An easy buttercream that starts with a Swiss meringue. It turns out very white and light and airy, which makes it great for tinting with color and layer cakes. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
Test Kitchen Notes
Bake It Up a Notch is a column by Resident Baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell. Each month, she'll help take our baking game to the next level, teaching us all the need-to-know tips and techniques and showing us all the mistakes we might make along the way. Today, a very sweet lesson in all things frostings, icings, and glazes. —The Editors
- Makes about 4 cups
(180 g) large egg whites
1 3/4 cups
(350 g) granulated sugar sugar
(454 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
(10 g) vanilla extract
(2 g) fine sea salt
- Prepare an electric mixer by fitting it with the whip attachment. Bring a medium pot filled with a few inches of water to a gentle simmer.
- Whisk the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer well, and place over the pot of water. Heat, stirring constantly so the egg whites don’t scramble, until the mixture reads 160°F on a thermometer.
- When the egg and sugar mixture has come to temperature, transfer the bowl to the mixer. Whip on high speed until the mixture reaches stiff peaks and the bowl is no longer noticeably warm to the touch. The meringue should be smooth and glossy, not clumpy or dry.
- While the mixer is running, gradually add room temperature butter in 1 tablespoon (14 g) chunks. Continue adding and mixing until all of the butter is incorporated and the buttercream is light and smooth. If the buttercream looks curdled or separated, continue whipping for a few minutes, it should come together.
- Beat in the vanilla and salt and mix to combine. The buttercream can be used immediately or refrigerated in an airtight container.