I have an event this Saturday for which I'm preparing a layered cake to take. I was planning to ice it with meringue (Italian, for best stability) and then torching it. The event begins in the morning, and the cake should be eaten in the early afternoon.

After the event begins, I won't have the opportunity to finish the cake or otherwise modify it. My idea was to torch the meringue just before leaving for the event.

Is it reasonable to prepare the Italian meringue at Friday night and frost the cake or would it not hold well until Saturday afternoon? If I make it early in the morning, would it be okay? Or should I look into alternative kinds of icing (e.g. buttercream or ganache)?

EDIT: I went ahead and tried it. What I did was I covered the cake with meringue and torched it, then stored it chilled in airtight cake box. The meringue held well (and the cake turned out great :D).

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1 Answer 1


This is a pretty tricky question to answer without knowing what the climate is like in your area.

Meringue is hygroscopic (absorbs water easily) due to the high concentration of sugars in the mixture. This means that any available source of water, including the air and the cake underneath, will donate water to the mix and make it soft fairly quickly and perhaps add a layer of liquified meringue between the cake and meringue if the cake is very moist. However, Italian meringue is fairly common as a topping on filled pies and is used as a base for buttercream icing, so it is quite stable as a mixture compared to some other types

If you can find some way to contain the cake in a sealed container, then it should last a reasonable time - overnight should be OK I think. I would make sure it is chilled if possible, for food safety purposes.

If you are somewhere where the air is dry, you will probably find that the meringue will hold fairly well outside a container for a few hours, however if the climate is humid, then the meringue will absorb moisture from the air quite rapidly and soften. How fast this happens depends on the relative humidity and airflow around the cake.

  • I live near the coast in a tropical-ish area. I do have an airtight cake box I could put the cake inside. Aug 14, 2019 at 5:41
  • I'll try it (wish me luck) and report on my findings haha Aug 16, 2019 at 2:54
  • Please do - that's how we can all learn the real answer!
    – bob1
    Aug 16, 2019 at 13:47
  • For the record -- the meringue held well. I torched it right after covering the cake, and stored it chilled in an airtight cake box. Aug 20, 2019 at 3:58

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