Italian Meringue Or Swiss Meringue?...and Why?

Baking By gigiel Updated 11 Aug 2016 , 12:58am by gigiel

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gigiel Posted 4 Aug 2016 , 3:00pm
post #1 of 15

Hot humid Texas...Italian Meringue or Swiss Meringue?  Pluses & minuses and why is one the best option?

Must decide this morning. Anyone with experience with these icings opinions needed asap. Thank you!!!

14 replies
-K8memphis Cake Central Cake Decorator Profile
-K8memphis Posted 4 Aug 2016 , 5:26pm
post #2 of 15

i use swiss because italian has a bit of a crust on it -- and it seems less fiddley to make than italian -- i climate control my cakes all the way through to the cake table -- it's hot in memphis too --

best to you -- stay cool

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-K8memphis Posted 4 Aug 2016 , 5:27pm
post #3 of 15

i use all butter -- no shortening  -- 

what did you decide? i can see i'm a bit late on this

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gigiel Posted 4 Aug 2016 , 6:14pm
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grinning.png Thank you so much K8memphis!!! Memphis IS!!!I have used Swiss meringue before, never the Italian meringue. After having read the thread I found here on CC... (* couldn't find in initial search, but did find on second search) I decided to go with regular American bc under fondant. I must admit, I have some testing/trials to do on trying other icing recipes, but in the end, didn't want to use this cake as a 'Guinea pig.') Knew it was to late to ganache, which is what I would've preferred.  Thank you for asking!!! Please if anyone else would like to weigh in with your experience on this, please do. stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes.png

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RobinYummCakes Posted 6 Aug 2016 , 11:07am
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Hoping others will weigh in on this thread as well. I would love to start using SMBC b/c I've heard it's so tasty, but I live in Louisiana where there is so much humidity and heat! It seems like opening a can of worms delving into the world of SMBC, and having to deal with temperature issues that go along with it, but it MAY be worth the effort. My go to, no fail recipe is Sugarshack's ABC, which is amazing for heat and humidity. But I've tried it with half butter and had oily issues...oil visibly seeping out of the icing. Which makes me scared to try SMBC. I'm on a caking (order taking) hiatus though, so I guess now is the best time to experiment.

gigiel do you usually use ganache under your fondant?

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-K8memphis Posted 6 Aug 2016 , 12:01pm
post #6 of 15

question for you, robinyumm when you say 'butter' are you meaning the stuff from cows or spread/margarine? just curious -- and then how soft was it when you put it in?

it's really unusual for that to happen with an American buttercream huh

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RobinYummCakes Posted 6 Aug 2016 , 12:31pm
post #7 of 15

Hi k8memphis,

I used butter from Sams Club. Not high quality, I guess. It was soft consistency when I put it in the mixer and creamed with shortening.

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-K8memphis Posted 6 Aug 2016 , 12:49pm
post #8 of 15

i use the same butter, the quality is fine and it's better than the store brands -- it's harder* that's how you can tell -- i don't like to buy land o lakes because it's priced too high -- i can manage fine on sam's club or store brand butter* --

but i can't figure out how the oil could come out unless it got too warm? if it was soft consistency already and you had it in a cyclonic mixer aka ka and it was typical louisiana steam heat -- idk but sugarshack icing is pretty sturdy stuff --

but here's what i do know -- there's much more water in butter these days so i never use soft/warm butter for an icing like this -- i'd grate it right out of the fridge for a small batch and use it cold -- let the mixer pull it into the sugar --

but still that's an odd occurrence -- just had to be too warm

*but make a mental note if the butter seems all smooth and together when you unwrap it, means less water -- if it's not smooth and leaves little bits on the wrapper it's got more water -- the less water the better -- store brand has more water but it still works just don't let it get soft --

best to you -- lemme know how your smbc trial comes out --

and gigiel -- lemme know if you try either meringue under fondant -- i use swiss under there and it's fine but i keep my cakes cold too that helps -- the swiss turns real hard when it's cold so it's great to put fondant over -- room temp it squishes too much for me -- best to you

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RobinYummCakes Posted 6 Aug 2016 , 2:09pm
post #9 of 15

Thank you so much for your response!

My butter was too warm. I always either let the butter soften naturally to room temp OR even put in micro to soften (after reading what you said, that was a BIG mistake! Haha.). I also always left cakes out at room temp. (75F). When you say grate the butter, does that mean literally? With a cheese grater? Or cut into small squares?

K8memphis do you use SMBC on cakes not covered in fondant? I've read so many issues with it- that it takes a different type of food coloring to tint it? That it becomes streaky (in color) when smoothing w/hot bench scraper? I badly want to offer it, but I'm nervous!

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-K8memphis Posted 6 Aug 2016 , 4:08pm
post #10 of 15

 yes I literally grate the butter for a small home size batch --  for wedding cake size batches -- cut in cubes -- or run through the mixer first whole right outa the 1# wrapper -- or let them set out just long enough that you can put weight on the butter and it gives -- lean on it with your hand/arm or bang it with a rolling pin -- but let your mixer do the work --

soft or microwaved butter is great for making curds blush.png

yes I use smbc without fondant -- the beauty here is you don't need a hot knife to smooth it -- just a knife or straight edge -- yes I use a bench scraper -- if you still have a few stubborn spots -- chill it and used the heat from your fingers to buff them out --

it does take color differently than american -- in the first place the butter and vanilla give it a candlelight color -- so i always tell my bride's it's a little trade off for the taste -- if you beat it a long time it helps dissipate that -- some put in a few drops of purple color -- but also the lighting at the venue disguises it too -- it looks white enough and it's food --

i use my airbrush on smbc for coloring and all I can say is just mess around with smbc and coloring -- powdered color works good as does gel -- i've gotten all the colors I need out of it but I will also use American if I have much piping to do

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julia1812 Posted 6 Aug 2016 , 7:55pm
post #11 of 15

I use smbc almost exclusively. Initially because I feel it's more save as I know for sure the egg whites reached 160F which is a bit harder with imbc. Also no risk of burns (unless you are really clumsy). In the end it's the same more or less and know I just stick to smbc because I'm so used to it lol.

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gigiel Posted 9 Aug 2016 , 2:38am
post #12 of 15

Had a CrAzY busy weekend. So happy to come back & read all the responses. Thank you K8 for your expertise here. I did use it once, long time ago and it curdled. This left me not so sure about trying again. I was able to salvage the smbc after doing homework & finding out how to do that. Maybe it's like everything else & practice will help.  Thinking this would be easier to use in the months that are NOT so hot. Over 100 degrees here again today. Just question how practical it is to use especially in July & Aug. I love the idea that it hardens to the point of being easier to cover in fondant & that alone would make it worth the trouble.  RobinYummCakes, I love using ganache underneath fondant and much prefer it to smbc, but that could change if I can master the smbc. ;) I don't think the ganache needs to be refifgerated during the icing process as much as the smbc. At least for me, it seems to 'stand up to' the temps well & is so easy to make. Bench scrapper to finish & smooth, just have to plan ahead when using it so there is 'set-up' time for the ganache.  If you haven't tried it, do. It has a beautiful finish & fondant looks great covering it. Extra effort, but worth it.

Julia 1812, K8 & RobinYumm, Thanks so much! I will be attempting to use it more. Appreciate your help!!!

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RobinYummCakes Posted 10 Aug 2016 , 6:39pm
post #13 of 15

Hi gigiel,

Yes, I LOVE working with ganache! It is my preferred icing under fondant, but unfortunately most of my customers have never had it before, and would rather buttercream. Do you ever have to talk your customers into ganache?

K8memphis thank you for your advice :) I will be playing around with the smbc very soon, with your tips.

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-K8memphis Posted 10 Aug 2016 , 6:55pm
post #14 of 15

gigiel & robinyumm -- y'all are very welcome


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gigiel Posted 11 Aug 2016 , 12:58am
post #15 of 15

Robin, We are teaching our clients. Not all know what ganache is. In explaining that it is optimal for using under fondant, it is up to them to go with your suggestion or decline. It does add to the cost, so immediately be up front with added cost & benefit of using it, that will factor in to their decision making process depending on their cake budget (if they have a budget.) I try not to 'talk people into' much. Just offer alternatives, explain briefly & it goes from there. As with anything else, there will be those who try and those who do not want to spend  the extra money. Do not invest a lot of time trying to talk anybody into it, much time can go into that process & if you are consistently getting people who are not open to trying, it is a waste of your time which could well be spent in some other area, be it pleasure, family or other cake work...(organizing cake supplies, setting up & organizing coming cake orders etc.   :) HTH.

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