This is the frosting that you'll find on many wedding cakes. Its silky texture is unparalleled, it pipes like a dream, and can be flavored and colored in as many ways as you can imagine. While it takes a little time to make, it freezes quite well. It's great to have on hand for unexpected occasions.
Hands-on time: 60 mins. to 2 hrs | Yield: 7 to 7 1/2 cups
If you want to use fresh egg whites instead of meringue powder, you'll need 8 large whites, at room temperature, combined with 1 teaspoon cream of tartar. Pasteurized egg whites in cartons won't work for this purpose.
Before you start, make sure you have a digital or candy thermometer that will read up to 300 degrees F for the and a small (nonstick, if you have it) saucepan for the sugar syrup.
While it's possible to do this with a hand mixer, it's strongly recommended that a stand mixer be used. You'll need your hands free to pour the syrup and add the butter.
If you plan to make piped roses, or if the cake you're frosting is going to spend any length of time in a warm place, adding a bit of vegetable shortening to the recipe will help any piping or decorations hold their shape better; the shortening has a higher melting point than butter, and helps the frosting to stay more stable in warm conditions.
Buttercream will keep up to 1 week in the refrigerator (longer than that, and you may see some mold start to form). It freezes beautifully. To use from frozen, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then let it come to room temperature before using. If you see any weeping or separation, toss the frosting in the mixer and whip it briefly to bring it back together.
If you're coloring the frosting, be sure to use gel or paste colors, not liquid ones; they'll cause the frosting to break.
If you're not going to use the frosting right away, consider dividing it into several smaller containers before refrigerating or freezing it. The smaller amounts will take less time to come to room temperature, and you'll be able to work with the frosting sooner.
Serving Size: 1/4 cup, 44g Servings Per Batch: 30 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213 Calories from Fat: 162 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 1g. Cholesterol: 49mg Sodium: 36mg Total Carbohydrate: 12g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 12g Protein: 1g
Recipe and photo credit (used with permission): King Arthur Flour