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
enough for about 12 cupcakes
egg whites, room temperature (preferably a day or two old)
butter (about one and a half sticks, room temperature)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!