Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial

A step-by-step Italian Meringue Buttercream tutorial! It is the smoothest and creamiest of all the buttercreams! You will love it on cakes, cupcakes and more! Plus it’s easier than you think!
An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple! In culinary school we made 5 different types of buttercream, but Italian Meringue Buttecream is my favorite! It has a lighter texture and taste than Swiss Meringue and German; it doesn’t taste like pure butter like French Buttercream; and it isn’t saccharine, tooth-achingly sweet like an American Buttercream.

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!Over the past 2 months, I’ve made this buttercream a lot.

A lot. I dream about cutting a cake in three perfect layers and then frosting it.

And not in a good way. It’s more of a nightmare really.

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

Italian meringue buttercream (IMB) seems complicated at first; it’s definitely the most sophisticated of its peers. Simply put, it is made by whipping egg whites to stiff peaks while simultaneously cooking sugar to the soft ball stage; you then slowly pour the sugar into the whipping egg whites; and, finally, add butter.

A whole lotta butter.

They don’t call it buttercream for nothin’.

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

I love this frosting because it is light and airy but simultaneously rich and creamy. It is also magically stable and will keep for months in the freezer! So stable, in fact, if you think you totally messed it up, take heart, it’s probably totally fixable!

I actually think IMB is easier than Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

 

One of these days I’ll shoot a video tutorial for you on IMB and also Swiss Meringue, because they are really not as complicated as they seem. For now, I shot a step-by-step photo tutorial, which is kind of a big deal. I’ve never done that before!

One small step for IMB; one giant leap for AHC!!

 An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

This is another batch of IMB that I made. Mmmm chocolate. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw the cake that it frosted. My very first cake order!

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

So let’s not pretend like what I did with this fluffy frosting is a surprise. Mmmkay?

Y’all know me by now.

I made cupcakes. #obvi

Coming soon! :-)

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

Click Here to Skip to the Picture Tutorial!

Click Here to Skip to the Printable Recipe!

A Few General Tips for IMB Success:

  1. There is no rule that you have to whip the egg whites on high while you cook your sugar, so if they have reached stiff peaks and your sugar syrup is stubbornly stuck at 220˚F (been there), just turn down the mixer to low. Don’t stop that mixer! I didn’t say that! I said LOW.
  2. Pour your sugar syrup in with the mixer on HIGH. Do you want scrambled eggs on your cupcakes? I didn’t think so. Turn that mixer up!
  3. Pour the sugar down the side of the bowl. Don’t hit the whisk because I don’t need to tell you that 235˚ syrup in the face is unpleasant. Don’t be that person. You will know if you did it right because there will be one little lava trail of cooled sugar down one side of the bowl.
  4. This sounds obvious and it’s in the instructions, but I’m going to say it anyways: cook your sugar to 235˚F. Soft ball syrup is a range but if you shoot for 235˚F, then by the time you get from the stove to the mixer and the syrup has inched up a few degrees, no love has been lost. You will know if you overcook your sugar because there will be a pool of cooked sugar in the bottom of your mixer. No bueno.
  5. When you start adding your butter, you want it to be soft but still a little cool. If it’s not totally soft enough, add it a little bit at a time and squeeze each piece before tossing it in. That’s right, squeeze your butter! It’s kinda fun. And kinda gross at the same time.
  6. If your buttercream gets soupy, switch from the paddle back to the whisk and beat it on high. All is not lost. Trust me. Whip it; whip it good. {Is that song in your head now? #sorryimnotsorry}
  7. If your buttercream breaks (looks curdled) when you start adding the butter, take heart, it will come together. Add the butter in little pieces and squeeze each one to soften it. If you have a kitchen torch you can torch the outside of the bowl with the mixer on high, but keep the torch moving! You want to warm the bowl not melt the buttercream.
  8. To refresh refrigerated buttercream: Throw it in the mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until smooth; then switch to the whisk to whip it up until light and fluffy.
  9. To refresh frozen buttercream: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, let warm slightly at room temperature and then proceed with the refreshing refrigerated buttercream instructions above.
  10. You can speed up the refreshing process by warming the bowl over a gas stovetop flame or with the kitchen torch. Just be careful to constantly move the bowl or torch because you don’t want to melt your buttercream.

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

 Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial:

You want to make sure that you have everything measured out and ready to go. This recipe is simple but it does require seamless execution. You also want to make sure that your mixing bowl is clean and free of any residual fat, or your meringue will not whip up and there will be sadness abound.

Mix half of the sugar with the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir just until the sugar dissolves. When the pan heats up, brush around the sides of the pot with a clean pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals adhered to the sides of the pot. You can also use a paper towel that you roll up (I did because I forgot my brush at school.)

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

When your sugar starts to bubble begin whipping your egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. You can add a pinch of salt and/or cream of tartar for stability if you wish. When your eggs begin to look frothy, slowly begin adding the second half of your sugar, whipping constantly on medium-high (above picture).

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

Continue whipping your egg whites until they form stiff peaks (photo 1 above). Ideally your meringue should reach stiff peaks at the same time that your sugar syrup reaches 235˚F. If your egg whites are whipping too fast, reduce the mixer speed to medium. You can also adjust the heat on the sugar syrup to make it cook faster or slower.

To test your syrup you can either use a candy thermometer or you can do it the old-fashioned way, which is what I did here. Take a tiny bit of the syrup on a spoon and dip it into ice water, reach in and grab the sugar. If it dissolves, it isn’t close to ready; if it forms a little malleable ball, it’s ready!! I don’t have a photo of this stage because if I had taken the time to snap a photo, my sugar would have over cooked.

Turn your mixer up to high and SLOWLY pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl as in photo 2 above. Be very careful not to hit the whisk. Ideally you pour it in one solid stream down the edge because it will solidify where it hits the bowl, so if you pour it in three different places, you will be losing sugar. Sadness.

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

If you look closely at the above photo you can see where my sugar hit the side of the bowl. One little stream. No excess sugar lost. Go ahead, take a closer look…This is what perfection looks like. ;-)

Keep whipping the Italian meringue on high until it forms stiff peaks like in the first photo below, but what is more important than the stiffness of the meringue is the temperature of the meringue. Before you begin adding the butter, the bottom of the bowl should feel barely warm (picture 2). There is so much sugar in this meringue that it will not over whip before it cools appropriately. Even though my meringue had reached stiff peaks in photo 1, I still needed to whip it another few minutes for it too cool.

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

When the bowl feels just slightly warm, switch to the paddle attachment and begin adding your butter a piece at a time like in picture 3. I take my butter out of the fridge when I begin measuring my ingredients. Before adding each piece squeeze the butter. When I am making this (and not taking photos) I use disposable gloves.

An easy to follow Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial! My favorite frosting made super simple!

Continue to beat the butter in on medium-high until the buttercream is smooth and there are no remaining pieces of butter. The buttercream in photo 1 above is still a bit lumpy. Not there yet!!! Photo 2 is smooth and creamy. At this stage I switch back to the whisk, add any desired flavorings and beat it until it is light and fluffy. You are now ready to frost!

Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 700g or enough for 24 cupcakes or 1, double tier layer cake

Italian Meringue Buttercream Tutorial

A tutorial for Italian Meringue Buttercream. Once you try this smooth, creamy buttercream, nothing else will do!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar (375g), divided
  • 2/3 cup water (150g)
  • 5 large egg whites (150g)
  • pinch salt, optional
  • pinch cream of tartar, optional
  • 2 cups butter, cubed (4 sticks or 1 pound), cool but not cold
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the Chocolate Variation:
  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted but not hot

Instructions

  1. You want to make sure that you have everything measured out and ready to go. This recipe is simple but it does require seamless execution. You also want to make sure that your mixing bowl is clean and free of any residual fat, or your meringue will not whip up and there will be sadness abound.
  2. Mix half of the sugar with the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir just until the sugar dissolves. When the pan heats up, brush around the sides of the pot with a clean pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals adhered to the sides of the pot. You can also use a paper towel that you roll up (I did because I forgot my brush at school.)
  3. When your sugar starts to bubble begin whipping your egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. You can add a pinch of salt and/or cream of tartar for stability if you wish. I only used salt in the photos you see. When your eggs begin to look frothy, slowly begin adding the second half of the sugar, whipping constantly on medium-high.
  4. Continue whipping your egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Ideally your meringue should reach stiff peaks at the same time that your sugar syrup reaches 235˚F. If your egg whites are whipping too fast, reduce the mixer speed to medium. You can also adjust the heat on the sugar syrup to make it cook faster or slower.
  5. To test your syrup you can either use a candy thermometer or you can do it the old-fashioned way, which is what I did here. Take a tiny bit of the syrup on a spoon and dip it into ice water, reach in and grab the sugar. If it dissolves, it isn’t close to ready; if it forms a little malleable ball, it’s ready!!
  6. Turn your mixer up to high and SLOWLY pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Be very careful not to hit the whisk. Ideally you should pour it in one solid stream down the edge because it will solidify where it hits the bowl, so if you pour it in three different places, you will be losing sugar. Sadness.
  7. Keep whipping the Italian meringue on high until it forms stiff, but what is more important than the stiffness of the meringue is the temperature of the meringue. Before you begin adding the butter, the bottom of the bowl should feel barely warm.
  8. When the bowl feels just slightly warm, switch to the paddle attachment and begin adding your butter a piece at a time. I take my butter out of the fridge when I begin measuring my ingredients. Before adding each piece squeeze the butter.
  9. Continue to beat the butter in on medium-high until the buttercream is smooth and there are no remaining pieces of butter. At this stage I switch back to the whisk, add my flavorings and beat it until it is light and fluffy. Pipe or spread as desired!!
  10. For the Chocolate Variation:
  11. When your butter has been completely incorporated, pour your chocolate in all at once and immediately fold it in with a spatula or beat it in with the paddle attachment. You want to make sure that your chocolate is melted but not hot and it is also still warm enough to flow freely in a continuous stream. If your chocolate is too hot, you will melt your butter cream; but if it is too cool, then you will have pieces of chocolate in your frosting.
http://americanheritagecooking.com/2015/04/italian-meringue-buttercream-tutorial/

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Comments

  1. liz says

    you’re, like… the coolest. you’re pretty much living the dream, and i thank you for that, because i can live vicariously through your blog without steeping myself into ever more debt.

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Haha! Thank you, Liz! I am living the dream and I absolutely love passing on everything I’m learning! Happy baking!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Oh, Chichi, you must! IMB is fantastic and it is so stable for all those magical cake you make!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Haha! Thanks, Jess!! I hope it was helpful! You should try it soon…you’ll love, love love! xxxx

  2. says

    I made Italian Meringue Buttercream once in cooking school and haven’t made it since, and you’re right — it’s much lighter and less sweet than the others! I LOVE all those beautiful swirls, Lindsay, and this tutorial is wonderful! Pinning and trying again soon. :)
    marcie recently posted…Saffron Vegetable Soup with QuinoaMy Profile

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Italian meringue is best for pies because then you don’t have to bake it or use pasteurized eggs. If you have made the meringue then you’ve made the hard part!!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Haha! I definitely did my fair share of licking off beaters…and spoons…and cupcakes :-) xoxoxox

  3. says

    I love Italian meringue buttercream! But I haven’t made it in a looong time…I clearly need to fix that problem. This is an awesome tutorial. I love all of the tips you’ve got in here. I do seem to recall that Italian buttercream doesn’t “last” that long. Like maybe a day at best? Am I making this up? I saw your notes about refreshing it, but what if you’ve already frosted the cake? Share your culinary wisdom with me, Lindsey! I mean, I’m not saying I can’t eat an entire cake in a single day. But I am saying that it’s probably not the smartest of plans. :-)
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Cinnamon Sugar SopapillasMy Profile

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Get on it, David!!! Italian buttercream is one of the most stable buttercreams at room temp because of the softball sugar, so once you’ve frosted your cake you are good to go as long as your cake lasts. It does need to be refrigerated but the cake should be brought to room temp prior to serving because otherwise it just tastes like butter! It will also trap in moisture and extend the life of whatever you’ve frosted. I wouldn’t keep a frosted cake longer than 3 days in the fridge because after that I can just tell the cake is drier, but the buttercream is fine for 2 weeks in the fridge and 2 months in the freezer. Hope that helps :-)

      • martha says

        i have a question (no baking background) so i make the cake frost it put it in the fridge take it out of the fridge and should be ready to eat in …. and will it sweat??? sorry these may sound so dumb just want to make sure i execute right

        • Lindsey says

          Hi Martha! Those aren’t dumb questions! I like to “temper” the cake and frosting after I take them out of the refrigerator, which just means I leave it at room temperature for an hour or so to bring the cake and frosting to room temperature. It won’t cut as cleanly but it will taste better. Frosting just tastes like butter when it is cold! It will sweat a little bit but just leave it uncovered in the refrigerator and when you are letting it sit out before serving.

  4. says

    I’ve always wanted to try this- I mostly use Swiss. I love the step by step photos! I get it now and it definitely looks do-able-I was a bit intimidated by Italian Meringue. And yup…the songs in my head, lol. I love that song so it’s all good :)

  5. says

    After I read your intro, I was thinking I’d ” love it on cakes, cupcakes and..” spoons – and then I saw your second picture! Really, with buttercream this good – who needs cakes -eh?
    Thanks for the detailed tutorial, Lindsey, I’ve never attempted to make my own Italian Buttercream – but, I know where to look when I do!

  6. Elise says

    I love the tutorial but I have a question. In the directions, the recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar divided. It says to had half of the sugar to the water and stir until dissolved. Am I missing something? What do you do with the other cup of sugar. I realize I am getting old and senile, but I am just missing it. Thanks so much!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Hi Elise, the other half of the sugar goes into the whipping egg whites to stabilize the meringue. It’s in step 3 but I can definitely make it more clear that this is the second half of the sugar! Thank you so much for calling this to my attention!! I will update the recipe and photo tutorial right now :-)

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Oh girl!!! You are gunna LOVE that stand mixer and you definitely need to make this!! It will blow your mind!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Oh man, Chris! Buttercream! I’m so glad I could open your eyes to the wild world of butter creams! But really you should just start with this one because it’s AMAZING.

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Hi Jennifer! You can absolutely double the recipe but it does depend on how large your mixer is. I wouldn’t make a double batch in anything smaller than a 6qt stand mixer. Hope that helps!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Gel colors are perfect for frosting! Just add it at the very end. What are you making with it?!

  7. says

    Hi, I’ve tried to make Italian Buttercream with so many different recipes and every time it turns to soup once I start adding the butter. What am I doing wrong and how can I fix this? Can I save it once it turns to soup or do I have to toss it and start over? Should I be adding the butter on low speed?
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    • Lindsey says

      Hi Tessa! It’s all about the temperature of your butter and your meringue. The bowl should not be warm. If it’s warm, it will just melt the butter and then you’ll get soup. If the butter is too warm, soup. Just follow my tip #6 to fix it. You don’t need to throw it out. You can add the butter on low speed or medium speed. It’s not really the main factor. Good luck!

  8. Sofia says

    I have one question, can you add color to the Italian Merengue buttercream?? and thank you for sharing I cant wait to make it :)

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Sofia! You can add color. I would add it at the end and only use a gel coloring. The alcohol based ones can deflate the meringue or make it weep. Happy baking!

  9. Daffodileifa says

    Hi, just wondering is it safe to eat? I used to hear that people said it is okay to eat this buttercream since the sugar syrup practically kill all the bacteria in the egg but some people said that the temperature didn’t reach the require temperature for the egg to be fully cooked. So now I was confused:(
    People said swiss meringue buttercream is safer but i know that swiss meringue is not as stable as italian and i need the most stable buttercream because the weather here is extremely hot sometimes! Really glad if you can clear this! Anyway your tutorial is amazing!

    • Lindsey says

      Please see my above comment about the safety of this buttercream. You should also know that every traditionally trained baker in the world uses Italian or Swiss buttercream. If you have concerns, use pasteurized egg whites. But just know they behave differently than fresh ones.

  10. Mallory says

    This is my go to Italian Buttercream! I wanted to try this because I can’t stand regular buttercream because it’s so sweet and french buttercream was too heavy for my liking. Makes me feel like a serious baker showing up to parties with cakes and cupcakes slathered in this stuff. My husband swears he could eat it for dinner or any meal for that matter and my mom who is not a huge sweets fan goes nuts over it. The directions are spot on, and I can now say I can make this without the directions (minus measurements). I’ve made this recipe now at least 3 times and people go CRAZY for it. Thank you so much for sharing and I can’t wait to try some more of your recipes.

    • Lindsey says

      Thank you so much, Mallory! Your comment made my day! I feel exactly the same way about Italian Meringue Buttercream – makes me feel extra fancy! I am super impressed that you can make it without the directions! Happy baking!

  11. Joann says

    A million thanks to you for the recipe and tutorial. First time ever making it, followed all of your instructions to a tee and have perfect buttercream with the best consistency and flavor I have ever experienced!! I am so glad that I crumb coat the cakes because it means I get to eat the bit with the crumbs in it!!

    • Lindsey says

      Hahah. Sadness. I’ve been there. Can you be more specific? Did it break? Is it soupy? Is the butter not incorporating?

      • Andrea says

        I was adding the sugar syrup and it turned into liquid! I want to do it again but i’m afraid the same thing will happen :(

        • Lindsey says

          Hi Andrea, The hot syrup deflates the meringue almost completely which is normal. Make sure you pour in the sugar slowly with the whisk attachment on high speed then continue to beat with the whisk attachment on high until it is just warm to the touch. What did you do after you added the sugar?

  12. Vanessa says

    Hello great recipe! I was wondering instead of using the Semi-Sweet Chocolate could i use a Peanut Butter Chip instead? Thanks!

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Vanessa! You could certainly try or you could try melting peanut butter that way you can use less and get a more intense pb flavor.

        • Lindsey says

          No problem! Just make sure it isn’t too hot or it will melt the butter and break your buttercream! (same goes for the chocolate or pb chips)

          • Lindsey says

            Woohoo!!! Thanks for reporting back! I just filmed a video tutorial for this and made a chocolate one…but I feel like my next creation needs to have a chocolate AND a peanut butter buttercream. Back to the kitchen!

          • says

            Yes i Agree Everyone Loved the Peanut Butter Buttercream! :P Thanks for the Video`s! i use This Buttercream a Few Times a Month! in love!

  13. Zunun says

    Hi Lindsey, I recently bought a kenwood major stand mixer but the bowl is not glass bowl or stainless steel bowl. It’s a plastic bowl! And i think hot sugar syrup will surely melt my bowl, don’t you think? And is it okay if i make it using hand mixer instead?

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Zunun! I would not make this in a plastic bowl for several reasons. The first is that unless you are absolutely positive the plastic is heat resistant over 400 degrees, it might melt as you can imagine. The second is that, even if the plastic is rated over 400 degrees, it is very hard to clean all the oil out of a plastic bowl over time, which means your meringue may be flat. I just looked on kenwood’s site and I didn’t see a stand mixer with a plastic bowl. Are you sure? You can certainly try to make this with a hand blender, but I would make sure you have a deep glass or metal bowl and you have someone pour it while another person uses the hand mixer. You want to be especially careful that the hot syrup doesn’t hit the whisk and splatter sugar all over you and your friend. Maybe you are incredibly strong but I would get too tired making this recipe with a hand blender. You have to make the meringue, then operate the blender on high speed while pouring the hot syrup then you have to beat it until it cools and then you have to continue to beat it to add the butter. All in all it sounds like a bad idea but the French used to make this by hand before there were hand and stand mixers, so if the French can do it… ;-)

  14. Zunun says

    Yes I’m sure! I hope I can post a pic of my mixer here. It is a Kenwood Classic Major KM630. Thank you for your reply. I think I need to buy the stainless steel bowl for this model of kenwood mixer.

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Zunun! I just googled the model and I see the plastic bowl. If there is a metal option that would definitely be worth the investment so that you can make meringues, this buttercream, marshmallows (!), egg foam based cakes like this one for example, etc. Egg whites also whip up better in metal and the metal will last forever! Anyways. Happy baking!

  15. says

    I love the delicate flavor of Italian buttercream but it does not hold up well in the heat I learned the hard way I used it for a wedding cake for a summer wedding and it started to melt and I had to make emergency repairs during the reception

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Tracy! Unfortunately no buttercream holds up well in the heat; it is butter after all! :-) Freeze it before you transport it, then refrigerate it and take it out at the latest time possible.

  16. Bakers NEST Cochin says

    hi..
    should we sandwich the cake with this same cream? or is it only for the frosting outside the cake?

  17. Ann marie says

    Omg.I was wasting my time with regular buttercream frostings.I was embarrassed to give them away because they tasted greasy.now I will be sooo proud of my cupcakes. It wasnt difficult.this tutorial was amazing and frosting is luxurious darling ! Thank you.

  18. gigi says

    Hi, this looks delicious. Would like to know if is resistant to the heat? I live in a very hot area, the temperature can be from 34 ° C, will resist the IMB? Greetings from Venezuela

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Gigi! That is awfully hot for any buttercream. You must remember it is butter and butter melts in that high of temperatures. If you freeze the cake with the icing it will stand up to that heat longer than other buttercreams but it will eventually melt. Happy baking!

  19. Briana says

    Thank you for this awesome tutorial! It tastes amazing and looks gorgeous! All the finicky steps made it seem like it would be time consuming but it really didn’t take long either :) you rock!

    • Lindsey says

      Hooray, Briana!!! The extra detailed descriptions do make it seem like it will take longer than it does! I am so glad you liked it! What did you make with it!? Happy baking!

  20. Michele says

    I just made this recipe tonight. The tutorial was great and very easy to follow. It tastes amazing! I’m just concerned about piping with it tomorrow…..it seems to not be stiff enough. Did I do something wrong?

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Michele,

      I’m so sorry I am just now seeing your comment now – I have been very busy at work. I am sure you found that after you refrigerated it overnight and then rewhipped it the next morning that consistency was perfect. IMB can always be fixed by putting it in the fridge. Please let me know how it went! Happy Baking!

  21. Mik Afable says

    Hi, great tutorial. I live in the Philippines where the temperature is just really a killer to buttercream. I was so happy when i put in the butter because for the first time in all the recipes i’ve tried, it didn’t just automatically turn to soup. But after a while it just did, and i couldn’t pipe it anymore. I’ve always just had to make american buttercream, which is not as good.

    Do you have any tips on how to make this sturdier in hot/humid climates? Thank you very much!

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Mik! Hot and humid is the nemesis of buttercreams! At the end of the day it is still predominantly butter and there isn’t as much sugar as American buttercream to stabilize it, which is why it tastes waaaaaay better.
      In the future I suggest you work with smaller quantities. Put only half in your piping bag and keep the rest in the refrigerator, then temper the one in the fridge and rewhip it. If the buttercream gets too soft as you pipe (which can happen just from the heat of your hands) then chill it and rewhip. This buttercream is incredibly stable and you can freeze it or refrigerate it and still whip it back up. You aren’t going to find a more stable (non-American) buttercream, so you just need to work with it and it’s faults! Happy baking!

  22. says

    When I make buttercream, I always make Swiss. These beautiful photos of your Italian Buttercream are pushing me to give it a try. My question for you is, why do you squeeze the butter?

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Daisy – it is possible but it is very dangerous. The sugar syrup is 235 degrees F when you pour it in and if you hit the whisk, then it will spray all over you and sugar burns are some of the most painful. As a professional cook, trust me, I know from experience. :-) Perhaps try the Swiss Meringue Buttercream which is safer to try with a hand blender but still silkier and tastier than traditional American Buttercream..

  23. Ron says

    Hi Lindsey,

    After looking at many IMB recipes, I see that this is the only one that has a second addition of granulated sugar in to the egg whites before adding the syrup. Have you tried the traditional way of only using a syrup? Is this really better? This is not a full Italian meringue, rather a hybrid French and Italian, right?

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Ron, It is a true Italian meringue because the whites are “cooked” by the sugar syrup and in a French meringue the whites are not cooked at all until they are baked. I add a portion of the sugar to the egg whites to stabilize them, so that when you do add the softball syrup, it decreases the odds of deflating the meringue or giving your meringue that “egg taste”, which happens when the syrup is too hot or poured in too fast. The sugar stabilized meringue also decreases the odds that you will overwhip the whites while waiting for the sugar to reach soft ball stage. I have made it without adding sugar to the whites and it was the same, but this recipe is trying to make a tricky pastry technique closer to foolproof for people who aren’t professional bakers. Hope that answers your question!

  24. Erica says

    So last night I made the candied orange peel from elsewhere on your page (also candied grapefruit pee, I want to give them as christmas gifts but they might not last that long), and it was late at night so I just put them in the syrup in the fridge and thought I’ll reheat, drain, and add the crystallized sugar later.
    But I’m also making orange french macarons and looking for something that would be as orangy as lemon curd is lemony for the center… And now I’ve this syrup that the was cooked down in the oranges (so tastes amazing) how do you feel about reheating it to softball stage and using that?

    • Lindsey says

      Hi Erica! Definitely store the candied fruit in the syrup before you toss it in sugar – but next time you can store it at room temperature. It will be easier to drain!

      As for your macarons, those sound delicious! You could always make orange curd by just replacing the most of the lemon juice with orange juice. As for your idea – I feel like that will work (and is a fantastic idea!), but there is a different ratio of sugar to water. Maybe add a bit more sugar to get to the total weight needed in the recipe. Then heat it to softball stage. Good luck! Please let me know how it goes! Or I just might try it myself because I’ve been candying a lot of orange for stollen at work. Happy baking!!!

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