After the American Butter Cream and dark chocolate Ganache, I come today with yet another frosting recipe in the Baking Basics Series. When I first came across Italian Meringue Butter Cream, I never had any idea about it was prepared. I started reading a lot of articles and some of them said that it is the best butter cream and the American Butter Cream is not at all butter cream. I am a hard core fan of American Butter Cream and I was not at all convinced about what others told about IMBC. And the other thing is that it is made with lots egg whites. Being an egg hater then I didn’t even want to try it. But every thing changed once I started taking orders. I started experimenting with eggs and gradually started liking all the techniques involved with eggs in baking and decorating. My first attempt was to try royal icing. Though I don’t eat eggs or egg based decorations, I had to learn it as I needed to fulfil client’s wishes. After successful royal icing, I really wanted to try IMBC. But I can do that only if I get any order for that.
And finally when I got the order, I was so afraid to try it. I had all the equipments ready but still I was sceptical about trying it with my hand mixer. Every recipe I came across uses a stand mixer. As preparing meringue butter cream involves multitasking I was really really afraid. But I had to make it and one fine day I finally made it leaving all my fears behind. This is a non crusting butter cream. It stays soft and never crusts but you can pipe lots of decorations and they don’t sag. They hold shape very nicely. Let me tell you about the most important gadgets you will need for this recipe. The first and foremost is a candy thermometer. This is very important to decide about the stages of the sugar syrup. The next important one is the mixer. If you have a stand mixer like Kitchenaid or Kenwood, think yourself as lucky. IF you don’t have one you need to have atleat a hand mixer. I own a Philips Hand Mixer and that is what I use to make IMBC. Please don’t try this with a hand whisk. As there is lots and lots of beating going on in this recipe, You will be so tired if you try it with a hand whisk. So don’t even think about it. If you have both then you are set to try your hand at IMBC. Make sure that you read this post five or six times before trying it.
The recipe involves making meringue separately and a sugar syrup separately. Then both are mixed together and whipped. And finally butter is added to get a smooth fluffy butter cream. Though it seems easy, Every step needs to be accurate to get the perfect IMBC. While the sugar syrup reaches a certain temperature, you need to start beating the egg whites to stiff peaks. And then again when certain temperature is reached, the hot syrup is drizzled in to the meringue and you need to continuously beat to combine both. The syrup should not come in contact with the bowl or the beater. Do you understand the problem while using a hand mixer. I do it when I am alone but if you could get someone to pour the syrup for you it will be an easier task. And then comes the beating part.
Yes you need to beat the meringue until it cools down and the sides of the bowl is cool to touch. Otherwise you will end with melted butter. Once it is cool, you need to add room temperature butter cubes one by one and beat it continuous. After all the butter is incorporated, then again you need to beat it until the cream is formed. It surely takes a lot of time. The mixture will change it texture so many times and do not be afraid. First the meringue is so glossy and lovely to look at but after you mix butter, it turns out creamy. And then it will thin down and will look like a bowl of cake batter. Then it will turn real soupy and look curdled. But still do not be afraid. After the soupy stage magic happens. It turns into lovely creamy, fluffy butter cream. You need to see it to believe it.
Egg Whites- 5
Granulated SUgar-1 cup
Caster Sugar / Powdered Sugar – 1/4 cup
Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
Mix sugar and water and let it come to boil.
When the syrup reaches 230°F, start whisking eggs.
Beat egg whites until frothy.
Add the powdered sugar little by little and beat.
Keep on beating until it reaches stiff peaks. Still the mixture should be shiny. Do not over beat at this stage.
When the sugar syrup comes to 245°F, remove from stove and add it to the egg whites in a continuous stream while beating the egg whites.
When all the syrup is incorporated, beat the mixture until the bowl is cool to touch. It may take 10 minutes at this stage.
Once the bowl is completely cool, start adding butter cubes one at a time.
Beat until mixed thoroughly before adding the next cube.
Once all the butter is mixed keep on beating until the mixture turns to batter consistency.
Add vanilla essence and continue beating. The mixture may look like curdled but keep on beating.
After a while the mixture will turn into fluffy butter cream.
Cover the bowl with a cling wrap until ready to use it on cake.
Mix together sugar and water and let it boil.
Place a candy thermometer inside and note the temperature.
It will gradually start rising. When the temperature comes to 230°F, keep flame low and start beating the egg whites.
I used an aluminium bowl to beat as that was the only large bowl I had. Make sure the bowl is large enough for all the ingredients.
Keep icing sugar ready.
Once the egg whites are frothy, add the icing sugar little by little and beat.
When the egg whites reaches the stiff peak stage and still shiny to look, you can go to the next stage.
By this time the sugar syrup must have reached 245°F. Add it in a slow stream and beat the egg whites. Make sure that the hot syrup does not hit the blade or the sides of the bowl. You can also add a little syrup to the egg whites, beat and then add some more if you are working alone. But do it faster.
Once the syrup is incorporated, keep on beating on low speed.
Touch the side of the bowl. If it is cool then you can move to the next step. Even a slight warmth will melt the butter. So be patient until the bowl cools down. It may take 10 minutes.
Slice butter into small cubes. It should be at room temperature and should be soft to touch but should retain shape. If it is too loose and thin, refrigerate until it gets firm and then use.
Add one cube at a time and beat until incorporated.
Once the butter is fully mixed keep on beating. It will first become creamy.
Then it will become cake batter like. Keep on beating!!!
Add vanilla essence.
Now it looks like a curdled mixture. But keep on beating!!!
And finally magic happens. The whole mixture turns into soft, fluffy butter cream.
If you feel that the butter has melted because of the warmth in the meringue, refrigerate it immediately. Beat it after 10 minutes.
If the butter is cold, and doesn’t mix well with butter, then you can place the bowl in microwave for 5-6 seconds on medium and then beat.
These are the two problems you could face. But if you are careful and maintain the temperature of every ingredient, then you would never face a problem.
My other posts in the Baking Basics Series: