Can I get away with less sugar in a heritage (ermine) buttercream?

I've tested 5 recipes now and they are all way too sweet (vanilla). Before I start modifying, does anyone here know if reducing sugar messes with the structure/pipeability of the frosting or does the cooked flour hold onto it for you? The answer I would love to hear is that the structure is all because of the flour so that, that way, I could substitute other sweeteners like fruit purees or syrups. Thanks in advance!



Shuna L. January 18, 2015
Hello & thank you for introducing me to a "new" kind of buttercream! I see that you have already created your answer, but I'll weigh in with just a dash more advice. One of the secrets, that shouldn't be, is that the balance in dessert making to cloyingly sweet, is salt. If you have kosher or sea salt in your house, try adding a pinch or two (I always season to taste) to your next batch of buttercream - of any sort. Sea salt is especially suited for fruit purees because it's more acidic and matches fruit's high notes. I prefer kosher salt to table salt because the latter is quite bitter and often ends up doing more harm than good, in dessert making, where the purity of flavor wants to shine through.

Lastly, some vanilla extracts are sweeter than others. In baking I only use Madagascar Bourbon and I make sure it's alcohol, as opposed to glycerine based. Thank you again for leading me to a new thought process & method!
soleilnyc January 19, 2015
You are welcome, Shuna, and thank you for the tips! I had read about salt as balancing as well, but unfortunately the person I have this in mind for can't have salt either (It's complicated)...even the recipe I'm developing now I bet could benefit from a pinch of salt.
I see you're the Pastry Chef at Peels. I loved it there when I lived on Mott and Grand: Sunday brunches in another (pre-baby) life :) I'm lucky to have you weigh in.
soleilnyc January 19, 2015
Oh, while I have you here, maybe you can weigh in on a cake question I posted! (Making this cake more cake)
soleilnyc January 18, 2015
I don't know about other frostings, but this one worked I think because of the cooked flour. If I give the other versions a go, I'll let you know!
soleilnyc January 18, 2015
Well, I ended up experimenting and I guess I'll answer my own question to help anyone who may be searching for this. Getting rid of the sugar did not affect pipeability or durability at all. Tadah!
ktr January 18, 2015
That's really good to know. I all almost always find frosting too sweet but I've never thought of just decreasing the sugar in it.
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