I got this recipe from the Culinary Art Institute of America book on Baking and Pastry, so you know it’s a good one. Once you master this, I promise you will never go back to any previous frosting you were using. A lot of very successful bakery’s use this recipe, but they keep it a secret. I’m giving you all the information you need to create the best frosting. I promise you won’t regret taking the time to make it.
- Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Attach the candy thermometer on the side of the saucepan so you will have a constant read of the temperature. Continue cooking, without stirring, until it reaches the soft ball stage (240 degrees F/116 degrees C). A heavy-bottomed saucepan is best to use because it conducts heat evenly.
- Start whipping the egg whites when the sugar reaches 230 degrees F. The egg whites should reach medium peaks at the same time the sugar mixture reaches the desired temperature. Whip the egg whites with the whisk attachment on medium speed. Beat the meringue to medium peaks. It is very important not to overwhip the meringue, stiff-peak meringues are resistant to incorporating other ingredients.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees F/116 degrees C, add it to the meringue in a slow, steady stream down the side of the bowl while the mixer is set on medium speed. Once all the sugar is added, whip on high-speed until the meringue has cooled to room temperature.
- Switch to a paddle attachment before you start to add the butter. Add soft butter gradually, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Blend in vanilla. The buttercream is now ready for use or may be stored, tightly covered in a refrigerator.
- Another thing that should be noted. As butter is added to an Italian buttercream, it may look broken, but if you continue beating, it will develop a very smooth consistency.
- Also, when storing it in the refrigerator it will get hard. To get it back to the right consistency, there are two ways this can be accomplished. One way is to let it sit at room temperature for a few hours. The faster second way is to melt about an 1/8 of the buttercream mixture in the microwave. Put the melted buttercream in a kitchen aid mixer and set to low speed. Add cold chunks of buttercream a little at a time until the buttercream is incorporated. It should look chunky at this point. Mix for about 20 minutes until the buttercream looks smooth and creamy again.