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Margarita Italian Meringue Buttercream

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  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 c. extra-fine sugar
  • 1/4 cold water
  • 4 sticks butter
  • 1/4 c. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. tequila


  1. Watch this video tutorial first. Set out ingredients and equipment. Separate the egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Measure 1 cup of sugar and the water into a 1-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gently stir to combine. Measure the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar into a separate bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and set aside.
  2. To make the sugar syrup, place the candy thermomometer in the sauce pan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat. Partially cover with lid to capture the evaporating water—this helps to moisten the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
  3. With the mixer on high speed, begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. When the peaks are stiff, you have a meringue.
  4. Keep the mixture running and pour the 1/4 cup of sugar into the meringue.
  5. Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245° if it’s not there already. When it has reached 245°, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue, with the mixer running. (It helps to hold the pan just above the height of the mixer. Pour confidently trying to hit the meringue and not the side of the bowl.)
  6. After 1 to 2 minutes, reduce the speed of the mixture to medium for 6-8 minutes or until meringue is cooled. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to high for 2 to 4 minutes or until the butter is fully incorporated. (Buttercream may look soupy. If so, keep mixing, it will eventually thicken as everything comes to the same temperature. If not, pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so and mix again.)
  7. Add lime juice and tequila. Mix well to incorporate.
  8. Ice cooled cupcakes or cake.
  9. Garnish Make candied lime peels as pictured. Recipe from Martha Stewart. Or make candied lime slices from Pure Vege. Add lime curd for extra love.


• Save remaining yolks for the lime curd and the white for the buttercream.

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