Friday, May 13, 2011

Italian Butter Cream - by Nelly

Hey there! As you might have realized, Rachel and I switched blogs today and she’ll be blogging over at my blog, Cooking withBooks, while I blog on hers! Promise I will take care of your readers for you Rachel!  Let me just introduce myself, I’m Marnely but you can call me Nelly! I’m a graduate of The Culinary Institute ofAmerica, where I did the AOS in Baking and Pastry Arts and where I made this Butter Cream recipe probably more than 50 times! It’s a great, basic recipe to have in your repertoire, because after you get the hang of it, it’s pretty awesome. Here goes!

Italian Butter Cream
Yield: 2 quarts
Recipe from The Culinary Institute of America
1 lb egg whites (preferably old, preferably not chilled)
2 lb sugar (white, refined)
3 lb butter, soft
Vanilla, to taste (or the flavoring if your choice)

Notice the Ratio 1:2:3 (egg whites:sugar:butter): knowing this will let you scale up or down this recipe easily!

1. Make an Italian Meringue with whites and sugar by cooking the sugar to 240 F and when sugar is at this temperature, whip your egg whites until soft peak. Stream in the cooked sugar and whip on high speed until it is shiny. Lower to medium speed until cool. You can read a more in-depth instruction of the Wonders and Making of Italian Meringue here.
2. When your meringue has cooled, switch to the paddle attachment and start adding pieces of the softened butter to it. Softened butter is not cold, it’s not melted either. It’s perfectly in between cool butter!
3. Cream until smooth and flavor.

Butter Cream Notes:
This butter cream will never fail you. It might scare you and look like it’s a failure, but worry not. If the butter added was not cool enough or your meringue was still hot, you WILL have a soupy mess. This is easily solved by placing your entire bowl in the fridge to let it cool down. Re-whip and you are golden. Sometimes, the butter cream will have butter chunks, meaning your butter was too cold. Rub your mixer bowl down with your warm hands or if you have a torch on hand, SLIGHTLY torch it. By slightly I mean less than a second on one spot. People get “torch happy” and heat their bowl up, ending up with a soupy mess that will need to be cooled. My point on this endless note? Butter cream can ALWAYS be saved!

Now that you have two quarts of delicious butter cream, what can you do with it? Well, let me just tell you that you can flavor it with anything you want: extracts, oils, vanilla bean scrapings, citrus zests and more! You can ice cakes and cupcakes, sandwich it between cookies, use as a filling for cakes and even eat it by the spoonful (not recommended, unless you want your waistline to be the size of the Equator!) 

Flavored With: Chocolate

Flavored With: Vanilla Extract

Flavored With: Hazelnut Paste

You can actually store this butter cream out of your fridge if it’s not too hot where you live. It will re-whip much easier. For those of us living in hell-like climates, refrigerate it and remove it from the fridge 2 hours before use. Read my “butter cream notes” above for tips on having perfect butter cream. 

Thanks for reading! Hope that when you decide to make butter cream you share with us your thoughts on this recipe! Now go over to Cooking with Books and check out what Rachel is talking about! 


  1. All of those cakes look delicious! Buttercream of any form makes anything better:-)

  2. This is a great how to Nelly! I have been wanting to try to make this but I have been apprehensive... One day I will conquer it! Great guest post idea too..I'll have to keep that in mind!

  3. Mmm....This looks delicious and love how versatile it is! Now I want to make a cake (in addition to the butterscotch Rice Krispy cookies) :-)

  4. Thank you all for stopping by! Nelly did such a great post, and this is a recipe that can be used in so many desserts :) Hope you will continue to read both of our blogs!