Imbc Is It Really Worth The Effort?

Decorating By janabear Updated 17 Jan 2009 , 9:06pm by mcdonald

janabear Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:44pm
post #1 of 79

i have never made this before, but would like to know if it really is that much better than reg. buttercream. i need to make a shower cake that is going to be covered in fondant. should i just use reg. buttercream for this? ( i use a 50.50 mix of shortening and butter anyway)
i really want to expand my skills and make delicious cakes, but i dont think i have tasted imbc either. so i cant say for myself what is better
would it be better to stick to the ol' buttercream and use a tasty filling?
please let me know what you think!

78 replies
CakesbyM_LC Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:51pm
post #2 of 79

omg, yes! i tried it out recently for the first time, and i will never look back. the texture is a dream and i traveled with the cake about 300 mi. and it looked as beautiful when i got there as it did when it was first finished. it is a little work putting together but completely worth it!

crisseyann Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:52pm
post #3 of 79

I've never tried the IMBC, but people on this site just RAVE about it. I say, give it a go. I really need to try sounds yummy to me!

CakesbyM_LC Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:52pm
post #4 of 79

and for me there is no flavor comparison!

DFND Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:54pm
post #5 of 79

What recipe of IMBC do you use?

datalore Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:54pm
post #6 of 79

IMBC or SMBC is a very upscale European buttercream. It is really a matter of personal preference. I love the taste of it- but many clients feel that it is too rich. For me it always needs too be heavily flavoured with the best vanilla or fruit curds or chocolate, otherwise it could end up tasting like a giant hunk of butter in you mouth!
I personally think that if you would like to raise your decorating up a notch then this is a great way to do it. Incidentally I used to make IMBC then switched to SMBC beacuse I find it much faster and easier to prepare.

Sugarflowers Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:55pm
post #7 of 79

Is IMBC Italian Meringue Buttercream? (I'm not up on all of the acronyms). If so, it tastes fabulous. However, you would not be able to cover it with fondant. It is much too soft.

Even if you chilled the frosted cake, once it comes to room temperature, then you will have all kinds of possible issues. The thawing frosting will have condensation which can cause air pockets in your fondant. If that didn't happen, then there is a high possibility of the IMBC melting and oozing out from underneath the fondant. It would definitely make a mess when cutting.

Save the IMBC for special wedding cakes when the customers does not like fondant but does not mind paying the price for a silky, delicious frosting.



CakesbyM_LC Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 3:56pm
post #8 of 79

i used the swiss also, oops should have mentioned that.

lisasweeta Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:00pm
post #9 of 79

If you're looking to expand your skills, then you should definitely try IMBC. You'll find it to be less sweet than traditional buttercream with powdered sugar. This makes it easier to flavor. It's also not gritty like the traditional buttercream. It's silky smooth. You can adjust how "buttery" you want it to taste. The Whimsical Bakehouse Recipe (Kaye's Butterceam) is a good place to start. It got me over my fear of IMBC. It doesn't require a thermometer, so it's a little less intimidating. Once you are more comfortable, you can try different recipes. Most of these will tell you to bring the syrup to anywhere from 240 to 256 degrees depending on the recipe you use, so you'll need a good instant read thermometer.

I think this buttercream is amazing and I think it will help you become a better baker.

Edited to say that I use IMBC under fondant all the time with no problems of oozing or melting. It actually holds up remarkably well. In fact most of the famous decorators use IMBC or SMBC.

Beckalita Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:11pm
post #10 of 79

From watching Ace of Cakes, I know that Duff uses French meringue buttercream on many of his cakes, and he covers all his cakes in fondant. I have made his french buttercream (recipe is on this site) and it IS very soft at room temp (never mind hot, humid summer conditions), but the taste is very rich and not as sweet as typical buttercream.

wysmommy Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:12pm
post #11 of 79

I love IMBC! I use it under fondant all the time. It doesn't get too soft under fondant. It's only problem is it doesn't hold up under super high heat. Other than that it's totally worth it! There's just nothing like it.

Happy Baking!

MomLittr Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:18pm
post #12 of 79

Sounds like IBMC tastes wonderful..............but how well does it pipe and what about flowers/roses? icon_rolleyes.gif


wysmommy Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:22pm
post #13 of 79

it's very smooth, so if that serves well for what you are working on it pipes great. It does get very very soft so you can't use it to pipe crisp lines in a hot room. As for roses, it's ok. I'd say it's not the best. My theory is that I'll use the good stuff (IMBC) for frosting, filling whatever, and then a more sturdy version for roses etc. I have used swiss meringue bc for roses more sucessfully.

THE GOOD NEWS IS... if you want a perfectly smooth finish on your cake, imbc will do it. You can warm up a spatula and run it over a really cold frosted cake, and smooth it down to a really flat surface. It works great for that!

chocolateandpeanutbutter Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:25pm
post #14 of 79
Originally Posted by MomLittr

Sounds like IBMC tastes wonderful..............but how well does it pipe and what about flowers/roses? icon_rolleyes.gif


It does taste wonderful, and it pipes like a dream! I made a batch to see if I could pipe roses with it, and it worked beautifully. It's in my photos:

My favourite icing ever is a blend of half IMBC, half buttercream (made with half-butter-half-crisco). It is the best of both worlds! Not as sweet as regular buttercream, not as "buttery" as IMBC.

And just so you know, IMBC or the half and half icings don't crust, so you can't use the smoothing methods associated with crusting BC. But you can smooth is beautifully with a hot spatula.

Give it a try - it's worth it!

cococakes Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:25pm
post #15 of 79

I love Italian Meringue Buttercream! icon_biggrin.gif Swiss and French come in 2nd and Third. OMG!! The taste and the silkiness you can't compare it. It wasn't until I starting the Wilton Classes that I learned about the regular buttercream.

You can't compare the two, it's so much better tasting, it's some work but once you get used to it not the problem.

Try it. It does need to be chilled to firm up but it's fine afterwards. You'll love it.

DFND Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:30pm
post #16 of 79

chocoate and peanutbutter what recipe of IMBC do you use, I want to try it tomorrow.


chocolateandpeanutbutter Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:31pm
post #17 of 79

Sorry, forgot to mention that there is an excellent tutorial on making IMBC at CakesCanada:

It was reading this tutorial that gave me the courage to try IMBC in the first place. It uses Martha Stewart's recipe.

I've tried Duff's French Buttercream, as well, but I found it very bland by itself. To me, it's missing the flavourings - I used real vanilla and Creme Bouquet, and it was very nice. I also used a little less butter than the recipe called for, as I only had 2 cups, and it still worked out fine.

ps- colouring this icing is best achieved using candy colours, or oil-based colours.

rits Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:33pm
post #18 of 79

Hi, I also use IMBC exclusively in my bakery. It holds up beautifully, better than any other European-style buttercream. I have found SMBC to be less stable, especially in high heat. I delivered a cake that sat in a garden - in the shade, mind you - for 4 hours at 90 degree heat yesterday (yes, a TUESDAY wedding!), and the bride reported back that it held up perfectly.

Re: IMBC tasting buttery (isn't that better than tasting shortening-y??), it definitely does feel like butter on the tongue if it is chilled. You will want your cakes to be room temp before eating IMBC.

I use IMBC under fondant (well, chocolate wrap really, i don't use fondant) constantly, and it also holds up just beautifully. Never any issue at all.

I find the recipes that call for cooking the sugar to 248-250 degrees (as in The Cake Bible) are the most reliable. AND, beating your egg whites gradually, starting at a low speed & ending on speed 8 or so on the KA, (never use the highest speed) will give you the most stable meringue, & thus the most stable IMBC. It's tempting to just turn that mixer on full steam & walk away, but don't do it! icon_smile.gif

Hope this will help you a bit if you choose to make the IMBC leap.

chocolateandpeanutbutter Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:33pm
post #19 of 79
Originally Posted by DFND

chocoate and peanutbutter what recipe of IMBC do you use, I want to try it tomorrow.


I prefer the Martha Stewart recipe, as found on her website:


beemarie Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:36pm
post #20 of 79

I LOVE IMBC and it is just about the only buttercream I use. Also, if you are looking for a smooth finish, I recently tried the upsidedown technique to get a smooth top and sides, and it worked great--a little practice, but with each time it will only get better (it is the watermelon and lime green colored cake with mmf daisies in my photos). The taste is the absolute best! You will never go back to shortening-based buttercreams after you give it a try.

rits Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 4:44pm
post #21 of 79

I forgot to mention....a really fantastic easy ratio for you, so you can make any size IMBC recipe any time you want without consulting a recipe:

1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg whites (approx. 4 large egg whites)
pinch cream of tartar (or wipe your bowl & whisk w/ white vinegar)

This is an old standard pastry chef ratio & a real time saver. I also add a pinch of salt & a tsp of vanilla (unless I need it to be really white) for each pound of butter.

This is slightly different from the Martha recipe, which is also excellent, but this way you don't have to look anything up!!

homemaluhia Posted 11 Jul 2007 , 5:04pm
post #22 of 79

Oh yes, it's worth it! The texture makes spreading AND eating wonderful. Like previously mentioned, once you try it you may not go back! My extended family (who BTW are my guinea pigs) are spoiled and now say they don't like the powdered sugar gritty butter cream!

I use IMBC, Swiss, Mousseline, and Duff's french. I love them. I haven't had any problems with melt down. And it pipes so smoothly.


janabear Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:44pm
post #23 of 79

thank you thank you thank you!
so much info, great advice! since this cake will be outside and i wont be there to monitor it, i am going to stick to what i know for this one especially when i am covering it in fondant just to be on the safe side.
i will use imbc next week for my shell cupcakes for hubby's bday.

dandelion Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:55pm
post #24 of 79

i'm usually very reluctant to try new things....hehe i'm easily intimidated, but after seeing this video instruction on how to make smbc i had to try it. and i have to say, it turned out very well. she is very explicit with her instructions and the video makes it very easy to follow.
here's the link:

edited to say: i have only used this to make's very easy and smooth. but i haven't tried icing a whole cake with it yet.

mnmmommy Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 4:58pm
post #25 of 79

for those that use the IMBC how do you get it white? Mine always seems to turn yellow?

Any suggestions?

sweetiemama Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 5:02pm
post #26 of 79

Thank you Janabear for this post, and everyone for all of the tips. I have not made this yet either, but really don't love the taste of American BC, but have net yet dared to try this!
I love CC!!

FromScratch Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 5:08pm
post #27 of 79

I love MBC's too. I make Duff's buttercream and only use 7 sticks of butter rather than 10.. it tastes great and holds up wonderfully. I have made IMBC before too but I like not having cook the sugar. I heat the eggwhite and sugar to 160 degrees and then whip them up in the mixer until they are nice and stiff and then add the butter.. I always flavor it with vanilla and then add other things if I want.. I made raspberry yesterday with sweetened raspbery puree that I thickened a little.. it was to DIE for. Don't be afraid of the MBC's.. they are wonderful!

kelly75 Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 5:12pm
post #28 of 79

I agree with all the other 'yes' votes for IMBC! I use ShirleyW's recipe (here on CC) which has less butter than some other IMBC recipes and I will NEVER go back to regular buttercream. It is so silky smooth and the taste is beyond compare. It is the only thing I have ever put under fondant (started using fondant around the same time I discovered IMBC) and I always get comments on how smooth my fondant is.


Katskakes Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 5:23pm
post #29 of 79

You have to try it at least once! lol
I liked it, co-workers liked it. Family like sweet BC ones.
But i have to give it a try on mixing both.

FromScratch Posted 12 Jul 2007 , 5:26pm
post #30 of 79

I personally like the not-so-bright white color of the MBC's, but I would think you could use the same technique that you can with american buttercream.. just add the tiniest amount of violet gel color to it. And I mean TINY.. too much will make it grey-ish.

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