Back in 2011, when I was still trying to figure out how to make a caramel cake similar to Estrel's, I wasn't sure what kind of buttercream they were using. The reason I chose Swiss Meringue buttercream was because I had leftover eggwhites from the caramel icing anyway so I might as well use them. I was convinced, however, that it wasn't IT.
Upon tasting the Estrel's famed caramel cake when I visited the Philippines last year, I observed two things about the butter icing - 1) it was salty; and 2) it had a "waxy" feel in the mouth. It made me question if it was actually butter they were using. Was it shortening perhaps?
Estrel's say they have not changed their recipe since they started in the 1940s. In one article I read in their website, the owners mentioned what brand of milk and butter they have been using. To quote:
Quality ingredients more than make up half the success story. “We never changed the recipe, nor the way we did the butter roses and their shapes, sizes and colors of tinted peach, pink and green; nor the thickness and taste of the caramel icing. Before we used GI butter during Liberation. And at that time the best milk was imported Carnation full cream milk (has to be full cream, no dilutions). Now we use Alpine or Omela (from Thailand) full cream milk for the butter icing. And we have never substituted anything for Anchor butter ever since we started using it,” professed Mrs. Navarro.
Although they specifically said "full cream milk", the brands suggested they were actually evaporated and not whole milk. From this little information, I think I now know how they make their butter icing.
Old fashioned cake = old fashioned recipe. Why didn't I think of that before? The recipe below is what my aunties iced and filled their sponge cakes and rolls with. So simple and easy.
OLD FASHIONED BUTTER ICING
1 cup butter, softened (I used salt-reduced.)
3/4 cup evaporated or whole milk **
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (original recipe didn't have this)
**I have tried both types of milk and like whole milk better.
1. Dissolve the sugar completely in the milk. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter until it is very light in colour. Start from the lowest speed then gradually increase to high.
3. Turn down the mixer speed to low then gradually add in the milk/sugar mixture in thin streams. Do this patiently, like 1 tablespoon at a time only.
4. When all the milk has been added, beat in the vanilla extract then increase the mixer speed to high and beat mixture until it is fluffy.
As all butter-based frostings are, the final colour is off-white.
This frosting seems soft but it is stiff enough that it will not fall off the spatula unless you really shake it off.
It spreads really smoothly too.
The taste? It's 100% buttery goodness! It does not only taste buttery but it appears buttery as well. It actually feels like butter in the mouth! (I don't know if that's actually a good thing or not!) How do you describe that? Waxy? Slippery? It's exactly how I remember the butter icing from Estrel's (though less salty since I didn't use regular salted butter.) Definitely heavier in the mouth than Swiss meringue buttercream.
Now, let's test this thing on a caramel cake!
Lacy, squiggly lines, check. (Used piping tip #1 for that.)
More squiggly lines, check.
Borders, check. (Ruffle tip 88 and shell tip 18 for those.)
Roses, check! (Petal tip 124 for the roses, leaf tip 352 for the leaves.)
|Looks pretty good to me! The empty space is for some writing I had to add later on.|
I am willing to bet on it! Will I use it? Definitely yes, for borders and flowers on a caramel cake. However, to frost a whole cake with buttercream, I still prefer to use my favourite. Still the winner for me in terms of texture and taste.
Try this butter icing next time you make a caramel cake and let me know what you think.
Have a good weekend!