My Buttercream Journey (English)
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
Welcome to the first entry of my new By.Aletoso blog! Here, I will be sharing updates about my cakes and classes, as well as exclusive tips and tricks for my fellow cake designers to help them take their cakes to another level.
Before we get started, let me introduce myself to those who don’t know me. My name is Camilo Murcia and I’m a cake designer and creator and owner of By.Aletoso Luxury Cakes. You can find my work here on my website or at my instagram @by.aletoso
In the short time since establishing my company in 2018, I have made my mark on the world of cakes with designs that utilise my two favourite mediums - buttercream and edible paper. In my short time in the field, I have created a number of internationally renowned signature designs including the fault-line cake, corrugated buttercream and the faux-velvet effect, and have been awarded Buttercream Artist of the Year (2019 & 2021) & Teacher of the Year (2019) at the ACADA Australasian Cake Oscar Awards and Cake Decorator of the Year (2020) at the Australian Cake Decorators Network Awards. I have also taught face-to-face classes in every continent except Antarctica, and now run an online academy that has thousands of students from all over the world.
I’m originally and proudly from Colombia, but I now call Australia home and have been living in Brisbane since 2008. I have a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design and qualification as a Chef. The combination of these two careers have helped me to create distinctive cake designs that make the most of shapes, textures and explosions of colour and help me to live up to my motto #beunique
Now that you know what I’m all about, for my first blog, I want to talk about my number one passion in caking - buttercream, of course!
Buttercream is my favourite medium to work with, because of its versatility, adaptability, flavour and how quick and easy it is to make. Would you believe then that I hadn’t even heard about it when I made my first cake back in April 2017? Let me take you back to my first experiences with buttercream.
I was invited to my boss’s birthday party that day. I was working in a cafe at the time and, as it was an uncommonly quiet day at work, I decided to make the cake for the celebration. I would NEVER EVER have thought that cake was going to change the direction of my life!
The day after the celebration someone from the party asked me to make them a cake as well. I didn’t have any idea about cakes apart from ingredients that you needed - milk, eggs, butter, sugar and flour. I will NEVER EVER forget that cake. She asked for a mermaid cake, and it took me almost 24 hours of non-stop work to finish it. I had never used fondant before, so it took ages to figure out how to work with, particularly to create fine, detailed designs, and it was way too sweet for my taste. So that was my first and last fondant cake.
After that, buttercream became my go to medium. I fell in love straight away. For me, it was the combination of buttercream being so much faster to work with than fondant, and much easier to control its sweetness. The only problem was there were far too many types of buttercream to choose from, so I had to figure out which one was going to be the best for me to use to design my cakes.
In the first year of my new life as a cake designer, I experimented with every buttercream recipe out there to try to find the best one for my business - buttercream that could fit my three core criteria of being easy to work with, not too costly and super tasty. I researched every type of buttercream I could find. There was so much information about all the different types of buttercream on the internet that it was pretty overwhelming at times. If you’re keen to know more yourself, articles by Baker Bettie and Amy Kirchen are a great place to start.
I tried all of the recipes I could find for the American, Italian, Swiss, French, Korean, German, and Ermine styles of buttercream, but there was always something missing.
American buttercream was easy to make, but for me the taste was too sweet and the texture was too grainy. French buttercream, with its high fat content, and German with its custard base, both melted far too easily to be used in the warm weather Australia and their yellow colouring made them less versatile than other styles. And the cold temperatures and time required to make Korean buttercream and Ermine frosting made them less practical to use than other recipes.
The Italian and Swiss meringue buttercreams were almost the right fit, and I ultimately settled on the Italian version for the first years of my business. For me, Italian buttercream was easier to make than the Swiss one, had better stability than most other recipes, and was not as sweet as American buttercream. However, it wasn’t quite right either, as it still could not withstand much time outside in a typical Australian summer of 35 degrees Celsius or hotter.
After watching too many of my cakes being destroyed by the heat of Australian summers, I decided to create my own version of buttercream that could withstand even the hottest day outside. Starting from the basic concept that buttercream is a mixture of butter, sweeteners and stabilisers, I began to experiment with a range of ingredients to increase its stability, particularly in warm and humid weather, whilst maintaining a smooth and creamy flavour. After many long nights and failed experiments, I almost gave up, as nothing gave me the stability I needed for my cakes.
In May 2020, in the middle of the lockdown, I finally had a breakthrough and my new signature egg-less buttercream was born. I began to teach it in all of my classes, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with my students telling me that it’s smooth, tasty, not as sweet as other buttercreams and lasts far longer outside than the other recipes.
I’m incredibly proud of my signature egg-less buttercream and know that it will be a game changer for the cake world. So, to celebrate my three year anniversary of becoming a full-time cake designer, I would like to follow the naming convention set by the other styles of buttercream from around the world and to rename my recipe after my new home and to honour its ability to withstand the heat of our summer here.
From now on, I’d like this recipe to be known as By.Aletoso’s signature Australian buttercream or Australian Buttercream for short.
I know this recipe will change your cakes like it has changed mine. If you’d like to learn how to make it, along with the essential foundations for making a square buttercream cake, sign up now for my Buttercream Foundations Masterclass. I have just reopened this class for the next batch of students. Numbers are strictly limited, so sign up now to take your cakes to the next level
In this link you can find all the information about the class:
Thanks again for joining me on this great adventure of caking. Let me know your thoughts and comments below and make sure to sign up to my VIP list at the link below, so that you can be the first to find out when my next blog is released.
Yours in uniqueness, Camilo.
By.Aletoso Luxury Cakes.
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