Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 15 mins

This is a tricky recipe and may not come out correctly the first time. It took me 3 tries to master the method. It does work, and is really a beautiful frosting/icing. HINT: Step 3 is the key I believe. You must JUST wet the sugar. Start by adding a Tbs of water at a time. 2nd HINT: Use a metal bowl for the eggwhites. Hope these hints help!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. The first step is to start cooking the sugar.
  3. Pour water- just enough to wet the sugar, corn syrup and sugar into a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over medium-high heat.
  4. When the bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan, insert a candy thermometer in the mixture.
  5. As mixture boils, do not stir and using a pastry brush and a bowl of water, brush down the sides of the pan to prevent crystalization
  6. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy and slightly holding soft peaks.
  7. The sugar is ready when it reaches 240 degrees F, what is known as the soft ball stage.
  8. Make an Italian meringue by pouring the cooked sugar down the side of the bowl while you continue to whip the egg whites.
  9. Do not pour the hot sugar onto the beaters, or it will splatter.
  10. Continue whipping the meringue on medium-high speed until the outside of the bowl is warm but not hot, about 5 minutes.
  11. Add the butter 2 oz at a time and beat on medium speed until incorporated.
  12. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until the buttercream is thick, smooth, and shiny, about 10 minutes.
  13. At his stage, you can add flavoring, if desired.
  14. The buttercream can be used immediately or can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for several weeks if held in an airtight container.
  15. If it has been chilled or frozen, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature before using, then whip it with an electric mixer on medium speed until it returns to its initial volume and is once again thick, smooth, and shiny.


Most Helpful

I am not rating this recipe because I have not made this particular one, but I want to sound a warning to anyone looking to try it. Recipes such as these take time and patience to learn, but if you're willing to make that investment, you will end up with a very light, fluffy, and stable icing that can be flavored with any number of items. The biggest stumbling block I had in learning this tecnique was making sure the bowl is not too warm or too cold before adding the butter. If it is too warm, the butter will seperate, if it is too cold, the butter won't all encorporate before the meringue base is totally over-whipped and colapses.You must also make absolutely certain there is not even a trace of egg yolk in your whites, or the meringue will never get up and go. This is not a recipe and tecnique for the faint of heart, but if you are willing to stick with it, it will reward you handsomely in the end. This is how the pros make real buttercream.

Two Socks February 20, 2009

This is a hit or miss recipe. It has come out 2 out of 4 times. It takes much longer than 5 minutes for the frosting to cool enough to add the butter, which needs to be at room temperature before adding. When it comes out right, the taste and texture are really nice.

JJSebastn May 14, 2008

I made 8 cups, and the buttercream never firmed up. It took 20 minutes to turn warm, not hot, not 5 minutes as stated. It had the taste and consistency of marshmallow fluff, even after chilling and rewhipping.

laurencortesi July 13, 2005

Join the Conversation

  • all
  • reviews
  • tweaks
  • q & a