Imbc Help Please - Need To 'plan Ahead' To Eat?

Decorating By cloetzu Updated 1 Mar 2011 , 2:19am by cloetzu

cloetzu Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 12:05am
post #1 of 32

I've been using either american buttercream or that and fondant to cover my cakes and wanted to try something less sugary so found this thread about IMBC (and the other buttercreams) so decided to give it a try.

I had read several threads at this point so knew roughly what to look for and how to correct if something went wrong. I made it using a recipe found her on CC and for the first time ever needed to use a blow dryer to make the icing icon_wink.gif no biggy - it all worked out fine in the end. The buttercream came together great and also tasted less sugary - but a bit too buttery for my taste. So the first question I have is if there is an 'in between' buttercream that is less sugary than american but less buttery than IMBC?

I crumbcoated my cake with IMBC and then iced.... it was a square cake and I have to admit that i got far far crisper edges with the IMBC then i ever did with american BC.... i did this by putting the cake in the fridge for a bit and the IMBC firmed up really hard and then I 'shaved' off the sides to make very sharp edges. I decorated the cake and put back in the fridge.

Now for my second question, the refrigerated IMBC tastes horrible! but i had read that and knew I had to let it come to room temp - okay i get that but how long does it take? and how long can it stay out once at room temp? I took the cake out 2 hrs before serving and it was still far to firm (and thus tasted bad)... but our guests couldn't just sit around and wait for hrs so we ate it... in the end we only ate about 1/3 the cake so then had to put back into the fridge (or at least I assumed I had to since it had raw egg whites???). I used pasteurized real egg whites for my icing...

It's almost like i had to keep planning when we'd eat some and take it out then once we had what we wanted put back in ....or cut off pieces while firm, plate and leave those out and put the rest in the fridge.... this became a big pain... it's one thing for me to have to do this for a cake for myself but now question #3, how do you get customers to do this? or don't you??

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated![/list]

31 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 3:37am
post #2 of 32

Woah! Let me see if I can help - I make Swiss Meringue, which is easier to make then Italian, but they are essentially the same just different ways of making it.

Question #1: Quality of your butter makes all the difference in the world. Most butter, especially generic store brands have butter flavor added, so when you make this type of buttercream all you taste is fake butter flavor. Next time you try to make it, look for a brand of butter that has only cream listed in the ingredients. If you can get Plugra in your area try it - it's very expensive but way worth it. Or if you have a local organic dairy try that brand. Next, adding flavorings cuts the butter, try adding a vanilla bean paste, almond extract, lemon curd, etc. It's nom nom.

Q2: Butter will pick up flavors in your fridge fast, especially if you have open containers of food or onions. Same with your buttercream. Fridge has to be clean or box your cake then triple wrap in plastic wrap.

Q# - There are no raw egg whites in your buttercream if you followed the recipe and used a thermometer to cook your sugar syrup (if making IMBC) or your sugar egg whites (SMBC) to 160 degrees. This kills any possible bacteria (majority of bacteria in eggs are in the yolks, where all the fat is, or on the outside of the shells.) Anyway, you have no danger of making anyone sick from the eggs. I don't know if you are like me, but if it's cool enough in my house I'll leave a stick of butter out on the counter and eat off it for several days until it starts to get that funny flavor - same with your buttercream. You can leave it out for several days before it starts to get that funny flavor, but I do keep my leftovers in the fridge to prolong the life of the cake (not the buttercream). As for how long to get to room temp, depends on how cold your room is. Once I take it out, I leave it out till I'm done eating cake! And I tell my customers that the cake is made to be eaten right away, no refrigeration needed.

Hope this helps!

genevieveyum Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 4:10am
post #3 of 32

I make smbc all the time, but I add 1.5 times the sugar that is recommended in the recipe. This way I get just enough sweetness and the texture isn't changed.

cloetzu Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:23pm
post #4 of 32

FromScratchSF - thanks for the detail!!! The sugar syrup was up to 248 degrees (per the recipe) but when you pour it into the whipped whites I'm not sure it really 'touches' them all long enough while still hot to 'cook' ... not sure....

I'll definitely look for a better butter!! this was the no name store brand - it actually was the only unsalted version they had... but we have 2 organic stores in the area so will try there...

genevieveyum - I like the idea of adding more sugar!! will try that too!!


imagenthatnj Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:37pm
post #5 of 32

cloetzy, if I remember correctly you used pasteurized egg whites? If you did, you're safe. On top of that you pour that hot syrup in, so even better. IMBC is all I make, children at my house, and my whole family, love it.

I don't know what recipe you used. Most of them have about 1 lb of butter per 5 or 6 whites (or 5 or 6 oz of whites if you use the liquid pasteurized ones that I use). I've only found one recipe that has too much butter on it, and that's Toba Garrett's. It has 3 lbs for 10 whites. That's too much in my opinion, and I know people have been OK cutting it to 2 lbs.

I don't know what you flavored it with, but that's another factor. You can really cut on the buttery taste with your flavors.

And, yes, adding a little more sugar will help too.

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:43pm
post #6 of 32

If I may hop in here for a second....

Can anyone recommend a good thermometer for checking the temp of the egg whites/syrup?
I purchased a candy thermometer...but it's huge and bulky and difficult to get a good reading.....Maybe I'm not using it correctly?

imagenthatnj Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:44pm
post #7 of 32

This blogger put three of them into some kind of spreadsheet...I do the same thing with all my recipes. The one I use is Cake Love's, but you can really play a little with the ingredients. Most recipes are about the same.

imagenthatnj Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:51pm
post #8 of 32

This blogger put three of them into some kind of spreadsheet...I do the same thing with all my recipes. The one I use is Cake Love's, but you can really play a little with the ingredients. Most recipes are about the same.

imagenthatnj Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 8:57pm
post #9 of 32

cupcakesnbuttercream is it like the one Warren uses here?

cupcakesnbuttercream Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:28pm
post #10 of 32
Originally Posted by imagenthatnj

cupcakesnbuttercream is it like the one Warren uses here?

Yes, that's the one I have. I really like the one you have. Thanks so much!

FromScratchSF Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 9:32pm
post #11 of 32
Originally Posted by cupcakesnbuttercream

If I may hop in here for a second....

Can anyone recommend a good thermometer for checking the temp of the egg whites/syrup?
I purchased a candy thermometer...but it's huge and bulky and difficult to get a good reading.....Maybe I'm not using it correctly?

It isn't pretty, but I use a digital meat thermometer, the kind with a probe? But I make it so much now I can tell by sight. But again I make Swiss, so I am directly cooking the egg whites. I think Italian has too much room for error, even making Rose's new buttercream (you add corn syrup to the sugar syrup and it apparently prevents overcooking, and the syrup is the proper temp when it comes to a boil). Anyway, too much work. I just do Swiss and call it a day.

Coral3 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 10:40pm
post #12 of 32

If you find IMBC is too buttery, try tweaking the recipe a bit. I increase the sugar in my recipe, decrease the butter and add cooled melted white chocolate & the result is much better.

scp1127 Posted 12 Jan 2011 , 10:19am
post #13 of 32

For a thermometer, I have the one most recommended by Cook\\'s Illustrated, CDN, and it varies up to 12 degrees off. I went back to the big cheap Taylor one after seeing it used by all of the chefs on tv.

Just check any one you use by boiling water. It should be 212 degrees.

cloetzu Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 12:56am
post #14 of 32

thanks for all the feedback everyone! I'd really like to try this again and appreciate all the information!!

This is the recipe I used, found here on CC : Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream: I made no changes to the recipe, however, the recipe calls for "1 1/2 pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter" - a stick is 1/2 cup (or at least I thought it was) - i got a new scale for Christmas so instead went by weight (so i could use my new toy)... which actually worked out to 6.5 sticks... i'm sure that didn't help things ;( it was also the no name store brand unsalted butter so quality wasn't great ... probably also didn't help...

A few of you have referenced other recipes by the creator's first name but i'm having a hard time figuring out which ones you are referring to? can you please post links?

I have the Wilton candy thermometer: - i used a medium pot to make the syrup so it was pretty shallow i.e. the liquid wasn't deep enough to measure - the thermometer 'stood' above it icon_wink.gif thus had to tilt the pot up on one end to get the syrup to go to the other to create a 'deeper' end to measure the temp....

In general when I make a cake for 'home' it can take us up to a week to eat ... even though the egg whites were pasteurized wouldn't they 'go bad' after a couple days sitting on the counter? I would wonder this for IMBC and SMBC???

Speaking of SMBC would you use a hand held mixer to beat the whites over the hot water 'bath'? I can't image you'd use a hand whisk - i'm sure my arm would give up pretty fast icon_wink.gif [url][/url]

FromScratchSF Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 1:24am
post #15 of 32
Originally Posted by cloetzu

In general when I make a cake for 'home' it can take us up to a week to eat ... even though the egg whites were pasteurized wouldn't they 'go bad' after a couple days sitting on the counter? I would wonder this for IMBC and SMBC???

Speaking of SMBC would you use a hand held mixer to beat the whites over the hot water 'bath'? I can't image you'd use a hand whisk - i'm sure my arm would give up pretty fast icon_wink.gif [url][/url]

These types of buttercreams (SMBC, IMBC) are not meant to sit on your counter for a week. If you need that type of longevity you should probably stick to American buttercream, where the shelf life is a lot longer. There is a misunderstanding with pasteurized egg whites - "pasteurized" means they've been heated past the point where bacteria can live. You are already doing that when you make either SMBC or IMBC, so you can save yourself some headache and money and just get regular eggs.

I don't use a hand mixer to make SMBC while cooking the whites - one batch generally only takes 2-3 minutes to get to temp, 3 batches takes less then 5. I just use a French whip, you aren't trying to make meringue, you are only trying to keep it moving so it won't scramble. The whipping is done by my KA.

pmarks0 Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 2:14am
post #16 of 32

I use this SMBC recipe here on CC:

I have found other recipes have a real strong butter flavour, but this one is is a much lighter flavour. Everyone loves it when I make it.

Also, just use a whisk in the bowl when you're doing it, rather than a hand mixer. It's not necessary. You just want to keep the mixture moving so that the whites don't cook and just rise in temp.

cloetzu Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 3:04pm
post #17 of 32

thanks for explaining that for SMBC you only need to keep the whites moving vs beating!

I'll try SMBC too and see how it goes....

and thanks for clarifying what I was thinking that leaving eggs whites (cooked or not) out for a week would be too long...

so i guess that means I'll be going back to american buttercream for the majority of my 'home' cakes ;( not what I was hoping for since I find it far too sweet!

bakencake Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 4:00pm
post #18 of 32

If you find your american buttercream too sweet try adding a pinch of salt. this cuts down on the sweetness.

Thanks for the info to everyone! I've always wanted to use the other types of butter cream but never try it because i didnt know how long to leave it out.

pmarks0 Posted 18 Jan 2011 , 4:48pm
post #19 of 32

I used to use the Wilton Buttercream recipe and found that way to sweet, plus I was using Crisco. Once I switched to SugarShack's buttercream and started using a high ratio shortening, I found that it wasn't quite as sweet as the other, and the texture was lovely and smooth. I was still sweeter than my SMBC but it's not cloyingly sweet like I found the Wilton recipe.

cloetzu Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 4:57pm
post #20 of 32

thanks pmarks0 - is this SugarShack's recipe you were referring to: ?

I had actually seen her video online a while back and my icing NEVER looks like hers in the mixer!! So I'm going to try it again!!!

Is the coffee creamer the powder stuff that you then add to water?

pmarks0 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 5:01pm
post #21 of 32

That's the one! I have clients rave about the icing. I love this icing.

cloetzu Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 5:16pm
post #22 of 32

I just realized that I think I have a 5.5 quart mixer .... now what? oh no...

pmarks0 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 5:24pm
post #23 of 32

I use the 6qt recipe because I have a 6qt bowl, but Sugarshack posted her recipe which I think may be for a 5qt recipe, and someone else posted the other which they modified for a 4 1/2 qt bowl.

Rachel5370 Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 5:48pm
post #24 of 32

Hi. I have preached on here previously about food safety and icing. I may have not been entirely correct, lol. I use SMBC and wanted to know once and for all what the guidelines were. I had a long conversation with my health inspector about my icing. She said butter is not considered a potentially hazardous food unless it is whipped. I said "well, it is certainly whipped in my icing recipe!". She said yes, but because of the sugar content (lowers water activity and likelyhood of bacteria growth) it is most likely not dangerous. She said it was a gray area and to wait for the new federal regulations to come out. She also said if I wanted to know for sure, make a batch and send it in to a lab to get tested. I will probably do that oneday soon and let you know the results. I made myself a "guinea pig" left icing out for 4 days on the counter and then ate some on a cupcake. It tasted fine and did not make me sick. My husband and kids ate some too and they were fine. This is how I decided to handle it with my customers, however: I tell them to make sure the cake is out of refridgeration for 2-3 hours before event for taste purposes and if I'm delivering the day of the event I time it properly myself. I tell them to refridgerate leftovers and not leave cake out overnight. In my area, the rule is that potentially hazardous foods can't be out of temp (below 140 or above 41 for more than 4 hours) and still safely consumed. So I treat my icing like the inspector said "a gray area". I tell customers that several hours is okay, but not overnight. This is above and beyond the recommendation of the HD, because I was told to treat my icing as a "non-potentially hazardous food", meaning no temperature regulations. But, you should definitely check with your HD in your area.

As far as taste, the others were right. You can add a little more sugar to the recipe, add a lot of flavoring. Also use unsalted butter- it is meant for recipes where as salted butter is more likely to have added butter flavoring. Also make sure you add salt to the recipe before or during whipping the meringue. It helps the flavor and also helps stabilize the meringue. My favorite flavor so far is when I added warm white chocolate ganache to the finished icing- OMG! Also, Lorann's Sweet Buttery Dough along with any other flavoring seems to add a little dimension to the flavor.

cloetzu Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 9:23pm
post #25 of 32

Rachel5370 - thanks for the information.

I agree that the only way to be 100% sure is to test them in a lab but around here testing is super expensive and there is one variable that will directly impact the tests: the temp the cake is left 'out' in ... that variable we can not control or keep standard in all situations and it can vary drastically from coast to coast and even country to country...

Based on all the info I have read I think what I will do if I use IMBC or SMBC for customer orders is that I will tell them that it must be consumed within 24-48 hrs and stored in a dark cool place during that time.

For myself and 'home' cakes I may stretch the time line a bit longer but not much.

Putting the finished cake that has IMBC or SMBC in the fridge gets tricky for me because I think it tastes terrible unless it is brought back to room temp before eating and I left a cake out for 3hrs and it was still too stiff to eat/tasted terrible... so not sure how to work with that aspect yet... but having said that the 'terrible ' aspect was the texture and strong buttery taste so if I go to a better quality butter, add more flavouring and add more sugar (as recommended by others on this thread) it may be fine.

So now I need an excuse to make more IMBC, SMBC and SugarShack's Buttercream icon_smile.gif I see me gaining a few pounds in this experiment icon_wink.gif

dawncr Posted 19 Jan 2011 , 10:31pm
post #26 of 32

A couple other options for 'between' sweetness:

1. Combine Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream with American buttercream, about half and half. Works better than one might think.

2. Add cooled, melted white chocolate to IMBC/SMBC.

I had this predicament when I did my brother's wedding cake. My brother and our side of the family hate American buttercreams with powdered sugar. (It's likely a genetic thing?--I read somewhere that persons from northern Europe or UK tend to have some sort of taste receptor difference that makes these icings seem 'too sweet.')

However, his fiancee thought the European meringue buttercreams were too buttery and loved American buttercream.

So, I ended up adding white chocolate to IMBC--worked well to increase sweetness, reduce butteryness, without adding powdered sugar.

cloetzu Posted 20 Jan 2011 , 2:17pm
post #27 of 32

dawncr - can you give me an idea of how much melted chocolate you would use?

cloetzu Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 9:04pm
post #28 of 32

This past weekend I made some Red Velvet cupcakes and decided to try making another batch of IMBC - i made sure i bought butter that was unsalted and had only 'cream' listed in the ingredient list. I then made a batch and added about 1/2 to 3/4 cup (measured before melting) of white chocolate waffers. It did add a nice sweetness BUT i still found that it tasted like eating BUTTER! ;(

everyone that had the cupcakes loved them but I didn't ;( so next I'll try some SMBC and if that fails will try the idea of mixing a MBC 50/50 with AMBC icon_wink.gif

if anyone wants to see the pic of the cupcakes they are on my blog here:

dawncr Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 11:45pm
post #29 of 32

Oh my goodness! I didn't know you had posted asking how much white chocolate to add. I just saw it when you posted an update today. I didn't mean to ignore you.

If I remember correctly, I've used about 1 oz chocolate per egg white, so a standard 5 egg white IMBC would be about 5 oz.

Although I didn't answer, you did the exact proportion!


cloetzu Posted 17 Feb 2011 , 2:12am
post #30 of 32

no worries dawncr! thanks for following up!

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