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Aug 16, 2009 09:18 PM

Taste Differences in Italian and Swiss Meringue Buttercreams?

Can someone give me some insight into the differences in taste between Italian Meringue Buttercream and Swiss Meringue Buttercream? I'm specifically interested in knowing which of the two is fluffier and sweeter, as I've found the meringue-based buttercreams to be too buttery in the past and think that a tad more sweetness might even out the potentially "lardy" (not my adjective) profile of the buttercream. Basically, I don't want one that tastes like I'm eating a stick of butter and I've definitely had and made ones like this before. Thanks!

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  1. You surely found an answer to your question by now, Laura, but for everyone else who's wondering...
    The primary difference between Italian and Swiss Meringue Buttercreams is stability or how well they hold up in all situations. Swiss tends to deflate slightly faster and doesn't hold up as well in warm environments. But because Swiss meringue isn't made with a sugar syrup as Italian Meringue Buttercream is, you don't have to worry about little crystallized bits of sugar that you can get with an Italian Meringue, but Italian is more dependable and heartier. Either can be frozen for long-term storage. Both types of Buttercream often take quite a bit of whipping in order to reach the right consistency of light and fluffy. I wouldn't say that one is less "lardy", though. Here's an idea: make the Italian buttercream base, then add just half the butter called for. Give it a taste test - add more if needed, but maybe that's enough butter for you. As long as the icing is firm enough to hold up on the cake, why not? You'd just have less icing to work with.

    1. Can you make either non dairy? Thanks marg

      7 Replies
      1. re: ceelyonca

        The Meringue is Nondairy. Nondairy Butter Cream is not Butter Cream. I am sure there are nondairy Frostings

        1. re: chefj

          Yes I am sure there are plenty of non dairy icings, and yes I realize ha meringue is non dairy, but if someone prefers to use a icing that is lighter,or that can not tolerate dairy, then perhaps this type can be made with either a substitute to butter. ie soya margarine, or a non dairy margarine, or perhaps just shortening in place of the butter. Thank you for your input, I will try a substitute and let you know of the outcome.

          1. re: ceelyonca

            Also the Meringues can be used as Icings with out any added fats. They are easily altered and flavored.

        2. re: ceelyonca

          Meringue butter cream without butter is 7 minute frosting, more or less.

          You should be able to add shortening or margarine or whatever you usually substitute for butter. The texture would be a little different depending on how solid the fat you use is when at serving temperature. You might also want to add extra flavoring to make up for the lack of butter flavor. You could add melted dark chocolate, or some lemon juice and zest, or your favorite extract or liqueur. Plenty of commercial frostings do not use butter:

          1. re: babette feasts

            Thank you for your reply, i will try the substitute. I appreciate the suggestions. The rich's I will see if my supplier can get it.
            I bake for alot of allergy people and some prefer not a seven minute frosting, or a shortening icings Will let you know how the substitutes work.

            1. re: ceelyonca

              It looks like the Bettercreme has dairy (sodium caseinate) in it, so it might not work for those with milk allergies or those who don't eat dairy. Just thought I'd mention this in case you didn't see it in the ingredients.

              1. re: Laura D.

                Thanks for catching that.

                I did not intend to recommend that particular product, just to show that much of what is used as butter cream in grocery store type bakeries uses fats other than butter, so the home cook probably could too.