A chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting
Ina Garten's Trick For Irresistible Chocolate Buttercream
While most buttercreams consist of butter and sugar, Ina Garten's chocolate cake buttercream includes one egg yolk. ​​This simple addition makes it rich, creamy, and silky.
Adding eggs to buttercream isn't unusual. Egg whites are used to stabilize many European buttercreams, which begin with an egg white meringue and sugar before the butter is added.
The addition of eggs makes these European buttercreams last longer and increases the fat in the recipe, adding a rich, velvety texture.
Eggs also have emulsifying properties that aid in evenly distributing fats and liquids throughout a mixture, helping to create an extra-rich and satiny buttercream frosting.
However, raw egg yolks always bear a risk of salmonella, so it's recommended that you use high-quality eggs or in-shell eggs that have been pasteurized.
The egg yolks in Garten's recipe are tempered with warm coffee, but you can use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature. Yolks are safe to consume at 144 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also make a French buttercream by tempering the egg yolks with hot sugar syrup or opt for pre-packaged products that have been pasteurized to reduce bacterial exposure.