Italian Meringue Buttercream

I am a bread/pastry baker by trade, but I do cakes as a little side business. When it comes to baked goods I believe flavor is paramount, so I'm partial to using meringue-based buttercreams instead of the typical confectioners' sugar frostings. I have a client who's requesting a cake for a baby reveal party. She will be 5 or 6 months pregnant at the time of the party and I have a bit of a concern about the egg whites in the buttercream. I generally make an Italian meringue buttercream, and I've been told that the egg whites "cook" during the process. I'm getting conflicting accounts on how safe it really is, so I figured I'd bring it to all of you trusted folk.



Stephanie G. January 29, 2017
If you can find Davidson's pasturized eggs, they perform beautifully. I've never understood why people say they don't make good meringues. Never had a problem from buttercream to meringue to marshmallows.
PieceOfLayerCake January 30, 2017
I will check...thank you!
BakerRB January 29, 2017
At grocery stores the usual brand of pasteurized eggs whites is Eggology (in a box or plastic carton). There are also pasteurized in-shell whole eggs (standard 12 egg carton), Davidson's Safer Eggs. I've whipped both products successfully. Takes a little longer to whip, but it works. I'd call around to markets and see if you can get either product. I used to see Eggology around, now I see Davidson's more frequently. (Los Angeles area)
Jas3 January 29, 2017
I have made IMBC many times with powdered egg whites reconstituted with water. They whip very well and are pasteurized so no worries for the expectant mom. I feel the flavor is slightly off and I've always added a little more flavoring to offset this. I used to be able to find the powdered whites locally but now purchase from Amazon as my local stores aren't selling them any longer. Another alternative is to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It's very similar to IMBC but you heat the egg whites so you can sure they are in a safe range for pregnant women.
PieceOfLayerCake January 30, 2017
I'll check on that, but my supermarket should have pasteurized whole eggs. I'll check. Thank you!
Windischgirl January 29, 2017
Would you be okay using powdered egg whites? I have been able to get them to foam. I'm also thinking angelfood cake box mix must have powdered age whites and they whisk up just fine.
PieceOfLayerCake January 30, 2017
I've used meringue powder before, but never to make actual meringue, oddly. Its worth a shot! Thank you!
Nancy January 29, 2017
Maybe ask the professional bakers in your city/neighborhood what they know and do about eggs in their cakes and frostings. Sometimes there are local variations in quality and/or standards.
PieceOfLayerCake January 29, 2017
I have asked several of my caker friends what they do and they all use carton egg whites. My issue seems to be finding the proper ones. All of the egg white cartons I have been finding in the supermarket have been pasteurized so completely, that they don't foam anymore (it actually has a disclaimer on the carton). I'm generally not concerned at all about salmonella but I can't really take any chances with an expectant mother.
Nancy January 29, 2017
OK, you've already asked the colleagues, and answer is no help bc of pasteurized whites. Agree not to take risks with expectant mother.
So, what's your second best icing (w/o eggs)?
PieceOfLayerCake January 30, 2017
I've only ever used meringue buttercreams, ganache and American buttercreams....I may just end up using American buttercream and dialing down the sweetness in other components. Thank you for your help!
foofaraw January 29, 2017
What about using carton egg white? It would have been pasteurized so there shouldn't be any risk of salmonella. People seemed to use it with no problem,
PieceOfLayerCake January 30, 2017
If this recipe works, its GOLD! My machine always gets a beating when I have to make several batches of buttercream. Thank you!
ktr January 28, 2017
I'd ask the client how comfortable she is with it. I know I for one would not have worried if I knew you were using fresh eggs but I know many people who would have.
PieceOfLayerCake January 30, 2017
I will find out tomorrow what she thinks. I have a feeling that she will have some concerns.
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