Need Advice For Italian Meringue Buttercream Icing

Decorating By SweetTater Updated 11 Jul 2015 , 10:07pm by Bonne Bouche

SweetTater Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 8:20pm
post #1 of 29

I've always wanted to try italian buttercream icing (made with egg whites and cooked sugar syrup). I'm using the recipe I found on here, "shirley's method" I've never worked with this icing before and have some questions:

1. When icing the cake, do I put a thin layer on first (crumb coat)? I don't think that this icing crusts, so not sure if this step is recommended.

2. Should the iced cake be refridgerated?

3. Can I use the normal color paste to color this icing like you would regular buttercrem?

4. What is the best way to smooth this icing?

Any other tips on this kind of icing would be helpful. Thanks!!

28 replies
FromScratch Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 8:27pm
post #2 of 29

I usually put a thin layer on to seal the cake while I let it settle. Then just ice like you would normally. You can keep it out for a day.. so long as nothing in the cake is perishable. If you are going to keep it longer, I'd chill it. You can use normal paste colors, but candy colors work better since they are oil based. It's easy to smooth.. just use a spatula and as a last step warm the spatula and give it a once over. I have a bunch of cakes in my gallery that have SMBC, which works the same as IMBC. icon_smile.gif

mary-ann Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 8:29pm
post #3 of 29

I refrigerate the cake after icing so that it gets hard then it's much easier to get it real smooth.

FromScratch Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 8:36pm
post #4 of 29

I tried that.. and didn't like the result. It looked streaky. For me.. smoothing it before you chill it leaves it nice and smooth.

getfrosted Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 8:46pm
post #5 of 29

I can't smooth it after it's chilled ... looks streaky and I've had a couple of cakes where the icing 'shaved' off and it look awful. I learned how to smooth when it's fresh and that's the way I will always do it - much easier for me. I usually do a crumb coat and then chill it to seal those nasty little bits in, then cover and smooth and again.

Mike1394 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 8:54pm
post #6 of 29

Smoothing when cold is more like scraping than smoothing. It takes a lil longer also. You can get a dead square top when it's chilled. You can also get a sheen to it. The main issue I see with letting it get chilled to much, condensation. It can be a real pain when trying to finish, and you have water dripping. LOLOL

Mike

FromScratch Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 9:37pm
post #7 of 29

See, I just figure smooth it in one step.. rather than making more work for yourself and having to wait. I can get a razor sharp edge just fine, much easier really, without chilling it. icon_smile.gif

Mike1394 Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 9:42pm
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

See, I just figure smooth it in one step.. rather than making more work for yourself and having to wait. I can get a razor sharp edge just fine, much easier really, without chilling it. icon_smile.gif




And see why I suck LOLOL I need that butter icy cold. LOLOL

Mike

FromScratch Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 9:59pm
post #9 of 29

LMAO.. you don't suck.. icon_wink.gif

What I find makes it easiest is to do this..

ice the top of the cake first leaving a 1/8 inch space all around (I just use a #12 round tip to get the icing on the cake).. then ice the sides so that the icing comes up above the top of the cake.. and then, using a small spatula, take off that lip and when you do that the space you left on the top gets filled in. Like this...

(keep in mind that this was just a rough cake that I did a while back to show someone how I iced cakes.. it's not perfect, but you can see that with very little effort you can do it in one step)
LL

patrincia Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 10:24pm
post #10 of 29

I love IMBC, and I smooth is before and after I chill it icon_smile.gif. In other words, I add a couple of thin layers, chilling between each. If you live in a humid climate, condensation can be an issue as Jean mentioned, but I crank the AC in when it's humid outside... that keeps my kitchen nice and dry.

For my final smoothing coat, I heat a metal bench scraper with hot water, dry it quickly and smooth the sides of my cake while I turn my turntable. It works like a charm and I get very nice straight sides, with sharp corners (see photos).

IMBC is very sturdy when chilled, which makes for easy transporting, but it should be served at room temperature. One of my wedding cakes was in an 85 degree room for several hours, under a spot light, the BC was extremely soft when the cake was cut, but it didn't melt of move or slide or droop at all. It's wonderful stuff (and the flavor is to die for).

Btw, SMBC and IMBC have a very similar taste, but I believe the IMBC hold up better in the heat.

SweetTater Posted 2 Jun 2008 , 11:56pm
post #11 of 29

thanks so much for all of your great tips! I have a couple of more questions...if I make the icing the day before I plan on using it, do I need to rewhip it before I put it on the cake? does it need to come back to room temp after being refridgerated before I ice the cake? TIA!

patrincia Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 12:07am
post #12 of 29

Yes you should rewhip it after storage, or when it sits for a while and starts to look "spongy". WARNING - Don't rewhip when it's cold... it will break and you won't be able to use it. Wait until it comes to room temp before you rewhip it. (and keep it covered so condensation doesn't form in the bowl while you wait for it to warm up).

You are going to LOVE the taste!

FromScratch Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 12:40am
post #13 of 29

If it separates because you whipped it up too cold all you have to do it warm it up and it will come back together. I do this all the time. It looks like cottage cheese and water, but if you hold it over a pot of boiling water a few times beating after each time or take a torch to the side of the bowl it will come together like brand new. icon_smile.gif

I have had SMBC out in the mid 80's and it was more than fine. icon_smile.gif

patrincia Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 1:15am
post #14 of 29

The advise I gave is directly from The Cake Bible. Excellent resource for both recipes and the science involved in baking. The BC in TCB are IMBC... maybe it behaves differently than SMBC (???).

FromScratch Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 2:37am
post #15 of 29

That's cool.. I have done it with both. It could have something to do with how cold it is when you try to whip it too. I have never whipped it up straight from the fridge.

Of course this is my experience and I am not saying that it can't break beyond repair. I tried to put cream cheese in SMBC once and it went horribly wrong. It was 1/3 less fat though so I think that was the issue.

ceshell Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 4:58am
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrincia

The advise I gave is directly from The Cake Bible. Excellent resource for both recipes and the science involved in baking. The BC in TCB are IMBC... maybe it behaves differently than SMBC (???).



The funny thing is I have that same exact advice from the Cake Bible, and I do always use her Mousseline Buttercream recipe. But in fact that little piece of advice was a little off, as I learned here from CC. IMBC (or SMBC) IS imminently salvageable if you have a problem due to temperature at the butter stage/or temperature when rewhipping. I've posted on many threads encouraging people to not ever throw it away if it "breaks down irreparably." It is NOT irreparable!

>If it looks all curdly and cottage cheesy and separated with watery glop, it was too cold. Slowly warm it up and keep beating, it WILL come together. I myself run my hands under hot water and then rub them around the bowl to gently warm it up.

>If it is the consistency of soup, totally a watery mess, then it was too warm. Put that KA bowl in the freezer for a few minutes (10?), take out, rebeat. Didn't work? Back into the freezer! Worst case scenario, you'll overchill it and have to warm it back up using plan A above LOL.

I have messed up this icing in BOTH directions (should I be admitting that?! icon_redface.gif ) and have always been able to get it to come back together. The last near-fiasco, it was so watery it was flying out of the bowl, and I was a gnat's eyelash away from discarding it. But I and my freezer, we persevered, and I ended up with a delicious cake. Phew.

BTW jkalman, love your smoothing tips! I usually prefer the chilling method but I agree, it gets streaky esp. if you have color in it (although I am loving your tip about oil-based colors). Since I haven't mastered the chilling method nor could I get a lock on Antonia74's great technique (all of my failures being due to my novice skill level), I appreciate your info including how you actually apply the icing itself. Will try next time!

patrincia Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 5:07am
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceshell

The funny thing is I have that same exact advice from the Cake Bible, and I do always use her Mousseline Buttercream recipe. But in fact that little piece of advice was a little off, as I learned here from CC. IMBC (or SMBC) IS imminently salvageable if you have a problem due to temperature at the butter stage/or temperature when rewhipping. I've posted on many threads encouraging people to not ever throw it away if it "breaks down irreparably." It is NOT irreparable!

>If it looks all curdly and cottage cheesy and separated with watery glop, it was too cold. Slowly warm it up and keep beating, it WILL come together. I myself run my hands under hot water and then rub them around the bowl to gently warm it up.

>If it is the consistency of soup, totally a watery mess, then it was too warm. Put that KA bowl in the freezer for a few minutes (10?), take out, rebeat. Didn't work? Back into the freezer! Worst case scenario, you'll overchill it and have to warm it back up using plan A above LOL.

I have messed up this icing in BOTH directions (should I be admitting that?! icon_redface.gif ) and have always been able to get it to come back together. The last near-fiasco, it was so watery it was flying out of the bowl, and I was a gnat's eyelash away from discarding it. But I and my freezer, we persevered, and I ended up with a delicious cake. Phew.




I've had all the same experiences that you've mentioned, and have been able to salvage the Mousseline, but only when I'm making it... not after it's been made, has chilled thoroughly, and was rewhipped when it was too cold (actually I haven't had this problem because I've been too afraid to touch it until it reaches room temp). Glad to hear you have found this not to be the case. I may do an experimental run next time.

ceshell Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 5:19am
post #18 of 29

Hee hee, yeah I know about that fear involving waiting for it to reach room temperature, but sometimes you think you waited long enough and then, CURDLE. The stuff is like magic, it bounces right back thumbs_up.gif

FromScratch Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 12:19pm
post #19 of 29

icon_smile.gif No problem ceshell! If I can smooth it anyone can. It's great beacuse it doesn't crust so if you flub up a bit.. add some more and try again.. LOL.

I'm glad that you have found the same thing true about IM/SMBC and whipping it back up a little cold. I agree.. I have waited and waited and thought it was fine.. only to find it was a bit cold in the center(or maybe just a little mad at me or something icon_lol.gif ) and blam.. an icky, chunky, soupy mess. I almost died the first time it happened thinking I wrecked it. I take my culinary torch to the side of the bowl for a few minutes and like magic.. it comes back.

SweetTater Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 4:34pm
post #20 of 29

Ok - I just made my first batch of IMBC! It came out perferectly. I decided not to make it the day before and have to try to rewhip in case I did it wrong. So I'm getting ready to ice the cake. Then I will put it back in the fridge because cake has a cream cheese/whipped cream filling. We will eat it tonight.

Should I let the cake sit out for a few hours before we eat it so the IMBC will be soft and not too cold? I'm thinking it would taste better than straight from the fridge...

FromScratch Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 4:53pm
post #21 of 29

Yes.. let the cake sit out for at least an hour before you serve it. The icing gets hard like butter when it's cold. I usually cut slices and let them come to room temp since it goes faster. icon_smile.gif

patrincia Posted 3 Jun 2008 , 9:30pm
post #22 of 29

IMBC is definitely best eaten at room temp (although I don't mind it cold). I usually allow 2 hours for my cakes to sit out, but that can vary depending on how large the cake is. Don't worry too much about your filling.. it will still be cool. If you slice the cake when the BC is cold, use a hot, dry knife. I like to use a hot knife for every slice... looks so professional icon_smile.gif.

FACSlady Posted 25 Jun 2010 , 1:14am
post #23 of 29

IMBC tastes way to much like butter to me. Can I make it a little less buttery tasting somehow?

Manfoo Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 1:44am
post #24 of 29

Anyone willing to share their experience with fondant over SMBC icing??

ceshell Posted 8 Jul 2010 , 5:36am
post #25 of 29

Fondant over IMBC: http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-673052.html
and http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-649234.html

Works great! Best if you refrigerate the cake first: the icing gets rock hard and fondanting it is a piece of...oh, nevermind. icon_razz.gif

barleysbakery Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 10:45pm
post #26 of 29

Do you refrigerate if you cover the cake with fondant? Or if you are planning to cover the cake in fondant would you use a frosting other than italian meringue?

ceshell Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 3:34am
post #27 of 29

I personally refrigerate, but that's my preference. Some people don't believe in refrigerating cakes; and similarly some people don't believe IMBC needs to be refrigerated. If you live in a super-humid area though refrigerating might not be an option. MFF and commercial fondants tend to refrigerate better than straight-up MMF.

barleysbakery Posted 10 Jul 2010 , 11:08pm
post #28 of 29

Okay just had to look up MFF, that is Michele Fosters Fondant, is that the basic fondant recipe most bakers use for their fondant? What happens if you use MMF and refrigerate it? Also what happens to dried gumpaste decorations and gum paste/fondant blends (bows, etc)? I've tasted Wilton's fondant and hate it, is there any other premade fondant that tastes better?? I've seen a lot of people seem to use Satin Ice, how's that taste?

Bonne Bouche Posted 11 Jul 2015 , 10:07pm
post #29 of 29

Satin Ice is a pretty decent commercial fondant--but man is it expensive!  I've heard that Ron Israel uses it, so it must be good.

If you're charging what he's charging I guess cost isn't so important LOL!

I am interested in making my own fondant and will try MFF's recipe.  I tried Eat Now Cry Later's recipe and it tasted amazing but it was hard to work with.


Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%