No grit silky smooth eggless buttercream frosting made with just 2 ingredients – butter and sweetened condensed milk.
I am always on a lookout for different frostings. India is predominantly vegetarian and hence I cannot always use my favourite Swiss meringue buttercream (with egg whites) for a lot of frosting needs. There’s always the easy American buttercream, but I feel however much I try, I cannot get rid of the grittiness of icing sugar in the final frosting. Also, I find it to be too sweet for my palate.
Today, as I was getting ready for another eggless cake order for the first birthday of a friend’s daughter, I didn’t want to use the non-dairy whipping cream since it’s not healthy. I decided to try the ‘Condensed Milk Buttercream Frosting’, also known as Russian buttercream. I had heard about it a while ago and it was always on my list to experiment. I have also seen variations like Dulce de leche, chocolate, etc. It’s really easy and quick to make with just 2 base ingredients – butter and sweetened condensed milk. Since it was my first attempt, I made a small batch and only flavoured it with vanilla.
The experiment was a success! The ‘condensed milk buttercream frosting’ is indeed silky smooth and the texture is very similar to meringue-based buttercreams. It seems to be pretty stable too and pipes beautifully! Since there’s no icing sugar, it’s not gritty at all and neither is it too sweet.
Since it’s just 2 ingredients, make sure your butter is softened but not melting. The condensed milk should also be cool at room temperature – neither warm nor cold. Bakers also replace some of the butter with shortening to make it more stable, but I’ve used all butter. If you feel the buttercream is too soft, add a little icing sugar to thicken it. Personally, I found it to be the perfect consistency.
This recipe makes about 2-2.5 cups of frosting. You can easily double or halve the recipe.
Condensed Milk Buttercream Frosting
- 250 g unsalted butter – softened at room temperature
- 200 g sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract – you can use any other extract to flavour as per choice
- drop food gel colour (optional)
- In a large bowl, using a stand mixer/hand mixer, beat the butter for 3-4 minutes till its light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat for a minute. (Replace the vanilla with extract of your choice).
- Add the condensed milk to the butter and whip them together for about a minute. Do not beat too much else you’ll incorporate a lot of air in the final frosting.
- Buttercream Frosting is ready. Transfer the icing to a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice for frosting cakes or cupcakes. Ensure your cakes/cupcakes are cool before you start piping.
Edit (30 Jan 2019)
This is my two-tier eggless raw-sugar cake frosted with condensed milk buttercream that went out today – orange cake filled with orange curd flavoured buttercream and butterscotch cake with homemade praline. I shared the recipe for Condensed milk buttercream a few days back on a Facebook Bakers’ group and it garnered a lot of attention and questions as well, so I thought I’ll share my experience and observations for condensed milk buttercream (CMBC I am calling it) –
1. It whips up easily with just 2 ingredients – cannot get easier than this.
2. Its very easy to beat up too much air in it which results in small air pockets and it becomes tough to get a smooth finish on cake sides. Important if you don’t plan to pipe anything and just keep sharp edges and smooth sides.
3. Takes flavours and colours very easily – I added little orange curd for my filling and Fab Flavours Orange extract for frosting for cake #1. For cake # 2 I added butterscotch essence. It tasted great!
4. When it’s made fresh, its really smooth but if it sits on the counter for a bit, there’s a slight separation of fats which looks like it’s curdled. Good news is, I beat it with a spatula for a minute or so before putting into the piping bag and it became smooth again.
5. I piped rosettes and borders and it holds shape well.
6. I personally think that it’ll stand great for couple hours at room temperature, but would need refrigeration if keeping for long. I haven’t tried keeping it out for long, but I am guessing it from its texture and behaviour. I might be wrong.
Conclusion – CMBC is a great alternative to American buttercream. It tastes great, not too sweet and really easy to make. I would probably use it for frosting cupcakes or use as fillings or piping decorations but not when I am looking for sharp edges and smooth sides since I feel the air pockets are tough to get rid of.