What Happens When You Make Buttercream with Olive Oil?

Friends, this #whathappenswednesday is close to my heart, because it was a project that had me overcoming adversity in a romantic comedy, everything-but-the-montage, sort of way.

So, I was assigned to come up with some recipes for Colavita a while back, and I thought "hey, wouldn't an olive oil buttercream be badass?". So I pitched it and they said yes, do it!

Then I started testing recipes, and immediately began to regret my pitch.

Turns out, making olive oil buttercream isn't so easy.

If you just try to make buttercream but with olive oil instead of butter, you get a very pleasant result, but it will never ever become as fluffy as buttercream. It remains a glaze, no matter how much sugar you add. 

But I was not willing to abandon my idea for making a fluffy, cake-worthy buttercream with olive oil. So my mind went in a meringue buttercream direction. What about if I made seven minute frosting, but with olive oil added to the sugar and water mixture that is boiled?

It started out promising, but when I added the olive oil the fluffy frosting collapsed. I think it was because the oil retained its heat differently than the water. Bummer!

I tried a second batch of seven minute frosting style buttercream, but this time I froze the olive oil. I figured I could add it in to the hot sugar-water mixture so that it wouldn't make it too hot.

However, once it hit the mixer, it catapulted right back out, and hit me in the eye. Or it would have, if I hadn't been wearing glasses. It was actually kind of hilarious. 

But it didn't have the desired effect. The frosting once again turned to goo. Tasty goo, but still.

Finally, I thought to myself, how about keeping it mega simple, and just making a simple, no-cook meringue buttercream? 

So I pasteurized my eggs, then separated the whites and yolks (egg whites only for this recipe). I whipped up the egg whites until they held soft peaks, then I added some sugar and vanilla. I whipped until it had firm peaks. It was looking good. 

Then, I took the bowl off of the mixer and folded in olive oil. GENTLY. I experimented, and found that 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) was the max that could be added before the buttercream began to fizzle. But that was certainly enough to give the buttercream a rich, delectable flavor! 

The only catch is that the buttercream does need to be used immediately. It will fall after a while. However, if you use it right away to frost a cake or cupcakes, it will retain its shape fairly well (as opposed to having to stir it, which will deflate it, and then spread it). But we can work around that, right?

So finally, it was a success! 


So what happens when you make buttercream with olive oil? You are in for a wild ride.

OH, and PS. I went through a ton of egg whites making this recipe, so I wrote this post about how to use up four egg yolks. Just in case you want to give this recipe a try--you'll be able to use the whole eggs!

You can find the finished recipe on the Colavita website.

I think you'll enjoy it!

Have you ever made buttercream with olive oil?