- 12 oz (336 g) egg whites (10 large egg whites or about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 cups (680 g) granulated sugar
- 3 lbs (1.36 kg) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp lemon extract, almond extract, orange extract, or pure vanilla extract or up to 3 fl oz (90 ml) light rum, framboise, pear William, or kirsch
- 1. Lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 140°F (60°C).
- 2. Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip with a wire whip until double in volume on MEDIUM-HIGH speed. When the mixer stops, the meringue should not move around in the bowl. Meanwhile cut up butter into 2-inch pieces. (The butter should be slightly moist on the outside but cold inside.)
- 3. On your mixer, remove the whip and attach the paddle. Add half the butter (1 1/2 lbs or 680 g) into the bowl immediately and pulsate the mixer several times until the meringue has covered the butter completely. To pulsate the mixer, turn it on and off in a jerky motion. This forces the butter on the top to the bottom of the bowl. Add the balance of the butter (1 1/2 lbs or 680 g) and pulsate mixer several times. Slowly increase the mixer’s speed, starting with the lowest speed and increase the speed every 10 seconds until you reach a MEDIUM-HIGH speed.
- 4. Continue beating until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Reduce speed to LOW. Add flavoring and continue to beat on LOW speed for 45 seconds. Then beat on MEDIUM-HIGH speed for an additional 45 to 60 seconds.
- 5. Leftover buttercream can be placed in plastic containers with lids and kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost completely (several hours) and rewhip before using.
- Note: In hot weather, use 2 lbs 10 ounces (1.19 kg) of butter and 6 ounces (710 g) of hi-ratio shortening. Hi-ratio shortening is emulsified and contains water.
- Storage: Store the icing in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Yield: 2 1/2 quarts (2.37 L)
Epicurious Editors’ Note:
This recipe yields more than enough for two cakes — if only icing one cake, make a half recipe or freeze the extra.