Italian Meringue Buttercream...i Have A Few Questions

Decorating By sweetlayers Updated 19 Oct 2009 , 2:17am by ceshell

sweetlayers Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 1:53pm
post #1 of 37

1. Does it cost more to make than traditional American butter cream?
2. How do you achieve the smoothe sides of a cake?
3. Does it have to be refridgerated?
4. Do you frost your wedding cakes in it?
5. What are your thoughts on it regarding taste, texture, etc?

Thanks in advance. icon_smile.gif Sorry for all the questions. icon_redface.gif

36 replies
sadsmile Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 2:30pm
post #2 of 37

You would have to look at the recipe you intend to use and cost it out based on what ingredients cost for you compared with the ingredients of BC

It is lighter in texture and mouth feel and is more luxurious and less sweet then BC.

It requires refrigeration and can only sit out for a very limited time or sit in a very cool place.

KitchenKat Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 4:06pm
post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadsmile

It requires refrigeration and can only sit out for a very limited time or sit in a very cool place.




Not really. I leave out cakes frosted & filled with IMBC without refrigeration for a few days and they're fine. I live in South East Asia - very hot and humid. IMBC, specifically an all butter mousseline is almost all I ever use for non ganache or non fondant cakes. I've never had a problem with melting or running even when cakes are displayed & served outdoors in 90 degree F weather. Of course common sense rules apply like never leave in a parked car nor sitting in the sun.

I love this frosting and so do my consumers.

As for smoothing, I use a benchscraper to smooth the sides and top and then refine the surface with a piece of flexible plastic, kinda like the plastic you see on cheap ring binders. If I want it ultra smooth, I chill the cakes and smooth it with a hot knife.

supakiki Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 6:20pm
post #4 of 37

IMBC ices like a DREAM!!! You HAVE to try it! It ices so much easier than traditional buttercream. I don't even have to do a crumb coat on a quick cake. My instructions say it can be left at room temp for about a day. I wouldn't want to push that because of risk of salmonilla (spell?). It is somewhat fussy, as it does need refrigeration and you have to let it sit at room temp and re-whip before use. But still. It's soooo yummy, I think it's worth the extra effort. Also, the price of powdered sugar has gone up so much, I think it's probably just a little more money to make IMBC.

prterrell Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 6:39pm
post #5 of 37

1. Depends on whether you make the American with all butter or not. The butter is the biggest cost in IMBC.
2. IMBC smoothes extremely easily. I just use the spatula and a plastic bowl scraper. It smoothes almost by itself. So much easier than crusting BC!!!
3. No
4. Yes
5. I won't eat American/crusting BC. I never cared for icing until I tried meringue based BC. It is soft and light and creamy and silken and luxurious and buttery and lightly sweet.

sweetlayers Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 8:23pm
post #6 of 37

Thanks guys for the sharing your knowledge.

So it sounds like this is not the proper stuff to frost a wedding cake in. Is that correct?


Also, while searching online, I found this video by Warren Brown. While he did mention that food born illnesses are found in the yolk, I didn't hear him say anything about refridgeration. (At least I don't think he did.) Just thought I'd share.


stephaniescakenj Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 8:50pm
post #7 of 37

you can most definitely use it to frost a wedding cake. I do it all the time. I find it easiest to work with if you chill your layers before stacking. It avoids finger prints in the icing. Hot spatulas work like a charm to smooth it as stated above. It tastes so much better than powdered sugar based icings. I've never priced out how much it would cost me to make an icing with powdered sugar but I know that I can make a batch of IMBC for $3.50, that includes 6 eggs, 6 sticks of butter, 2 cups sugar and a splash of vanilla.

Peridot Posted 13 Oct 2009 , 8:54pm
post #8 of 37

This sounds so good - but can it be used under fondant?? I would not think so.

What kind of decorations do you put on a cake that is made with IMBC? Regular buttercream, fondant, gumpaste?

SugarFiend Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 12:08am
post #9 of 37

I'm also curious about how it is under fondant!

And I also have one more question, if I may: Are IMBC and SMBC more or less interchangeable as far as the finished product goes, or is there any significant difference?

sadsmile Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 12:19am
post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephaniescakenj

you can most definitely use it to frost a wedding cake. I do it all the time. I find it easiest to work with if you chill your layers before stacking. It avoids finger prints in the icing. Hot spatulas work like a charm to smooth it as stated above. It tastes so much better than powdered sugar based icings. I've never priced out how much it would cost me to make an icing with powdered sugar but I know that I can make a batch of IMBC for $3.50, that includes 6 eggs, 6 sticks of butter, 2 cups sugar and a splash of vanilla.




Where do you live and how are you getting your ingredients that cheep? Four sticks of butter cost that much!

prterrell Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 2:14am
post #11 of 37

IMBC/SMBC can ABSOLUTELY be used to frost and decorate wedding cakes!

They can both be used under fondant.

The are very similar. The difference between IMBC and SMBC is in the preparation of the meringue. IM is made by pouring a hot sugar syrup into whipped egg whites and then whipping further. SM is made by cooking the egg whites and sugar together in a bain-marie (a bowl set over a pot of simmering water) and then whipping.

You can use any decoration with IMBC/SMBC. Both IMBC and SMBC can be used to pipe decorations. You can cover both in fondant or put fondant pieces on them. You can put gumpaste pieces on them. You can put dried RI pieces on them. You can use both to make FBCT.

I do not use American buttercream at all. I ONLY use the European buttercreams. IMBC is my preferred, but I plan to expirement with French buttercream in the near future. (French buttercream is made with the yolks instead of the whites. The preparation is similar to IMBC. Here is a recipe: http://joepastry.site.aplus.net/index.php?title=french_buttercream&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1.)

mmm-cake Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 3:41am
post #12 of 37

I'm a big fan of IMBC - One of my cake designing mentors once said that the difference between a European buttercream and American buttercream is like the difference between 600 and 200 thread count sheets - much smoother and more refined in taste.

With some practice and skill, it is a dream to work with, too. A thin layer under fondant is perfect.

A word of caution when stacking chilled cakes - there is a big risk of cracking the bc, and once it starts to crack, you'll have a "San Andreas" situation. I wait for mine to come to room temp, and then stack them.

__Jamie__ Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 3:47am
post #13 of 37

I do SMBC, same thing pretty much. I smooth with a hot bench scraper. I only stack chilled. No finger dings and scrapes that way. You shouldn't have to worry about cracks unless your support structure is not proper or you're banging it around too much.

ceshell Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 4:44am
post #14 of 37

My favorite thread about decorating with IMBC http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-404613-.html. Halfway down p.2 you will find AWESOME smoothing instructions from Antonia74. Look for the post that includes the photo of the bench scraper. I used to have a devil of a time getting it smooth but now it's a cinch using her fantastic instructions. This technique has worked MUCH better for me than the hot spatula, especially when I've colored the icing.

I stack chilled too.

With regard to salmonella, I use pasteurized egg whites from the carton to completely eliminate the concern. Any brand except All Whites has always worked fine for me. The plain-wrap supermarket brands usually perform best - go figure.

kristiezen920 Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 12:31pm
post #15 of 37

prterrell,
When I make my IMBC, instead of throwing out the yolks I make a batch of FBC at the same time. I double the sugar syrup, pour half into the whipped egg whites and the other half into the whipped egg yolks. Then I add butter to both. I use the french buttercream for the filling. It is much richer than IMBC and is to die for when you mix in chocolate. I use it as a filling because I find its a little less stable than IMBC.
And sadsmile, if you buy your butter at Costco or Sams the butter costs about $5-$6 for 4lbs.

sweetlayers Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 4:33pm
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadsmile

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephaniescakenj

you can most definitely use it to frost a wedding cake. I do it all the time. I find it easiest to work with if you chill your layers before stacking. It avoids finger prints in the icing. Hot spatulas work like a charm to smooth it as stated above. It tastes so much better than powdered sugar based icings. I've never priced out how much it would cost me to make an icing with powdered sugar but I know that I can make a batch of IMBC for $3.50, that includes 6 eggs, 6 sticks of butter, 2 cups sugar and a splash of vanilla.



Where do you live and how are you getting your ingredients that cheep? Four sticks of butter cost that much!




That's what I was thinking icon_surprised.gif

prterrell Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 8:13pm
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristiezen920

prterrell,
When I make my IMBC, instead of throwing out the yolks I make a batch of FBC at the same time. I double the sugar syrup, pour half into the whipped egg whites and the other half into the whipped egg yolks. Then I add butter to both. I use the french buttercream for the filling. It is much richer than IMBC and is to die for when you mix in chocolate. I use it as a filling because I find its a little less stable than IMBC.




Good idea! I haven't made IMBC with real egg whites yet. I've just used meringue powder, so I haven't had the left-over yolks to contend with.

If you ever need to make something with yolks and have no use for the left over egg whites, you can always freeze them (I put one white per section in an ice cube tray) and use them later.

sadsmile Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 9:52pm
post #18 of 37

Are you guys paturizing your eggs yourself before using? What recipe are you using?

supakiki Posted 14 Oct 2009 , 9:54pm
post #19 of 37

ooo, thanks so much for introducing me to FRENCH BUTTERCREAM!! I can't wait to try it!!! I hate throwing away all those egg yolks. I love the idea to use it as a filling. Thanks so much for all the tips!

prterrell Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 12:38am
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadsmile

Are you guys paturizing your eggs yourself before using? What recipe are you using?




LOL, no. I'm not sure that's possible to do in a home kitchen. Pasturized eggs are available in many grocery stores.

kristiezen920 Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 12:47am
post #21 of 37

I use Sylvia Weinstock's recipe for IMBC its very stable and straightforward.

SandiOh Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 12:51am
post #22 of 37

sorry, but I'm alittle confused. I thought by heating up the syrup, or heating the egg white/sugar to 160, you were in essence cooking the egg making it safe.....should I be buying pasterized eggs or egg whites?

sadsmile Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 1:00am
post #23 of 37

I asked that because you talked about separating the eggs -using fresh eggs.

Pasteurization is a process of heating a food to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time designed to kill bacteria. You can do it at home. Salmonella is killed at 140° in about 3 1/2 minutes or at a higher temperature for a shorter time. Eggs don't start cooking till they reach 160°. So yeah it can be done- it's just cooking to kill any possible bacteria.

I just wondered if any one does. I haven't made IMBC but I plan on killing the bacteria in my eggs and then cooling them before starting the IMBC. The sugar temperature is partly lost on the bowl and it is estimated that the eggs don't reach sufficient temperatures nor a long enough time to kill the bacteria.

This is why in a SMBC the eggs are cooked to 160°- to kill any possible bacteria.

chikadodle Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 1:35am
post #24 of 37

After reading all of the concerns about the temperature of the egg whites in IMBC, I decided to check the temp on a batch while I was whipping them. The thermometer registered 180F after adding the sugar syrup, so that put my mind at ease. Pasteurized whites don't seem to stiffen up enough for my liking and then the IMBC is too soft and droopy. I'll stick with my fresh (farm fresh, actually!) whites.

Another good use for the leftover yolks is lemon curd (or passionfruit or lime... yum!). The curd freezes really well then you can have some on hand for your next cake.

TitiaM Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 2:04am
post #25 of 37

That is, partially, what heating the sugar syrup does is kill the bacteria--you don't need to also pasteurize the whites--just makes extra work.

French buttercream is my favorite--its so rich and silky. Too bad its softer and yellow or it would be the only thing I use. icon_biggrin.gif

antonia74 Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 3:46am
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peridot

This sounds so good - but can it be used under fondant?? I would not think so.




Yes it can, it's what I fill/ice/mask all of my cakes with. Fondant covers it beautifully too. See my pics.

Just a little info for everyone. These are a few facts we should all be aware of if we are preparing and selling food to people....

Egg whites pasteurize at 160 degrees after a duration of only 30 seconds, so that is far beyond the required temperature and length of time it needs in your mixing bowl with the 240 degree hot syrup poured into it.

If you use any raw "egg product" (i.e. not necessarily eggs in their shells, but Egg Beaters, liquid egg whites, dried egg, etc.) purchased in the grocery store in North America, the company selling said product is required by law to have already pasteurized that product. As of 2003/2004, even some brands of whole eggs are now being pasteurized!

Salmonella enteritidis is found in much less than 1% of all eggs on the market, and an even smaller amount of those can/do actually cause illness in people who don't take care in preparing their food properly. The vast majority of salmonella cases are due to bad storage temperatures or cooking meats for too short a time. It doesn't start grow until it is 40ºF and is killed at 160ºF

ceshell Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 4:33am
post #27 of 37

You can also use the yolks to make a fresh custard filling! Vanilla bean custard...chocolate pudding...mmmm.

stampinron Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 5:08am
post #28 of 37

Love this topic!!!

My first and only batch of IMBC failed. I am inspired to try again!

Thank you to everyone that has been sharing!

ceshell Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 5:16am
post #29 of 37

stampiniron, how did it fail? Temp can affect whether or not it comes together, and changing the temp (warming it or cooling it depending on what happened) can totally fix it. Unless your egg whites never whipped to stiff peaks. My IMBC fails a lot if my butter is the wrong temp, and I'm always able to bring it back to life thumbs_up.gif.

sweetlayers Posted 15 Oct 2009 , 1:00pm
post #30 of 37

Thanks again for the education of IMBC! I'm gonna give it whirl as soon as I get these next 2 weddings out of the way.

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