2 recipes

Bodacious Buttercream

This is a recipe I got from a good friend, Melissa Kearl, who bakes wedding cakes and other desserts semi-professionally. Buttercream frosting is useful in numerous applications such as icing cakes, pastries, to serve as a rich filling and as a decoration.

2½ cups sugar
1½ cups water
½ tsp salt
7 egg whites
½ tsp cream of tartar
2½ cups butter, soft and unsalted
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Stir the sugar, water and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.

2. Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to high. Boil without stirring until 235-8°, brushing down any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. This step takes about 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar in a clean metal bowl until medium stiff. This should be done about 20 minutes into the previous step. That it get done too soon isn't too crucial, but you do not want to let the candy from step 2 sit around waiting for the whites to be whipped.

4. While mixer is still running from step 3, gradually add in the hot syrup from step 2 keeping the stream steady. Continue beating until meringue is barely lukewarm, about 8 minutes.

5. Beat in the butter, 2 tbsp at a time. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.

6. If the frosting looks curdled, place the bowl briefly over very low heat and whisk it until the butter softens just a bit.

7. Beat the buttercream with the mixer until smooth at this point repeating step 6 as necessary.

8. Mix in the vanilla and transfer to another bowl where it must stand at room temperature until used.


Alternative recipe

This works too and is faster as well as simpler. It's from my daughter, Andrea.

200 grams egg whites, room temperature
300 grams sugar
1000 grams unsalted, good-quality butter, room temperature

1. Heat over bain-marie until 85° Celsius.

2. Whip until room temperature.

3. While still whipping, slowly add the butter until smooth.

4. Add vanilla to taste; can add 200 grams of slightly meltied chocolate.