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homemade Italian Buttercream Frosting piped onto black surface

Italian Buttercream Frosting

Perfect Italian Buttercream Frosting is a rich, smooth, and incredibly delicious traditional icing that is the best choice to decorate cakes and cupcakes.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 12 servings
Calories 369


  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 5 egg whites (approx 185g )
  • 1 lb unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Add the sugar and corn syrup to a small saucepan, drizzle a few tablespoons of water over the sugar, and stir together until the sugar is all moistened. It will have a wet sand feeling about it. Cook the sugar over medium high to high heat to the softball stage of 235 F using a candy thermometer. Use a pastry brush to lightly water down the inner sides of the sauce pan to prevent crystallization. When the sugar is done, turn off the burner (if gas), or move the pan off the burner (if electric).
  • Begin to whip your egg whites with a whip attachment in a stand mixer. When the meringue begins to look opaque, but is not to any sort of 'peak' stage yet, slowly pour the cooked sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl, as the mixture is whipping on a medium speed. Allow the mixture to whip until glossy medium peaks form and the meringue is cool to the touch.
  • Turn the mixer on a low speed, and add the butter, one stick at a time. Be sure meringue is cool to the touch first so that the butter doesn't melt! Mix until the mixture comes together. Don't be scared! The mixture will separate and look terrible before it comes together again, which It will- I promise. Be patient.
  • Once the mixture is smooth and wonderful-looking, add the vanilla and whip just until combined.


Makes about 4 cups - more than enough to frost a two layer 9-inch cake
Cooking tips:
  • You must get your sugar to the soft-ball stage which is 235 degrees F. I live close to sea level, so this is the temperature I go by. At high altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature. For example, at 4500 feet above sea level, water boils at 204° F. If candy is cooked until it reaches the soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer, it will have cooked too long.
  • I add a bit of corn syrup to my recipe because it adds a beautiful sheen, but this can be omitted if you want to make a pure Italian buttercream recipe.
  • I recommend mixing the egg whites while the sugar syrup heats up. Ideally you want them ready as soon as the sugar syrup hits it's temperature.
  • When you whip your egg whites, you want them to have a lot of air and a beautiful sheen, but do not let them get to the stiff peak stage.
  • Remember to be patient. I've had a lot of readers who had this recipe turn out perfectly and others who couldn't get it to work. Once you start adding the butter, it will look awful, but you just have to keep mix and just like magic, you will end up with the best buttercream frosting.


Serving: 4tablespoon | Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 29mg | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 945IU | Calcium: 10mg