Italian Meringue is a meringue made by slowly drizzling a hot sugar syrup into whipped egg whites. Prior to adding the syrup, the egg whites should be whipped until they are foamy and start to form soft peaks, but not dry at all. You can use egg whites from a carton or real egg whites. The results are the same. The sugar syrup is created by combining and boiling water and sugar to the soft ball stage (240F). Soft ball stage just means that if you were to take a drop of the sugar syrup and place it into a bowl of cold water, it would form a ball that is malleable – a soft ball.
When the syrup is added to the egg whites, the heat from the syrup will gently heat the egg whites, rendering them safe for consumption, while adding volume and fluffiness to the frosting. Once cooled, this frosting is spread or dolloped on cake or cupcakes in a casual fashion, but the results are quite stunning – a pillow of pure white with soft peaks and a gorgeous sheen.
This frosting pairs beautifully with chocolate cake or coconut cake, as shown here.
Voluminous Italian Meringue FrostingAdapted from: King Arthur Flour (Yield: 4 1/2 to 5 cups) 2 large egg whites, room temperature 1 cup sugar 1/3 c water 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the sugar, water, cream of tartar, and salt in a saucepan and heat over a medium-low flame. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and then let it boil until the solution reaches 240°F.
Meanwhile, using your whisk attachment, beat the egg whites in a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer. Whisk the eggs until they reach very soft peaks and look foamy.
Once the syrup reaches 240°F, slowly drizzle the syrup along the side of the bowl containing the egg whites, while beating the whites. It is important to drizzle the syrup slowly while beating the egg whites, to temper the egg whites. Temper means to gently and slowly bring something up to temperature. If this step is neglected and the syrup is added to quickly or dumped into the egg whites, the egg whites will scramble.
Once all the syrup is incorporated into the egg whites, add the vanilla extract, turn the mixer on high and beat for about 5 minutes. The frosting will become thick and voluminous (lifting the whisk away from the frosting will show nearly-stiff peaks) and garner structure which will help the frosting stay put when on your cakes or cupcakes.
When frosting cupcakes, try using a large ice cream scoop. It is easy to dollop atop the cupcakes. Then decorate as desired.
This frosting can be stored on cakes or cupcakes at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the fridge for up to 4 days. Unused frosting can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Given these guidelines, however, this frosting is at its very best the day it is made.
Sweetly ♥ Yours,