Of all of the buttercreams, and there are lots, Italian meringue buttercream is by far my favorite. It is smooth and silky and the easiest for piping or covering a cake. It is probably the most finicky of buttercreams, but it’s totally worth it. And once you’ve made it a few times, it’s easy.
How To Make Italian Meringue Buttercream
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Don’t turn the mixer on yet.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add the sugar and water and heat on medium-high. When the mixture reaches 116°C/240°F turn the mixer on high speed. Keep an eye on them because you don’t want to overwhip them or they will begin to separate.
Once the sugar reaches 121°C/250°F turn the mixer down to medium-low and slowly but steadily pour the sugar into the egg whites. Once it is all in, turn the mixer up to high speed and continue whisking until the mixing bowl comes to room temperature. It can take up to 10 minutes.
Cut the butter into cubes. The temperature of the butter is important. It should still be cool but not cold. It should be pliable. If it’s too warm, the buttercream may not come together properly.
When the mixing bowl has cooled to room temperature, begin adding the butter. I usually turn the mixer down to medium or medium-high and steadily add the butter cubes. Now turn it back up to high until the buttercream comes together. It should only take a few minutes.
If your buttercream is soupy after a few minutes, then either the butter was too warm or the meringue was too warm when adding the butter. It’s totally fixable though! Put the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes and then put it back on the mixer. Still soupy? Throw it back in the fridge for another 10 minutes.
Now all that’s left to do is add the vanilla or flavor extracts. Start little and add more depending on your taste. Every extract is different and some are stronger than others.
Italian Meringue ButtercreamCourse: DessertCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
Meringue buttercream made by cooking sugar and water and adding to whipped egg whites.
Egg Whites 200g
(from about 14 eggs)
(1 1/2 cups)
Unsalted Butter 400g
(about 3 1/2 sticks)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment add the egg whites.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan add sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat.
- When the mixture reaches 116°C/240°F turn the mixer on high speed to whip the whites to soft peaks.
- When the sugar reaches 121°C/250°F turn the mixer down to medium-low and carefully and slowly pour the sugar into the bowl. Turn the mixer back up to high and whisk until the bowl cools to room temperature. This may take up to 10 minutes.
- Cut the butter into cubes. Turn the mixer down to medium-low and steadily add the butter. Once all of the butter has been added, turn the mixer back up to high speed until the buttercream comes together. It should take just a couple of minutes.
- Add extract or flavoring and mix until combined.
- If you use carton egg whites, be sure to shake them up well!
- This recipe is enough for 12 cupcakes or a 3 layer 6″ cake.