SMBC or IMBC For Beginners

Decorating By katie1214 Updated 16 May 2012 , 10:53pm by katie1214

katie1214 Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 1:07pm
post #1 of 17

I would like to try either SMBC or IMBC b/c I read all these posts about it but I'm wondering if I'm too "green" to try? Is there a recipe that would be more beginner-friendly? Also, what is the major difference between the two - is one easier to make than the other? Thanks!

16 replies
ButRCream Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 1:59pm
post #2 of 17

Having done both, I'd probably start with SMBC - there's just a little less "process" involved (or so it seemed to me!) Don't be afraid to try - I stayed away from it for a LONG time for fear, but was SO glad when I finally submitted! icon_smile.gif

katie1214 Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 2:11pm
post #3 of 17

Thank you! I think I will start experimenting with it...I'd like to use it for my niece's 1st Communion cake in May so that should give me enough "practice" time...I hope!

bakencake Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 2:47pm
post #4 of 17
Originally Posted by ButRCream

Having done both, I'd probably start with SMBC - there's just a little less "process" involved (or so it seemed to me!) Don't be afraid to try - I stayed away from it for a LONG time for fear, but was SO glad when I finally submitted! icon_smile.gif

I agree with everything Butrcream ljust said. I would add that you need to make sure that you start out with really clean equipment because fat will kill your eggs. one last thing, depending on where you live smb is great except if you live in the south in the summer. that's when I bring out my american butter cream

icer101 Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 2:56pm
post #5 of 17

Please look at this.

Angfastic Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 3:14pm
post #6 of 17

I finally decided to give meringue buttercream a try last week. I went with Italian. It was quite easy. I'll try Swiss next.

Blueridgebuttercream Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 3:36pm
post #7 of 17

katie, my recommendation is go ahead and try it - it's really not as hard as it sounds. I made IMBC for the second cake I decorated, and it turned out just fine! Blissfully unaware of its reputation for being tricky, I saw the recipe in The Whimsical Bakehouse, tried it with nothing but a hand mixer and haven't looked back since.

As you look at recipes, you'll notice that there are lots of slightly different techniques out there. Don't worry about it - just pick a recipe from a reputable source and follow it. Even though they make it sound like "my way is the only way that will work," reality is there are multiple ways that work just fine. If you don't have a candy thermometer, I'd start with SMBC, since that is a little easier to check that you got your eggs up to temp. That said, the Whimsical Bakehouse's recipe for IMBC doesn't need a thermometer and it's never failed me.

Just remember, whatever you do, don't throw it away if it is too soupy or curdled. Check the internet first, most problems with MBCs can be fixed by cooling or heating. I've only irreparably broken my SMBC once, and it served me right because I combined three different recipes (let's make it chocolate! and cream cheese! and not let it come back to room temperature before beating!) And even that we ate - it still tasted delicious on the cake.

sianpa22 Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 3:51pm
post #8 of 17

i have quite a few questions because i am also wary about trying SMBC/IMBC.
1. how is the consistency of this?? is it more smooth and does it crust?
2. does it have to be refrigerated?
3. can you crumb coat with it and then cover a cake with fondant??

thanks so much for the great advise thus far....

Goreti Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 4:21pm
post #9 of 17

I'm very new to cake decorating and all do so for family & friends. Recently started making smbc and have not gone back to American Buttercream. I want to try the imbc one of these days. Everyone who has tasted the cakes loves the smoothness of the icing & asks what it is. Although it does not crust, you can still get a pretty smooth finish. I'm still working on that but getting better. Using it under fondant is not a problem. I might not use it in the summer months for cakes that are going to be out in the heat but otherwise no American Buttercream for me anymore.

esangston Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 4:51pm
post #10 of 17

I love smbc... I haven't tried imbc yet but from what I understand they basically taste the same so I go with the one that doesn't require tempering eggs.... I'm not usually successful with that. It's whatever works best for you.

It doesn't crust, but when you crumb coat, you just put it in the fridge til its hard, then ice over it. Add too much icing than you need. Return to fridge and let it stay for about 30 minutes. Then bring it out and you can use a knife and shave off what you don't need. I've never done the hot knife as it can change the colors of the icing, and ive never needed to. I could never get perfect edges with American buttercream... I have tried and tried and sometimes I couldn't even get it all smooth. My first try with smbc, it was beautiful!

If covering with fondant, I make sure it's absolutely cool... So I normally do my icing at night and do my fondant in the morning. I also always use a ribbing of piping gel around the botttom to get the fondant to stick...

I've altered the recipes I found to find one that suits my tastes. I use 8 whites, and 2 cups sugar. I only add 2lbs of butter as well. It still has the butter flavor, but doesn't taste like straight butter. If you have a 5qt mixer, this is about the max of egg whites you can do... 12 whites overflowed in my mixer lol... I also use my metal mixer bowl as my double boiler and put it straight on the mixer. I've tried using a hand mixer while heating and it didn't work so well so just use a whisk. Make sure your candy thermometer is in good working order too. Hubby put mine in the dishwasher and it ruined my next batch.

I also add 1/4tsp cream of tartar to my egg whites when I start my mixer... I start on like a 3 for about a minute and then go to 7 and walk away. Come back 10 minutes later and usually I'm ready for butter. Just make sure the bottom of the mixer bowl is no longer hot before you add butter. Make sure your butter is soft, but not melted. I usually take my butterr out, cut it in 1tbsp sections spand let it sit out about an hour or two before i make my icing. I switch to the paddle, add all my butter in, and turn the mixer on a 5-7 and walk away. After about 10 minutes it's usually all incorporated. Add your extract or color, mix on low and tada... The best stuff you will ever use!

The pics there are great. Smbc goes thru stages and it freaked me out the first few times....

costumeczar Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 5:55pm
post #11 of 17

I find the Italian meringue to be much easier to deal with than the Swiss, but I don't like having to whisk eggs over a water bath, my arm is lazy icon_smile.gif
Here's a video I did to show what to do if your buttercream breaks

msulli10 Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 6:11pm
post #12 of 17

Is SMBC very sweet? I have always used Sugarshacks buttercream recipe - which I love even though it has no butter in it. But, like everyone else, I want to try something different.

esangston Posted 18 Feb 2012 , 10:23pm
post #13 of 17
Originally Posted by msulli10

Is SMBC very sweet? I have always used Sugarshacks buttercream recipe - which I love even though it has no butter in it. But, like everyone else, I want to try something different.

Smbc isn't really sweet. To put it into perspective, I used 2 cups of sugar to ice 40 cupcakes... Where as if I used ambc, I'd have to use upwards of 4lbs

Smbc has flavor. Ambc tastes like eating straight powdered sugar now lol

AnnieCahill Posted 19 Feb 2012 , 10:24am
post #14 of 17

Seriously-go to YouTube and look up Warren Brown from CakeLove's IMBC recipe. IMBC is less of a PITA than SMBC. But then again, I'm lazy and don't like standing over a stove whisking eggs and sugar together. With IMBC you get the syrup super hot to cook the meringue, leaving you with essentially a marshmallow to which you add butter. You get the exact same results and taste as with SMBC, but it's just another way of reaching the same result. IMBC is a bit more stable because you are cooking the egg whites at a much higher temperature.

Everyone is green until they try something new-go for it!

sweettreat101 Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 7:06am
post #15 of 17

I love Swiss Meringue. I use my metal mixing bowl over a water bath and whisk the egg whites,sugar, cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until they reach 140 degrees. Doesn't take long. Then I place the mixing bowl on my mixer and whip with my whisk attachment until peaks form and the whites are cooled. So easy to make and the recipe I use only uses one cup of sugar. I haven't tried to decorate a cake with Swiss Meringue only cupcakes and cookies. This will be my challenge this summer. I have a large cake to make for a friend in September but not sure is Swiss Meringue would be a good option because it gets really hot here on the west coast. Give it a try you will love it.

luvmysmoother Posted 20 Feb 2012 , 3:50pm
post #16 of 17

I was also afraid to make IMBC for the longest time (the thought of boiling sugar seemed scary to me for some reason) but this tutorial is pretty much bullet proof and I never make AMBC anymore unless I'm forced to for convenience or "non dairy" purposesicon_smile.gif

katie1214 Posted 16 May 2012 , 10:53pm
post #17 of 17

I'm back with an update (better late than never-lol!) - I made SMBC for Easter cupcakes. I followed the recipe/directions/photos on this site

It took quite a while to make - I think close to an hour?! But, OMG, was it worth it! It was so silky smooth and rich and delicious and probably the best icing I've ever tasted! I was also able to freeze the leftovers and add a mashed up banana to it for out of this world banana icing. When I went to re-whip it after thawing it got a little curdle-y so I took out some of it and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and poured it back in on low. It came right back to life.

Now, the bad son ate some and had an allergic reaction (he has a peanut allergy and now needs to go back to the allergist with the frosting for a test). love affair with SMBC will have to be short-lived for now icon_sad.gif
Thanks to all who posted tips and links - much appreciated thumbs_up.gif

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