Bourbon- Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

October 15, 2013
1 Ratings
  • Makes enough for about 12 cupcakes
Author Notes

Swiss meringue buttercream has been my favorite frosting since the first time I tasted it. Of course, my own attempts at making SMB were initially... horrible. With my little hand mixer, I could never quite get that volume of egg whites beaten to the required meringue state. Since getting a stand mixer, however, meringues are a snap. SMB takes some patience, but it's very forgiving - I almost always think I've messed it up when suddenly it comes together beautifully. It's also incredibly versatile; there are so many good flavor combinations to throw into this frosting, but booze is probably my very favorite way to spice up a batch of SMB. Here is a bourbon vanilla version that is just to die for (paired here with a regular old chocolate cupcake), but I've done variations with irish cream, rum, and even tequila. I always like having bourbon when fall rolls around, and paired with vanilla it makes for a lovely, warming frosting that's sure to be a treat on whatever cupcake or cake you like! —smarshtastic

What You'll Need
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature (preferably a day or two old)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup butter (about one and a half sticks, room temperature)
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and 'caviar' harvested
  • 1 shot bourbon
  1. Add the eggs and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk gently to combine. Set over a pot of gently simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and no longer grainy - the sugar will completely dissolve. This takes about 6-8 minutes.
  2. Remove the sugar and egg white mixture and set it back onto your stand mixer. Whip with the whisk attachment on medium-high until the mixture is cool to the touch and resembles a fluffy meringue - this takes another 6-8 minutes.
  3. Once your egg white mixture comes together, reduce mixer speed to low and start adding chunks of butter one at a time, allowing each one to incorporate before you add the next one. Your meringue will deflate, but don't worry! It'll whip back together in no time.
  4. Once all the butter is incorporated (about 4-5 minutes), go ahead and add your vanilla bean 'caviar' and bourbon to the bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and smooth.
  5. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag with your tip of choice and frost your cupcakes/cake/pastry of choice. Make sure you lick the whisk!!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • suziqcu
  • dymnyno
  • smarshtastic
  • aepk

4 Reviews

aepk March 19, 2023
Was lovely and smooth until I added the liquid (used ~1T bourbon/vanilla mix)
Beat it for a while and didn't come back together. Tastes pretty good. Looks not pretty.
suziqcu March 27, 2015
Thinking of using on coconut cake and pressing coconut into it. On the fence about using some bakers' coconut extract....
dymnyno October 20, 2013
smarshtastic October 21, 2013
Thank you! SMB is one of those great frostings that you can really easily decorate with - it holds up very well to almost any kind of piping!