Read The Contemporary Buttercream Bible Online

Authors: Christina Ong Valeri Valeriano

The Contemporary Buttercream Bible



Buttercream Basics

Piping Textures and Patterns

Piping Flowers

Palette Knife Techniques

Transfers, Stamping and Stencilling

Textile Effects


Beyond Buttercream




About the Authors












Welcome to the first complete contemporary guide

to using buttercream. We are immensely proud to

be able to share with you our techniques, tips and

ideas – all our expertise – in this book. There is

nothing in the world like buttercream. Not only

does it allow you to be hugely creative but it also








We know through our own experience that it takes

practice to produce great results, but you will be

amazed at the stunning and intricate designs you

can achieve straight away with buttercream. Don’t

be daunted, just dive in and try a few techniques.

You don’t need a lot of equipment, we didn’t start

with anything. You don’t need to be a brilliant

artist, we discovered that working with buttercream

unleashed a creative streak we didn’t really know

we had. You do need a sense of adventure and a

willingness to look for inspiration everywhere. Soon

you’ll be piping pretty cupcakes and beautiful

couture cakes. Just remember that not so long ago

we were exactly like you...



We just can’t help but smile (often a little teary

eyed) whenever we share the story of how Queen of

Hearts Couture Cakes came about. We could never

have imagined that buttercream would bring us to

where we are now. It really changed our lives.

Working and living a thousand miles away from

your family is hard. Our familes are in the

Philippines, however, we are very blessed to have

met wonderful friends in the UK who treat us like

their family. So on Mother’s Day in 2011, we wanted

to give our two ‘second-moms’ something more

special than just a card and bouquet of flowers. We

decided to bake something for them. And so we

scoured the internet (because we didn’t have any

recipe books) for ideas until we stumbled on a video

tutorial on how to make a sunflower cupcake using

an improvised piping bag made from a plastic food

storage bag. A few more clicks and we watched a

tutorial on how to pipe a rose, camellia,

chrysanthemum, then a whole cupcake bouquet!

We instantly fell in love with the idea and can still remember our excitement to try it.


We didn’t have any baking equipment at all, so the

following day we went to the supermarket to buy

the ingredients, and then off to the discount store

for a silicone cupcake baking tray and spatula, and

then we also bought the cheapest hand mixer we

could find. Oh yes! We were ready and we didn’t

waste a single second. Before long a lovely smell

filled our tiny house – not just the kitchen but the

entire house! There was no room for a full-size

oven, so we used to do all our baking in a tiny 5L

electric oven, which lived on top of the fridge.

Crazy... funny... but it’s true.

And so there they were, our first ever half dozen

gorgeous golden brown dome-y cupcakes. We had

our improvised piping (pastry) bags ready and

followed the video tutorial step by step.

Our first ever sunflower cupcake. We also

attempted to pipe roses and they turned out to be…


So the special day came and we surprised our

friends with our homemade gift. They both really

loved it even though some the cupcakes were

coming off the wrappers. One of them, Aida, was

really the person who convinced us to improve our

skills and suggested the idea of making a business


out of it. It was as if she saw something in that first, slightly wonky bouquet. She made us feel that there

was real potential there. So we kept practising, fell in love with piping until we became obsessed, and

that was really the start of it all.


We kept practising, we set up a Facebook page and

a website, but no orders arrived for our fledgling

business.Meanwhile we kept bombarding Aida with

our baking efforts until we finally developed a really good cupcake recipe. Then one day, we had a call

from a local school asking if we would be able to

join their summer fair. It was in three days time.

Without hesitation, we said yes.

Right there and then, we started working on it using

just our tiny oven – all we can remember is that we

barely slept just to prepare for our first ever fair.

Our efforts paid off, we were so overwhelmed with

the responses from everyone. When a lady

approached us and asked us if we would be

interested in taking a pitch at a larger local event, we gave her a hug!


And so we went to another event, and then another,

and then another. We had to move to a bigger place

as the business got bigger. Not only that, but we

also went from cupcakes to bigger cakes and then

even bigger wedding cakes. We have literally never

stopped since.

We practise and practise and practise whenever we

have time, even now. And from local fairs, we are

now being invited to big exhibition shows, to teach

around the world and to contribute to magazines

and blogs. We are also very proud to have been

invited to join The Experimental Food Society

which is an organization formed to front the UK’s

most talented and pioneering culinary creatives. It

is really quite overwhelming!


We are often being asked where we get our

inspiration from. Our answer is, anything beautiful,

from fabrics to paintings, dresses to photos,

anything eye-catching that we could translate into

an edible form of art. One thing that we would

share with you is to keep
. Don’t just settle for what’s already there or what everyone else 9

is doing. Dig into your imagination and keep on

trying and exploring different ways and techniques.

We hope these things will help you in your cake

journey, just like they did for us. So join us as we

continuously strive to revive and modernize this

age-old Buttercream Art. We hope that we can be

an inspiration to all of you who are starting or

growing their own cake business, and those who are

simply baking at home. If you feel frustrated or you

are running out of patience, just think about those

two girls that started baking using a small 5L

table-top oven and ended up writing

Contemporary Buttercream Bible
. Just think of them and you will feel much better knowing that if

you put your whole heart into whatever you are

doing, you will make it!



Buttercream Basics

It’s really important to learn and eventually master

the basics of buttercream because you will find that

you use the same simple recipe, techniques and

equipment over and over again. Once you

understand the nature of buttercream, you will

know how to get the very best creative results from



Making Buttercream

We strongly believe that our buttercream recipe is

at the very heart of this book. It is the most

important element that enables us to create

amazing couture cakes, as we will show you in the

following chapters. Buttercream is a delicate

medium, and you do need to understand its

characteristics in order to get the most from it.

Basic Buttercream Recipe

With this recipe, the
thing you should






. If you do it will become grainy and the edges of your petals are likely to ‘break’ when

you pipe flowers. A hand-held mixer is not usually

as powerful as a stand mixer, so if you are using a

hand-held mixer, make sure you fold your mixture



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