Italian Meringue Butter Cream

Hi! It’s been a while. Things have been so hectic in the Bambola world. This weekend is Brother Bambola’s 21st birthday. As part of his gift I volunteered to make his birthday cake. It couldn’t be any old cake though, could it? I got this idea in my head and set to work planning it out. Given it’s a rather special occasion and there will be quite a few people there, I had to do a test run. Test runs on things you haven’t tried before are a GREAT idea, even if you spend an entire day in the kitchen.

(NB: This post is picture heavy)

Having done my test run, this week I’m making all the elements that will be put together on Saturday, don’t worry, I’ll show you next week.

Now you have the background, you can understand why I didn’t want to do just any old icing, right? It had to be special. And Italian Meringue Butter Cream (IMBC) even *sounds* fancy!

I used the recipe from “Now for Something Completely Delicious” and followed it to a tee. Yes, I actually followed a WHOLE recipe. It’s worth it!

Some tips beforehand, get everything ready before you start, some recipes don’t require it, this one certainly does.

Sugar and water in a saucepan with a thermometer.

Egg whites in a clean bowl. For those of you that don’t know, if the bowl or beaters have trace amounts of grease, the egg whites won’t whip up as they need to.

And your room temperature butter, chopped.

Now we can start. The first thing is to bring your sugar water to the boil. Swirl the pan to ensure the sugar dissolves.

This is why you need the thermometer. Once it reaches 110 C (225F), start whipping your egg whites.

Then, once the sugar water reaches 115C (238F) (Don’t stress, it actually takes about a minute or so to get that 5C hotter) you need to slowly (SLOWLY) pour it into the egg whites while they’re still beating, but at a slower speed.

I couldn’t get a photo of this but I’m talking about a thin stream that’s almost threadlike. It should take around 5 minutes to pour all t he sugar water in to the egg whites.

The above photo is meringue! Ta dah! This will be quite warm to touch and it needs to cool down to room temperature before you start putting the butter in. I transferred mine to the bigger bowl to help cool it down faster. This also helps when I started adding the butter.

This bit takes some time. With the meringue on a medium speed, add the butter, one block at a time, adding the next one when the first is incorporated. This will make the meringue deflate. It’s quite sad, but if you hang in there, it gets better.

Actually, it gets worse before it gets better. At some point, it may start to look curdled. Don’t freak out, there are reasons for this. It’s to do with the temperature of the butter & the meringue. If you know this will happen before you start, you won’t worry, I didn’t, because I just *knew* it would happen. That’s why I’m telling you! If you keep beating it & keep adding the butter, it will come good. Trust me.

This, my lovely friends, is Italian Meringue Butter Cream. Once all the butter has been added, put it back on a high speed until it’s smooth. You can add some vanilla essence in now if you like.

I can’t show you the finished product (on a cake) because I haven’t done that bit yet. This type of icing is great because you can pop it in the fridge (or freezer) until you need to use it.

It’s all glossy and creamy and delicious looking, right!?

It’s a lot of effort, I know, but it’s something you can do if you have a spare morning & need to use up some eggs. It’s also great for a special occasion cake or cupcakes.

The flavour is different, it’s not an overly sweet icing & it *is* rather buttery, but it’s luxurious and decadent. Try it! If I can make, I have no doubts that you can too!

Italian Meringue Butter Cream

From And Now for Something Completely Delicious

Please go and read her site for all the background and information, she really knows her stuff.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups (500g or 1 pound) butter, at room temperature, chopped into about tablespoon sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Swirl the pan to make sure the sugar dissolves. Once it reaches the boil stop swirling.
  2. When the boiling sugar water reaches 110C (225F), turn the egg whites on high until they reach soft peaks. (If they reach soft peaks before the candy reaches 115C (238F), keep them whisking on a low speed.
  3. When the sugar water reaches 115C (238F) slowly pour it into the egg whites while they’re beating on a medium speed.
  4. Once all the sugar syrup is in, increase the speed to high and keep beating until the meringue is at room temperature.
  5. Add the butter, one block at a time while it’s mixing on medium high. Add the vanilla.
  6. Once all the butter is in the mixture, turn it up to a high speed and beat until it’s smooth.

This can be stored in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer until you need it.

When you want to use it, bring it to room temperature, beat it until smooth & then it’s ready to go.


2 thoughts on “Italian Meringue Butter Cream

  1. Pingback: Layer Cake Construction « Col Panna

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