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Black Italian Meringue Buttercream

Use this black icing to make scary Spider Cakes for Halloween.

  • yield: Makes 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Black gel food coloring

Directions

  1. Step 1

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to boil, and cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Clip a candy thermometer onto the saucepan. Boil the syrup, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush in water to prevent cystallization, until the syrup registers 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).

  2. Step 2

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium high until stiff, but not dry, peaks form.

  3. Step 3

    With the mixer running, pour the syrup down the side of the bowl (to prevent splattering) into the egg whites in a steady stream, and beat on high speed until bowl is cool to the touch. Switch to the paddle attachment, and beat in butter, piece by piece. Add vanilla; beat until smooth and spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes. If mixture looks curdled at any point during the beating process, continue beating until smooth; the curdling will disappear.

  4. Step 4

    In the same bowl, add black food coloring, one drop at a time. Beat with the whisk attachment until color is incorporated. Continue adding drops and beating until buttercream reaches a deep black color.