Classic Italian Buttercream is light, fluffy and not too sweet. It's easy to make and can last for several days refrigerated and may also be frozen for several months. You can make it just about any flavor by using extracts and concentrates. The recipe is easily doubled for larger cakes or cupcakes. Temperature is key. Be certain that the sugar syrup is up to 240℉. For best results meringue should be at room temperature prior to adding the room temperature butter and you will always have better and consistent successes if you use a scale for measuring ingredients.
Pour the sugar and water into a sauce pan. Cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, remove the lid, lower the heat to medium. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and continue to heat until the mixture has risen to 240º F
While the sugar/water solution is heating, place the egg whites, along with the salt in the bowl of your mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment, and beat the whites until just very soft peaks are starting to form.
When the sugar solution has reached 240º remove from the stove. Now, set the speed of your mixer to low, and very carefully and very slowly, pour the syrup into the egg whites. Keep the mixer on low speed until all the liquid has been added, then turn the speed up to medium.
Continue to beat until the whites are very stiff, as shown in the photo. This takes 4 to 5 minutes. Scoop them out into a bowl to cool before adding the butter. At this point, I like to wash the mixing bowl and whisk as some of the sugar syrup always clings to the sides. During the process of mixing in the butter these sugar crystals can break off and then you have these hard little lumps of sugar in your frosting.
Once the meringue has cooled to room temperature, scoop it back into your clean and dry mixer bowl. Again, use your whisk attachment. Cut your room temperature butter into tablespoon size pieces and with your mixer on medium speed, add one piece at a time, incorporating each before adding the next. When you are adding the last piece of butter, you may add the vanilla extract, or other flavorings of your choice.
Buttercream may be used immediately, or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Just whisk the cold buttercream to make it smooth and spreadable.
Serving Size 1 8" cake
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