Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a standard in pastry shops and it’s also pretty much just tasty as hell. It’s far less sweet than American buttercream which makes it perfect for those of us who don’t like overly sugary desserts. It’s also super flexible — you can easily add different flavors to it, making it versatile for a variety of cakes, cupcakes, and other treats with piped frosting.
While Swiss Meringue Buttercream takes a bit more effort and equipment than American buttercream, it’s easy to get used to it and it’s well worth the extra time. Once you get the hang of how to make it, it’s not too hard to whip up a batch.
- A mixer (either handheld or standing)
- A saucepan
- A bowl
- A whisk
- A thermometer (optional) — the thermometer is of course the more exact way of doing it, but I make it all of the time without one just fine.
- 5 egg whites (I use US large eggs)
- 1 1/2 cups or 300g of sugar
- 2 cups or 16oz softened unsalted butter
- Flavorings of your choice
- In the saucepan, add a couple inches of water and heat until boiling — then lower temperature until it’s simmering.
- Gently mix together your egg whites and sugar until combined.
- Once mixed, put your mixing bowl over the water, ensuring the bowl doesn’t actually touch the water.
- Whisk the egg whites slowly. Be careful not to go too fast or let the bowl touch the hot water, because you don’t want to scramble your egg whites.
- When the thermometer reads 160F, take it off the heat. ALTERNATIVELY, if you do not have a thermometer, you can rub the mixture between your fingers to check if it’s grainy and warm. If it’s not grainy, you’re good.
- Whisk the mixture on high until you get stiff peaks. I always test if it’s ready by holding the bowl over my head and seeing if it doesn’t move — but I like to live life on the edge! (Note: I am not responsible for any kitchen messes made if you try this at home. Please make buttercream responsibly).
- Check the bottom of the bowl — if it’s cool to the touch, add your butter 1 tablespoon at a time and mix it in. If it’s still warm, pop it in the fridge for a few minutes before it cools down before mixing the butter in.
- At this point, your mixture might curdle. If it does just keep mixing — it’ll come together! Alternatively, your mixture might become soupy. That’s ok, just pop it in the fridge for about 20 minutes and try mixing again. It should firm up!
- Add any flavorings you want — melted chocolate, jam, lemon juice, extracts, etc.
- You should have silky, delicious buttercream. Proceed to smear it all over your face, or I guess store it in the fridge for a week or the freezer for 2 months. When you want to use it, either for frosting a cake or piping it directly into your mouth, just bring it up to room temperature and mix it again until it gets smooth.