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Ask the Expert: Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes

Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes is a London based company founded by two best friends, Valeri and Christina, who share the same passion. From that ‘sweet accident’ when they discovered their talents, the duo never stopped believing in the power of buttercream since; they have persevered and continuously innovated. They are the proud authors of best-selling buttercream books, The Contemporary Buttercream Bible, 100 Buttercream Flowers and Buttercream One Tier Wonders.

Texture

Q: My buttercream is grainy – what am I doing wrong?

A: Check the quality of the icing sugar you have used as different brands have different textures. Your buttercream will be grainy if you haven’t sifted the icing sugar or if you have beaten it too much. The whole buttercream process is very straight forward, no cooking or dissolving involved, so it is normal that the buttercream might be slightly grainy.

Colouring

Q: How do I make white buttercream – what type of colouring works best?

A: To make white buttercream, using whiteners will be the best option. Use gel or paste form to achieve a very good result. Adding a drop of violet colouring can also offset the yellow colour to give white buttercream.

Crumb Coating

Q: Is it better to crumb coat in ganache or buttercream?

A: Both are really good and will have pros and cons. But at the end of the day, the better choice of crumb coat will depend on your taste preference, weather and the overall design of your cake. A lot of people find it easier to achieve a sharp edge when you use a ganache, while easier to achieve a round edge when using buttercream. Ganache does not colour or flavour as well as buttercream.

 Hot Climates

Q: Do you have any tips for buttercream cakes in warmer climates?

A: In warmer countries, we always suggest to add less than the normal amount of water in your buttercream. If it’s still hard at the end, you can easily fix it by adding drops of water.

Sweetness

Q: How do you offset the sweetness of buttercream?

A: You can substitute half a cup of cornflour in replacement of half a cup of icing sugar to offset the sweetness, complementing your cake and not overwhelming it with the flavour of the buttercream. Make sure you blend and sift the cornflour and sugar thoroughly to ensure the right texture and taste.

Sandwiching

Q: When I sandwich my cakes, my buttercream comes oozing out – what am I doing wrong?

A: When you sandwich your cakes, first you need to create a dam of ganache or hard consistency buttercream so the filling won’t ooze out.

Air Bubbles

Q: How do you get rid of air bubbles in buttercream?

A: There will be air bubbles in your buttercream if you over beat it. In case this happens, chill the airy buttercream first for about 30 minutes or until the buttercream is firm. Using your spatula, knock down all the bubbles by pressing it, then chill the buttercream again.

Chocolate Buttercream

Q: What is the best way to make a chocolatey buttercream?

A: You can use cocoa powder or melted chocolate. Obviously, if you use melted chocolate, it will have a stronger chocolate flavour. However, if you want a more stable buttercream, go with cocoa powder.