Italian Buttercream Disaster............any Advice?

Decorating By Naty Updated 2 Apr 2008 , 7:06am by ceshell

Naty Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 12:54pm
post #1 of 17

I made a basic IBC recipe to cover cupcakes but had a total disaster....
I added the sugar syrup at the right temperature and in a stream to the merengue with no problem......I then started to add the softened butter, one pat at a time. When I was done the BC was kinda soft so I kept whipping it but to no avail....then I thought the butter may have been too soft or melted or something so I placed the bowl in the freezer for about 5 minutes. When I took it out it curdled and looked horrible...had to throw it out. Any advice?

Thanks,
Naty

16 replies
moxey2000 Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 1:06pm
post #2 of 17

You should have been able to chill it in the refrigerator and then rewhip it. Not sure why you had the problems you had though.

julzs71 Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 1:20pm
post #3 of 17

If you had kept whipping it would have came up perfect. It goes from soft and fluffy, runny, curdled looking and then perfect buttercream.

Naty Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 1:30pm
post #4 of 17

Thank you!.....I will have to retry it.

Naty

Kahuna Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 1:33pm
post #5 of 17

I did the exact same thing the first time I tried IMBC, threw it all out (what a waste of butter!!!) but the others are right just keep beating the heck out of it and the curdled look goes away. I read in Toba's bood "Don't panic if the icing looks like cottage cheese" wish I had known that the first time

getfrosted Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 1:38pm
post #6 of 17

The initial problem you might have had was adding your butter before the sugar/egg whites had cooled down. This will melt the butter and curdle the mix. Like posted previously, if it does curdle just keep whipping it and it come together - it just might take some time!

Keep trying - it's a wonderful icing - the only one I use!

maggiev777 Posted 29 Mar 2008 , 1:50pm
post #7 of 17

PP are correct - just keep whipping (and whipping and whipping and whipping!) and eventually it WILL come together. I've made IMBC several times and have stopped looking in the bowl because I get discouraged with how curdled and soupy it looks! LOL I just let it whip for 20-30 min and then check it and it is beautiful!

Hope it goes better for you next time!

LeanneW Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 4:35am
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by getfrosted


Keep trying - it's a wonderful icing - the only one I use!




Ok, I hve a question for an IMBC Pro! I just made my fist batch of IMBC this week and I have a few q's too. I love the taste and texture!

1. I made it per dirrections, letting meringue/sugar mixture cool competely beore I added the butter. then i put in fridge overnight. next day let it sit out or a few hours before using... I gave it a quick stir but did not re-whip it. When I put it on cake there was a distinct yellow/white blotchyness. Was it because I didn't whip it enough the first time or should I have whipped it after it came back to room temp?

2. have you ever tried to make IMC substituting the sugar and water for honey or maple syrup?

3. how long can a cake covered or filled with IMBC sit at room temp.?

4. I have seen recipes saying to add lemon juice for lemon IMBC, would you add it to the sugar and water or would you add it at the end?

sorry for all the questions and thanks for sharing your expertise.

edited to add one more question... can you use imbc for decorating? like piping borders, leaves, writing etc.

thanks

ceshell Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:05am
post #9 of 17

leannewinslow, I would have definitely whipped it again after letting it come to room temp. The recipe I use happens to explicitly state "imbc becomes spongy upon standing, rewhip unused portions before using"

I don't know the answers to your other questions except that it can sit at room temp all day if need be...and always at least 1-2 hours so that the butter has time to come to room temp, you don't want to eat this icing cold.

But I also wanted to add, for those experiencing IMBC disasters, just to reiterate, there are TWO kinds of disasters this icing can give you and BOTH of them can be saved. Don't ever throw your IMBC out!!! No, never!! (Well unless your sugar syrup crystallizes all over your mixing bowl and makes your icing crunchy). This info should be posted at the bottom of every IMBC recipe to avoid senseless destruction of egg whites and butter icon_wink.gif

1--Problem: It turns to soup; a runny liquid mess. Cause: Butter was too warm, or else meringue was too warm before adding butter.. Remedy: Put it in the fridge or freezer, or beat it with the bowl in an ice bath. I salvaged this problem once when it was soooo bad I couldn't beat it in an ice bath because it just splashed out of the mixer bowl. Then I refrigerated it in 10-minute intervals and eventually it came together. Taste?? Perfect, you'd have never known there was a problem.

2--Problem: The curdly, cottage cheesy thing. Cause: Butter is too cold before adding to meringue. Remedy: a) just keep beating, the friction of mixing will eventually fix the problem, or b) beat while warming the bowl a bit with your hands (I run mine under the hot faucet first).

Naty, the ironic thing is here, you experienced both problems and tried to remedy them correctly, but you just needed a little more time. When it was soupy, it was too warm so you put in the fridge, yahoo! Of course it got too cold so it curdled upon rebeating. If you'd just kept at it, like others have mentioned, it would have come together. I'm so sorry for all of your time and trouble and lost ingredients! But have faith. I love this icing simply because it is SO salvageable! (Well mainly I love it b/c of the taste!)

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:25am
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by leannewinslow



Ok, I hve a question for an IMBC Pro! I just made my fist batch of IMBC this week and I have a few q's too. I love the taste and texture!

1. I made it per dirrections, letting meringue/sugar mixture cool competely beore I added the butter. then i put in fridge overnight. next day let it sit out or a few hours before using... I gave it a quick stir but did not re-whip it. When I put it on cake there was a distinct yellow/white blotchyness. Was it because I didn't whip it enough the first time or should I have whipped it after it came back to room temp?

2. have you ever tried to make IMC substituting the sugar and water for honey or maple syrup?

3. how long can a cake covered or filled with IMBC sit at room temp.?

4. I have seen recipes saying to add lemon juice for lemon IMBC, would you add it to the sugar and water or would you add it at the end?

sorry for all the questions and thanks for sharing your expertise.

edited to add one more question... can you use imbc for decorating? like piping borders, leaves, writing etc.

thanks




Okay, firstly I'm no expert, but I have made IMBC twice, as well as SMBC two times. Also, I've made other boiled BC's and they're all the same in one respect, when refrigerated, they do break down, but not irrepairably. You need to warm them up a bit, high 70's to mid 80's degrees F., then remix them. Again they may look curdled and ruined before coming together once again.

So to answer question one, you do need to re-whip, or remix the icing.

For question number two, I have not.

For number three, there are two thoughts on this, those who say it's fine to leave out without refrigeration and others who say that due to the possibility and potential risk of salmonella the cake should be refrigerated. I have heard that leaving the cake out at room temp. (the cooler end of the range) for about two hours is okay. If it's warmer, the icing will not hold up well due to its high butter content.

For number four - flavorings should be added at the end. If you're going to store it (refrigerate it and use it at a later time), then bring it back to room temp. (higher end) and remix and add flavoring in then - right before usage.

HTH

Aubrey2007 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:33am
post #11 of 17

OK, not to hijack this thread but I too made this icing for the first time today and had two problems. Now that I read this thread I realize it was clumpy because I didn't beat it enough. But, you all say the taste is wonderful....mine tasted like sugary eggs. icon_sad.gif Yuck! And, there were clumps of what I can only assume were egg whites. Tiny clumps but clumps all the same...so that would have gone away if I had whipped it longer? What about the taste though? I used the WBH recipe. It said 1/2 a cup of water, 2 1/4 cups of sugar, 12 egg whites and 6 sticks of butter. Should I use a different recipe? Which one do you all use? Thanks!

ceshell Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:58am
post #12 of 17

LOL ok I definitely understated "what could go wrong with your IMBC"! I've never had the egg white bits problem happen to me, hopefully someone can enlighten you about that. I googled the problem and found one suggestion to pour the sugar in more slowly. The recipe I use has you pour it in a bit at a time with the mixer off and then whip the bejeepers out of it each time before adding more...I always thought that was to avoid the sugar crystals sticking to the beaters and flinging sugar chunks around the bowl, though. If it WAS egg whites I doubt that further whipping would have helped. Perhaps you could strain it but what a pain!

I myself use the Mousseline Buttercream from The Cake Bible. It uses 5 EW, 2 sticks of butter and 1c sugar and 1/4c water. Or try ShirleyW's recipe here in the CC recipe section, people swear by it http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2426-0-Italian-Meringue-Buttercream--Shirleys-Method.html. BTW Shirley puts the soupy/curdly salvage info at the bottom of her recipe thumbs_up.gif.

The only taste issues I've ever read was "too sweet" or "too buttery" which can be remedied by adding more flavoring (I usually use vanilla). Like, the recipe I use says 2-3 tbsp vanilla. Well, at 2 tbsp it's too sweet. The third tablespoon miraculously transforms it into a delicious, creamy icing wonderland.

iamlis Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 6:08am
post #14 of 17

Can I ask this, why the sugar crystals?? I get that you can't get it on your whip attachment, but how the heck can you pour it into a KA without getting it on the attachement?? And CAN you ruin this icing? Because I had mine turn to water ALL water with butter floating ont the top, I whipped it for about 1/2 an hour! LOL! WHat I get for trying this stuff! Nah, I have had great success with it in the past, lately though-its been sugar clumps or butter-water for me icon_smile.gif

Sugar_Plum_Fairy Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 6:38am
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aubrey2007

OK, not to hijack this thread but I too made this icing for the first time today and had two problems. Now that I read this thread I realize it was clumpy because I didn't beat it enough. But, you all say the taste is wonderful....mine tasted like sugary eggs. icon_sad.gif Yuck! And, there were clumps of what I can only assume were egg whites. Tiny clumps but clumps all the same...so that would have gone away if I had whipped it longer? What about the taste though? I used the WBH recipe. It said 1/2 a cup of water, 2 1/4 cups of sugar, 12 egg whites and 6 sticks of butter. Should I use a different recipe? Which one do you all use? Thanks!




Did you let the syrup cool enough? That might be one of the problems. It might have 'cooked' the eggs a bit. You need to make sure the syrup cools enough so that you can touch the pan. Also, you need to add it so the mix slowly and steadily.

There's a great recipe on this site by ShirleyW. Here's the link: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2426-3-Italian-Meringue-Buttercream--Shirleys-Method.html

Another recipe that was posted recently by another fellow member, JanH, but I haven't tried, is: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-7000-0-Easy-Meringue-Buttercream.html

And finally, another highly rated recipe: http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2300-4-Vanilla-Italian-Meringue-Buttercream.html

Hope you find these helpful.

Texan68 Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 10:29am
post #16 of 17

Can merengue(sp) powder be used instead of egg whites? If so, how many tablespoons per one egg white?

ceshell Posted 2 Apr 2008 , 7:06am
post #17 of 17

I can't say for sure but I wouldn't do it, meringue powder has a number of other ingredients that are not egg whites, in fact the first ingredient is food starch, not egg whites. However you can get powdered egg whites, Deb El makes them, they're called "Just Whites" and don't even have to be refrigerated. I HAVE used those numerous times with great success. I can't always find them at my normal supermarket but have seen them at numerous natural food markets (i.e. Whole Foods, etc.)

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%