Buttercream frosting is grainy--any way to fix?

Hi -- I just made the chocolate malt buttercream from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours cookbook. The taste is fabulous, but the texture is a bit grainy. I followed the recipe to the letter. I creamed the butter and brown sugar well, and I sifted the powdered sugar and added it very gradually. Is there any way to remedy the grainy texture at this point? It's certainly not inedible and I plan to use it as is if I can't fix it, but I'm puzzled about the texture.

  • Posted by: EmilyC
  • November 12, 2011


sdebrango November 12, 2011
I think it could be grainy from the brown sugar, I made a brown sugar buttercream once that had a little bit of a grainy feel and it could be that "tickle of sugar on the tongue" that Dorie spoke of. It sounds really delicious. Going to look that recipe up. ATG117 could also be right that it's the powdered sugar.
EmilyC November 13, 2011
Thanks sdebrango! You know, I kind of liked the texture in the end. I made it to go with Dorie's cocoa-buttermilk birthday cake, which is a fabulous cake. Today, I'm making your tender yellow cake (lots of b'day cake in one weekend!) and I can't wait to taste it!
sdebrango November 13, 2011
Thanks so much I hope you like the yellow cake and wow you are on a birthday roll. I love a brown sugar buttercream has more depth than a standard IMO.
EmilyC November 12, 2011
Thanks ATG117! I used Safeway brand powdered sugar. I read somewhere else that the brand of powdered sugar can make a difference, so maybe it's the culprit. I didn't used granulated brown sugar. In the recipe headnote, Dorie says that the frosting will leave a "slight tickle of sugar on the tongue" -- don't know if she's referring to taste or texture! The taste all but makes up for the texture, though, so no big loss. The cake is for my son's 2nd b'day and I know he won't mind! : )
ATG117 November 12, 2011
Were you using organic powdered sugar? For some reason, I have found that the whole foods brand of organic confectioners retains lumps even after sifting and makes my frosting a bit lumpy. Not sure if it's just me, but this has been my experience more than once. The only other question that comes to mind is whether you used granulated brown sugar, but I'm assuming you probably did not. That would make things grainy. At this point, I'd suggest beating a bit more on high speed to try and smooth things out.
Recommended by Food52