Question Re: Meringue Buttercream

Baking By cloetzu Updated 3 Aug 2010 , 6:26pm by millermom

cloetzu Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 3:00pm
post #1 of 12


I've been debating if I should try making some meringue buttercream - the reason I'm debating is it because I'm not sure if it needs to be refridgerated and not 100% comfortable with using raw eggs?

So hoping someone can disspell my worries.

The recipe I have is one I got off of epicurious (found here: ) You basically make a sugar syrup and while hot pour/beat it into beaten egg whites...

So I'm wondering if the hot syrup ends up 'cooking' the egg whites?

And would a cake iced in meringue butter cream need to be refrigerated or can it sit out?

11 replies
mamawrobin Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 3:03pm
post #2 of 12

Yes meringue based buttercreams require refrigeration. Unless there is something I don't know about them....then I'm sure that someone that does will correct me thumbs_up.gif

millermom Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 3:31pm
post #3 of 12

I just did a wedding cake in IMBC (recipe from this website) this past weekend. I had done the bride's sister's cake last December, and she specifically requested "the same light, fluffy frosting that Heather had."

Yes, it does need to be refrigerated, but that can actually be a good thing. When assembling the cake, the frosting is hard (butter gets harder than Crisco in the fridge). That makes it much easier to manipulate the pieces when stacking without worrying about denting them as badly.

I don't know if the syrup cooks the meringue, per se, I have heard that the whites of the eggs don't carry the bacteria, just the yolks, but don't quote me on that. Maybe someone knows better than me.

At any rate, I always refrigerate my IMBC, and have several clients who really prefer it!

If I have leftovers, I try to use them within a day or so. Usually I just end up making cupcakes for a gift, or something. If you let the leftover IMBC sit out just until it starts to soften, you can "speed up" the softening with a hand mixer, so it doesn't get too warm sitting on the counter.

zirconiag Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 3:46pm
post #4 of 12

I only use IMBC. My Wilton instructor said she will never use it because of the raw eggs but I buy pasteurized whites. And yes, according to what I have read before, the sugar will cook the eggs.
I usually don't refrigerate my cake except for Summer. The frosting will harden in the fridge but will go back to it soft-self after a while out of the fridge. The leftover of IMBC can be freezed for up to 3 months. Just take it out, thaw it....and then beat until they are smooth

metria Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 3:54pm
post #5 of 12

I make Warren Brown's Italian meringue buttercream all the time:


I use Wilton's meringue powder instead of raw egg whites because there always seems to be a little kiddo or a lovely preggo eating my cake. I get great results consistently.

It can be left out or kept in the fridge. I like keeping it in the fridge (if there's room) so the icing can firm up.

millermom Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 3:56pm
post #6 of 12

Good to know that you can freeze it! I have had mixed results with freezing just eggs in the past, so I was afraid to try it with the IMBC.

Oh, and zirconiag, I am a Wilton instructor too, and I use IMBC! lol When My students ask about it, I tell them that I use it on special occasions, but that it behaves differently than regular BC, so they need to get used to the class BC first, and then start experimenting, or they might get frustrated.

Also, I tell them that because it is non-crusting, you can't do everything with it that you can do with the regular, and that smoothing can be maddening sometimes, esp. depending on the weather.

millermom Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 3:57pm
post #7 of 12


I never thought of using the Wilton meringue powder (DUH!). I'll have to try that!

zirconiag Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 3:59pm
post #8 of 12

millermom - I have been using IMBC in my class without my instructor's knowledge. If I use American BC, then I will have complain that the BC is too sweet ;p

AileenGP Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 4:23pm
post #9 of 12

I use Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC ) instead of IMBC and that recipe requires that you heat the eggs till they're 160 degrees (which I learned in my servsafe class is the temp eggs need to reach for safety).

I actually have temp'd the eggs right after adding the sugar syrup for IMBC and the eggs go nowhere near the 160 safety mark (plus I find IMBC harder to make).

As for the Meringue powder.. I've only done them for straight meringue icings (like a Toasted Marshmallow icing for cuppies) because it contains cornstarch. I would personally avoid using the Meringue powder for SMBC because the cornstarch will change the consistency of whatever it's in and even add a cornstarch flavor (ask me how I know icon_redface.gif ). Instead you can use powdered egg whites (without all the additional ingredients)

I don't refrigerate my SMBC before it goes on the cake (unless it's a particularly hot day and only for a short time), but I do refrigerate it once it's on the cake to firm up before putting on the fondant.

I can't stand American BC .. waaay to sweet for me, regardless of the recipe.

metria Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 4:33pm
post #10 of 12

I think you can buy straight-up dehydrated egg whites if you don't want to use meringue powder (that has all that extra stuff). I've seen a box of them at the grocery store, but didn't investigate further.

cloetzu Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 5:14pm
post #11 of 12

Thanks for the input everyone!

I find it difficult to work with Buttercream (1/2 crisco 1/2 butter) - I have to play for 15-20 min or more to get the right consistency and end up making a mess.. so wanted to try something different.

AileenGP - can you tell me what recipe you use for your SMBC?

millermom Posted 3 Aug 2010 , 6:26pm
post #12 of 12

My only complaint with IMBC, is that you can't control the consistency by adding more sugar, so in warm weather, I can't get the definition I like in detailed decorations.

But I do love the taste! I especially love it on my carrot cake!

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