Friday, August 12, 2011

The dilemma of a Purist of heart (and baking)

Ever since I started baking, I've known what my brand, product and concept is all about. I'm a purist at heart so everything I do starts with the basics, the simple...the pure.
Which brings me to my dilemma - To "shortening or not to shortening", that is the question.
As a purist (i know I've said it 3 times already, get my point?) the idea of using shortening as a base for buttercream (is that not an oxymoron?) makes me cringe, makes me want to jump out of my skin and makes my heart hurt ;-) How could you substitute the beautiful texture and flavor of butter for shortening? It's an atrocity if there ever was one!
But what to do when that is what your customer wants or expects? It's been said that in a blind cake test,  people will often choose a box cake vs a cake made from scratch because that is what their taste buds are used to. The overpowering sweetness of icing has usurped the refined and elegant taste of buttercream! Now, I'm not trying to be a snob, I'm a purist, remember?
I would love to know what everyone else thinks, although, I know where I stand on the issue. As Shakespeare would say: To thy own self be true...

Peace, love and cake!


  1. I am right there with you Millie. Shortening based buttercream just doesn't sit well with my baker's heart. (Although I think the combination of shortening and icing sugar is the worst.)

    During summertime though, when almost everyone wants to have their cake outside I will budge and replace a third or half of butter in my IMBC with shortening.

    When I am eating that cake myself I just have force myself not to think about (as if that works) that I am eating shortening.

  2. * let me add for clarification that I do that to stabilize the buttercream in summer's heat

  3. Your comment about not thinking about it made me laugh out loud! The power of suggestion?
    I'm with you all the way, and yes there are instances where I guess there is no way around it? I can't wait to hear what they have to say about this at FCI. I'll let you know.
    Happy caking!