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Cherry Cakes · Italian Buttercream Icing

Food

As both a qualified chef and pastry chef, Cherry Murphy has been working in kitchens for over a decade – from making desserts for the Westin Hotel, to designing cupcake flavours for Little Cupcakes, and making macarons at a French patisserie­ – before last year launching her own her own business, Cherry Cakes.

Cherry’s unique use of seasonal ingredients, and her Instagram-happy designs caught our eye, so this month we teamed up for a course on cake making! Today we begin with Italian Buttercream – an ultra versatile icing mix for cake filling and decorating, and one which Cherry will be using in several ways over the coming weeks!

1st August, 2017

Italian Buttercream by Cherry Murphy of Cherry Cakes. From left to right: dinner plate by Robert Gordon, mixing bowl from Ikea, spatula and Pyrex measuring Jug from Minimax. Photo – Eve Wilson, Styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull.

Chef Cherry Murphy of Cherry Cakes. Photo – Eve Wilson, Styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull.

Cherry’s Italian Buttercream. From left to right: mixing bowl from Ikea, and spatula and Pyrex measuring Jug from Minimax. Photo – Eve Wilson, Styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull.

The basic cakes ready for the Italian Buttercream. Dinner plate by Robert Gordon. Photo – Eve Wilson, Styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull.

A raspberry variety of Cherry’s Italian Buttercream. Photo – Eve Wilson, Styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull.

Cake filled and decorated with raspberry and chocolate Italian Buttercream variants of the recipe. From left to right: dinner plate by Robert Gordon, and small pan from Country Road. Photo – Eve Wilson, Styling Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. Styling Assistant – Nat Turnbull.

Cherry Murphy
Tuesday 1st August 2017

Italian buttercream is my all-time favourite buttercream recipe to make. The texture is beautifully glossy without being overly rich, and it’s incredibly versatile. You can easily add fruit, chocolate, caramel, or jams to the mix, once it’s made, to add variety to your cakes. I often use it both to fill cakes, and for piping decorations on top of them.

There are a few steps involved that require a bit of precision, but once you have it down, it’s all quite easy. Making a delicious buttercream is a great skill that all good pastry chefs, and passionate home cooks, can use over and over again. This recipe makes enough for one large cake.

Ingredients

  • 550g sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1kg butter, at room temperature
  • 5 egg whites

For different flavours

  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate ganache

Tools

  • candy thermometer
  • medium pot
  • kitchen scales
  • stand mixer with whisk attachment

METHOD

 

1. Place sugar and water into a small pot and place on a stove over high heat, with the candy
thermometer in the pot.

2. Place egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

3. The sugar mix will begin to bubble quite quickly. When the temperature on the candy thermometer reaches 110 degrees, turn your stand mixer on at low speed and begin to slowly whip your egg whites.

4. When the candy thermometer reaches 117ºC (this is called ‘soft ball stage’), turn your stand mixer up to high, and remove your sugar syrup from the stove top.

5. With the mixer running slowly, steadily pour the hot sugar syrup into your beating eggs. It’s easiest and safest to pour it down the side of the bowl so that it does not splash up.

6. Keep the mixer whisking on high speed. A thick glossy meringue will start to form as the mix begins to cool. Continue to whisk until the bowl of your mixer is no longer hot to touch and the now glossy meringue has slightly reduced in volume. It’s important to wait until the meringue has completely cooled so that it does not melt your butter when this is added.

7. Cut butter into small cubes and slowly, piece by piece, add to the mix while the motor is still running. At first the mix will look a bit strange, but as you continue to add the butter it will come together and begin to thicken. Keep in mind that this buttercream recipe is super versatile. For example, if you have added the butter too soon, and the mix has not come together, and looks like a bit of a melted mess, just place it in the fridge for fifteen minutes until it becomes firm, and then give it another whisk. On the other hand, if the mix looks to thick, or begins to split, simply slightly warm it up by sitting the bowl of the mixer in a sink full of hot water before re-whipping it.

8. Once you have your thick glossy buttercream, you can add anything to it to adjust the flavour. We made two variations by splitting the mix in half and whipping raspberry into one lot and chocolate ganache to the remainder. We then sandwiched the raspberry buttercream between each layer, and used the chocolate buttercream to spread over the outside of the cake, and pipe decorations on top.

Pop back NEXT Tuesday, when Cherry will teach us how to build a multi-layered cake!

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