kikiandkyle Posted 25 Dec 2012 , 7:02pm
post #1 of

AI tried to make Italian Meringue Buttercream last night, I thought I followed all the steps perfectly but at the end, when the buttercream curdles, it stayed there. I left it in the fridge overnight, and tried to rewhip it this morning, and it refuses to come together, if anything I've whipped the entire meringue out of the cream and just left myself with butter, which is sliding around in my bowl like not quite cooked scrambled eggs.

I followed the recipe perfectly, 5 egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar whipped to a meringue, 1 cup sugar heated to 245F in 1/2 cup of water slowly added, then when the meringue had cooled I added 2 sticks of softened butter slowly, in small pieces.

What did I do wrong? I thought it could be that I didn't add enough butter (I know there are recipes that use twice as much but I was using a recipe that called for less as I'm not a huge fan). It tastes like pure butter as it is, I can't believe that adding twice as much would make it taste less buttery, and the texture surely couldn't be less buttery with more butter added.

Any ideas? I was really hoping this would be a great alternative to American Buttercream which I'm not a huge fan of, but my husband is ready to go buy a can of frosting rather than listen to my Kitchenaid go any more today!

28 replies
Stitches Posted 25 Dec 2012 , 8:32pm
post #2 of

Yes, it was definitely not enough butter to bring the frosting together. No need to think about that further!

 

Had you added more butter (probably double the amount), it would have turned out perfectly. For 5 eggs you'd need about 1 pound of butter. If you add a pinch of sea salt and plenty of good quality vanilla (Nielsen Massey) it would had tasted great.

 

At this point, having not added enough butter to begin with, I wouldn't try to fix it. I'd start over.

 

Next time try whipping your butter until it's super light and soft (about 5 minutes on high speed), then set it aside. Wash the mixer bowl thoroughly, then make your meringue. It shouldn't take more then 5 or 6 minutes of whipping the meringue on high to cool it down, then add in your whipped butter, vanilla and sea salt. This whole process shouldn't take more then 20 minutes.

kikiandkyle Posted 25 Dec 2012 , 9:44pm
post #3 of

AThis was the recipe I was using:

http://www.whisk-kid.com/2010/08/how-to-make-italian-meringue.html?showComment=1345903641831&m=1#c7511605923330436776

I don't understand how adding more butter stops something tasting and feeling like butter though! I added some Nielsen Massey vanilla, and some sea salt, but it didn't help.

cakegrandma Posted 25 Dec 2012 , 11:44pm
post #4 of

Usually when you are making these types of icings they do go to a curdled stage but, if you keep mixing then normally it will come together.  Try it again, I love Italian meringue icing.  I sure hope you get the hang of it and be sure to pour the syrup in Very slow.

evelyn

LisaPeps Posted 25 Dec 2012 , 11:58pm
post #5 of

AThe recipe I use is 5 egg whites whisked with 50g sugar. 250g sugar heated with 100ml water, 500g UNSALTED butter mixed in. It is a really good recipe to scale up or down as it is all multiples of 5. I have NEVER had a batch go wrong, not even my first batch. You start whisking the eggs when the sugar and water reaches approx 100C, heat the sugar and water until 118C and add to the eggs. Leave the whisk attachment in your mixer. When the mixture reaches luke warm, turn it down to the lowest setting and add the butter in small chunks but as quickly as possible. Let it whip until it comes together. Add 1 - 1.5 TBSP vanilla extract (good quality stuff). I've not needed to add salt, I guess it's optional... I'd be inclined to leave it out once everything's mixed though as it won't dissolve.

Stitches Posted 26 Dec 2012 , 3:42pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 


I don't understand how adding more butter stops something tasting and feeling like butter though! I added some Nielsen Massey vanilla, and some sea salt, but it didn't help.

You have to add enough butter to create an emulsion between the two items, it's a scientific reaction. You have to respect the science behind baking, for success.

 

If you want a different tasting frosting then you need to make changes other ways, or find another recipe all together. You can add powered sugar to meringue butter creams to take away some of the buttery mouth feel.

yortma Posted 26 Dec 2012 , 4:42pm
post #7 of

 I failed the first few times I tried Italian Meringue Buttercream too, but am very glad that I persisted.  It opens up a whole new level of frosting options. I learned by using RLB's recipe in the cake bible.   I agree that Italian Meringue buttercreams tend to taste buttery, but certain flavorings and especially chocolate cover that up, and you can't beat the smooth creamy texture.  But because of that tendency, I no longer make IMBC.  Here are some thoughts:

 

 

1)  I have tried a number of IMBC recipes.  They are all very close to the ratio of 5 whites per pound of butter.  I agree that the recipe you have is incorrect and that adding more butter may have solved the problem (but you didn't know that).

 

2)  the temperature of the butter (and the room) has to be correct.  It is not terribly precise, but if the butter is too warm or too cold it will not come together.  I agree with the post above that the butter should be brought to room temperature and mixed up so it is smooth and creamy before adding to the meringue, but not sloppy soft.  If it is not coming together and the room is really warm, I put some blue ice packs around the bowl, and then it comes together.  If you suspect the butter is too cold, just let it keep running in the mixer.  Sometimes it takes a while to come together.  Especially if the recipe is on the lower end of butter amounts.  

 

3}  if you refrigerate the buttercream for later use,  it must come COMPLETELY to room temperature before rebeating.  If it is too cold, the frosting will separate into chunks of butter and clear sugary syrup that splatters all over the place.  (personal experience!)  At that point it is hopelessly lost.  

 

4)  I now use Swiss meringue buttercream in place of IMBC.  I have found the SMBC  to be less buttery tasting, and, for me, simpler to make.  This type of buttercream brings the sugar and whites to 160 degrees before whipping the whites and adding the butter.  My favorite recipe uses 3 cubes of butter (3/4 pound) per 5 whites which is less than the IMBC.  It is my go to recipe for most cakes.  For kid's cakes and sweeter cakes I just love the Fluffy American Buttercream you can find in the recipe section.  It is made with pasteurized egg whites and hi-ratio shortening. It is smoother and creamier and less sweet than the traditional American Buttercream, but sweeter than the IMBC, which the kids (and some adults) seem to prefer.  The FAB and THE SMBC are both so good that I often can't decide which one to use, and I mix them together!

 

5)  The flavorings make all the difference. The recipe I use for SMBC (which I always double to have on hand) is 1/4 cup vanilla per 10 whites!  I also think liqueurs add a very rich flavor to BC and you don't taste the alcohol.  I usually add an extract and liqueur to SMBC, but leave out the alcohol in kid's cakes of course.  I have great cake recipes, but it is always the frosting that gets noticed.  

 

 

HTH, and good luck!

BakingIrene Posted 26 Dec 2012 , 4:45pm
post #8 of

Here is some more reliable professional advice

 

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2011/01/04/the-beautiful-side-of-baking-blissful-buttercream/

 

Together with this, you should check your thermometer in a cup of boiling water.

imagenthatnj Posted 26 Dec 2012 , 4:56pm
post #9 of

You didn't have enough butter.

 

Here's a video. A lot of people use Warren Brown's recipe.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxWmiHRTMz8

kikiandkyle Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 7:17am

AIMBC is not for me apparently, I'm from Europe so eating pure butter isn't in my vocabulary!

Thanks for the SMBC tip, I'll try that next I think. Otherwise it will be back to my faithful cream cheese frosting.

Thanks for the help everyone, I think the low butter recipe and the fact that I had the oven on were clearly to blame. It still doesn't make sense to me but yes, I have to respect science I guess!

cakefat Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 4:01pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

IMBC is not for me apparently, I'm from Europe so eating pure butter isn't in my vocabulary!
Thanks for the SMBC tip, I'll try that next I think. Otherwise it will be back to my faithful cream cheese frosting.
Thanks for the help everyone, I think the low butter recipe and the fact that I had the oven on were clearly to blame. It still doesn't make sense to me but yes, I have to respect science I guess!

 

You need to make sure the mixer bowl is cooled down after adding the hot sugar syrup to the meringue- before adding in the butter..otherwise the butter will melt due to the heat and it gets soupy...which also still can be fixed. There is a video on youtube from a baker in the DC area which explains this- I forget his name at the moment, but you can easily google that. Anyway- it does work.

 

Really, imo- IMBC or SMBC, same-same, but barely different.

imagenthatnj Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 4:58pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

IMBC is not for me apparently, I'm from Europe so eating pure butter isn't in my vocabulary!
Thanks for the SMBC tip, I'll try that next I think. Otherwise it will be back to my faithful cream cheese frosting.
Thanks for the help everyone, I think the low butter recipe and the fact that I had the oven on were clearly to blame. It still doesn't make sense to me but yes, I have to respect science I guess!

 

 

Funny. IMBC, SMBC and FBC, are actually called "European buttercreams." Once you get it flavored right, it really doesn't taste like pure butter! Here's a SMBC Cream Cheese recipe if you'll ever need one.

 

http://cakecentral.com/t/711181/this-post-contains-fromscratchsfs-cream-cheese-smbc

 

http://fromscratchsf.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/tutorial-swiss-meringue-buttercream/

 

http://fromscratchsf.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/more-about-swiss-meringue-buttercream-like-my-other-post-wasnt-long-enough-i-had-to-go-write-another-epic-post/

kikiandkyle Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 11:47pm

AIt's the meringue style that is Itailian or Swiss, not the buttercream itself. And the French product that FMBC is based on is used as a pastry filling, not to cover cakes!

Ozabby Posted 29 Dec 2012 , 2:58am

AI have found if it does not come together it is almost inevitably the temperature of the butter (too cold). Keep whipping and it will work. I use the RLB silk meringue buttercream recipe, but modified, more meringue less butter more creme anglaise and it works beautifully, not too buttery (totally agree on that front) and is good & stable for piping. Smbc ot Imbc the choice is personal, but it is good once mastered!

ellavanilla Posted 4 Jan 2013 , 7:15pm

Sorry I'm coming in late to the conversation, but i wanted to add some info. IMBC is the main BC that I use and I never baby it. Cold butter, warm butter, whatever, I just adjust my timing. If the butter is cold, I add it while the sugar is hot, if the butter is soft, then i add after the sugar has cooled. 

 

I agree that OPs recipe doesn't have enough butter. My ratio is 1 lb butter to 5 egg whites. I also add 1/2 tsp of Cream of tartar to the whites while beating them. 

 

This is an illustrated tutorial you might find helpful

 

 

http://butteryum.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-to-make-italian-meringue.html

kikiandkyle Posted 19 Jan 2013 , 1:06am

ASo I made it swiss style last night, following the Joshua John Russell recipe from his Craftsy course. It was perfect last night, but then I put it in the fridge to keep until I was going to use it tonight. I took it out of the fridge, let it come up to room temp, put it in the Kitchenaid and now it's completely split. I can't win!

-K8memphis Posted 19 Jan 2013 , 1:13am

i use a different formula but i would not have put my smbc back in the mixer just one day old

 

i''l be glad to share it if/when you're ready

 

it's the one margaret braun uses

 

smbc is a great icing and i've never had to toss a batch

 

except the one i put some shortening into

 

never say never

-K8memphis Posted 19 Jan 2013 , 1:14am

but that was just for taste/texture not for the formula/method

 

you can do this!

kikiandkyle Posted 19 Jan 2013 , 1:18am

AAs it warmed to room temp the butter was starting to bead, so I couldn't use it as it was. It was the perfect consistency last night, the flavor was still more buttery than I'd like but it went pretty well with the red velvet cake I've made. I've put it back in the fridge for a bit, but it doesn't look like it can be rescued.

Good job I picked up some cream cheese just in case...

-K8memphis Posted 19 Jan 2013 , 2:56pm

so maybe your egg whites were too warm when you put in the butter???

 

and i would have kept mine out at room temp overnight too--i would not have friged it

 

but friging it should not have brought about this result either

 

maybe your whites were not whipped hard enough

 

are you whipping by hand?

 

maybe there were unwhipped whites left in the bottom of the bowl?

 

does your beater reach the the bottom of the bowl??

 

there's a formula or technique issue here

 

i'd say mark off a day and test this bad boy till you get it --i know you can do it

 

cream cheese icing!!! great save!!!!

LisaPeps Posted 19 Jan 2013 , 5:33pm

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

So I made it swiss style last night, following the Joshua John Russell recipe from his Craftsy course. It was perfect last night, but then I put it in the fridge to keep until I was going to use it tonight. I took it out of the fridge, let it come up to room temp, put it in the Kitchenaid and now it's completely split. I can't win!

Try whisking it with a hand whisk over a double boiler, that always works for me.

KoryAK Posted 20 Jan 2013 , 5:25am

I doubt the buttercream was at room temp all the way through and that's why it curdled.  It's fine on the counter for a few days and if it is chilled it needs to be warm all the way through or melt part of it to add to the mass or mix it while hitting the mixer bowl with a blow torch,

kikiandkyle Posted 20 Jan 2013 , 1:19pm

AI think that's probably it. There was so much of it, and I was probably a little impatient.

yortma Posted 20 Jan 2013 , 3:10pm

I agree.  It probably wasn't completely room temp before rewhipping. I keep lots of extra SMBC in the freezer.  To speed up the process of bringing frozen or cold buttercream to room temp, try cutting it into chunks and mixing them up now and then so they warm more quickly and evenly.  I have also softened frozen buttercream in the microwave many times,  but with extreme care.  Just  5 seconds at a time on defrost, checking and redistributing the chunks after each, until soft but not melted.  If not in a big hurry, stop before completely soft, and leave it in the closed microwave, or other warm spot until it finishes defrosting. HTH

kikiandkyle Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 12:20am

AWho knew, I made French style buttercream tonight for the first time using the recipe in Rose Levy's Cske Bible and it tastes amazing.

ellavanilla Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 4:49pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kikiandkyle 

Who knew, I made French style buttercream tonight for the first time using the recipe in Rose Levy's Cske Bible and it tastes amazing.

Rose is my guru and Goddess!! I love her recipes.

linnod Posted 17 Mar 2013 , 2:11am

You mentioned that you use a fluffy american butter cream recipe. I have not been able to find it. Could you let me know where to find it or give recipe please. 

 

thanks

Sabrina Cupid Posted 30 Apr 2013 , 7:04am

A

Original message sent by kikiandkyle

As it warmed to room temp the butter was starting to bead, so I couldn't use it as it was. It was the perfect consistency last night, the flavor was still more buttery than I'd like but it went pretty well with the red velvet cake I've made. I've put it back in the fridge for a bit, but it doesn't look like it can be rescued.

Good job I picked up some cream cheese just in case...

It

It can be saved. You place it in the mixer with a whisk attachment. Wrap the mixer with plastic wrap. It will get messy. Mix on Med-high or high speed. It will come apart, the water and butter and etc will separate. Just keep mixing. It may take a while. Depending on how warm the temp is in the room. It will eventually come back together. To speed up the process some people torch the side of the bowl a bit to take the chill off. Trust me it works.

Or the other option is to take a quarter of the buttercream. Melt it in the microwave. Mix it in the mixer with the cold to bring it back

Last option. Whisk over a double boiler to bring up the temp and take off the chill.

yortma Posted 30 Apr 2013 , 1:34pm

Here is the link for Fluffy American Buttercream

 

http://cakecentral.com/a/fluffy-american-buttercream

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