Best Italian meringue buttercream frosting recipe, silky smooth icing, perfect in pastry to fill and decorate your cakes and cupcakes!
It is easy to prepare and stable at room temperature. It keeps its pretty shapes which makes it an perfect icing recipe !
Don't be intimidated by this frosting that sounds so complex just by hearing its name! This cream is fabulous, incredibly, so sweet and a texture silky smooth, it's perfect icing!
I will show you here, that this meringue buttercream is not inaccessible! And after this article you will pass a higher level in pastry making and you won't be afraid to make this recipe anymore!
What is Italian meringue buttercream?
It is often called IMBC, its small diminutive which means: Italian Meringue Butter Cream.
A buttercream containing a meringue with the technique called Italian meringue. A syrup of sugar cooked at 244°F / 118°C and incorporated into the whites, which gives a firm, smooth and shiny Italian meringue.
I very often use Italian meringue to make the shells of macarons or to decorate a pie such as lemon meringue tarts.
This frosting is similar to other meringue buttercreams, like the Swiss meringue buttercream or the French meringue buttercream.
Why choose Italian meringue buttercream?
- It's delicious, sweet, soft and creamy!
- It keeps its shape! And it's great for decorating cupcakes.
- It is stable at room temperature, an ideal cream for wedding cakes and birthday cakes that remain exposed for long hours.
Useful tools to make this recipe
- Stand mixer, although it is possible to make it with an electric mixer. (for small quantities) I strongly advise to use a stand up robot to make this cream.
- A cooking thermometer is essential to reach the right temperature of the syrup and obtain a nice Italian meringue.
- Egg yolk separator, useful to separate the whites from the yolks.
- Egg whites, at room temperature without any traces of yolk, otherwise the risk of missing the meringue is greater.
- White granulated sugar, do not use whole sugar or confectioners sugar.
- Unsalted butter, at room temperature, but not too softened either.
- Pure vanilla extract, to flavor the butter cream.
- Pinch of salt, as a flavour enhancer and helps to whisk the whites to snow.
How to make Italian buttercream ?
- Make the syrup: Heat the water and half of the sugar in a saucepan and check with a candy thermometer the temperature that must be reached 230°F/110°C.
- Whisk the egg whites: When the candy thermometer reads 230°F/110°C, place the egg whites with the pinch of salt in the mixer bowl and whisk at medium speed.
- Add the sugar to the egg whites: When the egg whites are frothy, add the other half of the sugar and mix at high speed.
- Stir in the syrup: When the syrup temperature reaches 244°F/118°C, reduce the speed of the mixer and pour the hot sugar syrup on the side of the bowl over the egg whites.
- Whip the meringue: And resume mixing at high speed to whip the meringue until the meringue has stiff peaks, firm, smooth and glossy. (duration = about 10 minutes)
- Add butter and vanilla: Finally, while letting the mixer run, add the soft butter and the liquid vanilla extract.
- Finish by letting the whisk rotate until a smooth and homogeneous white cream is obtained.
How to Store Meringue Butter Cream
It can be kept in the fridge preferably for about 1-2 weeks.
Also it is stable at room temperature without sanitary risk for 48 hours in a chill place.
And you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What to do with IMBC?
The Italian meringue butter cream is a cream that perfumes and colors easily, it is mainly used for cake decoration.
- Topping of cupcakes.
- Decoration and external smoothing of a layer cake
- Pastry bag decoration with icing sleeves.
Swiss Meringue Butter Cream vs. Italian Meringue Butter Cream
No big difference between these two creams, except that the Italian version contains more butter. This makes it smoother with prettier shapes and catches the light even more. For me it is the cream to choose for decorating and icing cupcakes.
The Swiss meringue butter cream is most likely the favorite! It's easier to make, easier to use and perfect for smoothing out a layer of cake.
FAQS about Italian buttercream
- Recover a granular butter cream (sliced)
You will have this aspect of granular cream, after the addition of butter and after a passage in the cold, here is how to proceed:
During the preparation of the cream, after the addition of butter it takes this granular texture.
- Simply let the mixer turn until it takes back a homogeneous and smooth texture.
After a cold passage, the cream is like cold butter, if you try to whip it immediately it will slice.
- Warm the cream, in the microwave or in a bain marie (just a few moments just to soften the butter).
- And mix with an electric whisk.
- The butter cream is full of air bubbles.
The quick whisk mixing has incorporated air into the cream, to evacuate these air bubbles, here's how to do it:
- Before using the cream, mix it with the flat spatula of the food processor for 1-2 minutes at medium speed.
- And finish by mixing the cream with the spatula, spreading it over the edges of the bowl to smooth it.
- My buttercream is liquid
If your butter is too softened, or even melted, the cream will be too liquid.
- Place your cream in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- And whisk the mixture again.
- How do I color my butter cream with Italian meringue?
- By adding food coloring gels.
How to flavor the butter cream
- Fruit purée, strawberry and raspberry coulis
- Food flavor
- Melted chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder
- Mixed cookies (oreo, speculoos, cookies)
- Squeezed lemon juice or other citrus fruits
Other icing recipes
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Mascarpone whipped cream
- Best vanilla Buttercream frosting
- White chocolate whipped ganache recipe
- How to make Chocolate Ganache
Don't forget to tag me @sweetlycakes on Instagram if you make my Dark Chocolate Ganache recipe and to add a link to my recipe if you share it on your blog 😉
Italian meringue buttercream
- 4 egg white - at room temperature - about 150 g
- 350 g sugar
- 150 ml water
- 450 b butter - softened
- 10 ml liquid vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- Place half of the sugar with the water in a saucepan over low heat and bring to the boil, monitor the temperature with a cooking thermometer, the syrup should reach 244°F/118°C before being poured over the egg whites.
- As soon as the syrup reaches 230F/ 110°C place the egg whites with the pinch of salt in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk and mix at medium speed to start, as soon as your whites are frothy, then add the other half of the sugar and switch to high speed.
- Your egg whites should be firm before adding the sugar syrup.When the syrup reaches 244°F / 118°C, pour the syrup over the egg whites, drizzle in a trickle while continuing to run the mixer at low speed.
- Resume mixing at high speed until the meringue has cooled (you can touch the bottom of the bowl to check the temperature for about 10 minutes).
- And add the butter cut into pieces and vanilla extract to your meringue and continue blending at medium speed.
- After adding the butter the texture of the cream may change, becoming more liquid or granular, especially continue mixing, your cream will be ready when it has a smooth texture.