Italian buttercream was a complete revelation to me with its light, airy, velvety smooth texture. For me, it stands head and shoulders above other buttercreams. It is more time consuming to make than the regular variety of buttercream, but it is definitely worth the effort and it deserves its own tutorial.
(Once again, we are dealing with boiled sugar so make sure you follow appropriate safety measures as discussed in Salted Caramel Sauce – Tutorial).
Yield: Makes enough to fill a 4 tier 8″ cake.
- 300gm caster sugar
- 100ml water
- 150gm egg white
- 350gm butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar, extra.
Flavours can be whatever you want from chocolate to fruit purees to alcohol, let your imagination be your guide. Quantities are really to your personal taste, remember start small you can always add more but you can’t take it out.
Place the sugar (300gm) and water in a medium size saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Keep on heat until temperature reaches 118°C.
At the same time put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on a medium speed until egg whites are foamy and soft. Add the tablespoon of caster sugar. Continue whisking at a medium speed until the meringue is firm. If the sugar is close to required temperature turn speed up to high.
Tip: Keep checking the temperature of your sugar mixture at the same time as the egg whites are whisking. The idea is to try to have them both ready at the same time.
Once the egg white is firm and the sugar has reached 118°C, take the sugar off the heat. Carefully pour the sugar in a slow stream into the egg whites while mixing on a low speed.
Tip: Pour the sugar down the side of the mixing bowl, thereby missing the whisk.
Once all the sugar has been added, turn mixer up to medium high speed and continue whisking until the meringue has cooled to 28°C.
Tip: I have only recently started using a thermometer at this stage of the buttercream. Previously, I relied on instinct to know when it was cool enough. Unfortunately, it had been a bit hit and miss and sometimes resulted in my buttercream splitting. Now that I use a thermometer, I have not had that problem.
Once the meringue has reached 28ºC add the softened butter a bit at a time, mixing in between additions on a medium speed.
Add desired flavour and use to fill cake.
Tip: Each recipe I post will tell you what flavours to add to your buttercream.