Buttercream is a favorite of many to decorate almost any baked good. It is so easy to make (or buy ready!) and foolproof. It does not hurt that it is so incredibly tasty as well. Over here we love to make our own fresh buttercream frosting each time we decorate cupcakes, cakes or cookies. One of the main ingredients we use, apart from shortening and butter, is meringue powder. But sometimes we are in a rush and just do not have any left! Today we will discuss about meringue powder substitute in buttercream icing.
Why Do We Use Meringue Powder in Buttercream?
Meringue powder does not add “fluffiness” to your cream, as some bakers believe. It is used as a stabilizer.
But, what exactly does it do? Well, if you are making a buttercream from scratch with meringue powder in it, it will be different than a regular frosting because of one main thing.
The cream will be stiffer, because of the added dry ingredient, and it will crust more. This is great if you want to pipe some decorations like flowers or leaves. It will also make it a bit more difficult to smooth over a cake if your consistency is not right.
Another pro is that it will help your cake keep in hot weather. So, if you live in a very hot area, you definitely want to throw it in the mix. The same goes if you are making a wedding cake or decorations that need to stay put for hours on end.
So, whenever we want a buttercream that hardens and crusts, we turn to meringue powder to help us.
I Do Not Have Meringue Powder Substitute In My Pantry!
A few weeks ago, though, I was working on decorating a cake for my sister’s birthday. She loves roses, so I intended to pipe a full garden on top of a white cake. She was going to love it!
As it turns out, when I opened my pantry, I had absolutely no meringue powder substitute left. How was I going to achieve the gorgeous flowers I wanted? I scoured the internet to find an alternative.
Meringue Powder Substitutes
Option Number 1: Egg Whites
Spiceography offered a few solutions. The first one was to use egg whites. This one is pretty straightforward as meringue powder substitute is made from powdered egg whites itself!
Meringue powder can sometimes have an aftertaste, especially if you are not used to it. Egg whites are more natural and taste amazing!
This method will, however, take you a little bit longer, as the egg whites take some more time to whip up than the powder.
We recommend you take one egg white per 1 cup of shortening or butter. You should add a pinch of cream of tartar or a teaspoon of lemon juice. This will help stabilize the whites so that they keep aerated for longer.
You should beat it until you get stiff peaks. Set it aside and once you have creamed the butter and sugar, you can add it in at slow speed so as not to pop the air bubbles.
The frosting, we have found, turns out with a different texture. It is a bit more fluffy! But it will still crust, just like with meringue powder.
You can also use this meringue in many other recipes. Egg whites are very versatile!
Option Number 2: Egg White Powder
Isn’t meringue powder the same as egg white powder? It certainly isn’t! While meringue powder contains sugar, cornstarch, and other ingredients, egg white powder is exclusively made out of dehydrated egg whites.
It is certainly the easiest way to replace it, as you can use it just like you would meringue powder. Keep in mind that depending on the recipe you will maybe need to add some sugar, as the meringue powder does have sugar in it.
Option Number 3: Aquafaba
What is this, you may wonder. Well, if you are vegan, you have probably at least heard of it and maybe you have tried it before. But for those of you who have no idea what it is, try and guess!
It looks like regular meringue, but it does not contain egg whites at all. It is also made out of something we would have thrown away a few years ago before knowing more about vegan cuisine.
If you have not guessed it, it is a meringue substitute made out of chickpea water. Yes, the water where they are cooked, or the water from the can, if you are not cooking them yourself.
This is amazing as, perhaps, you do not have meringue powder but you do have a can of cooked chickpeas in your pantry.
How does this work? Well, it was invented by chance by a chef who was seeking for vegan meringue alternatives. He absolutely nailed it!
We cannot say that it tastes exactly the same, but it is amazing! It has a distinct flavor of its own and we absolutely love it as well!
You should make it just like you would regular meringue. It has the same properties and can be used in the same ways.
We tried using it in our buttercream and we fell in love! We definitely want to try more vegan recipes in the future. Would you like that? Leave a comment below!
Option Number 4: Agar Agar
We have not personally tried this option, but one of the many uses for this gelatin substitute made of out seaweed is to make a substitute meringue.
Apparently, Agar agar powder can be chilled and whipped until it forms stiff peaks. Once it does, you can use it in the same way you would regular meringue by folding it into the creamed butter and sugar.
So, what do you think? Will you try any of these alternatives? Are you a die-hard fan of meringue powder or you simply cannot stand it? Tell us what you think below! We would love to hear your take on whether meringue powder is a must-have in baking.