Italian Meringue Buttercream First Encounter

I am into baking and decorating celebration cakes for my kids and for some of my clients. I am a big fan of fondant cakes with chocolate ganache under it. However, my kids and hubby seems to dislike the overly sweet taste of this combination overtime. Lately, they like naked cakes more than those decorated and coated ones. This inspired me of baking non fondant cakes, which resulted into baking a chocolate cake frosted with chocolate ganache during our Christmas party with friends last December. Since I am also in good relationship with Boiled Icing, I baked my third child's Teen Titans Go! themed birthday cake  following my ever dependable chiffon cake recipe and decorated using the boiled icing recipe I have posted here earlier.

Since boiled icing and I are already friends, I decided to try the Italian Meringue Buttercream because I am enticed with many of my Mommy and Baking friends who claimed to love its just enough sweetness taste and its stability.



Sorry for the mess, I need to buy a large stainless steel mixing bowl.


I followed Bekepedia's recipe for IMBC..

Makes about 6 cups
Ingredients

For the Syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
For the Egg White Mixture
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2¼ cups (4½ sticks) unsalted butter, very soft, cut into pieces
Instructions
  1. Place 1 cup of sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir dissolving the sugar a little. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. Dip pastry brush in cold water and brush on the sides of the pan to remove sugar crystals. Simmer the sugar mixture.
  2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl and whip until frothy on low speed using the wire-whip attachment of a stand mixer. In my case, I am using my 7 Speed Hand Mixer. Sprinkle the cream of tartar and increase speed to medium-high. When soft peaks form, add ¼ cup sugar gradually. Continue whipping until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  3. Bring the sugar/water mixture to a rapid boil and cook until it reaches 248˚ to 250˚ F. As syrup cooks, check visual cues to assess doneness if you do not have a thermometer: it starts out with a thin consistency and many small bubbles covering the entire surface. The moment water evaporates, the mixture will be thicker. Bubbles are larger and pop open more slowly. At this point the syrup looks thickened, but it has not begun to color; this is the firm ball stage - if you drop a bit of the syrup into a glass of cold water it will form into a ball. When you squeeze the ball between your fingertips, it will feel firm and the syrup is ready.
  4. With the mixer running, pour syrup in a thin, steady stream directly over the meringue. Avoid pouring the syrup on the sides of your mixing bowl. Whip meringue until cool to the touch; this could take several minutes. With the mixer running, add butter a couple tablespoons at a time. Keep beating until the buttercream is completely smooth and spreadable, somewhere in texture between peanut butter and mayonnaise. Now the buttercream is ready to use. Refrigerate up to 1 week in an airtight container or freeze up to 1 month. If frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bring to warm room temperature before re-beating. Always re-beat before using.
Italian Meringue Buttercream Troubleshooting
My first encounter with IMBC is good and I had success in it but, I admit, I have gone through various troubles. My mixture had gone runny. I tried popping the mixtures in the fridge for an hour or two and it hardened. I have waited a little while and started whipping it again but it had curdled this time. I am about to throw it and give up. Thanks goodness I found an easy to follow tutorial on how to fix a broken Italian Meringue Buttercream.


Following the tutorial on the video, I made my first IMBC with huge success and used it to fill and cover my drip cake below.