Italian meringue butter-cream
May 31st, 2015 by Lesley

This week we were invited to a friends house for some drinks and food, they had some family visiting with them and there was a birthday to celebrate during their stay. I had offered to make a cake for the celebration, and it was to be simple, but something to help them all celebrate, a victoria sponge or chocolate cake, with chocolate or icing…..

So the cake I had covered, a victoria sponge was the answer for that, and then the icing,

Italian meringue butter-cream








This icing was a revelation, I had been looking for something more than a chocolate icing or butter icing, so I went in search for ‘that something special’ and I found this, an Italian meringue butter-cream. I have made italian meringue on various occasions, for topping tarts and cakes, but then I would use the small brulee torch and we would have a toasted  marshmallow topping, so it was a good start.

The recipe I have for italian meringue uses equal quantities of sugar and water to create the syrup that cooks the egg whites, but this recipe has the addition of golden syrup. I started off with the sugar in a medium/small pot and added the equal quantities of water and golden syrup, and placed on a low/medium heat, until all the sugar had melted. Once the sugar had melted I turned up the heat a little to bring the mixture to the boil and allowed it to boil until it reached 115C, this took about 10 minutes. In the large bowl of my stand mixer, I added the egg whites and a pinch of salt and cream of tartar, research has explained that the cream of tartar allows the egg whites to ‘stretch’ more. I started to mix the egg whites on a medium speed, continuing to mix them until they were coming to peaks.

All the time, keeping an eye on the sugar mixture,  I needed it to reach 121C, once it had reached the magic 121C, I removed it from the heat, and started adding it in a slow stream to the egg whites, this cooks the egg whites while producing a wonderful glossy meringue. I kept the stand mixer going, probably for about 15 minutes, until the bowl cooled down, well was cold in fact.

At this stage it was time to start adding the chopped butter, this I did slowly and gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time, squashing each of the cubes between my finger tips, just before I added them to the mixture. I allowed the butter to be incorporated before I added the next tablespoon, just making sure I had a lovely even, glossy Italian meringue butter-cream. Most of the recipes I looked at, hinted that the mixture would likely curdle, but not to worry, but to just work through it to you had a soft glossy butter cream.  I have to be honest, I was concerned, but I didn’t need to worry, as it all came together and it didn’t curdle.

Once it was ready, I gave the mixture a quick beat with a wooden spoon, just smooth out some of the bubbles and left it on the side with a lid on it until I was ready to use it. I had to wait for the 2 layers of victoria sponge to cool down as I didn’t want the butter cream to slide off the cake …. ha ha.

You can flavour and colour this mixture, I didn’t this time, but I will definitely be trying it the next time.

It was very stable and good to work with, I did place the cake in the fridge until I needed to box it up to take to the party and it really helped with the transporting. We did leave it in the fridge until about 15 minutes before we were going to cut it as the weather was fantastic, and I knew the butter cream would have melted. All in all it was a great recipe and a great day.

Italian meringue butter-cream

Italian meringue butter-cream
Rich, glossy, creamy, Italian meringue butter-cream, a fantastic way to cover a cake for afternoon tea or a special celebration.
Servings Prep Time
14 people 40 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 people 40 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Italian meringue butter-cream
Rich, glossy, creamy, Italian meringue butter-cream, a fantastic way to cover a cake for afternoon tea or a special celebration.
Servings Prep Time
14 people 40 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 people 40 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings: people
  1. Place the caster sugar, golden syrup and water into a medium pot and place on a low heat until the sugar has melted.
  2. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, not too hard. Continue boiling the sugar mixture until it reaches 115C. Continue heating until it reaches 121C.
  3. Place the egg whites, a pinch of salt and the cream of tartar into the large bowl of a stand mixer and mix until you have a meringue mixture.
  4. Once the syrup has reached 121C, remove from the heat, and slowly pour it down the side of the stand mixer, onto the egg white meringue, make sure not to allow the syrup to touch the whisks or it will hit the side of the bowl and not be incorporated.
  5. When you have added all of the syrup, continue mixing the meringue until the side of the bowl is completely cold, about 20 minutes.
  6. Chop the butter up into small cubes, ready to add to the meringue mixture.
  7. Once the meringue is cold, start adding the chopped butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Press the butter between you finger tips just as you are adding it, to help with it incorporating into the meringue.
  8. Continue until you have added all of the butter and you have a nice smooth Italian meringue butter-cream.
  9. Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon, to remove any bubbles that may be there with the machine whisking.
  10. Place a lid on top of the bowl until you are ready to use the butter cream. If you need to refrigerate it until you need it, remove it from the fridge about 1 hour before you need to use it and give a good whip again just to make sure it is soft enough to pipe.
Recipe Notes

You can add flavours and colours to the mixture, add the flavour before you add the butter and add the colour while you are adding the butter, as it is less likely to break down the meringue at this stage.

If you mixture curdles during the addition of the butter, just keep mixing, it will come back together again into a soft smooth, butter-cream.

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Posted in Cakes & Fancies, Vegetarian Tagged with: , , ,

January 7th, 2015 by Lesley

Another great tradition to be served at Burns Supper or St Andrews Day.

Of course this is a twist on the tradition, as sometimes we just need to mix-it up a bit…..

This is a wonderful recipe which incorporates the traditional elements, raspberries, cream, whisky, oats and then adds in the new twist of Meringue.

This is a great recipe as it can be served 2 ways, as it is fresh with the whipped cream or frozen as an ice cream dessert, both are delicious.




  • Butter, for greasing
  • 4 egg whites
  • 175g white caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Cranachan Cream

  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 80g Oats
  • 100 ml whisky (or Drambuie)
  • 400g raspberries (use fresh if you can get them)


  1. Pre heat the oven 190°C/fan170°C/gas 5
  2. Grease and line a 22cm x 32cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper, so it forms a collar.
  3. In a large, grease-free mixing bowl*, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. While continuously whisking slowly add the caster sugar, in 3 stages, until you have a stiff, glossy meringue mixture. Whisk in the wine vinegar and corn flour, until combined.
  4. Place the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, smooth out and into all the corners, try to ensure you have an even spread of the mixture.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 20 mins, it will be very soft, but should be cooked and a light crust developed on the top, you don’t want a hard crust as it will be difficult to roll later.
  6. While the meringue is in the oven, prepare the cream, place the cream into a large mixing bowl and whip till it is firm, then pour in the whisky and mix to combine, then add the oats and mix again, until just combined.
  7. Remove the meringue from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  8. Sprinkle a light covering of icing sugar on top of the cooked meringue.
  9. Place a piece of baking paper on top of the meringue and then a tea towel, and gently but swiftly turn over, peel off the baking paper, and spread the whisky cream all over the meringue, leaving a small border all the way around (this will help with the rolling up).
  10. Sprinkle the raspberries evenly over the cream. (leave some for topping and serving)
  11. To roll the meringue up, this is possible from either the short of the long side, it is your choice, I prefer to start from the short end, so gently but firmly, fold over the first 5 cm of the meringue onto the start of the cream mixture, then using the baking paper under the meringue, as an aid, start rolling the meringue up, ensuring you have a good swirl as you go, some of the cream will start to squeeze out of the ends, but this is ok, as it will fill up the space you left on the border.
  12. Use the baking paper and wrap it around the meringue and place on a plate/tray and place in the fridge for minimum of 30 minutes to allow the cream to firm up again.
  13. To serve – remove the paper and place on a serving plate, sprinkle the top with some icing sugar and if you have any raspberries left, place a few on top.
  14. If you are serving this as a frozen dessert, once you have rolled the meringue up, and wrapped in the baking paper, take 2 sheets of aluminium foil and place the covered roulade on to the foil and wrap tightly and place in the freezer to freeze. The cream will freeze but the meringue will stay soft and mallow….. Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before you want to serve.

Serves 8/10

Posted in Desserts, Do-A-Head, Vegetarian Tagged with: ,

March 24th, 2014 by Lesley

This is the recipe for Italian Meringue, it has many uses as it is more stable than the typical French Meringue, as the egg whites are ‘cooked’ due to the hot sugar syrup.

You’ll need

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2      medium egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/2 Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 100 ml water

Combine sugar and water in a small pan, place on a low/medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to ensure the sugar is dissolved, don’t allow the mixture to come to the boil before the sugar is fully dissolved, once the sugar is fully dissolved, turn the heat up and bring the mixture to the boil, reduce heat to low/medium and brush down sides of pan with a clean, wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals.

Cook until syrup reaches 115C (soft ball stage) on a thermometer (10-15 minutes).

Start whisking egg whites with cream of tartar in the clean, grease-free bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. (remember to make sure all your equipment is clean as any sign of grease you egg whites will not stiffen up or may break down, if this happens you need to start again).

Meanwhile, bring sugar syrup to 121C (hard ball stage). Increase speed to high and with motor running, gradually pour syrup into meringue, try to ensure you don’t let the hot syrup run down the side of the bowl or onto the whisks as it will cause the syrup to be thrown against the walls of your bowl and not mix properly. Beat at medium speed until cooled to room temperature and meringue is thick and glossy (15-20 minutes).

Take a piping bag and fill with the meringue to top your Lemon Cheese Cakes.

Note  This recipe makes about 2 cups.

Posted in Desserts Tagged with:

March 24th, 2014 by Lesley

There is a multitude of recipes for Meringue, this is a recipe that I have used for various things, including Pavlova, but it makes a great topping for the Lemon Meringue Cheese Cakes if you don’t want to bother with the hot sugar syrup required in the Italian Meringue recipe.

  • 3 medium egg whites at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp corn flour

Put the egg whites in a large grease-free bowl, (ensure all your utensils are grease free as your egg whites will not whip or may break down and you will have to start again) start whisking the egg whites until they are stiff, gradually add the caster sugar to the egg whites in thirds, making sure the sugar is mixed in before the next third, continue to whisk until the mixture stands in stiff, glossy peaks. Beat in the vinegar and corn flour.

Take a piping bag and fill with the meringue to top your Lemon Cheese Cakes.

Note  This recipe makes about 2 cups.

Posted in Desserts Tagged with:

Lemon Meringue Cheesecake
January 19th, 2014 by Lesley

The building blocks for this recipe start with the lemon curd , I don’t know about you, but I like to search for ‘the ultimate recipe’ that JUST feels right.

I often search for ‘THE’ recipe and I have worked with this recipe a couple of times and I think it hits the mark every time. I have made it for guests at TheSecretGarden-France and they were very impressed. So I thought I would share with you and you can try and see what you think.

Luscious lemon Meringue cheesecake

Luscious lemon Meringue cheesecake

There is not a lot of cooking to this, to be honest it is only the lemon curd  and the Italian Meringue that needs to be cooked so if you don’t want to tackle making your own lemon curd, then there is nothing wrong with buy a good shop bought lemon curd and using it. I have made my own lemon curd for this recipe. I also use an Italian meringue as it is ‘cooked’ with the syrup, but if you don’t want to make an Italian Meringue, then you can make a French Meringue  (no cooking), both look fantastic, it is just your preference.

Lets get started (makes 10, individual cakes, 6 cm rings, 5cm high)

  • 50g     unsalted butter, melted
  • 12       crushed digestive biscuits, you can use gingernuts here if you prefer
  • 600g   cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 250ml double cream, whipped
  • 20g     icing sugar
  • 360ml lemon curd


Crushed biscuits with melted butterMix the crushed biscuits and melted butter together in a bowl until well combined, then place a good amount into each of your rings, and pat down to make sure you have a good base of the cheese cakes, I found the end of a rolling pin was good for getting into the rings and round the edges, alternatively use a spoon. Put the bases in the fridge while you make the lemon cheese.

Biscuit base for Lemon Cheese cakes

Biscuit base for Lemon Cheese cakes


In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and icing sugar with the lemon curd, this can be done with a hand mixer, then fold in the whipped cream using a large metal spoon, you are trying to make sure you keep the mixture light and airy, if you beat with the mixer you are likely to knock the air out of the cream.


Lemon Cheese Cake mixture

Lemon Cheese Cake mixture

Take the bases out of the fridge, fill a piping bag with the lemon cheese mixture and carefully fill the rings, I start on the bottom in the centre allowing the mixture to fill the space, lifting the piping bag up as the space is filled, you can work your way around the rings building/filling the space, but I like to have a nice smooth finish on the sides when it is presented, you can sometimes see the layers when you take the rings off. (if you do just use a knife to smooth the edges)


Rings filled with Lemon Cheese cake cream ready for the fridge

Rings filled with Lemon Cheese cake cream ready for the fridge


Using a knife or spatula, smooth the top of the rings, giving a nice base of the meringue to be added later, it doesn’t need to be perfect as it will be covered with the meringue later.

Place the lemon cheese cakes in the fridge to set for 2-3 hours, they can be made to this point the day before.



When you are ready to top with the Italian meringue, take the lemon cheese cakes out of the fridge and remove the rings, either use a sharp knife and go round the sides of your ring or a blowtorch just to heat the sides and this should help the lemon cheese cakes to slide out cleanly.

Place the lemon cheese cakes on a plate, put the Italian Meringue mixture into a piping bag (oops forgot the picture at this point) and top the Lemon Cheese Cakes with the Italian Meringue, you can use any nozzle to pipe the meringue, if you don’t have a piping bag, just spoon the meringue mixture on top of the lemon cheesecakes and make any pattern you fancy.


Luscious lemon Meringue cheesecake

Then using a blow torch, scorch the meringue to add to the look of the Lemon Meringue Cheese Cake and Ta Dah, you have your Individual Lemon Meringue Cheese Cakes.

I hope you enjoy your Lemon Meringue cheese cakes.

Posted in Cheese cake, Desserts, Sweet treats, Tarts, Vegetarian Tagged with: , , ,