Cake is something that people all around the world appreciate. There are cakes for all different occasions as well, ranging from traditional birthday celebrations to simply wanting to eat a sugary dessert.
When it comes to cooking a cake on your own though, you will quickly realize that there are many different components that go into it.
On one hand, you will need all of the ingredients to make sure that the bulk of the cake turns out the way you want it to.
For people who may not be as used to cooking or as versatile in their ingredients, it can be even more challenging to get the texture that you are looking for. Not to mention that there are countless different cake textures and densities to work with as well.
On top of all of this, when you bake a cake, you are also going to need to work on the frosting. Some people may believe that the frosting is the easiest part of the cake, but this isn’t always the case, especially when you are referring to frosting that you make from scratch.
Anyone can make the frosting that comes in the containers that you purchase from the store, but it can take a fair amount of work to get the frosting texture you need when you are making it on your own.
If you notice that you are having trouble with the frosting, the first step you will need to take in figuring out what to do next is going to be to figure out what kind of frosting you are working with.
There are several different types of frosting, each with their own directions and variations in the recipe. The most common type of frosting that goes on a cake is known as buttercream frosting.
One of the many problems that can occur if you are making buttercream frosting on your own for the first time is that the buttercream frosting turns out gritty. Most of the time, a gritty frosting on a cake is not going to be very good, so it can be very worrisome at first when the frosting turns out this way.
However, you can rest assured knowing that your grainy frosting does not need to be scrapped, and that it can absolutely be saved.
Before you can go about fixing your grainy buttercream frosting, you first need to have a good idea of what went wrong. This means that you are going to have to look up and research what can cause buttercream frosting to become grainy.
Once you know what the problem is, it will be much, much easier to get to the root of solving it.
What Causes Grainy Buttercream Frosting?
Typically, buttercream frosting is meant to be a thick, smooth, and creamy (hence the name) frosting that you apply to your cakes.
It is a relatively heavy frosting, but because of its smoothness, you generally won’t have to worry about its texture overwhelming the cake. In fact, the reason why it is so popular on cakes is because the texture of a standard cake fits nicely with the creamy texture of buttercream frosting.
With that being said, when you notice that your buttercream frosting is grainy, you will know from the start that something absolutely isn’t right. Considering that this type of frosting is supposed to be smooth, any sort of noticeable texture is going to be unwelcome aside from the standard.
So, what is the cause of your grainy buttercream frosting?
More often than not, the type of sugar you are using in your buttercream frosting is going to be the culprit.
You may be surprised to learn that not all buttercream sugars are the same, but there are many differences between the types, especially in buttercream. A good example of this is powdered sugar made with beet sugar.
Beet sugar simply doesn’t dissolve as fast into the mixture as the traditional cane sugar does. This means that if you are using a powdered sugar that relies on beet sugar, then you are likely going to have tiny little chunks of undissolved beet sugar in the frosting, creating that gritty and grainy texture that nobody really wants to deal with.
Fixing the Grainy Buttercream
There are a few different ways you can go about fixing the buttercream frosting, with each method depending on what is going on and how much time you have to fix the situation.
The three main solutions that you can try are going to be to add some liquid to the buttercream, slowly and carefully so that you do not add too much.
You can also let the buttercream rest for a few hours or overnight, as this will soften any remaining sugar that has not softened. You will need to whip it up again, of course. If you are really in a hurry and you cannot afford the time to experiment with liquids, you can add melted chocolate to the buttercream, as this can mask the texture.
When you add liquid to the buttercream, you are going to have to take things very slowly and very carefully, unless you know exactly what you are doing.
Adding liquid to buttercream can easily turn into the opposite problem of having frosting that can no longer hold its shape and be a suitable topping for your cake, and it will be difficult to counter this problem. You should only add a little bit of liquid at a time, stir the butter cream, and check and see if the texture is right.
If you have the time to let the buttercream frosting sit out for a bit, then you can do this. This will ensure that the sugar clumps from the ineffective sugar that you used will have enough time to melt down into smaller parts that will not be nearly as noticeable when you add it to your cake.
You can usually let the buttercream sit between a few hours and for the entirety of the night. From here, you will just need to whip it up again and you should be good to go.
If you absolutely do not have the time to spare, the final resort that you can try is less of a solution and more of a way to mask the taste.
By adding some cooled, but melted chocolate to the buttercream frosting, you can effectively mask the graininess of it. This way, you can still have your buttercream frosting applied to the cake in a timely manner, but the problem with taste will not be as noticeable.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.