I’ve had many questions about Italian buttercream so I made a step by step video!
**Note: it’s important to use room temperature egg whites and butter. Monitor the temperature of your sugar syrup — add your pieces of butter slowly — and let your buttercream sit. You’ll need to give it a quick whip to bring it back to life. I know it’s a bit finicky BUT this buttercream adds a silky — not too sweet — touch to your cakes. It also pipes beautifully!
This is how to make Italian Buttercream
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- Pinch kosher salt optional
- 16 ounces unsalted butter 32 tablespoons, room temperature cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract optional
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup water
Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar, slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form.
In a medium saucepan add the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup water then place on medium-low heat.
- Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.
- Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F.
- Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately.
- Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid.
- Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time.
- Add the salt and vanilla if using
- Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.
If your buttercream is "soupy," just pop it into the fridge for a couple of minutes. Then beat it. It should thicken up. I find consistency problems arise mostly from the meringue being too warm when the butter is added. Chilling it will help improve the consistency. If you're adding flavorings (i.e. chocolate, fruit, etc). to your Italian buttercream, I suggest doing this as the very last step. If you're not using your buttercream IMMEDIATELY -- and it will be sitting for a few minutes -- then just keep in mind that you will have to give it a short whip to "bring it back to life" as it loses its consistency quickly. If you want to make the buttercream ahead of time, it can be refrigerated for a few days. Once you're ready to use it, allow it come to room temperature and give it a short "whip." For those people that are used to regular buttercream: Italian buttercream is LESS SWEET and more BUTTERY! You can always add MORE SUGAR SYRUP to your meringue to sweeten it a bit further.