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Mar 13, 2008 11:18 PM

How does Italian Meringue Buttercream taste compared to buttercream?

I heard from someone that IM buttercream is less sweet than buttercream. I plan on making the Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes but think their frosting recipe is way toooooo sweet for my taste bud so wanted to try something different. Is it worth it? Is it to die for like whip cream? Is it still enough to pipe and decorate on cupcakes? How is the sweetness compared to buttercream?

THANKS in advance. I will do a trial run of the cupcake and whatever frosting I can come up with this weekend. My daughter's 1st birthday is next week.

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  1. Italian meringue tastes like a fluffy marshmallow to me. I find regular buttercream too sweet but italian meringue buttercream doesn't have much substance. It's sweeter than most whipped cream that I make and I prefer whipped cream frosting (just a personal thing). I wouldn't use it to pipe and decorate. This might be helpful as comparisons:

    1. You can absolutely use IMBC to pipe and decorate, but it's fussier than an american buttercream (particularly if you're used to working with the crisco version). It tastes like a stick of lightly sweetened butter when it's cold (blech), but when it's warmed up and softer, it's divine. Just don't let it get *too* warm or the piping won't hold. I don't have much of a sweet tooth (don't ask me how I got into cake decorating!) and typically scrape off the icing from any cake. I dislike american BC, but really enjoy a good IMBC.

      Check out . They can answer any cake decorating question you can throw at them.

      5 Replies
      1. re: modthyrth

        Have you made roses, scrolls and things like that with it? Mine hasn't come out firm enough to hold those shapes. I don't like basic american buttercream (conf. sugar, butter, vanilla, milk) but find it easy to decorate with.

        1. re: chowser

          I've done all those shapes with IMBC (or other cooked buttercream). It's all about getting the temperature right...

          1. re: milklady

            This is opening up new possibilities for me--do you refrigerate it first?

            1. re: chowser

              I try to make the buttercream and use it right away to frost the cake, because it's so easy. But, I put the remainder in the fridge while I'm frosting, and then I can pipe easily. Or, if I make the buttercream the day before, I make sure it's at a good temp when I go to pipe. I try to use small bags, especially in teh summer, and refill as needed, to keep the frosting from getting too soft.

        2. re: modthyrth

          With the IMBC, can I frost cupcakes the night before and they would still remain fresh if I left it out on the counter? Do you have a good recipe for IMBC? I don't like the regular buttercream, I find it wayyyyyyy to sweet and than the butter film that is left in my mouth after I can't handle.

        3. Suggestion. If you like less sweet icing, there is a Fanny Farmer recipe for what is called (I think) continental frosting. You cook together milk and flour til very thick, cool well. Then the butter is creamed and the flour stuff is beaten in and confectioners sugar. Don't remember proportions as I am not home but it is my favorite icing, never gritty and not very sweet, stays fluffy for a few days.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ElsieB

            That's the same frosting that's used on classic Red Velvet Cake. It's sometimes called Gravy Icing because of the flour/milk white sauce base.
            Great icing. Holds up beautifully even in hot, humid weather. Not nearly as heavy as a buttecream.
            During the Depression, crisco was often used in place of the butter. Makes this about the most economical icing possible.
            My family's favorite too!!! - just like ElsieB's.

          2. Martha Stewart uses it to decorate and for plain cakes.

            She also has swiss buttercream

            If you check out her websites, there are many links and pics.