How to rescue a curdled buttercream/frosting (with video)

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If, like me, you like adding extras to your buttercreams to get great flavour – for example: alcohol, fruit purées and the like – you often need to add a lot to allow your buttercream to pack a real flavour punch….and, of course, the buttercream is then prone to curdling into a horrid mess!

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You might think that the standard buttercream is fool-proof: you just beat butter and icing sugar until you get a soft mixture and job done! How hard can it be?

Using the magic of video!

I have been starting doing several videos lately for a YouTube channel I will be doing, and one of those practice videos was showing how to rescue a split buttercream.

The video link is here (opens in a separate window)

Chocolate to the rescue

The trick is to use melted chocolate. You just let it cool down, but still runny, and then beat it into the curdled buttercream. Within seconds, the buttercream is now perfect!

For the buttercream in this post I flavoured it with some blackberry vodka I had made and some blackberry purée as I was using it for a blackberry and apple cake. 

I deliberately (honestly!) added more of the purée until it split. Granted, you could use less and it wouldn’t split, but then you won’t have the tangy depth of fruity flavour you want if you are going for a fruity buttercream.

I tend to use white chocolate as it doesn’t affect the colour of the buttercream so much: it goes a touch paler, but that is hardly the end of the world. You can, however, use dark chocolate if you prefer.

In terms of how much chocolate to use, I normally find that about 50g of chocolate per 200g or so of split buttercream is enough.

This trick also works with the more luscious Swiss meringue buttercream: a lighter buttercream that is typically used for desserts.

More cake tips?

More of my cake tips, as well as recipes for cakes and icings and tips for different ways to decorate cakes, can be found on my post here.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

4 thoughts on “How to rescue a curdled buttercream/frosting (with video)”

  1. I just had a complete Swiss meringue buttercream disaster this past weekend, wish I had seen this when I was howling in pain in my kitchen…

    awesome post! I will be watching the video later tonight FOR SURE!


  2. Hi, Philip! So ot was lottle girl’s first birthday and I tried to make a purple yam cake for her. White buttercream and decided to put liquid coloring. It curdled! I panicked and looked for how to save it with less than an hour left for her party. I saw your post and white chocolate saved it!! I was so happy I was dancing with glee🥰🥰🥰


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