I'm hosting a party for my son who's turning three at a park. We'll be under cover but not air conditioned - and we're in the middle of a hot Texas summer. The party is early in the day so it's likely to only be around 80-85 Fahrenheit. Still not an ideal temperature for my go-to, a simple American buttercream.

Is there a frosting type that will keep looking good on cupcakes and be stable for assembling a small two-layer cake at this temperature for the two hours of the party? It's also the only part of the cake my son is likely to eat, so it should taste good and I'd prefer to avoid shortening-based frosting.

I'd read that Italian buttercream does well at warmer temperatures but it's also got uncooked egg whites, which isn't great sitting outside for a while and with kids (2-3 years old), I'm hesitant to use it.

  • 1
    Italian butter cream is made with Italian meringue and does not contain uncooked egg whites. The sugar syrup is between 240°F and 260°F (depending on the texture desired) when added to the whipped egg whites and easily brings them up to the safe temperature for eggs in the process. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 19:47
  • @LightBender The sugar doesn't stay hot long enough to pasteurize them. seriouseats.com/2018/10/…
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 19:48
  • They are equating pasteurization and cooking. To pasteurize eggs you bring them up to a relatively low temp (140-150°) to prevent them from actually cooking. This lower temperature necessitates a processing time of about 5-7 minutes in order to sterilize them. The sugar syrup in Italian meringue cooks the contents by bringing them above the safe temperature of 170°, though only for a few seconds. The surface temp of my meringue reaches 180° while adding the syrup and is still at 110° after ten minutes of whipping. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 20:16
  • Of course, if you are still concerned, I usually make my Italian meringue using cartons of pasteurized egg whites for the convenience anyway. (I make between 24 and 48 quarts of IBC at a time, which is a lot of eggs to separate and lots of extra yolks to use up.) Just make sure they are pure egg whites with no additives and the expiration date is at least a month away, though preferably 8 weeks or more. Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 20:23
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    I'm not 100% sure it'll hold up ... but caramel frosting tends to come from American Southeast, so a warmer climate. Dulce de leche would be similar (and also tends to come from warmer regions)
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 23, 2019 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


Here is an interesting entry from King Arthur Flour, who should not have a major stake in the game. They hit a bunch of varieties with a hair drier to see how they held up. Their test though was only on holding up to the heat, not safety though. One could suggest using pasteurized eggs as an option though to get around safety concerns.

Quick summary, they liked Italian Buttercream among the buttercreams they tested. Shortening over butter helps, but I am in the group who really dislikes the taste of "buttercream" made with shortening over butter, but would go by taste on that. Of the ones they tested though, cream cheese frosting held up the best, so if the cake is one that would match with cream cheese it might be a good choice.

Fondant is another option which may hold up well to heat though personally, I find it for looks only, not taste.


Have you considered Royal Icing?
Still contains egg, but it's certainly not going to melt in hot weather.

From the link -

Royal icing is traditionally prepared with raw egg whites, which have a very small chance of transmitting salmonella poisoning. Meringue powder or ready-to-use, pasteurized, refrigerated egg whites (wet eggs) can be used with similar results.

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