sitting in my living room. It is sunny, there are three cats laying under/around the Christmas tree, and I’m drinking coffee like it’s my last day on earth. Actually, I can hear one of the cats slurping water from the tree stand, which explains the need to fill it three times daily.

It is almost the new year.

german buttercream | movita beaucoup

If I were a good/normal food blogger, I’d be writing a reflective post on the year that has just passed – and I’d recap all the awesomeness that was. But I’m not a good food blogger. Good food bloggers don’t pair recipes with stories about bodily functions, and they probably eat more kale. Honestly? I don’t feel the need to look back. (Or eat kale.) Last year, at this time, I had just been accepted into baking school (wait… I guess we are looking back), and now the first term of learning is behind me. I’m ready for new adventures and some epic happy in 2013 – I hope you’ve got big game planned too.

german buttercream | movita beaucoup

So instead of looking back, let’s look forward. Let’s raise a glass to family and friends, to dreams and dreamers, and to new stories about 2.0. (Let’s face it, the man is entertainment gold.) Thanks for being here with me and for believing that I won’t be defeated by a 60 quart mixer.

Happy New Year!

german buttercream | movita beaucoup

. . .

This frosting is less sweet than its American cousin. It is perfect for those people in your life who doesn’t like icing that makes their teeth hurt (my sister). There’s pound of pasty cream in it, along with a pound of butter. I think that makes the case for this frosting, don’t you? It’s easy to spread – you can make it more rustic looking or smooth it out with a warm pallet knife as I did. Basically, it tastes like pastry cream and butter – light, not overly sweet and vanilla infused. You can pipe borders with it, but I would avoid attempting delicate piping work.

German Buttercream

recipe: Baking & Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft (The Culinary Institute of America) print and make

Yields about 2 pounds – enough to frost a two layer 9-inch round cake.

  • 1 pound butter, soft
  • 4 ounces confectioner’s (icing) sugar, sifted
  • 1 pound pastry cream (recipe below)

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed (about 5 minutes).

Gradually add the pastry cream, mixing until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl with each addition of pastry cream.

Use immediately, or cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. Re-whipping the buttercream after it has been in the fridge will make it easier to work with.

. . .

Pastry Cream

recipe: adapted slightly from Baking & Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft (The Culinary Institute of America)

print and make

Yields about 1.5 pounds of pastry cream.

  • 16 fluid ounces homogenized milk, divided into 12 oz. & 4 oz.
  • 4 ounces granulated sugar, divided
  • 1.5 ounces butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 ounces cornstarch
  • 6 ounces eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

Prepare an ice bath for cooling the pastry cream.

Combine 12 ounces of the milk, 2 ounces of the sugar, the butter and salt in a saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 2 ounces of sugar. Whisk in the remaining 4 ounces of milk. Add the eggs and vanilla bean paste, stirring with the whisk until the mixture is completely smooth.

Temper the egg mixture by adding about 1/3 of the hot milk, stirring constantly with the whisk – the mixture should be fluid and well incorporated. Add this mixture to the remaining hot milk in the saucepan whisking as you do so. Continue cooking, stirring vigorously with the whisk, until the pastry cream thickens and comes just to a slow boil (a few fat bubbles rising up) and the whisk leaves a trail in the cream.

Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve, and then pour the pastry cream into a shallow, heatproof bowl or pan and set over the ice bath to cool. Cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the cream.

Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

45 Responses to german buttercream frosting

  1. Lan | angry asian December 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    happiest wishes for 2013 to you & yours.

  2. Amy December 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Happy New Year, Rachael! I hope your 2013 is filled with happiness, love…and lots of butter and sugar ;)

    I’ve never been a fan of American buttercream. To me, it just tastes like butter, which is delicious on toast but not something I’d like to ice my cake with. Maybe this version is something I’d like better!

    • movita beaucoup January 5, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Oh, Amy! You would love this. PASTRY CREAM!! It’s made with PASTRY CREAM!

  3. Clanmother December 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    German buttercream frosting is the the best symbol for celebration!!! I can taste it just by looking at the photos!!!

    • movita beaucoup January 2, 2013 at 8:39 am #

      It’s my favourite icing (right now). And sure, it’s not as easy to throw together as an American buttercream, but it’s SO worth it!

  4. musingmar December 31, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Oh, I think you’re a very good blogger indeed! Just when I thought I’d seen every frosting out there, you’ve introduced me to a new and delicious one. Wishing you all the best for the new year and looking forward to following your most excellent adventures!

  5. cecilia December 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    the mixer takes 60 quarts! wow! you are amazing.. this is a divine icing but what is 6oz eggs? i want to make this so badly, but my chooks are not laying.. we will have to wait and then!!I will be back.. super post .. have a lovely New Day! c

    • movita beaucoup January 1, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      6 oz of eggs is about 3-4 eggs (depending on what size you have in your fridge). Weigh them cracked (no shell), and it’s better to go over than under – splitting an egg in two seems silly. You could also use any pastry cream recipe for this frosting, so if you find a recipe that you like more, it will, in all likelihood, work!

      Happy New Year, Cecilia!!

      • cecilia January 1, 2013 at 9:18 am #

        Thank you.. I am dying to taste this- i have been looking for this recipe for ages.. at least i think this is the recipe I have been looking for.. it is an old taste. c

  6. Jeneva December 31, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    Au contrary, but you are a good food blogger! I’ll bet this is the most divine frosting. When I am feeling brave, I will try it. I am in awe of you and your ambitious endeavors.

  7. Jeneva December 31, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    Correction, Au contraire. iPad changes things when you’re not looking. Now about that picture….

  8. Juls January 1, 2013 at 3:35 am #

    I hope you have an amazing year Movita! xxx

    • movita beaucoup January 2, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      You too, Juls! I can’t wait to hear about what you get up to in 2013…

  9. Eggton January 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    It’s Scott’s birthday today. (Or, theoretically, his birthday in people years. I’m not sure if robots have birthdays.) He loved the cake I made from your site last week for his dad’s birthday, so he asked for ANOTHER ONE from movita beaucoup today, so here I am again, rereading your posts and picking out cakes, which are basically my two favorite things to do anyway.

    • movita beaucoup January 2, 2013 at 8:43 am #

      I believe robots age chronologically the way we do, but I’m not sure. I’m imagining they hold up better physically (no disease, arthritis), but they probably get outdated and start feeling redundant very quickly. But maybe slapping a new motherboard in ‘em will fix that.

      I hope you celebrated Scott’s birthday in style – and that butter and sugar featured prominently…

  10. shannon January 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    happy new year! and i see you made me what i know will be my favorite frosting recipe. I’m not a fan of american buttercream (so pasty and sweet!) and pastry cream? I could eat it for days. weeks, even. blended with butter? who knows what could happen.
    now i will live in suspense waiting to see what cake katherine picked out for the Scott-bot’s birthday.

    • movita beaucoup January 2, 2013 at 8:45 am #

      Happy New Year, Shannon! I won’t lie – this frosting is a buttery marvel. And I think I’ll try all the buttercreams of the world – French, Italian, Swiss… Like going on a sugary world tour!

  11. ironwoodfarm January 1, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    Happy New Year, Movita. One of my resolutions is to get you eating more kale (or at least trying the one delicious recipe I have)…of course, it’s always best when fresh from the field.

    • movita beaucoup January 2, 2013 at 8:46 am #

      Alright. I’ll trust you. But I’ll only eat Ironwood Farm kale.

  12. stirandstitch January 2, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    oooh, i like the idea of a less-sweet buttercream. thanks for sharing the frosting-love!

  13. Isabelle @ Crumb January 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    You mean the third* rule of food blogging doesn’t involve kale or year-end round ups? Dang. I wish I’d known this before I started drafting my Top 12 Kale Recipes of 2012 post.

    * (Obviously, the first and second rules of food blogging are that you don’t talk about food blogging.)

    PS: Happy New Year, Movita dearest. May 2013 bring you lots of luck, lots of joy and lots of butter.
    PPS: I love the idea of a buttercream based on pastry cream. Mostly because I love pasty cream. I would eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner every day… perhaps with a side of kale.

    • movita beaucoup January 5, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Happy New Year, lady!

      (Wanna start a Food Fight Club?)

  14. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise January 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Happy new year :)
    Wishing you one full of joy, laughter and success
    I have always had serious problems with buttercream..it is just too sweet for my taste.
    This German buttercream on the other hand is calling my name! I love pastry cream and if there is a buttercream recipe that tastes like pastry cream then I MUST try it
    P.S loved the image about the cats. My kids are demanding a cat and I am seriously considering getting them one. We are going to a shelter next week. Wish me luck

    • movita beaucoup January 5, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      Here’s some advice: just get three cats. It makes things way easier. It’s like kids – once you’ve got one, adding more into the mix just makes sense.

      And yes, you must try this frosting. Because pastry cream makes everything better!

  15. Ashley Bee January 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    Just started following you because I liked the blog name, but after reading through a bit I love it all :) Your post is way more interesting than my long-winded reflection, hehe. Gorgeous cake, too!

  16. Beth Somers January 4, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    I can’t believe that there is a frosting that I haven’t tried yet, but you’ve found one! And I’ll definitely be trying this German Buttercream! Thanks!

    • movita beaucoup January 5, 2013 at 8:33 am #

      It’s hard to go back to American buttercream once you’ve tried other versions. Mostly because you sound very sophisticated when you present someone with something fancy and European. It will almost make people overlook the fact that you’re wearing sweatpants at the dinner table…

  17. Stacy January 5, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    HOW did I miss this post? Less sweet buttercream icing, I’m in! I’m not a big sweet eater and my chief complaint about cake is the too-sweet icing. And I love your less-is-more decorations with the tiny flowers cascading down the cake. Whenever I decorate a fancy cake, someone has to stop me because I just don’t know when to set down the piping bag. I will, from here on out, try to follow your excellent example of elegant restraint.

    Wishing you loads of blessings in the New Year!

    Stacy XOXO

    • movita beaucoup January 5, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      I adore sweet icings – as in, I’d happily soak in a tub of American buttercream. But I like variety as well. This is an easy way to expand your icing repertoire!

      Happy New Year, Stacy! I hope it brings many exciting new ventures your way… xox

      • emma January 8, 2013 at 11:30 am #

        If you find a toothsome tub of any kind of buttercream, you need to contact me IMMEDIATELY. I will be there so quickly, those people whose teeth hurt from sugary things will be feeling, not toothsome, but very toothsore.

  18. wendy@chezchloe January 7, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    I’m a simple gal who loves any and all icing as long as I can dunk my finger in it. I made a raspberry buttercream for my buche de noel so sweet, it could choke a hummingbird. But I gobbled it up in the cake and out of the jar.
    And time to pull your head out of the sand (or snow)… you are one terrific food blogger with or without the flashbacks or raw massaged kale.
    Cheers ma dear… xo wendy

  19. emma January 8, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    movita, you are getting a bit out-of-reach baking-school-sciency. What the heck is homogenized milk?

    • movita beaucoup January 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Nah, silly! I still worship at the alter of home baking! Homogenized milk is what we Canadians call whole milk – you know, not skim or 1-2%. It’s the thicker milk – and awesome for baking. So: plain, it can-kill-you milk.

      • emma January 8, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

        ohhhhhhh. you are a bit out of reach canadian for me, then. gotcha.

  20. bakerbynature January 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    You’re a fabulous food blogger, missy! And this cake…?! So beautiful! Wishing you a wildly wonderful 2013.

  21. thelittleloaf January 10, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    I’m one of those people who finds buttercream too sweet but never bothers to change up her recipe. I saw German buttercrean on the Brave Tart blog a while ago…I must try it now as yours looks gorgeous and beautifully smooth.

  22. spree January 16, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Just beautiful my friend! And those little blossoms, tumbling over the side, mmm, something about that gets my heart!

  23. themessybakerblog January 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    I’m not a good food blogger, either. No reflections, and I definitely don’t eat kale. This cake is absolutely gorgeous. Happy New Year, Movita!

  24. cravingsofalunatic January 24, 2013 at 11:59 pm #

    One day we will bake together and you will teach me your awesome baking ways. In return I will teach you how to burp on command, even the alphabet if you like. It’s a match made in heaven.

    • movita beaucoup January 25, 2013 at 5:37 am #

      This is one of my greatest wishes. Mostly because I can’t belch. It is very, very sad.

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