How To Make Italian Meringue Buttercream

January 11, 2010

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake with Italian meringue buttercream

Italian meringue buttercream is what I ice and decorate all my cakes with.  It is a sturdy buttercream because a hot sugar syrup is poured into stabalized egg whites that are whipped to a stiff peak.  The hot sugar syrup is taken to a temperature of 245 degrees F and for piping purposes, I will take the temperature to about 250 degrees F.    The egg whites are stabalized with a small portion of the granulated sugar in the raw form.  When the syrup is added to the egg whites the syrup will go towards the raw sugar and temper the syrup so that the egg whites do not turn into an omelet or souffle.

You will need a heavy duty mixer and a wire whip

4 egg whites or 4 liquid ounces

1 cup granulated sugar divided into 3/4 cups for the saucepan and 1/4 cup for the egg whites

1/4 cup cold water

1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar into a heavy bottom saucepan with 1/4 cup cold water which is used to moisten all the granulated sugar.  Wash any granules of sugar on the side of the saucepan before you begin to boil it. Boil the sugar in the water until it reaches a temperature of 240 degrees F.   I take the sugar to 250 degrees F if I am going to use it for piping.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer and begin to whip the whites as you begin to heat and boil the sugar in the saucepan.  Timing is somewhat important.  You don’t want the sugar to be too hot before the egg whites have whipped completely.  When the whites are at a soft peak, add the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and whip the egg whites to a stiff peak.

The buttercream is not going to be perfectly white because butter is not white.  The pure vanilla extract is not white either but if you add a small amount of confectioners sugar the buttercream will become lighter in color.  Confectioners sugar also allows gel colors to become more vivid.  If you color Italian meringue buttercream without confectioners sugar it can appear grainy and muted..adding a little confectioners sugar and voila, the colors become quite vivid.

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2 Responses to “How To Make Italian Meringue Buttercream”


  1. Hi Tobey. How does this Italian buttercream do in hot summer weather?


    • Hi Jodi, if you are in very hot weather, insist that your bride allow you to use white chocolate fondant over the buttercream..chill the cake with the white chocolate fondant on it and that fondant will act as insulation for a good long while..however, in very very hot weather there is no telling what the buttercream will actually do. I am fortunate that I have not had to experience extreme heat and a wedding cake..not a fun time..hope it works for you..


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