The Best Swiss Meringue Buttercream

By • October 21, 2013 2 Comments

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Author Notes: After years of searching for the perfect buttercream, I finally found one that has become my favorite go-to frosting. The first time I made it, I was extremely intimidated by the meringue base and threw it away when I noticed it had begun to curdle... Over two years later, and still grieving over my disaster-of-a-buttercream, I decided to revisit the recipe for a second attempt, and I refused to let this one get the best of me! After hours of watching "How-To" videos on making swiss meringue buttercream, I was finally ready for the challenge!

The recipe was a success and its silky smooth texture was divine! This recipe is a must for all cake bakers. Should you resist the temptation to lick the bowl clean before frosting, the recipe makes approximately 5 cups, or enough to frost a three layered 8" round cake. It is a very stable frosting, and perfect for piping. If you want to make this frosting more unique, I have found that make the perfect base for any flavor, such as my favorite, raspberry liquor!

Emily Branca

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Makes 5 cups

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream (adapted from Sweetapolita)

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (softened but cool)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 piece vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Whisk egg whites and sugar into a clean metal or glass mixing bowl (clean with lemon juice or vinegar to rid of any traces of grease). Place over a double boiler. Be careful to not allow the water to boil, or it will cook the eggs. Whisk the ingredients until all the sugar has dissolved (this step will take a few minutes) and the egg whites are hot. To check that all the sugar has dissolved, rub two fingers together in the mixture until you can no longer feel any grains of sugar.
  2. Remove the bowl from the double boiler and place under a stand mixer, fitted with whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high speed for about ten minutes- the meringue should become glossy and have stiff peaks. Turn the mixer off once the bowl no longer feels warm. **Tip: make sure the meringue is cool by allowing it to sit for another ten minutes or so, covered with a damp towel.
  3. Once the meringue has cooled, switch to a paddle attachment. Begin to mix the butter two or three tablespoons at a time, on low speed. Once all the butter is in, increase the speed to medium. Be patient, and let the mixer run for a few minutes until the frosting has developed a smooth, but fluffy, consistency. It should be very thick, but If it gets runny, pop it into the refrigerator for about fifteen minutes and begin to mix it again.
  4. Beat in the vanilla, vanilla bean and salt.
  5. To make the frosting even more fluffy, switch back to the whisk attatchment, and mix on high for another few minutes.
  6. Voilà! You've made the perfect swiss meringue buttercream!
  7. **SMBC can be kept refrigerated, but allow for it to come to room temperature before using. It can be rewhipped, as well. **If you want to get even more creative, try adding in additional flavors. One of my favorite creations is a raspberry liquor swiss meringue buttercream. If you want to give it a try, follow the recipe below.

Raspberry Liquor Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 cups Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 2-3 tablespoons Black Raspberry Liquor (I like to use Chambord)
  • 1/4 cup (or to taste) purred and strained fresh raspberries
  1. Puree fresh (frozen also works) raspberries until is has reached a liquidly consistency. Strain over a bowl. Discard seeds and other large pieces of raspberry that did not fit through the strainer.
  2. Using a mixer, whisk in raspberry puree to taste, into room temperature swiss meringue buttercream.
  3. Spread onto cakes, cupcakes, or even french macaroons! Enjoy!

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