Learn how to make Italian meringue buttercream frosting here. This frosting is silky smooth, light, and has a rich and creamy texture made with only four ingredients. It is a special frosting used in special cakes, cupcakes for weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions.
Makes enough to cover 2 x 8 inch cakes or 24 cupcakes
¼teaspoonalmond extractstrawberry, peppermint, liquor (optional if needed only)
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Have all your ingredients at room temperature, especially the eggs and butter.
Separate the egg whites from egg yolks making sure no egg yolks gets into the whitesPro tip - break each egg in a separate bowl and use only the ones successfully separated.
6 Egg whites
Cut the butter into cubes and let come to room temperaturePro tip - butter must be at room temperature otherwise it will give make a lumpy buttercream. Warmer than room temperature will cause the meringue to deflate.
1 lb Unsalted butter
Place sugar and water in a heavy bottom light-colored small saucepan. Heat over medium heat. Once all the sugar is melted place a candy thermometer inside.Pro tip - using a heavy bottom will distribute heat evenly and prevent the sugar from caramelizing and a light-colored pan means you can see the color of the sugar as you work.
1 ½ cup White Sugar , ⅓ cup Water
Continue to boil until the sugar syrup reaches about 238°F on the candy thermometer (soft-ball stage)Pro tip - This takes about 5 to 7 minutes on medium heat. Keep a close eye so you don't caramelize it.
Whip egg whites (while the sugar syrup is cooking)
Place egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed on low speedPro tip - while this can be made with a hand mixer, if you do own a stand mixer I highly recommend using the stand mixer. This does need some good whipping
After 2 minutes, your meringue should be at the soft peak stage. Pro tip - When soft peaks form the meringue should still look shiny, not dry. Whipping too quickly on high will cause it to be dry and later lose volume.
Once the meringue is at the soft peak stage - turn the mixer off to avoid over mix and wait for the sugar to reach temperature
Pour hot syrup into the meringue
Turn the mixer with the meringue to medium speed and watch the sugar syrup for temperature closely.
Start pouring the hot sugar syrup into the mixer bowl. The sugar should stream between the whisk and the edge of the bowl. Pro tip - It is not necessary to run the mixture on high while you pour the syrup. Stay in control use medium speed and a steady slow pour making sure it is between the whisk and the edge of the bowl.
Once all the syrup is in. Turn the mixer on medium-high speed and whisk for about 3 minutes. The outside of the bowl will be hot at first and then be barely warm.
Your meringue should now look shiny and stiff. Let the mixer run on low until the bowl feels cold to the touch.Pro tip - it's ok to let the mixer run on low and let the meringue cool down. In warmer places, you can also place the mixer in the fridge for 5 minutes to prevent it from losing volume.
Adding the butter
When the meringue is cold and the bowl is not warm at all. Start adding the butter - one cube at a time. You can switch to the paddle attachment if you want.Pro tip - This is where 90% of meringue buttercreams fail DO NOT add butter if the meringue is still not cold. It should not even be barely warm. Walk away from the mixer, and go get a drink.
Once all the butter is in whip for another minute or two until you have a smooth and satin-like buttercream that is light and fluffy.Pro tip - if you feel the meringue has lost volume and looks like a soup. It means the meringue was not cold and the butter melted. Stop the mixer and place the bowl in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes. Then whip again and it should whip back its consistency.
Finally, add vanilla or any other flavoring you want.
Use a candy thermometer. It is important to get the sugar temperature right so you do need a thermometer. If you do not own a candy thermometer, I highly recommend making Swiss Meringue Buttercream SMBC. It is also a meringue buttercream with a more forgiving method.
Prepare Grease free equipment - Wash your mixer bowl and whisk clean with soap and water. Then, add a teaspoon of vinegar onto a clean kitchen cloth and wipe the inside of your wet bowl dry. The vinegar will kill any trace of fat in the bowl.
Prevent sugar crystallization - Once the sugar syrup comes to a boil - don't shake the pot too much and work with caution. Any sugar crystal that may have formed on the sides of your pot will fall into the syrup and crystallize the syrup.
My buttercream is greasy - When whipping the warm eggs, start on medium and move to high speed. Let the meringue whip to stiff peaks. If not, they will lose volume when you add butter giving you a very greasy buttercream.
Pour the syrup carefully - Try to pour the sugar syrup between the bowl and the whisk. If you run the mixer on medium-low that is easily achievable. And if you run the mixer on high you must be very very careful not to scald yourself.
My buttercream is soupy - If the butter is added too early, the warm meringue will melt the butter. And the mixture will turn into a meringue soup. DON'T PANIC. Just place the whole mixer bowl in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes. Then whip it again. And if necessary, place it back in the fridge to cool.
Soupy buttercream - 99% of FAIL ITALIAN MERINGUE BUTTERCREAMS ARE A RESULT OF ADDING BUTTER TOO EARLY!! If necessary walk away. And if you not sure, give it 5 more minutes. And add butter only when the meringue is cooled.
Should I throw my buttercream - NO!! This one breaks my heart every single time. If you think it did not work - don't throw the buttercream - place it in the fridge and comment below- I may be able to troubleshoot.
My buttercream is too buttery - Yes, unlike American buttercreams, meringue buttercreams are buttery. It's essentially sweet whipped egg whites with butter. Light and fluffy in texture but yes, it is buttery and it's ok if you don't like it.
White buttercream - Often buttercream tends to get a yellow ting from the butter. I do not usually have this problem because I do get white butter (see pictures). Here's a little trick you can use to neutralize the yellow by adding a tiny bit of blue or violet to it. This is a process very commonly used when painting white walls. You add a tiny bit of blue or violet food color to neutralize the yellow. BUT A TINY DAB IS ALL YOU NEED or you will end up with a slight tinge of blue or violet in the buttercream. So remember, a dap or smear is all you need.
Prevent buttercream from separating - Do not beat buttercream while it is very chilled. The cold fat in the butter separates from the liquid and the emulsion you just created breaks. Ideally, let the buttercream rest outside the fridge for a while until it's not hard. Or you can use a hairdryer to gently warm the outside of the bowl until you see the edges of the buttercream soften a bit. Then whip it with a paddle attachment.
Coloring buttercream -Always use gel or powdered food colors for any buttercream. Liquid-based food colors found in grocery stores will alter the consistency of your buttercream making it too soft
Meringue buttercream will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
It should be treated just like butter. If left out in high temperature or humidity it will melt just like butter.
It can be kept refrigerated for up to one week or in the freezer for up to two months.
When frozen it is best thawed in the fridge overnight.
Whip with a paddle attachment for about five minutes to restore consistency.
How to flavor your meringue buttercream
Dark, Milk, or White Chocolate - Add 200 grams melted and cooled chocolate to 4 cups of IMBC. Combine well.
Caramel or Salted Caramel IMBC- Add 1 cup caramel sauce to 4 (to 6) cups of IMBC. For salted add a tablespoon of rock salt. Combine well.
Butterscotch - Add 1 cup butterscotch sauce to 4 (to 6) cups of IMBC. For salted add a tablespoon of rock salt. Combine well.
Lemon - Add ¼ teaspoon lemon juice to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream. You can add up to ½ if you want a very lemony buttercream. 1 teaspoon of zest can also be added if you don't mind the zest in the buttercream. ¼ teaspoon lemon extract will enhance the flavor even more.
Orange - Add ½ cup orange juice, ¼ teaspoon orange extract to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream. 1 teaspoon orange zest can be added too.
Fruit flavors - Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, strawberry- Add 1 cup fruit puree to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream. I love adding a fruit filling instead which makes it slightly sweeter but also more rich and vibrant in color.
Dulce De Leche - Add 1 cup dulce de leche to 4 (6 cups) buttercream.
Coffee or Espresso - Dissolve 1 tablespoon coffee in ¼ cup hot water or use ¼ cup espresso. Cool completely then add to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream
Mocha - Add 200 grams melted and cooled chocolate to 4 (or 6) cups coffee IMBC
Peanut butter - Add up to 2 cups peanut butter to 4 (or 6) cups buttercream
The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you