Extracted from Vegan Cakes by Sarah Hardy (Quadrille, £16.99) Photography © Stephanie McLeod
This recipe requires a little more work than American buttercream and you’ll need a sugar thermometer to make the syrup, but the results are well worth it. You can use soya protein if you can’t get potato protein – your meringue won’t hold peaks but you’ll still end up with a smooth buttercream after you’ve added the vegan butter.
Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream: Ingredients
Makes about 1 . 1 KG ( 2½L B )
- 265ml (9fl oz) water
- 7g (¼oz) potato protein or soya protein
- large pinch of xanthan gum
- large pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 375g (13oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 500g (1lb 2oz) vegan butter (Naturli baking block or similar), chilled
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
Vegan Italian Meringue Buttercream: Method
NOTE: If your buttercream is soupy then either your meringue wasn’t cool enough when you added the butter or your butter was too warm. Don’t worry, this isn’t the end for your buttercream. Place it in the fridge for 15 minutes and then re-whip for 5 minutes. If this doesn’t work, place back in the fridge for another 15 minutes and try again. If your buttercream is curdled then it could be that the ingredients are too cold. In this case, place 1–2 heaped tablespoons of buttercream in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or so until almost totally melted. Return this to the bowl and whip once more.
1 Put 140ml (4¾fl oz) of the water, the potato or soya protein and xanthan gum into a small bowl and whisk together. Put the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes for the protein to rehydrate.
2 Add this liquid to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use an electric hand whisk), followed by the bicarbonate of soda. Whisk the mixture for about 5 minutes.
3 Put the sugar and remaining water into a pan and place over a medium heat. Bring the mixture up to 110°C/230°F then reduce the speed on the mixer to medium-high.
Continue cooking the sugar syrup until it reaches 118°C/245°F, then quickly remove from the heat and slowly pour into the mixing bowl with the machine still running.
Increase the speed to high and continue beating until the bowl is cool to the touch.
4 Chop the butter into small cubes, then begin adding the butter in small quantities, beating after each addition, until it has been fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture looks as though it is curdling, it should come together at the end (see note).
5 Add the vanilla and salt and mix until evenly combined.
Use straight away or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week, although you should let the buttercream come up to room temperature and then re-whip if using later.
Reader might also be interested in Sarah Hardy’s Vegan Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Terrazzo Frosting recipe here and pictured below, also from her book, Vegan Cakes.