If icing becomes too soft for piping, stir over ice water to stiffen. If it's been stored in the refrigerator, bring it back to room temperature and rewhip.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Continue to boil until syrup reaches soft-ball stage, 238 degrees on a candy thermometer.

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  • Meanwhile, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium high until stiff but not dry.

  • With mixer running, pour syrup into egg whites in a steady stream and beat on high speed until steam is no longer visible, about 3 minutes. Add butter bit by bit. After all the butter has been added, beat for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth and spreadable. If the icing looks curdled at any point during the beating process, don't panic: keep beating and it will smooth out.

Variations

Mocha Buttercream: Melt and cool 8 ounces semi- or bittersweet chocolate. Stir into the beaten buttercream, along with 1 tablespoon instant-espresso granules dissolved in 1 teaspoon hot water.

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