Luscious and refined – This Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my favorite frosting because it’s smooth, silky, and not tooth-achingly sweet! It can be used on a variety of cakes and cupcakes as it can easily be flavored. For this recipe, I am using vanilla, but chocolate, espresso powder, fruit purees, caramel, and lemon zest are excellent alternatives too!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream is made by whipping a mixture of egg whites and sugar that has been gently heated in a double boiler until the sugar dissolves and the eggs are cooked. Cubes of room temperature butter are then gradually added to the meringue, then the flavor ingredients.
For this recipe, I am using vanilla, but chocolate, espresso powder, fruit purees, caramel, and lemon zest are excellent alternatives too!Just like crepes it may seem initimateding to make, but it’s actually doable once you’ve tried it! I highly suggest using a candy thermometer so you don’t have to guess if the egg whites are cooked and all the sugar has dissolved. You would know it’s ready when your thermometer hits 160 F / 70 C.
Tips and Troubleshooting Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- The egg whites should be free of any bits of yolk. I always crack the egg and extract the egg whites in a separate bowl, then once I have a clean (not a bit of yolk) egg whites I pour it into another bowl together with the other egg whites. This is to ensure that if ever there is an egg yolk in it (and this has happened a lot to me!), I would not contaminate the other egg whites and don’t have to start all over again.
- The metal and mixing bowls should be completely dry and clean before use. Ensure that there are no traces of grease.
- The water in the double boiler should be in a simmer. The boiling water should not start the bottom of your metal bowl.
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw frozen buttercream in the fridge. Bring the buttercream to room temperature then remix it again until it is smooth and silky. Let the mixer run on low speed for a few minutes to remove any air bubbles.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 150 milliliters egg whites (approximately from 5 large eggs)
- 250 grams granulated white sugar
- 450 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (cut into small cubes)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In a metal bowl, put the egg whites and sugar. Whisk by hand. Put the bowl over a saucepan (to create a double boiler) with simmering water. Whisk until it registers 160 F or 70 C on a candy thermometer.
- Transfer the mixture in a stand mixer bowl and beat with whisk attachment on high speed for about 8-10 minutes or until medium stiff peaks. Switch to paddle attachment and on low speed, add butter few at a time. Once incorporated, turn up the speed to medium-high until smooth and silky, about 3-5 minutes.