Looking to kick your homemade frosting skills up a notch and aren’t scared of a little extra work? Our Italian meringue buttercream frosting recipe is just the ticket. Less sweet than traditional buttercream and not as buttery-tasting as its French counterpart, its dainty taste and airy, rich texture make it an upscale option for both frosting and decorating. Once you learn how to make it, try adding chocolate for an easy flavor option.
In small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring just until sugar dissolves. Let syrup cook until it reaches 240°F when measured with a candy thermometer.
In large bowl, beat egg whites and salt with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. With mixer running, slowly drizzle sugar syrup down side of mixing bowl. Continue to beat until bowl has cooled to room temperature, about 10-12 minutes. Do not begin to add butter until mixture has cooled fully.
Gradually add butter, 1 piece at a time, beating on medium-high speed. Let each piece of butter incorporate fully before adding another. Texture of icing will change as butter is incorporated: first, it will become runny. Next, it may appear curdled. After all of the butter has been added, add vanilla and continue whipping 1-2 minutes until smooth.
To make chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream, add 8 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate that has been melted and cooled slightly after all the butter has been incorporated.
Buttercream is best on the day it is made.
Pasteurized eggs may be used, but they do not whip up as well as regular eggs and will yield less icing. Begin adding sugar syrup when eggs reach soft peaks.