Vegan “Butter”cream

Vegan BC 1- best

Veganism is definitely sweeping the globe!

Yay for animal friendly recipes!

I recently made a vegan chocolate cake recipe and then turned that lovely creation into an amazing Vegetable Garden Cake!

So, in keeping with the vegan theme there I had to be sure everything~ including the filling and icing were indeed~ Vegan!

I currently do not have many options for vegan recipes here on Gretchen’s Bakery (YET!)

But I am testing and trying as many as possible, so there will definitely be more to come I promise!

Here is a  “Butter”cream Recipe that I basically tweaked, twisted and turned into my own creation by using the Wilton Buttercream decorators icing as my base and then I made some variations to make it my own.

Be sure to watch the video to the end so you can see how easy it is to make a chocolate variation!

4.0 from 2 reviews
Vegan "Butter" cream
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4 cups
  • Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks 2 sticks (226g)
  • Sweetex Solid Vegetable Hi Ratio Shortening 1 cup (226g)
  • Confectioners Sugar 6 Cups (720g)
  • Milk Alternative (I used almond milk) 4 Tablespoons (60ml)
  • Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon
  1. Cream the earth balance and shortening together with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
  2. Add the alternative milk of your choice and continue whipping for about 1 more minute.
  3. Add the sifted confectioners sugar and blend on low until smooth
  4. Add the vanilla extract
  5. Blend to smooth
  6. *For Chocolate: Add 4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder dissolved in 3 Tablespoons of Hot Water
Vegan buttercream can be stored at room temperature for 2 days, refrigerated for 1 month or frozen for 2 months

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Swiss Buttercream Recipe

Swiss Meringue Buttercream


This swiss buttercream recipe is the recipe that put me on the map.

Little did I know 5 years ago when I first shared this recipe that I would be ranking #1 in a google search for Swiss Buttercream!

Before this most recent change-over to all things Gretchen’s Bakery my recipe was coming up first, even before Food Network Recipes and Martha Stewart!

Holy Cannolis!

Originally named the World’s Best Swiss Buttercream, because well… has made it’s way around the world and back again!

So if you are on the fence as to whether or not you should try this recipe…GET DOWN FROM THAT FENCE and TRY IT!

PLEASE READ THE Q & A down below before asking your question, because there is a great chance it has already been addressed! THANKS!

#1 This is not a crusting Buttercream.

#2 This is a GREAT icing for under fondant.

#3 You can leave out the confectioners sugar if you think it is going to be too sweet (but please read “My two Cents” below before making that judgment)

#4 THIS RECIPE CAN BE STORED 4 days room temp, 2 weeks fridge, 2 months freezer

4.8 from 27 reviews
Swiss Buttercream Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Please read all the way to the bottom of this blog post before beginning and before asking questions! Thanks!
Serves: 6 Cups: Enough to ice 30 Cupcakes, or Fill and Ice 1- 8" Cake
  • Fresh Large Egg Whites 180g (6 Large)
  • Granulated Sugar 300g (1 + ½ cups)
  • Confectioners Sugar 240g (2cups) *Domino brand is recommended 10X sugar
  • Solid Vegetable Shortening 170g (3/4 cup)
  • I prefer to use SWEETEX, it is a High Ratio vegetable shortening
  • Unsalted Butter 454g (2 cups)
  • Vanilla Extract Or Vanilla Paste 1 Tablespoon
  • Salt - pinch *(I did not mention this on the video, but a dash of salt can heighten all these flavors and really pull this recipe through- add at the end with the vanilla)
  1. Over a double boiler, in a large metal bowl whisk together the granulated sugar and the egg whites stirring constantly until the mixture reaches approximately 115 degrees F and the sugar grains have dissolved and are not longer gritty to the touch.
  2. Pour this mixture into the metal bowl of the stand mixer with the WHISK attachment and whip on high speed until it is thick, glossy and white in color. The peaks should be as firm as firm can be.
  3. In the meantime you can sift your confectioners sugar, and once you have achieved STIFF peaks meringue, add the confectioners sugar all at once with the mixer on very low speed to avoid having a snow shower of sugar all over your kitchen!
  4. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated you can turn the mixer speed to med-high until it is all nicely mixed in.
  5. Be sure your butter and shortening are at room temperature and they are the same consistency. Add it in about 2-3 additions, but FAST Additions.
  6. Add vanilla extract
  7. Switch to the paddle attachment and blend on low speed until smooth
This Recipe Can Be Stored for 4 days room temperature, 2 weeks refrigerator, 2 months freezer

After refrigeration or freezing:

Take it out several hours or a day before you need it, and let it get to room temperature.
Place entire recipe back on the mixer and with the PADDLE attachment on low- medium and let it mix.
It will look as if it is broken, and curdled, don't be alarmed this is normal, it will come back together eventually.

For those who prefer to use pasteurized egg whites (like Just Whites®) it will take considerably longer to whip the whites and they will not gain the same volume as fresh whites do.

For those using a hand beater you will not get the same volume as the balloon whisk attachment of a stand mixer, and the whites may take anywhere from 15 minuted to 45 minutes to whip (I have been told)
Check out other variations on this recipe by learning how to Create Your Own Buttercream Flavors
4.8 from 27 reviews
To make this recipe chocolate simply add melted COOLED Chocolate at the last stage of mixing
Serves: 6½ cups
  • 1 Recipe Swiss Buttercream above
  • 4 - 8 ounces of melted Chocolate
  • *adjust according to your desired "chocolate-y-ness!"
  1. Add the melted COOLED Chocolate to the buttercream at the last stage of mixing
Adding anything to the base recipe of Swiss Buttercream will cause a less stable result, so chocolate buttercream should be refrigerated not because it will spoil, but because it needs to be colder to hold up to decoration and prevent drooping on the cake
4.8 from 27 reviews
Mocha Swiss Buttercream Recipe
Serves: 6½ cups
  • 1 Recipe Swiss Buttercream above
  • 1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee Granules
  • 4 - 8 ounces of melted Chocolate
  • *adjust according to your desired "chocolate-y-ness!"
  • OR
  • 8 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • PLUS
  • 6 Tablespoons Hot Water
  1. Dissolve the coffee granules in the hot water
  2. Add the coffee paste and the melted cooled chocolate (or the cocoa paste) to the buttercream at the last stage of mixing
Adding anything to the base recipe of Swiss Buttercream will cause a less stable result, so mocha buttercream should be refrigerated not because it will spoil, but because it needs to be colder to hold up to decoration and prevent drooping on the cake
4.8 from 27 reviews
Peanut Butter Swiss Buttercream Recipe
Serves: 6½ Cups
  1. Prepare the swiss buttercream recipe as directed
  2. Add the peanut butter at the last stage of mixing
Adding anything to the base recipe of Swiss Buttercream will cause a less stable result, so peanut butter buttercream should be refrigerated not because it will spoil, but because it needs to be colder to hold up to decoration and prevent drooping on the cake


I make it a rule not to ever change a recipe before I have had a chance to try it, because how will I ever know what it was supposed to taste like unless I make it the way the author intended it?

Now of course I have changed many recipes to suit my liking once I have tested it, BUT ONLY AFTER I HAVE TESTED IT. Perhaps it is my way of being respectful to the author, because after all, I do not know everything and those who think they do, are missing out on the great many things that others have to offer.

Please be aware that this is a very different recipe than what you may be used to. It is REAL BUTTERcream and it’s made with butter, so ummmm it tastes like butter

Trouble shooting:

  • My Whites will not whip!” – Is your bowl very clean and completely free of all traces of fat, or grease? Are you using pasteurized (from a carton?) egg whites? Or fresh?  Fresh whites always whip better, and some have found that pasteurized whites will not even whip at all! Using a hand beater will take about two times as long to whip compared to the balloon whisk of a Kitchen Aid or any stand mixer.  **Also, if using fresh eggs, be sure they are indeed FRESH! (meaning “not old”)
  • I think many of you are not getting your egg whites STIFF STIFF and glossy before you add the butter and shortening. This will cause a thin, runny buttercream that will NOT hold a shape for piping and flowers.
  • Additionally one VERY BIG mistake is to add the butter/shortening to the meringue while it is still too warm.  This will melt your butter/shortening and you will have butter soup.
  •  I think some of you are afraid to just DUMP in the confectioners sugar all at once and then do the same with the butter/shortening.
  • BUT- if you are still having trouble- PLEASE DO NOT PANIC and THROW THIS “so called disaster” in the garbage! 9 times out of 10 you can bring it back to life! Simply by continuing whipping until comes back together!
    HOWEVER for those of you who cannot get your meringue right from the start- well…you can’t make it stronger at the end, you get what you get.

FAQ’s – Frequently ASKED Questions:

Q- “Will this buttercream hold up in hot weather?”
A- “It gets pretty hot here in NJ in the summer. July & August sees normal temperatures of 100 degrees F and very humid. I use this buttercream for all of my wedding cakes in those months. I do not recommend ANYTHING or ANYONE to be outside in those temperatures; but this buttercream holds up fine indoors in air conditioned rooms and it also survives the transport in an air conditioned vehicle just fine.”

Q- “Can I use this recipe under Rolled Fondant Icing?”
A- “YES, you can use this icing under ANY Type of Icing, Rolled Fondant, Poured Fondant, Ganache, Whipped Cream…LIKE EVERYTHING!!”

Q- “What can I substitute for the Crisco, I don’t have that in my country?”
A- ” Please read SUBSTITUTIONS blog post”

Q- “Can I use all butter?”

Q-“Can I use all shortening?”
A- “Yes!”

Q- “Can I use Margarine”
A- “Yes”

Q- “Can I use Meringue Powder?”
A- “Yes, follow the instructions on the can (or bag) or Meringue Powder to equivalent to 6 large Egg Whites, and then proceed as you will for the rest of my recipe.”

Q- “Can I double this recipe?”
A- “YES, if your mixer bowl is large enough to accommodate that amount of ingredients DOUBLED. Be wary that the meringue alone with the 1X recipe comes just about half way to the top of the bowl-(IF you mixed it properly that is)”

Q- “How long can I store this icing?”
A-  “4 days room temp, 2 weeks fridge, 2 months freezer”

Q- “Is it safe to eat raw egg whites?”
A- “Please read to the bottom of this post.”

Q- “Can I use a hand mixer if I do not have a Kitchen Aid?”
A- “Yes. However you must make sure that your meringue is STIFF STIFF STIFF! This is the most important step in this whole recipe and why so many have trouble. You must get that meringue as stiff and glossy as possible, and the hand mixer, well… it takes a very long time to achieve this.”

To add colors to this buttercream, I recommend using Gel Paste Colors like Chefmaster or an oil based color is great too, since this is a high fat recipe.
The gel paste color should be added at the end after you have achieved Buttercream Greatness!! After you get to the point of done, you will then switch to paddle attachment and add color.
You may color the whole batch, or divide it up and color smaller portions at a time.
Gel paste colors are the best since a little goes a long way and they do not add extra liquid to the recipe like food colors do.

Turn the speed up to high and let it mix smooth. Add the vanilla extract at the end, and you are DONE!  Best Buttercream EVER!

The debate on raw egg whites:

The trouble is in the yolks, never the whites. At school we were taught that you can leave the egg whites at room temperature for a week, and nothing bad would happen because the trouble is in the yolks. But only if the yolk is contaminated with salmonella, NOT ALL EGG YOLKS ARE DANGEROUS. The problem is, you don’t know when it is or isn’t contaminated.

Now keep in mind I also went to school almost 20 years ago and the world has changed, and our food supply has also changed due to the industry pumping out mass amounts of it to keep up with the demand, hence why our food has gotten so dangerous.

To avoid this “danger” you can simply use pasteurized egg whites in a carton, like Egg Beaters JUST WHITES. I do not feel there is a risk in this recipe whatsoever. But this should be a personal choice for each and every one of you. Although it is possible for Salmonella to be in both the white and the yolk of the egg, the white does not readily support bacterial growth. Cold soufflés, mousses, and chiffon’s containing raw beaten whites require refrigeration to maintain their character, and an added safety factor. Such dishes might be considered low risk for healthy individuals.

And now for a note on Copha from a fellow Gretchenator:

If you live some where, where you have to use copha as your substitute chances are you’ve had fights with it just like me but now I won and just had to share with you all.

PROBLEM: If you’ve had to use copha you would know the main problem is it does not get soft at room temperature and you usually end up with clumps of copha all through the finished icing which is horrible.

SOLUTION: Before you do any steps of the icing recipe melt all the butter and copha together in the microwave until completely melted (it will be very hot and runny!!!).

Then put the mixture in the fridge stirring occasionally while continuing the normal recipe.

By the time you get to the step where you need to add the butter and copha, the mixture in the fridge should be at the perfect constancy (not hot or runny but a cooled down pour-able paste).

Add the butter and copha mixture all at once. Swap to a paddle attachment and mix until well combined. As the butter and copha mix will still be a little warm when you add it your finished icing product will be runner than it should be.

Simple cover the mixing bowl and put in the fridge (sorry no exact time here) until it hardens up, then mix again with paddle attachment until soft and fluffy.

Bam perfect you win !

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Pastry Cream Recipe

Pastry Cream Custard

Vanilla Pastry Cream

Vanilla Custard is just another name for Pastry Cream.

Although Vanilla Custard seems to be the more common name, I will often refer to it as such.

This is actually the same pastry cream recipe I learned how to make way back when I was a young person at the Culinary Institute of America!

Very easy to make, but you must adhere to the strict guidelines for handling this very delicate dessert.

I don’t often say you “must” use a certain ingredient, but I highly recommend using the vanilla bean here!

Of course it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t and you can of course use vanilla paste or even extract;

but this is one of the few recipes where I think the bean just shines through and displays all of it’s amazing glory!

4.8 from 4 reviews
Pastry Cream
VARIATIONS: For Chocolate Custard you will add 4 ounces (115g) Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate to the hot custard with the butter just before straining.
For Mocha Custard you will prepare the chocolate custard and then add 3 teaspoons of instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water.
Serves: 6 Cups
  • Whole Milk 4 cups (948ml)
  • Fresh Large Eggs 2 (100g)
  • Fresh Large Yolks 4 (72g)
  • Granulated Sugar 1 cup (200g)
  • Cornstarch ½ cup (65g)
  • Vanilla Bean 1 Or Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon
  • Unsalted Butter 6 Tablespoons (85g)
  1. In a medium bowl place the whole eggs, egg yolks and cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons of the sugar and whisk vigorously to smooth out any lumps.
  2. In a large sauce pot combine the milk and remaining sugar with the vanilla bean split and scraped of all it's seeds and bring to a boil.
  3. Once the milk comes to a boil you will remove from the heat and slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the eggs/cornstarch mixture while constantly whisking with your free hand. This is called "tempering the eggs"
  4. Once you have poured about half of the milk into the eggs, pour the entire egg mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk.
  5. Place back on the stove over high heat and while constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, you will cook until the entire mixture is bubbling again.
  6. Once it has bubbled like I show in the video, remove from heat, discard the vanilla bean and add the butter. If you are using vanilla extract, you will add it now.
  7. Pour custard through a fine mesh strainer and directly into your storage vessel, preferably a shallow casserole dish for faster cooling.
  8. Plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard with prevent a "skin" from forming over your custard as it cools.
  9. Be sure to Cool custard FAST over an ice bath to avoid the Danger Zone. The way to do this, is by pouring the hot custard into a shallow dish (like a 9X13" casserole dish is perfect) and getting it straight into the refrigerator. An added precaution is to set that dish over another dish filled with ice water.This will speed the cooling process and ensure you are safe from any danger that can be caused from this type of egg rich and dairy custard not being handled properly.
Store this fresh custard tightly wrapped at all times, for up to 6 days in the refrigerator. This custard can be used in many different pastry applications however you must be sure to keep your finished product under refrigeration at all times.
With the maximum room temperature exposure being 2 hours

To use custard you may have to whisk it smooth to break up the starches.

*You may find that your custard seeps moisture after a day or so, this is normal as the starches will tend to break down. Another reason why it is good to make and use your custard right away rather than prepare too many days in advance. So although this recipe WILL be fine for up to a week, fresh is always best. You can simply spoon off the excess water that may pool at the bottom of your storage container.
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Shiny Ganache for Glazing Cakes

Ganache 3

This recipe for Shiny Ganache is for glazing cakes.

Many of you have stated that you cannot find the 2 key ingredients for this recipe which happen to be corn syrup and jelly.

If this is the case you can forgo this recipe and try my Simple Ganache recipe instead; since it is just that- SIMPLE!

Check out my blog post called What is Ganache? for a bit more clarification on the differences in ganache making

5.0 from 1 reviews
Shiny Ganache for Glazing Cakes
Serves: 3 cups
  • Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate 8oz (1¼ cup) 231g
  • Apricot or any Jelly or your choice 4 Tablespoons (60g)
  • Whole Milk ½ cup (120ml)
  • Heavy Cream ¼ cup (60ml)
  • Corn Syrup or Glucose or Honey 2 Tablespoons (40g)
  1. In a sauce pot over high heat, combine the jelly and corn syrup.
  2. Add the milk and heavy cream.
  3. Once the mixture comes to a rolling boil, pour over the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and whisk smooth.
  4. Cool to about 100-115°F before using to pour over your cakes or pastries.
  5. Re warm to a pourable temperature again in a microwave or on the stove top in a small sauce pot before using.
For those who cannot find Apricot jelly, you can leave it out of this recipe completely.
You can of course use any other jelly, it is here to give this recipe that shine, but it is not the end of the world if you do not use it.

Store at room temperature for up to 2 days but not longer due to the heavy cream, it will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.






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Ganache Recipe

Chocolate ganache recipe

Ganache 3

I decided to call this recipe “Simple ganache recipe” for the very reason that it is just so simple.

2 Ingredients.

1 Easy step.

Now of course I have another recipe for Shiny Ganache for Glazing Cakes; which is indeed a ganache recipe but has a few more ingredients to keep it shiny even after a day or so.

(which this ganache will not exactly do)

Also the Mirror Glaze craze has hit the scene at Gretchen’s Bakery so you may want to try that recipe as well. It is essentially a ganache with gelatin added for elasticity and shine. I provide a vegetarian version as well!

I have to be honest though, I use this recipe regular ganache recipe way more than the others; it’s just so simple!

This type of ganache recipe is one that you will find for making truffles, since it is so easy to infuse flavors and create an endless bounty of delicate little chocolate treats!

Read more on What is Ganache so you can get a sense of how very versatile this recipe can be for you!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Ganache Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I have no video for this recipe, but it is quite simple to master
Serves: 3½ cups
  • Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate 1lb (454g) (approx 2¾ cups chopped chocolate)
  • Heavy Cream 2 cups (475ml)
  1. In a large mixing bowl reserve the evenly chopped baking chocolate while you boil the heavy cream either in the microwave or in a sauce pot on the stove.
  2. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate in the bowl and whisk to melt and smooth.
  3. Read more about Ganache Here
Store at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator in a clean container airtight for up to 2 weeks.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Ganache Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2½cups
  1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave.
  2. Add the warmed almond milk and whisk smooth.
  3. Cool slightly and then use right away to pour as a glaze over cakes and pastries.
  4. Or let set up to desired consistency for fillings in cakes and pastries
Store ganache in the refrigerator for up to 10 days

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