Brown Sugar Buttercream Icing
- 3 large egg whites at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Special equipment: a candy thermometer
1.Combine egg whites and salt in a large bowl.
2.Stir together brown sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, washing down side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. When sugar syrup reaches boil, start beating whites with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until frothy, then add lemon juice and beat at medium speed until whites just hold soft peaks. (Do not beat again until sugar syrup is ready.)
3.Meanwhile, put candy thermometer into sugar syrup and continue boiling until syrup reaches 238–242°F. Immediately remove from heat and pour into a heatproof 1-cup glass measure. Slowly pour hot syrup in a thin stream down side of bowl into egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Beat meringue, scraping down bowl with a rubber spatula, until meringue is cool to the touch, about 6 minutes. (It’s important that meringue is properly cooled before proceeding.)
4.With mixer at medium speed, gradually add butter 1 piece at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated. (If meringue is too warm and buttercream looks soupy after some of butter is added, briefly chill bottom of bowl in a large bowl filled with ice water for a few seconds before continuing to beat in remaining butter.) Continue beating until buttercream is smooth. (Mixture may look curdled before all of butter is added, but will come back together before beating is finished.) Add vanilla and beat 1 minute more.