Fun with Buttercream and Cupcakes


Butter. I’ve been buried under pounds of butter in the last week. With the Bridal show a week away, I’ve been testing other frostings for my cupcakes. As some of you might know, I only use cream cheese frosting and chocolate glaze for my cupcakes right now. I still can’t bring myself to use American Buttercream (butter + confectioner’s sugar + milk) because of its extreme sweetness. European buttercreams like Italian Meringue Buttercream  (IMB) and Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB) are not any better if they are not flavored properly as they do have a tendency to taste like a stick of butter when used on cupcakes. The IMB holds up the best and is almost impervious to warm temperatures when made properly. It also has a beautiful off-white color that lends itself to gorgeous piped decorations.  I find that fruit flavorings and liquor cut down on the “blob of butter” taste. Another variation of buttercream I have tried is by adding crème anglaise to the IMB …the result is extremely delicious – almost like ice cream – the tradeoff is that it does not hold up as well as IMB.




                Italian Meringue buttercream with strawberry conserve


Here is a recipe for Basic Italian Meringue Buttercream

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

¼ cup sugar

5 egg whites

1 lb of butter softened, cut to tablespoon size

cream of tartar

Bring 1 cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water to boil. When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 220F start beating the egg whites on high speed and add to it the remaining ¼ cup sugar until it reaches stiff peaks. The sugar syrup must reach 245F before you can add it to the meringue. You can lower the heat of your sugar syrup if your meringue is not ready. Pour the sugar syrup on your meringue while the mixer is running at high speed. Be careful not to splash the syrup – do not pour it on the whisk (I pour it down the sides of the bowl). Continue mixing for 2 minutes and lower the speed and continue to beat until the mixture cools to room temperature. Increase the speed to medium and start adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Your buttercream may appear curdled but it will eventually come together.




                Chocolate cupcakes made from the Georgetown Cupcake recipe


I also tried out Washington D.C.’s #1 cupcake, chocolate cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake. The recipe is here. I was a bit disappointed. I used Valrhona Cocoa powder as instructed but I barely tasted any chocolate in the cake itself. I wonder if the baking soda in the recipe should have been baking powder. Valrhona is dutched-processed which means it is alkalized and I don’t think the baking soda has any acid to react with. Also the instruction to make the ganache sounded very simple but I already knew it would have a tendency to make a grainy ganache, which was what happened. It is better to incorporate the cream slowly to partially melted chocolate to attain a smooth ganache as opposed to putting the cream and the chocolate together and melting them at the same time.



                                IMB stands up pretty well in piped frostings


I am also excited to announce that I will be selling those gorgeous laser-cut cupcake wrappers on the Petites Bouchees online store soon!

Now, how do I eat all these cupcakes?




       The buttercream takes on a yellow hue when creme anglaise is added


47 thoughts on “Fun with Buttercream and Cupcakes

  1. Those cupcake wrappers are absolutely adorable! And I agree – I stay away from basically all buttercreams because I can't stand the "stick of butter" taste to them. But the minute you find one that doesn't taste like that, I'm 100% on board. Until then, I'm going to stick with my standard cream cheese frostings.

  2. Not only do those cupcakes look delicious, but those wrappers are so incredibly beautiful, I could hardly imagine tearing them off! Wow, seriously, I'm in awe.

  3. Veron- these are beautiful and i love your new shop. it looks whimsical, easy to order, pretty photos… congrats on all your accomplishments veron. lovely, lovely, lovely!

  4. gorgeous laser-cut cupcake wrappers – yes they are, gorgeous!
    Pink is not my thing but looking at those Italian Meringue buttercream with strawberry conserve, I say bring on the pinks! Those somehow really look fabulous to me tonight!!

  5. wow gorgeous cupcakes and the small flowers makes them even more pretty. I don t like american buttercream either to buttery and sweet for me. uually i use whipped cream or ganache instead, 🙂

  6. Thanks everyone! I am so excited with how they turned out. We tried to put all the cupcakes on the cupcake stand the hubby made and it looked great! Keeping my fingers crossed.

  7. These are gorgeous! You can send some over here if you need to get rid of any! 😉
    I love the laser cut wrappers, really elegant. I usually make chocolate ganache or a glaze for my cupcakes. I haven't really experimented with all those sugary icings as I don't like the excess sweetness either. The strawberry looks yummy, will have to try it!

  8. I concur with the buttercream types! We think alike Veron; I just cannot bear eating and serving the American Buttercream (which a lot of people use here, and quite happily get sold off). I think it's too sweet. It's funny though, cos not many around here cant tolerate the "extremely sweet" macarons that I sell and yet eat the Amercn BC! So far I've just been using Beranbaum's white choc. cream cheese recipe.

  9. I must have some of your beautiful cupcake wrappers please. I have bookmarked the site, and please let me know when you start selling them. I will certainly buy a bunch! Beautiful!
    Stacey Snacks

  10. They look Awesome! I know I'll never attempt to make the Basic Italian Meringue Buttercream as I too am more comfortable using cream cheese but my oh my doesn't it look simply heavenly.

    LOVE those laser wrapper too!

    Happy New Year Veronica!

  11. These are just beautiful, and I love the cupcake cups, as well. As for Georgetown Cupcake, I'm going to have to go there in person and check it out. Purely for research purposes, of course.

  12. lovely cupcakes! And I like the cupcake liners! All the best for the bridal show and please feel free to send me any questions you have about lodging+school!

  13. These looks so very pretty! I love all the different colors and the designs. And even the paper is adorable.

    I've only made buttercream icing one time for a daring bakers challenge and mine failed miserably 🙂

  14. Hello, I have never heard of Italian meringue before, but it sounds and your photographs look wonderful. I will try this recipe next time I am state side. Thanks!


  15. Absolutely gorgeous cupcakes, and great info as well. I'm with you on the very sweet buttercreams, and think a little bit goes a long way. I love the cupcake holders and saw them in one of the food mags last month. I'll be buy to purchase some!

  16. I am new to your blog and it looks great! I just made those Georgetown cupcakes and they were delicious. I used non-Dutch-processed cocoa however. Check it out if you like at

  17. They're beautiful, Veron. I adore the wrappers but they're just so ridiculously expensive in the UK. I guess the answer is to buy them in bulk…

    Have you tried French buttercream? With some vanilla paste it would taste like your IMBC/creme anglaise combination, but possibly hold up a little better than that in hot weather. I've made it a couple of times to use up leftover egg yolks from making SMB 🙂

  18. These are very cute! I'll have to try this recipe! I agree with the whole "stick of butter" problem when it comes to buttercream. I usually stick to cream cheese frostings but when a friend's special birthday cake called for buttercream, I happened upon this recipe that was absolutely wonderful–made with white chocolate, vanilla & orange zest, it's not only merely, it's delicious!

  19. Could you please share how you incorporate the “starwberry conserve” into your IMB recipe?? I am starting to make cupcakes here in Puerto Rico and loved that idea??

    Also, do you have a Creme Anglaise recipe like you state above which you use?? and how much of % do you mix with the IMB??
    (Another variation of buttercream I have tried is by adding crème anglaise to the IMB)

    Thanks a million … Joey – Puerto Rico

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