Help with icing: Buttercream is too runny


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Hi! I recently started baking a lot of cupcakes and since I usually go for muffins I don't really have much experience with any kind of icing that can be used for cupcakes. I tried to make buttercream a few times because I thought this was a really basic skill but my buttercream never turned out the way I thought it should. I watched a lot of video tutorials (I will include the recipe I used for my buttercream) but one of the biggest problems that I had is that my buttercream never thickened up enough even after beating it for 20 minutes with a stand mixer on the recommended speed.
The recipe I followed used 1 cup butter, 3 cups icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. It said to beat the butter until it becomes white and almost doubles in size. This was no problem, although my butter looked a bit more runny than what I saw in the video, I thought the next step will fix this. Then I added the sugar slowly, I was really careful and made sure that I only added half a cup at a time like the recipe said and I let the sugar mix in well before adding the next batch. After adding all the sugar my buttercream was still not half as thick as what was shown in the video and I still needed to add the milk. In the end I ended up mixing for a few more minutes, waiting for the buttercream to thicken up a bit but it never did.
The outcome wasn't that bad, I could still pipe it onto my cupcakes but they didn't hold the shape of the piping head (Sorry, I don't know what it's called). The cream almost started melting off the cupcakes and the consistency felt more like a ganache than buttercream.

I don't know if I messed up a very important step and I just can't see it or if I should have mixed longer but I would really appreciate any help with this. I apologise for the long post, but I would love to correct my mistake and finally be able to make buttercream. : ) If there is any more information I should add (e.g. brand or type of ingredients used?) please let me know and I will add that too.
 
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Hi! I recently started baking a lot of cupcakes and since I usually go for muffins I don't really have much experience with any kind of icing that can be used for cupcakes. I tried to make buttercream a few times because I thought this was a really basic skill but my buttercream never turned out the way I thought it should. I watched a lot of video tutorials (I will include the recipe I used for my buttercream) but one of the biggest problems that I had is that my buttercream never thickened up enough even after beating it for 20 minutes with a stand mixer on the recommended speed.
The recipe I followed used 1 cup butter, 3 cups icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. It said to beat the butter until it becomes white and almost doubles in size. This was no problem, although my butter looked a bit more runny than what I saw in the video, I thought the next step will fix this. Then I added the sugar slowly, I was really careful and made sure that I only added half a cup at a time like the recipe said and I let the sugar mix in well before adding the next batch. After adding all the sugar my buttercream was still not half as thick as what was shown in the video and I still needed to add the milk. In the end I ended up mixing for a few more minutes, waiting for the buttercream to thicken up a bit but it never did.
The outcome wasn't that bad, I could still pipe it onto my cupcakes but they didn't hold the shape of the piping head (Sorry, I don't know what it's called). The cream almost started melting off the cupcakes and the consistency felt more like a ganache than buttercream.

I don't know if I messed up a very important step and I just can't see it or if I should have mixed longer but I would really appreciate any help with this. I apologise for the long post, but I would love to correct my mistake and finally be able to make buttercream. : ) If there is any more information I should add (e.g. brand or type of ingredients used?) please let me know and I will add that too.
If you’re going to bake frequently I would recommend you buy a scale and stop baking by volume. Volume is the most in accurate way to bake.

20 minutes seems an awful long time to beat the buttercream.

I don’t know how soft your butter is, that’s another issue. Sounds like you’re breaking your butter


The quality of the butter does make a difference. Check out Jemma video on buttercream. Although she does use a very expensive French butter, you don’t need to use one quite expensive. Just a good quality butter will do

I don’t know what the equivalent for volume isbut her technique is what is important.


These icing sugar buttercreams are really not that good. I would encourage you to try Swiss meringue buttercream and Italian meringue buttercream. While the meringue buttercream‘s are more work they’re definitely far superior to these icing sugar buttercreams.
 
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Hi! I recently started baking a lot of cupcakes and since I usually go for muffins I don't really have much experience with any kind of icing that can be used for cupcakes. I tried to make buttercream a few times because I thought this was a really basic skill but my buttercream never turned out the way I thought it should. I watched a lot of video tutorials (I will include the recipe I used for my buttercream) but one of the biggest problems that I had is that my buttercream never thickened up enough even after beating it for 20 minutes with a stand mixer on the recommended speed.
The recipe I followed used 1 cup butter, 3 cups icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. It said to beat the butter until it becomes white and almost doubles in size. This was no problem, although my butter looked a bit more runny than what I saw in the video, I thought the next step will fix this. Then I added the sugar slowly, I was really careful and made sure that I only added half a cup at a time like the recipe said and I let the sugar mix in well before adding the next batch. After adding all the sugar my buttercream was still not half as thick as what was shown in the video and I still needed to add the milk. In the end I ended up mixing for a few more minutes, waiting for the buttercream to thicken up a bit but it never did.
The outcome wasn't that bad, I could still pipe it onto my cupcakes but they didn't hold the shape of the piping head (Sorry, I don't know what it's called). The cream almost started melting off the cupcakes and the consistency felt more like a ganache than buttercream.

I don't know if I messed up a very important step and I just can't see it or if I should have mixed longer but I would really appreciate any help with this. I apologise for the long post, but I would love to correct my mistake and finally be able to make buttercream. : ) If there is any more information I should add (e.g. brand or type of ingredients used?) please let me know and I will add that too.
The butter was too warm to begin with. Kitchen might also be too hot.
Just cool it down and beat it again.

My favourite is the french recipe using yolks and boiled sugar but even the cooked sugar recipes will not work if the butter is sloppy.

It will only thicken if you cool it down, it helps a lot if the kitchen is closer to 60F than 90F.
 

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