Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream

Italian Meringue Buttercream without eggs or dairy?  Impossible, you say?  Not with the miracle of aqua faba (the liquid drained from a can of beans)!

If you’ve never had Italian Meringue Buttercream before (or its cousin, Swiss Meringue Buttercream), you’re in for a real treat.  I often say that IMBC is the finest icing on Earth — silky smooth, light, and not too sweet, it’s a wonderful change from the confectioner’s-sugar-based American Buttercream, which some would argue isn’t a proper buttercream at all.  Meringue Buttercreams are very often used on wedding cakes, and with good reason.  They look great and taste luxuriously elegant.

11061334_10153450238039179_1004034007435769031_nFor my initial experimentation with this recipe, I chose 100% organic palm oil shortening because others have reported success using it as a butter substitute in egg-based IMBC — it’s creamy and luxurious, and creates a buttercream with a lovely texture, which pipes like a dream.  Unlike its conventional counterpart made with dairy butter, it is a brilliant white color, even if you add real vanilla extract.

Cupcakes with royal icing flowersI’ll be honest and say that IMBC made with palm shortening does lack a certain depth of flavor associated with conventional IMBC; traditionally speaking, the flavor of dairy butter is front-and-center in the flavor profile.   However, the texture of this icing is phenomenal, and I encourage you to consider this “blank slate” flavor to be an opportunity rather than a detriment.

If you use aqua faba straight from the can, you may find that your buttercream is softer and more fluffy than the conventional kind.  If you’re just icing a cake, this won’t be a problem, but if you’re hoping to use it as a base under fondant, you’ll want to make a stiffer version by reducing your aqua faba first.  Simmer it gently until it’s reduced to half of its original volume, and measure after reduction.  Reduced aqua faba can have a slightly caramelized flavor.

If you’ve never made a meringue buttercream before, the process can seem a little daunting.  However, I promise you that your efforts to master the technique will be more than worth it.

One word of caution: Don’t undertake this without a proper candy thermometer!  You don’t need a whizzy one like I show in the pictures below, but you definitely need one.  You’ll need to bring your sugar syrup to a specific temperature, and that’s not something you should guess about.

You can learn more about the amazing things you can do with aqua faba by joining the Vegan Meringues — Hits and Missses Facebook group.

Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream Recipe

Makes approximately 8 cups.

Special Equipment

  • Stand mixer with whisk and paddle attachments.
  • Candy thermometer

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup aqua faba (the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas or other mildly-flavored beans — see note above about reducing the liquid before you start if you need a firm buttercream)
  • 20 to 24 ounces (about 3 to 3 1/2 cups) 100% palm oil shortening(*), at cool room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place the aqua faba into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the whisk attachment.
  2. Sugar and water in a saucepanPut sugar and water in a non-reactive saucepan, and whisk or stir until blended.  Place the pan over medium low heat until the sugar is fully dissolved.  Remove any grains of sugar on the sides of the pan by either a) heating briefly with a lid on the pan, or b) brushing the insides of the pan with a heat-safe pastry brush dipped in cold water.
  3. Attach your candy thermometer so that the tip is submerged in the sugar syrup, but is not touching the bottom or sides of the pan, and start the mixer on low speed.  At this point, you may increase the stove temperature to medium, or even medium-high if you’re prepared to pay close attention to it.20150508_115513
  4. When the sugar syrup reaches the soft ball stage (about 234ºF), turn your mixer speed to high.  This is not a magic temperature, and if you’re using reduced aqua faba, you may want to start a little later.  The goal is to get your meringue to very stiff peaks before you add the sugar syrup to it.  Exactly when to turn up your mixer will vary depending on your mixer, your aqua faba, and how high the heat is under your saucepan, so start with this, and make adjustments as necessary for future batches.  If you are able, take note of the progress of the meringue as your sugar syrup rises in temperature, and turn the temperature down or up to try to get the timing right.
  5. When your sugar syrup reaches 248ºF, remove it from the heat and verify that your meringue has reached very stiff peaks.  You can wait a couple of minutes at this point if you need to, but try not to wait too long.Stiff (Reduced) Aqua Faba Meringue Peaks
  6. With the mixer still running on high speed, slowly pour in the sugar syrup, trying to carefully hit the sweet spot in between the spinning whisk and the side of the bowl (otherwise you might splatter sugar syrup everywhere…but don’t worry if you do, just keep going!).  Sugar syrup is very hot!  Be careful!Meringue with sugar syrup added.
  7. Your meringue will probably increase in volume as you add the sugar syrup, and when all of the syrup is added, it should be thick and fluffy.  At this point, stop the mixer and change to the paddle attachment.
  8. Cooling Meringue with an Ice PackTurn the mixer back on high, and keep beating until the meringue has cooled off to room temperature, which can take several minutes.  During this time, the meringue will become glossy, and may decrease a bit in volume.  Touch the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that the meringue is completely cool before continuing — otherwise the heat of the meringue will melt your fat, and you’ll get soup, not buttercream!  If you’re impatient, you can speed up this process by putting an ice pack against the bottom and/or sides of your mixer’s bowl.
  9. Now it’s time to add the shortening, vegan butter, or other fat.  With the mixer still running, add small pieces to the meringue, one at a time.  If you’re using shortening in a tub, scoop out spoonfuls and toss them in; if you’re using margarine or other products that come in a stick, cut it into small pieces first, and toss them in one by one.  You will probably lose some more volume as you start adding fat, but that’s expected.Palm Shortening in Small LumpsNote: As you are adding your fat, your buttercream may “break.”  (If you’re not sure what this means, don’t worry — if it happens to you, you will know!  If your buttercream looks curdled, just keep beating with the paddle, and it should come back together again.  If it still won’t come together, especially if it’s a warm day, you may need to cool it down for a bit and try again.  Place the buttercream (bowl, paddle, and all) into the refrigerator for a few minutes, then try again.
  10. When all of the fat has been added, turn your mixer to medium low and and add vanilla extract or other flavorings.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula a couple of times, to ensure that your flavorings are well-mixed.Italian Meringue Buttercream

Italian Meringue Buttercream stores extremely well in the refrigerator or freezer, so don’t be afraid to make it in advance, or keep some on hand for a rainy day.  Just make sure to take it out and allow to fully return to near room temperature before use.  Then, beat it in your stand mixer if you need to restore the texture.

(*) A Note on Fats: You may be wondering if there are other options beyond 100% palm oil shortening.  Surely there are, but as of this writing, I have not fully explored the options.  See the notes above for a more in-depth discussion about fat options.  Margarines and butter substitutes that come in a tub are probably not suitable, because their moisture content is much higher than products that are sold in stick form.  I will update this recipe as I discover other options that work.

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156 Responses to Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream

  1. Johnna Perry says:

    Incredible! I’m off to share with my readers. This is a game changer!

    Like

  2. Rosie says:

    you are an angel! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this up! I’ve been thinking of little else in the meantime!

    I think I’ll try my first batch by halfing the recipe… Hope that will work ok! Will definitely post results!

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Rosie, I make half-sized recipes all the time. It will definitely work! The only problem you can have is when your sugar syrup has so little volume that you can’t get a good reading on the candy thermometer (notice how I use a skinny pan for mine?).

      Let me know how it goes for you!

      Like

  3. The Typist says:

    Your instructions are so confusing. First you say reduce the aqua faba but then you say put it in the mixer bowl. Then you put the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat and then you talk about a pan. Can you edit this recipe to be clearer? Also palm sugar destroys orangutans.

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      I’m sorry you found my instructions confusing. Under the best of circumstances, making Italian Meringue Buttercream is not for the faint of heart.

      There is no palm sugar in this recipe. I do call for 100% palm oil shortening, but I do mention that there are alternatives. I realize this might not be an option everywhere, but in my local stores I am able to find organic palm oil shortening that is sourced entirely from certified-sustainable growers.

      Like

      • The Typist says:

        It’s not about being faint hearted. Your instructions are muddled.

        Like

      • Cheryl says:

        One of the best vegan IMBC recipes I’ve come across. Definitely not muddled. If one doesn’t know how a meringue based butter cream is made, then brush up your basics before attempting to read or make this recipe.

        Thanks for sharing the technique and the recipe 😊

        Like

    • Tisha says:

      If you’ve ever made Italian Meringue Buttercream these instructions are very good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lindajulien says:

        Thanks, Tisha!

        Like

      • Hazel says:

        I agree these are really good instructions. Reducing the AF is in the text as an optimal step. Va the directions obviously start with whichever version of AF you have (reduced or non reduced). I made this over the weekend and it was awesome. Thank you so much for sharing this.

        Like

  4. pyrplewitch says:

    Thank you! Your recipe is perfectly clear and concise! And, well, amazing!

    Like

  5. Beth Dixon says:

    Thank you for all of the testing and perfecting of your buttercream frosting recipe! The detail of your recipe should spare many of us buttercream disasters. Thank you for sharing it!

    Like

  6. jill says:

    Fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing this with us all and I find your instructions perfectly clear☺

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hannah Tai says:

    I second the sentiment that if you’ve made Italian Meringue Buttercream, the instructions are crystal clear!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Acooba says:

    This is wonderful, Linda!! I’m looking forward to trying it!! Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Anna Rapotu says:

    Thanks for the recipe, very excited to try it! Would it be possible to make this with just a handheld mixer? I can make aquafaba meringue fine this way and would adding a pinch of salt be fine to the recipe?
    Thanks again 🙂

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      In theory it should work, but you’ll be standing and holding that mixer for a *long* time! There will also be times when you will wish you had at least one more hand. The mixer needs to be running while you add the sugar syrup, and then you need to keep mixing, mixing, mixing until the meringue comes down to room temperature, which can take quite a while (usually I walk out of the room and do something else while I’m waiting). Then you need to toss the hunks of butter/shortening/whatever in, one by one, also with the mixer still running, and I often use both hands just for the tossing/cutting part. I’ve also found that the paddle attachment helps the temperature come down much faster than the whisk…I forgot to swap them one time and I wondered why it took so long!

      So, I think my answer is that I don’t think you’ll be happy if you try. I don’t think the failure will be in the mixer not working, but in you not being able to be in two places at once and not having enough hands to do everything at once.

      Like

      • Anna Rapotu says:

        Ha ha thanks for that! I do like a challenge but yes could see me getting in a bit of a frustrated pickle with all that!! Shall have to invest for the greater good of vegan awesomeness!! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Vegan Chocolate Midnight Cupcakes with Italian Meringue Buttercream | Geeky Cakes

  11. christine says:

    what a lovely clear set of instructions – I wish my Kenwood Chef hadn’t died or I would be making this for my brother’s birthday cake!!!! I may have to buy a new one:)

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Definitely get a new one, Christine! I don’t think I could live without my stand mixer. Due to a strange set of circumstances, I have two. I thought the first one was broken, and I replaced it with another, bigger, refurbished one (I got a great deal, thankfully)…but then when I investigated further, the old one still worked! In retrospect I had probably caused the motor to overheat, and there’s must be some sort of safety that shuts it off when that happens.

      At first I thought that I should give one of them away, but then it started being clear that when I go on a cooking mission, I can easily use two of them at once. I also have one with a huge wide bowl, and one with a somewhat smaller, tall & skinny bowl, so I get to pick and choose depending on what I’m doing. Heaven!

      Good luck with your brother’s birthday cake!

      Like

  12. caryn says:

    Can you reccomend a candy thermometer? Which is the one you use in the picture? Can not wait to try this!!

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Sorry for the delay! I was away from my computer for a few days.

      To some extent, a candy thermometer is a candy thermometer, and it doesn’t really matter. One sort of must-have is some sort of clip that will hold the thermometer in your liquid, but not touching the sides of the pan (if it touches the pan, you’ll get a false reading). Personally, I like one that will beep at me when it gets to the temperature that I set, so that I can focus on other things in the meantime. The one you see in the picture, which I bought only recently, is this one that I found on Amazon:

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00279OPDU

      It has a feature that I totally love, which I didn’t even know about when I bought it. This one starts beeping (and also flashing!) 3 degrees before the goal temperature, and then it changes to a different kind of beep when it reaches the temperature that you set. This is really great, because with my old thermometer, I used to set it 3 minutes shy of the goal, so that I could get ready with whatever the next step of my recipe was going to be…but this one does it for me!

      Like

  13. Rose says:

    Finally made this! Glorious! I halved the recipe, which worked fine. Used about 11 oz of fat, but would reduce to about 8-9 next time for a little more sweetness and less greasy mouthfeel. But overall, a total hit! I love this light texture that can be piled higher than a typical (super sweet) buttercream! Topping on lemon cupcakes and covering with coconut tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindajulien says:

      I’m so glad it worked for you! A few things…

      Yeah, I make half recipes all the time because the full recipe makes so much. As long as you can get an accurate reading on your candy thermometer, you’re golden.

      My original version called for a full 24 ounces of palm shortening, but after making this recipe a few times, I completely agree with you about cutting back.

      I really like the light fluffiness of the un-reduced aqua faba buttercream, too. It’s so unique and wonderful. I’ve been wanting to pair lemon and coconut with this, too, so I think that’s a great idea!

      Like

  14. Clarissa says:

    Hey, its a great idea and i really like your ricipe. But would´nt it be much easier to just add granulated sugar to the aquafaba? With normal eggs you have to heat it up because of salmonella, but this can´t happen with that so does it make any difference?

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      In this case, the heated sugar has a purpose other than just killing possible pathogens in egg whites (though it will do that as well). By heating the sugar syrup to the “hard ball” stage, it will solidify as it cools, which stabilizes the meringue. If you don’t do this, it will surely deflate when you add the fat.

      So yes, it will make a HUGE difference!

      Like

  15. Radha Fitch says:

    I am really interested in trying this recipe. Has anyone frozen and defrosted a batch of this version? If so how did it hold up?

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Hi Radha! As I mention above, “Italian Meringue Buttercream stores extremely well in the refrigerator or freezer, so don’t be afraid to make it in advance, or keep some on hand for a rainy day.”

      So, freeze away!

      However, (this is important!) make sure you let the buttercream return to room temperature before you try to do anything with it, then paddle it a bit to restore the texture.

      Like

  16. Sue says:

    I would love to know if any other fats have been used successfully. Palm oil use is destroying rain forests. Otherwise, I love the idea of making and using this buttercream frosting.

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Hi Sue,

      Certified-sustainable palm oil shortening is readily available in my area, and with a bit of research, you may discover that it is available in your area as well.

      Some people have had moderate but not stellar success with Earth Balance, but of course that is out for you, since they don’t yet use sustainable palm oil.

      I look forward to hearing back about your experiments with alternate fats.

      Like

  17. veganmark says:

    Just say no to Palm Oil.

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      “Certified sustainably-harvested palm oil.”

      Like

      • veganmark says:

        I don’t even believe in sustainable palm oil. Want to guess why? Some other animal suffers to make it. We just haven’t hard which ones are suffering yet.

        Like

      • lindajulien says:

        No crop can be grown without altering the environment around it. Palm oil produces more gallons of oil per acre than any other crop by a factor of *two*. Every area of land that is used for farming would have otherwise been used as a habitat for various animals, and palm oil can do it while re-purposing less than half of the land.

        But really, this isn’t the place to debate these things. If you don’t want to use palm oil, then you should not.

        Like

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  20. Marian McIntosh says:

    I am very keen to try this recipe but have been looking to source palm oil locally and aren’t sure I will find any. Do you think cocoanut oil would be a good substitute.

    Like

  21. lindajulien says:

    I don’t think coconut oil by itself would work, because it’s so hard at cool room temperatures, and then suddenly liquid when it gets warmer…but emulsions are a different beast than any of their ingredients alone, so I don’t fully know.

    I’m not sure where you’re located, but I was (pleasantly) surprised to find sustainably-harvested, organic palm oil shortening in almost every grocery store in my area. Until I went looking for it, I didn’t know it was there.

    Like

    • Marian McIntosh says:

      Thank you ,
      I am in New Zealand .I have looked today and have my thermometer but no luck with the palm oil, Tried our organics shop which sells a lot of unusual ingredients and also Moor Wilson a huge outlet for all types of wonderful food and our local grocery store. No luck yet but I will keep looking .

      Like

      • lindajulien says:

        You could certainly try other butter replacement options. You want something that is solid but pliable at room temperature. Coconut oil is probably a problem because it is so hard at cool room temps and then suddenly son liquid when it gets a little warmer. Some types of dairy-free margarine might work, but you should look for the ones that come in a stick rather than a tub, because they have a lower water content. Hood luck!

        Like

  22. Mae says:

    First of all I’m very excited to try as I’ve been tossing to deal with raw eggs.. Though it’s heated to a certain temperature .

    Anyway may I check 2 things, the sugar has to heat till hardball stage ? And is it possible I use butter instead of Palm solid? Will it’s hold its shape?

    Thank you:)

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Yes, heat the sugar to hard ball stage. I like to do 248F (120C), which is on the higher end of hard ball.

      I have yet not tried it with butter, but I’m pretty sure it would work. Your butter should be room temperature, but not too soft — when it’s the right temperature, if you pick up the stick and try to bend it, it should bend into an arc rather than squishing.

      Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

      Like

  23. darlajake says:

    Made this recipe yesterday (I halved the recipe for 24 cupcakes). Your instructions were PERFECT! I was so pleased with the outcome. By far the most delicious buttercream I’ve ever tasted! THANK YOU!
    I added fresh strawberry puree to the final product. It turned out so well, so delicious!

    Like

  24. Nicole R. says:

    For those looking for an alternative to palm oil, I made this using the cocoa butter shortening recipe from veganbaking.net: http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-shortenings/vegan-shortening-cocoa-butter-base

    The white chocolate flavor is awesome and there’s no greasy mouthfeel, just the fluffy, dreamy frosting of my dreams!

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Thanks for sharing this! I’m sure it’s delicious.

      I should also add that cocoa butter can be found in a “deodorized” version, which has had the chocolate-y flavor removed. That means that cocoa butter shortening should be an option whether or not chocolate flavor is your goal.

      Like

    • miri says:

      do you have any idea how many grams of cocoa butter is needed for this recipe? (I buy mine online and it comes in 100g boxes)

      Like

      • lindajulien says:

        I hope Nicole will elaborate on what she did, but I would make the cocoa butter shortening according to the directions, and then aim for the same amount by weight as called for in the recipe.

        As it stands, this recipe was a direct translation of an egg-and-butter recipe, and I used the same weight of palm shortening as butter called for in the original.

        Like

  25. Pingback: Eggless Italian Meringue Butter Cream/ Egg Free IMBC

  26. twoangelmama says:

    i’m beyond thankful for this recipe. you’re going to make one highly allergic, yet lover of cakes, very happy! I was wondering if flavoring this with cocoa powder or melted chocolate would ruin the meringue? I’ve made buttercreams and meringues the traditional way but I haven’t ventured into aqua faba territory yet – still reading/learning.

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Thanks! If there’s one thing I firmly believe, it’s that *everyone* deserves really good cake!

      You can make chocolate buttercream by adding 2-3 ounces (by weight) of melted-and-cooled chocolate to each cup of buttercream. Melt the chocolate, then let it cool to near room temperature before mixing it in. It might not be as dark as you’re expecting, but if you add too much chocolate, the buttercream will become super-stiff and hard to pipe.

      Good luck!

      Like

      • twoangelmama says:

        awesome!!!! I just can’t wait! I’ve made every birthday cake for the kids since birth and I was hoping to have a really good tasting AND looking cake for him by birthday time. but not one bakery, so far, can cater to his needs. but now i’m not worried since, as you so wisely said, “*everyone* deserves really good cake”! you are amazing. seriously.

        Like

      • twoangelmama says:

        so I just realized that I can’t make it with palm oil shortening due to the coconut oil. my son is allergic. however, Crisco’s ingredients work well for him. (I haven’t explored all shortenings, but since he’s allergic to corn and on the verge of allergic to flax I need to avoid those too). you may not have used Crisco, but theoretically it would work?

        Like

      • lindajulien says:

        Wait…your son is allergic to coconut, or palm oil? There is no coconut in 100% palm oil shortening.

        I have seen a brand of shortening that is a blend of palm and coconut oil, but I have never used it and I don’t know how well it works in this recipe. What I use is 100% palm oil shortening made by a company called Spectrum Organics (there’s a link to it in the blog post above). If you are in the US, I know that you can order it from Amazon, though I have found that it’s much less expensive in my local grocery stores. Whole Foods carries it if you have those stores anywhere near you, but where I live, many regular stores carry it in their organic/natural foods sections.

        While Crisco may work so far as holding the emulsion, I think you will be *very* unhappy with the flavor and “mouthfeel” of it. This recipe calls for a huge amount of fat, and I think that much Crisco will just seem “yucky.” Palm oil shortening has a much more pleasant flavor and mouthfeel.

        I have also heard from a friend who is a chef that Fleischmann’s Unsalted margarine (only the unsalted variety is dairy-free) works well in egg-based meringue buttercreams. I haven’t tried it myself, but you may have success if the ingredients work for you.

        If you read the other comments, you’ll see that some people have had success with half Earth Balance Buttery Sticks and half Earth Balance Shortening, and some have had success making their own shortening out of cocoa butter and a liquid oil. Cocoa butter is available in both unrefined (i.e. chocolate-tasting) and “deodorized” versions.

        I hope you can find something that works!

        Like

      • twoangelmama says:

        sorry, that clarifies it. he has an allergy to coconut but also has an almost allergy to flax (the earth balance sticks had flax seed oil, so I was trying to avoid those). but the other brands you mentioned are key. I never realized that fleischmann’s unsalted is dairy free. good deal – i’m going to check our grocery stores since they’ve had a pretty extensive selection with other products. so sorry for continuous questions, i’m so very thankful to have this literally laid out (for me – or at least it feels like it!) 🙂 thanks again.

        Like

      • lindajulien says:

        No problem! But keep in mind that Palm Oil is *not* coconut oil!

        Like

  27. Darla says:

    An alternative to palm oil:
    I used 1/2 Earth Balance “Vegan Buttery Sticks” and 1/2 Earth Balance “Shortening Sticks” and it worked beautifully.
    I halved the recipe, so used 6oz of each.

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Darla! The more options that people hammer out for the fats, the better, since no everyone wants to use the same ingredients and not everyone can find the same ingredients in their local stores. Sounds great!

      Like

    • lindajulien says:

      I should also add that I have some Earth Balance soy-free sticks in my fridge, and I can’t wait to try them. I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance, but I’m optimistic.

      Like

  28. Brett says:

    Great recipe! Is the resulting buttercream firm enough to be used in between layers of a large cake? How do you recommend stiffening the BC even further?

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      I would recommend reducing the aqua faba by simmering it until it reaches half of its original volume. Cool it down again before using it. If you do that, you shouldn’t have any trouble. Good luck!

      Like

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  31. This recipe was amazing!! I found it easy to follow. I don’t have a standing mixer and my candy thermometer was too long for the pot, so it was challenging (and hilarious) to stand there with one hand holding the immersion blender and the other holding the thermometer 🙂 But it worked out beautifully!! I used Earth Balance butter sticks and added lemon juice and zest for flavoring. Thank you!! I know you mention that it keeps well in the fridge, but can you tell me what the best estimated time would be before it goes bad? Thanks so much.

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      Sorry for the delay! I was working on my daughter’s birthday cake (see https://geekycakes.com/2015/08/14/monster-book-of-monsters/), and then I’ve been on vacation (I deserve it, I think).

      You deserve a gold medal for making IMBC without a stand mixer! I can’t believe it! 🙂

      For my own personal use, I have successfully kept IMBC in the fridge for weeks, though you should really freeze it if you expect to keep it that long. The only thing you really need to watch out for is that it’s very prone to picking up off-flavors, so make sure you keep it in an air-tight container, and that you don’t have any stinky past-due leftovers stored in the same fridge!

      Like

  32. ChicagoLaura says:

    This is a great recipe, and I’ve been delighted to make it three times over the past three weeks! And good news for anyone who (like me) finds themselves without the whip attachment for their blender. If you can put the aqua faba into a blender (thickened in advance, if possible), and get some air into it, then proceed with the rest of the recipe despite not being able to get the firm peaks first. Then cream the margarine and/or shortening, and add the foamy aqua faba/sugar syrup mixture (after totally cooling it). You will get a soft, but usable icing that even can pipe very soft decorations. (Soft shell or pearl borders, writing on a cake, etc.) Icing will be very “broken” before it makes it through the beating process to firm up and emulsify and become pretty manageable. If you can refrigerate or briefly freeze your cake as you ice it, all the better.

    Like

  33. jess says:

    Hello! How well does this recipe hold up to higher temperatures? (80-100F) Thank you!

    Like

  34. ana says:

    I’m wondering if you could use half shortening and half butter? If so, any idea how to split it – maybe half and half?

    Like

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  38. Lisa says:

    Hi, could this be made with half the amount of fat? Seems like such a lot. Thank you.

    Like

  39. ana g says:

    One more question how far in advance can this be made if being used soley for a cake filling?

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      This will keep for a really, really long time, and it freezes exceptionally well. You can certainly keep it in the fridge for a week in advance, or in the freezer for months. Keep it well-sealed, because it is prone to picking up off-flavors from the fridge.

      The truth is that I’ve found a tub of IMBC in the back of my fridge *weeks* after making it, and it’s been completely fine.

      Like

  40. Sara says:

    Does this firm up when refrigerated like SMBC does? I’m looking for a vegan alternative to my typical SMBC that will work for covering with fondant.
    Thanks!

    Like

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  42. Christine says:

    I’m really excited about this recipe! I have an odd question and I’m wondering if you might have an idea about whether substituting some chèvre for part of the fat would work? I was thinking of a mix of chèvre, ghee, and shortening so it has a cream cheese frosting type of flavour. What do you think?

    I was also wondering if you have tried, or have heard of any success using another type of sweetener in the syrup – either made with honey, xylitol, ect besides sugar?

    Like

    • lindajulien says:

      If you want to add chèvre, I would make the buttercream first, then add it in at the end. With some searching, you should find some instructions online about adding cream cheese to IMBC, and the technique should be the same.

      I don’t know about using other sweeteners, though I did a bit of research about it recently. You do need a hard-ball-stage sugar syrup to stabilize the meringue, and I don’t know whether any of those other sweeteners can do the deed. If you find out, please let me know!

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  43. maria says:

    I never comment on anything, and I use online sources all the time, but this is OUTSTANDING. As a former Martha type baker, I miss certain foods now that we have a limited diet. Aquafaba blows my mind in general. How did I not think of that?
    Anyway, I made several versions of this and these specific instructions worked the best for IMBC that mirrors the egg version. My final best was to reduce the AF on the stove by 1/2. Keep other ingredients EXACT. I added a tiny splash of vanilla with no problem. For those who tolerate butter, made a batch under these instructions and it was great, no changes needed. We don’t eat a lot of sugar in my house and tried to cut the sugar by 1/2 in a batch. You have to compensate by adding more butter and it was gross. I ended up on my final cake, keeping the IMBC extra light and used a thin layer VS big globs…perfect. It was easier to leave this as is, and cut the sugar in the cake instead.
    Responding to criticism, cooked buttercreams are not for the novice or faint at heart. Even seasoned bakers will have a random bad batch..Don’t be discouraged, this is a solid, tested, allergy/limited alternative. My SAD guests loved it!!!!

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  45. Priya Gopal says:

    Hi there!
    Thanks for this awesome recipe. I was so excited to try this.
    I’ve never eaten eggs in my life, so I don’t know what an IMBC should taste like.
    I followed directions perfectly, but I used butter for the fat. When I started adding the butter, after about six-8 chunks (I kept these chunks about 1/2 Tablespoon size), the meringue deflated and it was very curdled. Basically butter whipping around liquid. I held out hope, and continued to whip it with the paddle and it did eventually homogenize like you said. But it looked and tasted just like whipped butter.
    I made another batch of meringue without the sugar syrup, and added the previous butter mix to that. Pretty much the same thing happened. I added cooled and melted chocolate to it, and that helped lighten it a bit, and it ended up being very creamy, smooth, and yummy.

    I’m wondering, though, if it is supposed to be lighter, and if the butter is supposed to cream and suspend more in the meringue. I didn’t reduce the aquafaba, and maybe that would help.

    If any of this sounds like I did something wrong, please let me know. Thanks so much for your time!!

    Like

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  47. Donna says:

    OK. I did it. Made it with the shortening I had on hand – Crisco! Also used some aquafaba that was partially from pintos and partially from chickpeas.

    I made a half batch, and found that maybe because there was some salt (hence, flavoring) in my aquafaba, my frosting wasn’t sweet enough. Added probably 3 cups of powdered sugar, and vanilla, AND about 3-4 tablespoons of red raspberry jelly to become sweet and flavorful enough.

    I’ve never made Italian buttercream before, and I’m still not exactly sure what to think about it! LOL. I did find that I had to add a little water to my sugar syrup a couple of times because it sort of seized up on the stove, and never got exactly up to 248 degrees.

    It is very fluffy, and pretty tasty. It’s kind of greasy… but I think I’m just more used to the flavor profile of regular buttercream which is heavier on the sugar.

    Overall, a great recipe! I may try it again. IF someone has tried adding cocoa or melted chocolate to it, I’d love to hear about it. Perhaps a chocolate version might mask any leftover been flavoring better!

    Like

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