This German buttercream is silky smooth and buttery with the taste of vanilla pastry cream. My no-fail recipe with step-by-step picture tutorial is all you are ever going to need to make this perfect custard buttercream every single time. Frost it on cakes, pipe it over cupcakes, or fill it in macarons and other desserts. And with tips, tricks, and troubleshooting this buttercream is one of the easiest to make.
In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine egg yolks and sugar.
Add the cornstarch – combine well with a whisk.
Then add the salt and vanilla.
Followed by the milk.
Place it on medium heat and stir continuously until thick and creamy.
Strain in a bowl through a sieve and cover with plastic wrap making sure the plastic touches the top surface of the cream.
Let cool completely. Then, place in the fridge to chill.
Cream the pastry cream with a whisk to ensure no lumps - set aside.
Cream the butter in a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment.
This is an important process of making this buttercream so it is important that you cream this butter until light and fluffy (3 to 4 minutes).
Then gradually add the cooled pastry cream and combine well.
Add any other flavoring or additions (see flavor options below).
Again whip for 3 to 5 minutes until you have a soft, creamy, buttery yet light and fluffy buttercream.
Pastry cream must be cooked until its thick and coats the back of a spoon. If in doubt cook a minute longer
If the pastry cream is overcooked the eggs will curdle so cook on low heat
A thin consistency pastry cream will result is a soft buttercream that will not be smooth, spreadable, or pipable.
Pastry cream that is too thick will result in lumps. The best way to take the lumps out is to use a whisk or better yet, place in a stand mixer and give it a good whip.
If you find the pastry cream is too stiff add a tablespoon of milk and continue to whip
Cover the top of the pastry cream well with plastic wrap to prevent a skin. If a skin forms, it will result in grainy pastry cream and eventually a grainy buttercream.
Cream buttercream until light and airy. To do this correctly, it is important that the butter is room temperature but not too soft. Soft butter will cream but not be able to fluffy. So keep it firm room temperature.
Add pastry cream that is already smooth to the butter - so take a whisk and give it a good whip before you start adding it to the buttercream gradually.
If you add a lumpy pastry cream to the butter you will get a grainy buttercream. The grains will become smaller but never go away.
Whip the buttercream until it's light and airy. If you live in a warm place do not overdo this as the butter will melt and result in a greasy frosting.
German buttercream is highly perishable and needs to be refrigerated because it contains eggs and milk.
You can keep a cake frosted with GBC for a few hours (3 or 4 hrs) in good weather.
It should be treated just like butter. If left out in high temperature or humidity it will melt like butter.
It can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to 15 days
When frozen it is best thawed in the fridge overnight.
Whip with a paddle attachment for about five minutes to restore consistency.
More buttercream flavors you can create from this basic German buttercream (GBC) recipe
Dark, milk or white chocolate - Add 200 grams melted and cooled chocolate to 4 cups of GBC, and combine well.
Caramel or salted caramel -Add 1 cup caramel sauce to 4 (to 6) cups of GBC. And for salted add a tbsp of rock salt, and combine well.
Butterscotch - Add 1 cup butterscotch sauce to 4 (to 6) cups of GBC.
Lemon - Add ¼ tsp lemon juice to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream. You can also add up to ½ if you want a very lemony buttercream. And, 1 tsp of zest can also be added if you don't mind the zest in the buttercream. Also, ¼ tsp lemon extract will enhance the flavor even more.
Orange - Add ½ cup orange juice, ¼ tsp orange extract to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream. Also, 1 tsp orange zest can be added too.
Fruit flavors - blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, strawberry - Add 1 cup fruit puree to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream. And, I love adding a fruit filling instead, which makes it slightly sweeter, and yet also more rich and vibrant in color.
Dulce de leche - Add 1 cup dulce de leche to 4 (6 cups) buttercream.
Coffee or espresso - Dissolve 1 tbsp coffee in ¼ cup hot water, or use ¼ cup espresso. Cool completely then add to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream.
Mocha - Add 200 grams melted and cooled chocolate to 4 (or 6) cups coffee GBC.
Peanut butter - Add up to 2 cups of peanut butter to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream.