Friday, February 24, 2012

What the heck is Italian buttercream??

I boast all the time that I use 'Italian buttercream' to ice my cakes, but other than sounding oh-so European chic- what does that really mean?

The buttercream you're probably used to is American buttercream, which is made by incorporating large amounts of powdered sugar into a fat (butter, shortening, cream cheese etc.). Although this frosting does hold a special place in my heart (especially with cream cheese!), it has a super sweet taste and sometimes gritty texture that is not ideal for achieving a smooth finish on a cake. Which is why, for most tiered cakes I prefer to use meringue based buttercream, or Italian.

Italian buttercream is made by cooking granulated sugar on the stove until it reaches the soft ball stage, adding that mixture to whipped egg whites and then beating the mixture until it cools down.  Now comes the butter. I'm not going to disclose exactly how much butter is actually added, but let's just say this frosting is NOT figure friendly...Next, you can add any number of different flavorings and then you're left with a not too sweet, super smooth and oh-so European chic Italian buttercream...heaven!

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