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SMBC or IMBC For Beginners

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I would like to try either SMBC or IMBC b/c I read all these posts about it but I'm wondering if I'm too "green" to try? Is there a recipe that would be more beginner-friendly? Also, what is the major difference between the two - is one easier to make than the other? Thanks!
post #2 of 17
Having done both, I'd probably start with SMBC - there's just a little less "process" involved (or so it seemed to me!) Don't be afraid to try - I stayed away from it for a LONG time for fear, but was SO glad when I finally submitted! icon_smile.gif Just make sure your egg whites/sugar are cool (when you put your hand to the outside of the mixer bowl while whipping) and nice, glossy and thick *before* adding your butter! That's probably about the best tip I could give. Don't worry if your mixture turns a little soupy after you do add your butter, just turn up the speed a little on your mixer and let it do the work! It'll come together! Check out Sweetapolita's blog - she has great tips on working with SMBC icon_smile.gif Hope this helped!!

Come to the Dark Side - we have cupcakes 

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Come to the Dark Side - we have cupcakes 

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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I think I will start experimenting with it...I'd like to use it for my niece's 1st Communion cake in May so that should give me enough "practice" time...I hope!
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButRCream

Having done both, I'd probably start with SMBC - there's just a little less "process" involved (or so it seemed to me!) Don't be afraid to try - I stayed away from it for a LONG time for fear, but was SO glad when I finally submitted! icon_smile.gif Just make sure your egg whites/sugar are cool (when you put your hand to the outside of the mixer bowl while whipping) and nice, glossy and thick *before* adding your butter! That's probably about the best tip I could give. Don't worry if your mixture turns a little soupy after you do add your butter, just turn up the speed a little on your mixer and let it do the work! It'll come together! Check out Sweetapolita's blog - she has great tips on working with SMBC icon_smile.gif Hope this helped!!



I agree with everything Butrcream ljust said. I would add that you need to make sure that you start out with really clean equipment because fat will kill your eggs. one last thing, depending on where you live smb is great except if you live in the south in the summer. that's when I bring out my american butter cream
post #5 of 17
post #6 of 17
I finally decided to give meringue buttercream a try last week. I went with Italian. It was quite easy. I'll try Swiss next.
post #7 of 17
katie, my recommendation is go ahead and try it - it's really not as hard as it sounds. I made IMBC for the second cake I decorated, and it turned out just fine! Blissfully unaware of its reputation for being tricky, I saw the recipe in The Whimsical Bakehouse, tried it with nothing but a hand mixer and haven't looked back since.

As you look at recipes, you'll notice that there are lots of slightly different techniques out there. Don't worry about it - just pick a recipe from a reputable source and follow it. Even though they make it sound like "my way is the only way that will work," reality is there are multiple ways that work just fine. If you don't have a candy thermometer, I'd start with SMBC, since that is a little easier to check that you got your eggs up to temp. That said, the Whimsical Bakehouse's recipe for IMBC doesn't need a thermometer and it's never failed me.

Just remember, whatever you do, don't throw it away if it is too soupy or curdled. Check the internet first, most problems with MBCs can be fixed by cooling or heating. I've only irreparably broken my SMBC once, and it served me right because I combined three different recipes (let's make it chocolate! and cream cheese! and not let it come back to room temperature before beating!) And even that we ate - it still tasted delicious on the cake.
post #8 of 17
i have quite a few questions because i am also wary about trying SMBC/IMBC.
1. how is the consistency of this?? is it more smooth and does it crust?
2. does it have to be refrigerated?
3. can you crumb coat with it and then cover a cake with fondant??

thanks so much for the great advise thus far....
post #9 of 17
I'm very new to cake decorating and all do so for family & friends. Recently started making smbc and have not gone back to American Buttercream. I want to try the imbc one of these days. Everyone who has tasted the cakes loves the smoothness of the icing & asks what it is. Although it does not crust, you can still get a pretty smooth finish. I'm still working on that but getting better. Using it under fondant is not a problem. I might not use it in the summer months for cakes that are going to be out in the heat but otherwise no American Buttercream for me anymore.
post #10 of 17
I love smbc... I haven't tried imbc yet but from what I understand they basically taste the same so I go with the one that doesn't require tempering eggs.... I'm not usually successful with that. It's whatever works best for you.

It doesn't crust, but when you crumb coat, you just put it in the fridge til its hard, then ice over it. Add too much icing than you need. Return to fridge and let it stay for about 30 minutes. Then bring it out and you can use a knife and shave off what you don't need. I've never done the hot knife as it can change the colors of the icing, and ive never needed to. I could never get perfect edges with American buttercream... I have tried and tried and sometimes I couldn't even get it all smooth. My first try with smbc, it was beautiful!

If covering with fondant, I make sure it's absolutely cool... So I normally do my icing at night and do my fondant in the morning. I also always use a ribbing of piping gel around the botttom to get the fondant to stick...

I've altered the recipes I found to find one that suits my tastes. I use 8 whites, and 2 cups sugar. I only add 2lbs of butter as well. It still has the butter flavor, but doesn't taste like straight butter. If you have a 5qt mixer, this is about the max of egg whites you can do... 12 whites overflowed in my mixer lol... I also use my metal mixer bowl as my double boiler and put it straight on the mixer. I've tried using a hand mixer while heating and it didn't work so well so just use a whisk. Make sure your candy thermometer is in good working order too. Hubby put mine in the dishwasher and it ruined my next batch.

I also add 1/4tsp cream of tartar to my egg whites when I start my mixer... I start on like a 3 for about a minute and then go to 7 and walk away. Come back 10 minutes later and usually I'm ready for butter. Just make sure the bottom of the mixer bowl is no longer hot before you add butter. Make sure your butter is soft, but not melted. I usually take my butterr out, cut it in 1tbsp sections spand let it sit out about an hour or two before i make my icing. I switch to the paddle, add all my butter in, and turn the mixer on a 5-7 and walk away. After about 10 minutes it's usually all incorporated. Add your extract or color, mix on low and tada... The best stuff you will ever use!

http://sweetapolita.com/2011/04/swiss-meringue-buttercream-demystified/

The pics there are great. Smbc goes thru stages and it freaked me out the first few times....
post #11 of 17
I find the Italian meringue to be much easier to deal with than the Swiss, but I don't like having to whisk eggs over a water bath, my arm is lazy icon_smile.gif

Here's a video I did to show what to do if your buttercream breaks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiyJcYX1sUw&list=UUDru9n0gVtJlapF93R1npSw&index=2&feature=plcp
post #12 of 17
Is SMBC very sweet? I have always used Sugarshacks buttercream recipe - which I love even though it has no butter in it. But, like everyone else, I want to try something different.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by msulli10

Is SMBC very sweet? I have always used Sugarshacks buttercream recipe - which I love even though it has no butter in it. But, like everyone else, I want to try something different.



Smbc isn't really sweet. To put it into perspective, I used 2 cups of sugar to ice 40 cupcakes... Where as if I used ambc, I'd have to use upwards of 4lbs

Smbc has flavor. Ambc tastes like eating straight powdered sugar now lol
post #14 of 17
Seriously-go to YouTube and look up Warren Brown from CakeLove's IMBC recipe. IMBC is less of a PITA than SMBC. But then again, I'm lazy and don't like standing over a stove whisking eggs and sugar together. With IMBC you get the syrup super hot to cook the meringue, leaving you with essentially a marshmallow to which you add butter. You get the exact same results and taste as with SMBC, but it's just another way of reaching the same result. IMBC is a bit more stable because you are cooking the egg whites at a much higher temperature.

Everyone is green until they try something new-go for it!
post #15 of 17
I love Swiss Meringue. I use my metal mixing bowl over a water bath and whisk the egg whites,sugar, cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until they reach 140 degrees. Doesn't take long. Then I place the mixing bowl on my mixer and whip with my whisk attachment until peaks form and the whites are cooled. So easy to make and the recipe I use only uses one cup of sugar. I haven't tried to decorate a cake with Swiss Meringue only cupcakes and cookies. This will be my challenge this summer. I have a large cake to make for a friend in September but not sure is Swiss Meringue would be a good option because it gets really hot here on the west coast. Give it a try you will love it.
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