When is it too warm for a buttercream cake?

mariadnoca

Moderator
The weather has been all over the place. It’s currently 57° and faux raining. My nephew is having a house warming barbecue this Sunday and given it’s so close to my birthday, I planned to bring a cake with my favorite Swiss meringue buttercream. I wanted to try my hand at adding some peony flowers on it. I like to live dangerously and learn a new skill with the deadline of bringing it to some sort of function. I picked up some new piping tips today for peonies.

For some reason I just decided to look at the weather report for Sunday. It says it’s going to be a sunny day with a high 77°. Since I’ve never been there before I am sort of assuming this will be outside. The party starts at 2 PM. Now I’m worried the smb might melt? Would you use American buttercream instead (not nearly a fav compared to SMB). Now I’m questioning the entire cake idea…thoughts?
 

marg-cdn2

Well-known member
The weather has been all over the place. It’s currently 57° and faux raining. My nephew is having a house warming barbecue this Sunday and given it’s so close to my birthday, I planned to bring a cake with my favorite Swiss meringue buttercream. I wanted to try my hand at adding some peony flowers on it. I like to live dangerously and learn a new skill with the deadline of bringing it to some sort of function. I picked up some new piping tips today for peonies.

For some reason I just decided to look at the weather report for Sunday. It says it’s going to be a sunny day with a high 77°. Since I’ve never been there before I am sort of assuming this will be outside. The party starts at 2 PM. Now I’m worried the smb might melt? Would you use American buttercream instead (not nearly a fav compared to SMB). Now I’m questioning the entire cake idea…thoughts?
I am thinking that any buttercream decoration will melt at 77, or even 65. My weather is like yours at the moment but wish it would become what you are expecting on the weekend. I use my balcony as a fridge and even at 55, there is wilting and fading going on and its on its last days as an alternate fridge..

I dunno. Just thinking that if you reach 65, you might be disappointed in any kind of buttercream.
 

mariadnoca

Moderator
Of course it’s the only warm day forecast for the whole week.

I was thinking even if I took it from my fridge and had them keep in the house till serving, it still might not be great? (and then obviously not on display, which was half the fun) I kinda hate nixing my own birthday cake especially since I already said I’d bring a cake… 🤷🏻‍♀️
 
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deb-in-mi

Well-known member
I just googled this and the sugar geek show states: Will Swiss meringue buttercream melt? Although Swiss meringue buttercream is more stable than using whipped cream, it is still susceptible to high heat. It's main ingredient is butter after all and butter WILL become very soft at around 80ºF and will melt fully at 90º.Feb 5, 2019

from another site:
Is Swiss meringue buttercream stable in hot weather?


Swiss Meringue Buttercream is more stable than American buttercream due to its ingredients. It's more difficult to make than American buttercream, but it'll hold better in hot and humid weather.

https://thefitandhealthybaker.com › prevent-melting-but.


 

marilynfl

Moderator
"...ask and ye shall receive..."

well, you won't win the CA lottery or get back that weekend in your 20s that you still can't remember, but at least you'll get a link out of the deal. King Arthur ran through a bunch of icings to test this idea, using a hair dryer set on high to simulate Mother Nature during menopause.


However, she didn't include Ermine icing, which is cooked-base icing and the one my mom would use for summer picnics. I thought that was odd. Here is their link with ALL icings:

PS: Happy birthday in advance! 🎂
 

mariadnoca

Moderator
"...ask and ye shall receive..."

well, you won't win the CA lottery or get back that weekend in your 20s that you still can't remember, but at least you'll get a link out of the deal. King Arthur ran through a bunch of icings to test this idea, using a hair dryer set on high to simulate Mother Nature during menopause.


However, she didn't include Ermine icing, which is cooked-base icing and the one my mom would use for summer picnics. I thought that was odd. Here is their link with ALL icings:

PS: Happy birthday in advance! 🎂
Thanks for the birthday wishes!

I read that first link prior and thought it was particularly bad science. I mean, how hot was the hair dryer: warm day or surface of the sun? Plus, slight breeze or are we talking the hairdryer is producing the surface of the sun heat with hurricane force winds? Because that makes a difference.

I was hoping to find some resource, with no luck on my Internet search, but just would kind of say when it gets to be about x temperature, I switch to this other type of icing or don’t use smb. I mean bakeries everywhere must know this answer, right?

So, what I ended up doing was looking through some my photos of previous cakes/cupcakes. I can see that some of the flowers on warm days looked…Soft. I’ve never tried to do smb on a real hot day say like 90°F and I wouldn’t. I’m just trying to find out when that cut off might be and where, too much heat is actually too much heat by temperature. Because I’m a bit ocd doncha know, lol. I have done my own heat test using American butter cream and sitting cupcakes out in my greenhouse in the sun to see what would actually happen. American butter cream that uses both butter and shortening will hold up fine on a hot day (in the 90°s), it’s just not my favorite taste wise. So I’m toying with the idea of maybe smb, w American buttercream flowers…maybe. I wish I could do more of a test, but because it’s been showering off n on I’m a bit skittish to even make anything because humidity. Also I’m coming off of that three tries in a row failed SMB experience. 😳

So I’m thinking tomorrow I will make a small batch Swiss meringue and try to pipe a few flowers to test. I don’t think you can get things to look super crisp with Swiss meringue buttercream, but if I do I’ll throw a few in the freezer. I am thinking of going very simple on the cake maybe one large or three flowers just on the top of the cake nothing that can slide off the edge. I made a few fondant butterflies today to accent because those puppies are not gonna melt.

Film at 11…
 

mariadnoca

Moderator
Thanks for the birthday wishes!

I read that first link prior and thought it was particularly bad science. I mean, how hot was the hair dryer: warm day or surface of the sun? Plus, slight breeze or are we talking the hairdryer is producing the surface of the sun heat with hurricane force winds? Because that makes a difference.

I was hoping to find some resource, with no luck on my Internet search, but just would kind of say when it gets to be about x temperature, I switch to this other type of icing or don’t use smb. I mean bakeries everywhere must know this answer, right?

So, what I ended up doing was looking through some my photos of previous cakes/cupcakes. I can see that some of the flowers on warm days looked…Soft. I’ve never tried to do smb on a real hot day say like 90°F and I wouldn’t. I’m just trying to find out when that cut off might be and where, too much heat is actually too much heat by temperature. Because I’m a bit ocd doncha know, lol. I have done my own heat test using American butter cream and sitting cupcakes out in my greenhouse in the sun to see what would actually happen. American butter cream that uses both butter and shortening will hold up fine on a hot day (in the 90°s), it’s just not my favorite taste wise. So I’m toying with the idea of maybe smb, w American buttercream flowers…maybe. I wish I could do more of a test, but because it’s been showering off n on I’m a bit skittish to even make anything because humidity. Also I’m coming off of that three tries in a row failed SMB experience. 😳

So I’m thinking tomorrow I will make a small batch Swiss meringue and try to pipe a few flowers to test. I don’t think you can get things to look super crisp with Swiss meringue buttercream, but if I do I’ll throw a few in the freezer. I am thinking of going very simple on the cake maybe one large or three flowers just on the top of the cake nothing that can slide off the edge. I made a few fondant butterflies today to accent because those puppies are not gonna melt.

Film at 11…

Tested smb today to see if it would handle humid. Because we are in the middle of a drought and it was teasing rain. Had to wait till after 4pm to make so it got down to 56%. Got to try out my new piping tip, a 123 curved petal. First time trying a flower with smb. It’s a learning curve compared to American buttercream. Very soft. Next time will firm it up in fridge first and put bags in there when not in use. Here is my first attempt at peonies next to the cake in freezer. Like I said…learning curve.

F7A3A9EA-3D31-4041-A945-7EEB97E1D25D.jpeg
 
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mariadnoca

Moderator
Going to wing it and see what happens with smb tomorrow. Will keep out of sun and not put any decor on the sides. You know me, going for broke, lol. I want to see how it will hold and if it gets melty - at what air temp.

Learned a couple new tricks researching:

  • To fully develop icing color let it sit for at least an hour or overnight then rewhip so color will fully meld with your fat ensuring your color doesn’t look blotchy. (So, it’s currently resting before I put on the final outside color.)
  • Also, and this was a great tip…put a couple of tablespoons of icing in a bowl and tint, then put it in the microwave (it said 30 seconds, but I only did 15 seconds) and your color will fully develop saving you a lot of gel color. I just tried this and it worked fantastic. It melts, but that’s ok as you are using it to color a bigger batch. This trick is apparently especially true with the meringue buttercreams that have a hard time holding a color beyond pastel. I did a very light mint green and after 15 seconds in the microwave it was a dark jade green that was all I needed to add to the rest of my icing to get a pale jade color. This would be especially great for when you’re trying to do a dark color like red.
Look, bullet points! So cool Paul!
 
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