I grew up on German Buttercream although I had no idea it was called German Buttercream till few years ago. In Slovakia we call it Pudding Buttercream.
HOW TO MAKE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM
If you are not a fan of heavy or overly sweet buttercream, you need to try this buttercream. German Buttercream it’s light, silky smooth with a subtle sweetness. You can use it to fill cream puffs, cakes, or pastries. And it also pipes beautifully on cupcakes and cakes.
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED
German Buttercream is a custard / pudding based buttercream. It’s similar to popular Flour Buttercream (Ermine Buttercream).
- Ingredients you need to make this buttercream
- Milk (whole milk, 2% or 1%)
- Egg yolks from large eggs
- Flour – you are gluten intolerant use starch instead
- Unsalted butter – at room temperature
- Vanilla Extract
In a sauce pan whisk together milk, sugar and egg yolks. Pour about 1/2 cup of mixture into a smaller dish. Then whisk in all the cornstarch, flour and salt. Whisk well so there are no lumps.
Whisk both mixtures together and cook on medium heat. Stirring constantly, mixture will gradually thicken. Once it starts to boil reduce the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Custard should be thick. It it appears impossible to stir, add 2 tablespoon of milk and bring it to boil. It’s not going to boil rapidly like water. You’ll see a few bubbles on the top.
As soon as you take it off the heat, pour the thick custard through a fine mesh sieve. Use a flexible silicone spatula to press it through. Discard the cooked egg bits caught by the sieve.
Immediately cover the custard with a plastic wrap. The wrap should be touching the custard surface. This will prevent skin from forming.
Before we can beat custard and butter together, custard has to cool to room temperature. To accelerate the cooling process, I use a cold water bath. You can also put the covered custard into the fridge to cool. Let it cool in the refrigerator overnight.
CREAMING BUTTER AND CUSTARD
One thing I’ve learned over the years of making this buttercream is that butter and custard need to be at room temperature. It is a key to a delicately smooth buttercream texture.
Cream room temperature unsalted butter with powdered sugar and then gradually add room temperature custard. Use a wire beater to mix buttercream. Lastly, I like to add Vanilla Extract and if I have some Vanilla Bean Paste I also add that, too.
TIP: How do you bring refrigerated custard to room temperature? Microwave cold, thick custard on high in 5-second intervals. Stir it gently after each heating until it’s at room temperature. It doesn’t take that long, and it works. It usually takes a total of 10 seconds.
Buttercream should be smooth and not too sweet. If you prefer sweeter buttercream, you can add more powdered sugar.
GERMAN BUTTERCREAM SUCCESS TIPS
HOW LONG DOES BUTTERCREAM KEEP
It keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Let it come to room temperature before using. Cake frosted with buttercream can be kept at room temperature for 2 days.
CAN YOU FREEZE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM?
German Buttercream can be made ahead of time. It can be frozen in a freezer safe container for up 3 months. Let it defrost on the counter overnight.
MY BUTTERCREAM IS BROKEN, IT LOOKS SEPARATED
If buttercream looks broken and separated, heat it in 5-second intervals in the microwave or over the pot with simmering water. Stirring well after each heating until it emulsifies and becomes homogeneous.
COLORING AND PIPING WITH BUTTERCREAM
- You can color German Buttercream with gel food colors and use wide range of piping tips to create pretty piped designs.
- Just like with any other buttercream that contains butter heat will make German Buttercream softer. If you notice buttercream is getting softer as you are piping with it place it in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.
CAN I USE TO DECORATE A CAKE
HOW TO MAKE WHITE BUTTERCREAM
German Buttercream has a creamy color with a yellow tint. Personally, it doesn’t bother me. But I know you might occasionally want pure white buttercream instead. To remedy off white buttercream you can either add White food coloring or, if you are brave enough, add a minuscule amount of Violet or Purple. By minuscule, I mean a tip of a toothpick dipped in food coloring.
- First and foremost, if you are planning on neutralizing yellow with purple test it out on a small portion of buttercream first. If I don’t have a purple coloring use sky blue and electric pink instead.
- You can see my results in the picture below. Notice whiter buttercream in the middle?
HOW TO MAKE DIFFERENT BUTTERCREAM FLAVORS
If you like to play with different buttercream flavors, try infusing milk. You can try coffee beans, mint, vanilla beans, and lavender. Or, as one of the readers suggests in the comments section, use some condensed milk instead of milk.
For example, simmer milk with coffee beans for 10 minutes, cover the pot, and let it steep for another 10 minutes. Or dissolve espresso powder in milk – this will yield in light brown buttercream. Then process to cook the custard and follow the recipe.
I’ve made Vanilla, Caramel, Coffee and Chocolate German Buttercream. They are all equally delicious and really easy to make.
- 2 cups milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 cups room temperature butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar use more for sweeter buttercream
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
- In a sauce pan whisk together milk (2cups), egg yolks (4) and sugar (3/4cup) and salt (1/8tsp). Pour about 1/2 of this mixture into a dish. Into it then add starch (3tbsp) and flour (3tbsp). Whisk well so there are no lumps. Pour flour/starch mixture into the remaining milk mixture into a sauce pan.
- Cook on medium heat stirring constantly. Custard will gradually thicken. I find it’s best to use a whisk. Once you see bubble to pop, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature.
- To speed up cooling you can use a cold water bath. Or if you plan on making buttercream next day you can refrigerate covered custard overnight.If refrigerating let custard come to room temperature before mixing with butter. I like to microwave it on high in 5 second intervals, stirring gently after each heating.
BLENDING CUSTARD AND BUTTER
- Beat room temperature unsalted butter (2cups, 4sticks) for 15 seconds. Then add powdered sugar (1cup, or use more if you prefer sweeter buttercream) and beat on low until fully incorporated into the butter. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds.
- Gradually add room temperature custard to butter, creaming well after each addition.Once fully blended, beat in Vanilla Extract and/or Vanilla Bean Paste.Beat on high for 10 seconds. German buttercream is ready.
- Filling for cream puff, cakes.
- Piped swirls on cupcakes, cakes etc.
- It pipes beautifully on cakes and cupcakes.
- If needed you can also ice the cake on the outside with this buttercream. I’ve done this in the past though I find it a bit more elastic than Swiss Buttercream.
PIN IT for later
TO MAKE VANILLA GERMAN BUTTERCREAM YOU NEED
- Glass Mixing Bowls
- Fine Mesh Strainer
- Mixer, either handheld or Stand Mixer
- Stainless Steel Sauce Pan
- Vanilla Extract
- Vanilla Bean Paste
- My Favorite Kitchen Tools/Gadgets
- My Favorite Baking Tools
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