Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Recipes › Italian Meringue Buttercream, aka scrambled butter...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Italian Meringue Buttercream, aka scrambled butter...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I tried to make Italian Meringue Buttercream last night, I thought I followed all the steps perfectly but at the end, when the buttercream curdles, it stayed there. I left it in the fridge overnight, and tried to rewhip it this morning, and it refuses to come together, if anything I've whipped the entire meringue out of the cream and just left myself with butter, which is sliding around in my bowl like not quite cooked scrambled eggs.

I followed the recipe perfectly, 5 egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar whipped to a meringue, 1 cup sugar heated to 245F in 1/2 cup of water slowly added, then when the meringue had cooled I added 2 sticks of softened butter slowly, in small pieces.

What did I do wrong? I thought it could be that I didn't add enough butter (I know there are recipes that use twice as much but I was using a recipe that called for less as I'm not a huge fan). It tastes like pure butter as it is, I can't believe that adding twice as much would make it taste less buttery, and the texture surely couldn't be less buttery with more butter added.

Any ideas? I was really hoping this would be a great alternative to American Buttercream which I'm not a huge fan of, but my husband is ready to go buy a can of frosting rather than listen to my Kitchenaid go any more today!
elsewhere.
Reply
elsewhere.
Reply
post #2 of 29

Yes, it was definitely not enough butter to bring the frosting together. No need to think about that further!

 

Had you added more butter (probably double the amount), it would have turned out perfectly. For 5 eggs you'd need about 1 pound of butter. If you add a pinch of sea salt and plenty of good quality vanilla (Nielsen Massey) it would had tasted great.

 

At this point, having not added enough butter to begin with, I wouldn't try to fix it. I'd start over.

 

Next time try whipping your butter until it's super light and soft (about 5 minutes on high speed), then set it aside. Wash the mixer bowl thoroughly, then make your meringue. It shouldn't take more then 5 or 6 minutes of whipping the meringue on high to cool it down, then add in your whipped butter, vanilla and sea salt. This whole process shouldn't take more then 20 minutes.

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
This was the recipe I was using:

http://www.whisk-kid.com/2010/08/how-to-make-italian-meringue.html?showComment=1345903641831&m=1#c7511605923330436776

I don't understand how adding more butter stops something tasting and feeling like butter though! I added some Nielsen Massey vanilla, and some sea salt, but it didn't help.
elsewhere.
Reply
elsewhere.
Reply
post #4 of 29

Usually when you are making these types of icings they do go to a curdled stage but, if you keep mixing then normally it will come together.  Try it again, I love Italian meringue icing.  I sure hope you get the hang of it and be sure to pour the syrup in Very slow.

evelyn

Cake brings out the inner child in you.
 

Reply

Cake brings out the inner child in you.
 

Reply
post #5 of 29
The recipe I use is 5 egg whites whisked with 50g sugar. 250g sugar heated with 100ml water, 500g UNSALTED butter mixed in. It is a really good recipe to scale up or down as it is all multiples of 5. I have NEVER had a batch go wrong, not even my first batch. You start whisking the eggs when the sugar and water reaches approx 100C, heat the sugar and water until 118C and add to the eggs. Leave the whisk attachment in your mixer. When the mixture reaches luke warm, turn it down to the lowest setting and add the butter in small chunks but as quickly as possible. Let it whip until it comes together. Add 1 - 1.5 TBSP vanilla extract (good quality stuff). I've not needed to add salt, I guess it's optional... I'd be inclined to leave it out once everything's mixed though as it won't dissolve.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle View Post


I don't understand how adding more butter stops something tasting and feeling like butter though! I added some Nielsen Massey vanilla, and some sea salt, but it didn't help.

You have to add enough butter to create an emulsion between the two items, it's a scientific reaction. You have to respect the science behind baking, for success.

 

If you want a different tasting frosting then you need to make changes other ways, or find another recipe all together. You can add powered sugar to meringue butter creams to take away some of the buttery mouth feel.

post #7 of 29

 I failed the first few times I tried Italian Meringue Buttercream too, but am very glad that I persisted.  It opens up a whole new level of frosting options. I learned by using RLB's recipe in the cake bible.   I agree that Italian Meringue buttercreams tend to taste buttery, but certain flavorings and especially chocolate cover that up, and you can't beat the smooth creamy texture.  But because of that tendency, I no longer make IMBC.  Here are some thoughts:

 

 

1)  I have tried a number of IMBC recipes.  They are all very close to the ratio of 5 whites per pound of butter.  I agree that the recipe you have is incorrect and that adding more butter may have solved the problem (but you didn't know that).

 

2)  the temperature of the butter (and the room) has to be correct.  It is not terribly precise, but if the butter is too warm or too cold it will not come together.  I agree with the post above that the butter should be brought to room temperature and mixed up so it is smooth and creamy before adding to the meringue, but not sloppy soft.  If it is not coming together and the room is really warm, I put some blue ice packs around the bowl, and then it comes together.  If you suspect the butter is too cold, just let it keep running in the mixer.  Sometimes it takes a while to come together.  Especially if the recipe is on the lower end of butter amounts.  

 

3}  if you refrigerate the buttercream for later use,  it must come COMPLETELY to room temperature before rebeating.  If it is too cold, the frosting will separate into chunks of butter and clear sugary syrup that splatters all over the place.  (personal experience!)  At that point it is hopelessly lost.  

 

4)  I now use Swiss meringue buttercream in place of IMBC.  I have found the SMBC  to be less buttery tasting, and, for me, simpler to make.  This type of buttercream brings the sugar and whites to 160 degrees before whipping the whites and adding the butter.  My favorite recipe uses 3 cubes of butter (3/4 pound) per 5 whites which is less than the IMBC.  It is my go to recipe for most cakes.  For kid's cakes and sweeter cakes I just love the Fluffy American Buttercream you can find in the recipe section.  It is made with pasteurized egg whites and hi-ratio shortening. It is smoother and creamier and less sweet than the traditional American Buttercream, but sweeter than the IMBC, which the kids (and some adults) seem to prefer.  The FAB and THE SMBC are both so good that I often can't decide which one to use, and I mix them together!

 

5)  The flavorings make all the difference. The recipe I use for SMBC (which I always double to have on hand) is 1/4 cup vanilla per 10 whites!  I also think liqueurs add a very rich flavor to BC and you don't taste the alcohol.  I usually add an extract and liqueur to SMBC, but leave out the alcohol in kid's cakes of course.  I have great cake recipes, but it is always the frosting that gets noticed.  

 

 

HTH, and good luck!

I'd rather be baking!
Reply
I'd rather be baking!
Reply
post #8 of 29

Here is some more reliable professional advice

 

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2011/01/04/the-beautiful-side-of-baking-blissful-buttercream/

 

Together with this, you should check your thermometer in a cup of boiling water.

post #9 of 29

You didn't have enough butter.

 

Here's a video. A lot of people use Warren Brown's recipe.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxWmiHRTMz8

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
IMBC is not for me apparently, I'm from Europe so eating pure butter isn't in my vocabulary!

Thanks for the SMBC tip, I'll try that next I think. Otherwise it will be back to my faithful cream cheese frosting.

Thanks for the help everyone, I think the low butter recipe and the fact that I had the oven on were clearly to blame. It still doesn't make sense to me but yes, I have to respect science I guess!
elsewhere.
Reply
elsewhere.
Reply
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle View Post

IMBC is not for me apparently, I'm from Europe so eating pure butter isn't in my vocabulary!
Thanks for the SMBC tip, I'll try that next I think. Otherwise it will be back to my faithful cream cheese frosting.
Thanks for the help everyone, I think the low butter recipe and the fact that I had the oven on were clearly to blame. It still doesn't make sense to me but yes, I have to respect science I guess!

 

You need to make sure the mixer bowl is cooled down after adding the hot sugar syrup to the meringue- before adding in the butter..otherwise the butter will melt due to the heat and it gets soupy...which also still can be fixed. There is a video on youtube from a baker in the DC area which explains this- I forget his name at the moment, but you can easily google that. Anyway- it does work.

 

Really, imo- IMBC or SMBC, same-same, but barely different.

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle View Post

IMBC is not for me apparently, I'm from Europe so eating pure butter isn't in my vocabulary!
Thanks for the SMBC tip, I'll try that next I think. Otherwise it will be back to my faithful cream cheese frosting.
Thanks for the help everyone, I think the low butter recipe and the fact that I had the oven on were clearly to blame. It still doesn't make sense to me but yes, I have to respect science I guess!

 

 

Funny. IMBC, SMBC and FBC, are actually called "European buttercreams." Once you get it flavored right, it really doesn't taste like pure butter! Here's a SMBC Cream Cheese recipe if you'll ever need one.

 

http://cakecentral.com/t/711181/this-post-contains-fromscratchsfs-cream-cheese-smbc

 

http://fromscratchsf.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/tutorial-swiss-meringue-buttercream/

 

http://fromscratchsf.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/more-about-swiss-meringue-buttercream-like-my-other-post-wasnt-long-enough-i-had-to-go-write-another-epic-post/

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
It's the meringue style that is Itailian or Swiss, not the buttercream itself. And the French product that FMBC is based on is used as a pastry filling, not to cover cakes!
elsewhere.
Reply
elsewhere.
Reply
post #14 of 29
I have found if it does not come together it is almost inevitably the temperature of the butter (too cold). Keep whipping and it will work. I use the RLB silk meringue buttercream recipe, but modified, more meringue less butter more creme anglaise and it works beautifully, not too buttery (totally agree on that front) and is good & stable for piping.
Smbc ot Imbc the choice is personal, but it is good once mastered!
post #15 of 29

Sorry I'm coming in late to the conversation, but i wanted to add some info. IMBC is the main BC that I use and I never baby it. Cold butter, warm butter, whatever, I just adjust my timing. If the butter is cold, I add it while the sugar is hot, if the butter is soft, then i add after the sugar has cooled. 

 

I agree that OPs recipe doesn't have enough butter. My ratio is 1 lb butter to 5 egg whites. I also add 1/2 tsp of Cream of tartar to the whites while beating them. 

 

This is an illustrated tutorial you might find helpful

 

 

http://butteryum.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-to-make-italian-meringue.html

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Recipes
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Recipes › Italian Meringue Buttercream, aka scrambled butter...