An Ode to French Buttercream

Remember the first time you tasted your absolutely favorite food?  The feeling you got when you took that first bite, had all the tastes run across your palate, and just fell in love with this marvelous culinary masterpiece?

That’s how I am with French Buttercream.

Sigh. 🙂

French Buttercream (FBC) is the oft-overlooked but oh-so-good kind of frosting/filling that has you taking more than anyone’s fair share of licks as you work on your cake.  (Or, in some cases spoonfuls.  But I don’t know who that could be.)

One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is this place called Sushi Toro (or Toro Sushi, depending on what website you find).  One of their specialties is called the “Oh My God Roll”, because after you try it, it’s your first reaction to say “Oh my God!”  No joke.  It seems to happen every time I’m there with anyone new.

I think French Buttercream should just be renamed Oh My God Buttercream. 

FBC is made incredibly similar to Italian Meringue Buttercream (IMBC) – except you use egg yolks instead of egg whites, so there is no meringue.  The egg yolks give a good fattiness to the buttercream – in a very very good way. 

While I love IMBC and use it for the majority of my cakes, FBC is just so much… more.  It is so much richer, and seems to have a deeper flavor, without being overly sweet or heavy.  It seems to be more velvety and smooth than any other buttercream as well – which could just be my imagination since I love it so much. 

Next time you make a cake – try out the Oh My God Buttercream.  You won’t regret it.

French Buttercream

  • 3 oz. egg yolks**
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 2 oz water
  • 10 oz butter, softened
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla

**because of the egg yolks, you will need to refrigerate this frosting more than normal.  this is something you should not leave out for hours at a time.  Also – the frosting will have a yellow tint.

  1. Pour the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat over medium high heat.  DO NOT STIR – if you stir the sugar mixture, you risk crystallizing the sugar, therefore making it un-usable.
  2. Once the sugar syrup reaches 215 degrees F, put the egg yolks in a mixer with a whip attachment and whip on high until they get creamy and light colored.  If you would like to make this buttercream lighter in color, you can add white gel coloring to the egg yolks while you are whipping them.
  3. When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 238-240 degrees, or the soft ball stage, remove the pot from heat and slowly stream the syrup into the egg yolks, down the side of the bowl while the eggs are still whisking on medium-high.  Make sure the syrup does not touch the whisk, or it the sugar will harden on the whisk.
  4. Continue whisking on high until the mixture cools down; the bowl should be cool to the touch.  Add the butter, a piece at a time, while the mixer is still whisking.  Add the vanilla and continue to whisk until combined.
  5. Buttercream can be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to 2 months.
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