2 cups Sugar
8 Egg Whites
2 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter
1 tbsp Vanilla
Pinch of Salt
The first thing you’re going to want to do is take your UNSALTED!!* butter out of the fridge and cut it into slices. Put the butter aside and begin with the Meringue.
Meringue does not do well in the presence of grease or oil so as a precaution I always use a paper towel and vinegar to quickly wipe out the inside of the bowl I’m using and the whisk attachment to my mixer. It only takes a second and then you wont be left wondering what went wrong if the meringue doesn’t work.
Bring a pot of water to a simmer on your stove while you are separating your egg whites* *. Pour the egg whites into the bowl with the sugar and place the bowl over the simmering water*** be sure that the water does not actually touch the bottom of the bowl because of the possibility of scrambled eggs. However if you stir quickly you have nothing to worry about. Stir quickly and constantly. You want to heat the eggs to a temperature of 160. Don’t panic if you don’t have a candy thermometer. The sugar melts at 140. You can stick your finger into the mix and feel for grit. At around 160 the eggs become frothy. Once the eggs are frothy you can move the bowl into your stand mixer if you are one of the lucky ones or begin to use your hand mixer. Mix at high speed until stiff peaks form. You can tell you have stiff peaks when you can move the entire works to one side with out it sliding back. Hopefully by this time the mix will have cooled enough so that the side of the bowl is just slightly warm or completely cool to the touch because you don’t want your butter added to a mix that is too warm. Use your own discretion here.
Congratulations! You have just made the best meringue that you will ever eat. You can stop at this point and use it just as it is. I always get really excited at this point because this meringue is just so shiny and beautiful. By all means taste your creation. It should taste like fluffy marshmallow cream from heaven. But we came here for butter cream so let’s continue.
At this point you’ll want to switch to the paddle attachment in a stand mixer or just keep truckin’ if you have a hand mixer. (There’s extra love in hand mixed butter cream…and your about to find out why). On the SLOWEST!!speed possible**** add one bit of butter at a time waiting until it is nearly totally incorporated before adding the next. The meringue will deflate a bit. It’s supposed to don’t panic. As you add more butter the mix will turn soupy and bumpy looking. This is a sign that it is working perfectly. I have heard stories of people throwing the mix in the garbage at this point because they thought it didn’t work. Don’t do that. Just keep mixing. After approximately 10 minutes you should have the fluffiest most beautiful butter cream that you have ever seen. At this time you can add the vanilla and salt or any other flavorings you would like to try.
This will give you more than enough to decorate an 8 inch cake and some cupcakes. Keep in mind that this butter cream does have eggs in it and cakes decorated with it should be refridgerated. Remember to take the cake out about two hours before eating though because the flavors fall flat when they are cold and the texture is somewhat comparable to butter. The egg in the mix also gives it an expiry date that regular American butter cream doesn’t have. I think it is best to throw out any left overs after 4 or 5 days. But really, if you still have cake left over at that time the cake will be pretty stale so I can’t imagine anyone wanting to eat it anyway.
This butter cream is freezable. To use it again take it out the day before you intend to use it and thaw it in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge an hour before use and just before use whip it in your mixer at low speed again. It will go soupy again. Don’t panic. Just let it come back together.
*I am a big fan of doing things with common ingredients that I happen to have in the house all the time anyway. However the use of salted butter added a taste to this butter cream that distracted me from tasting the true flavors. It is best to have control over the salt your self. Don’t skip the salt though because it adds a certain fullness to the flavor profile.
**Put the yolks aside for use in the cake. I hate waste so I use the yolks in the cake but that will be a later post.
*** This is called a bain marie if you want to be fancy.
**** You have to use the slowest speed for this process to work. If you rush it the emulsification won’t bond properly and you will be left with ugly butter cream. Don’t do it. Just be patient. This Butter cream is well worth it.
I wouldn’t trust this butter cream if I was pregnant so I wouldn’t suggest that anyone else should. I’m pretty sure it’s okay but why risk it. A pregnancy friendly alternative is to use those cartons of egg whites as they have been pasteurised and you will know for sure there is nothing to worry about. I have heard that the result is slighly less fluffy but well worth the compromise considering the situation.
Worried about raw egg consumption read this info