Italian buttercream is my favorite! It is so silky and smooth. I love how it can stay room temperature for long periods of time, unlike classic American buttercream. It is great for cakes and cupcakes with lots of decoration.
The only con to making Italian buttercream is making the hot sugar. Cooking with hot sugar is very dangerous. One splatter on your skin can burn in the first degree or even second degree. More than just a splatter can result in third degree burns.
Also, making sure you get the right temperature is key to getting a good stiff meringue, as well as cooking the egg whites so they are edible. However, once you have mastered this, it is such an amazing compliment to your favorite dessert!
From my blog post:
"Italian buttercream involves making a meringue which is whipped egg whites with hot sugar. The hot sugar cooks the egg whites so it is edible. And then you add your butter and flavorants. This buttercream is most common in bake shops. It is very smooth and silky when at room temp, but hard when refrigerated. Being hard makes it easier to do crumb coats and makes decoration easier. It is super stable, which means you can let it sit on your counter without worry. It has a heavenly texture and taste."
Click the picture above to read more about different types of buttercream!
ITALIAN BUTTERCREAM RECIPE
Egg whites 8 oz
Granulated sugar 1#
Water 5 oz
Unsalted Butter 1# 8 oz
Vanilla extract 2 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Chop up butter into small to medium chunks and allow to soften.
Place egg whites in stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
Pour water and sugar in a heavy bottom pot over med-high heat. Stir to melt sugar into water. Using a pastry brush, brush down sides of pot to release any undissolved sugar crystals. Let sugar water come to a boil, do not stir. Once sugar reaches 235F start whipping egg whites on med-low speed. Once sugar reaches 245F remove from heat and turn mixer down to low speed/stir. Slowly pour hot sugar into mixer. (Avoid pouring onto the whisk so you do not have any splatters of hot sugar.) Be careful!
Once all sugar is poured into egg whites, turn up the speed to med-high and let whip until it creates a meringue and comes to room temperature. (This will take a while)
Slowly start adding in your butter chunks.
Add in the vanilla and salt and let mix in completely.
Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. Freeze in an airtight container up to 3 months.
Want to add color? No problem! Just add a little bit of gel food coloring at a time until you achieve your desired color. (Do not add more until it is full incorporated.)