26 Reviews

I've made this buttercream 5 times now and this recipe has never failed me. Just follow the recipe to the letter and you'll be ok. Also, know that almost the entire time you are making this, the mess in your mixing bowl will NOT look right up until about the last 20 seconds before/after you put in that last little cube of butter. As soon as you add the butter to the sugar/eggwhite, it will metamophosize from a beautiful white fluff to a soupy mess, then to a curdled mess, to finally--just like magic--it becomes this beautiful, pipable buttercream. I doubled the recipe with no problem.

It's a pain, and it takes a lot of time, but the end result is well worth it.

5 people found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
Can't Hardly Cook September 29, 2011

this was relatively quick considering you have to use the stovetop. it is really rich and creamy tasting but light feeling at the same time. Definitely start the meringue before melting the sugar. I whisked/beat this by hand and the first time i tried it, I accidentally overbeat it (that's what causes the separation) in the last step adding the butter by tablespoons. Just watch it carefully when you're adding the butter and stop if you see it starting to look like rice cereal. I think it would be fine to end up with a few tablespoons less butter, but an intact icing. This is certainly buttery enough!!

3 people found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
sugarmama76 July 04, 2010

Awesome recipe! I found it very easy, didn't even use a thermometer, used salted butter, and beat the crud out of it, it all came out so fluffy and rich!!! I've made this before, and when you start to add the butter into the egg white/sugar water mixture, there is a point to where you think "oh no, this bombed!" but don't worry, just keep beating it, and it'll all come out, you need to have a good strong mixer, and let it run for a good ten minutes or so after all butter has been added. I am using this to pipe decorations on a chocolate cake, thanks for sharing!!!!!

3 people found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
noodleme20 May 13, 2009

Perfect Recipe for hot weather! I despise the classic American buttercream that is made with powdered sugar. In the typically American buttercream, there is a weight ratio of sugar to butter of about 1:1 (and on some recipes 2:1). That is why it is horribly sweet. I always make Swiss meringue buttercream, Italian meringue buttercream or Rose Levy Bernanbaum?s Neoclassic buttercream (for taste, hers is my favorite). The sugar to butter ratios are much better in all of these types. For this recipe for Italian meringue buttercream, the weight ratio of sugar to butter is about 1:2. For my son?s outdoor birthday party in August, I needed a buttercream that would hold up. The consensus is that Italian meringue buttercream holds up best in hot weather? so that is what I chose. I chose this recipe and doubled it. There is not a consensus about the safety of Italian meringue buttercream. Some sites say that the egg whites are sufficiently heated by the hot sugar syrup. Other sites disagree. For a family party, the eggs in the recipe would not have concerned me. However, when other people?s children are involved, I take no risks. I used pasteurized whole eggs (the brand is called Safest Choice ). They were incredibly hard to separate. I needed 10 egg whites for the double recipe and it took me 24 of the Safest Choice eggs to get 10 egg whites with no yolk. Bummer! But, the peace of mind was worth it. These eggs also took a long, long, long time to whip into a meringue, but finally they did do so beautifully (better meringue than with normal eggs)! This recipe does not explicitly call for vanilla. I feel that you absolutely need to add vanilla or something to lighten up the density of the butter. I added 2Tablespoons of good vanilla extract for the double batch. I made the buttercream the morning of the party and waited until the party to frost the cupcakes. I kept the bowl of buttercream in a cooler that just had a little ice in it. My goal was to keep the buttercream around 70 degrees until I needed it. I frosted the cupcakes using a pastry bag with a 1M Wilton tip. It was very hard to pipe. Whether it was a tad too cold or it is just the nature of this buttercream, I don?t know. It just didn?t flow out of the pastry bag like a typical buttercream. So, the visual effect of the piping was a disappointment. Again, it was perhaps just a tad too cold, though my instant read thermometer read 70-72 degrees. It was an August day in the Mid-West, but we were very lucky that it was only around 84 degrees, with very low humidity. The party was completely shaded by a picnic shelter. The buttercream held up beautifully. Even 2-3 hours later, there was absolutely no melting/sliding etc. of the buttercream. The leftover cupcakes spent the night out on the kitchen counter and tasted and looked as good the next day too. There were lots of compliments on the buttercream. There were mothers asking what the type of buttercream was and universal approval of the not-too-sweet nature of this buttercream. From what I saw, all the children finished their entire cupcake. So, for summer weather, this buttercream is best. In Fall, Winter or Spring, I would choose Swiss Meringue or Neoclassic buttercream for its easy of piping and slightly more nuanced flavor. I also see that some people have problems with this recipe becoming too soupy. I would suggest using an instant-read thermometer to make sure your meringue has come down to near room temperature before adding the butter. Like another user, I rubbed ice cubes on the outside of my Kitchen Aid to help the process.

1 person found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
jessicaronsard August 03, 2015

I love this buttercream! I made it a couple of times with vanilla bean and it tasted like ice cream. It is great to work with but if it its a hot day and you don't have air conditioning, you'll need to cool the mixing bowl.

1 person found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
supafreeze January 04, 2015

Awesome! First time I made this it was a dream! Absolutely gorgeous icing. Use right away. I found that if you refrigerate it, it becomes very hard (because of all the butter) and then when you try to use it, it's too hard to pipe with. That being said, you can just let it sit out and then pipe with it, but it's best when fresh. Second time I made it, I forgot to leave the butter out to get to room temp and had to micro it for a little bit. It was just a little warmer than room temp, which made the buttercream go soupy when I put in all the butter. I put it in the fridge for a while, then whipped again for a few minutes. Not as gorgeous as the first batch, but still turned out great and delicious. This is my go to recipe from now on!

1 person found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
Pastry Lovin' June 23, 2014

This is my first time making any kind of frosting besides a run of the mill buttercream. There's definitely a moment when you think you've screwed it up, but with a little bit of beating it does suddenly transform into a smooth, creamy dream. I halved the recipe, and it worked well even in the small portion. I might try adding a little less butter next time for my personal taste, but it's perfect how it is and received several compliments.

1 person found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
Amelia_H May 29, 2013

WOW! What a discovery! I'm not sure if I'm glad that I found this recipe because it has now ruined any other frosting for me! Simply delicious. I found that 3 sticks of butter in a batch was plenty and the frosting still holds up very well. It also gets much easier the more you make it...I'm now bringing cupcakes to everything I'm invited to simply because I want to make this delicious frosting and share the joy with other people! Haha! AMAZING!!!

1 person found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
KLaMacc826 December 16, 2012

This is not a beginner recipe :) I'm not new to cooking or baking but did have trouble with this recipe. Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes. These may be obvious pointers to some but I'll mention them anyway. Make sure your egg whites are room temperature. You may want to beat them and have them ready before you begin the syrup as it only takes a few minutes to reach 245. As SOON as it reaches 245 start pouring it into the meringue. Don't take it off the heat while you finish the meringue or let it continue cooking on heat. Also use as small a pan as possible for the syrup. I halved the recipe and had a hard time getting the thermometer into the syrup (barely covered the bottom of my small pan) without it touching the bottom of the pan. It will also start to harden and crystalize very quickly so the less surface area, the better. My icing broke and I couldn't quite figure out how to fix it (or if it's even possible). After refrigerating I re-beat it hoping get a fluffier consistency but the more I worked with it, the more liquid separated out. I drained off the liquid and went ahead and used the icing. It tasted like vanilla ice cream and was easy smooth. Half of the recipe (in it's compromised state) was enough for filling and top but no sides. I'll definitely try it again, hopefully with better success next time.

1 person found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
jimenezrachel August 09, 2008

This is the second meringue buttercream recipe that I've tried

0 people found this helpful. Was it helpful to you? [Yes] [No]
Smileyrie May 09, 2014
Mr. Brown's Italian Meringue Buttercream