Perfectly Fluffy Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe on http://www.theculinarylife.com- Perfectly Fluffy Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe -

There are billions of buttercream frosting recipes all over the internet. I’ve found at least a hundred, most of which produced only decent results; usually the frosting was either flat, or greasy, or just plain flavorless. Searching for a version that really sings, I’ve dug and dug for the ultimate buttercream frosting recipe and had nearly given up – until my friend Garrett McCord saved the day.

Do you know Garrett? If not, you should. He blogs over at Vanilla Garlic, and honestly, he’s one of my most favoritest people ever.

Besides the fact that he’s just generally made of awesome, Garrett is also an accomplished baker with a heroic number of recipes under his [oddly enough, never widening] belt. He’s taking on a pastry internship over the next few weeks, and recently sat in on an advanced pastry class at a nearby culinary program. His post on the class made me wish that I could eat everything he made that day, but sadly, as a gluten free individual, I was relegated to the culinary window shopping that his post provided.

While I was reading over his experience, though, I caught mention of something I could not only eat, but had been seeking for quite a while:

I am given a crash course on the difference in meringue types and taught the basic ratio for Swiss meringue buttercream, which is 150% ounces of granulated sugar to egg whites by weight, then as much softened butter and vanilla extract until it tastes right (who says pastry is always so precise?).

Hrmm! Could this be the buttercream frosting recipe I’d been seeking all my life? I emailed Garrett, got the recipe, and guess what? It’s perfect. Utterly, completely, mind-blowingly perfect.

Also, just edited to add – I found this great video from Heather at SprinkleBakes, where she makes a Swiss meringue buttercream recipe and shows you exactly what it’s supposed to look like. This is important because there’s a point where the icing looks like it’s curdling and you want to power through and keep mixing, but this video will show you what that’s supposed to look like. Handy!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting Recipe on http://www.theculinarylife.com

Perfectly Fluffy Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 20 minutes
Prep time:
Total time:

 
This light and airy buttercream is much more stable than standard American buttercream. This stuff is pure velvet in a bowl (and on your tongue!). Makes for the perfect finish on your cake, cupcakes, or cookies. WOW!!!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 8 large egg whites)
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups butter, at room temperature and cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Have a candy thermometer handy. Heat hot water in the bottom of a double boiler until it is almost boiling. Combine egg whites and sugar in the top half of the double boiler and whisk gently until they reach 140 degrees F.
  2. Remove eggs whites and sugar from the pot and pour into a mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat on high until the frosting is big and billowy and have cooled completely.
  3. Once the eggs and sugar have cooled off completely during beating – it has to be room temperature or your butter will melt into a huge mess – slowly add butter to frosting, chunk by chunk, and keep beating. After one minute, add vanilla and continue beating. If you want to add food coloring, add it right after the vanilla extract.
  4. Keep beating and tasting. You’ll know it’s done when it tastes like happiness, whipped velvet, and unicorn giggles.
  5. If kept in an airtight container, this frosting will keep FOREVER in the fridge. Just bring to room temperature and re-whisk it when needed. I’ve been keeping a test batch in the fridge for two months now, and it still tastes lovely and perfect once a small portion is brought to room temperature and beaten with a whisk.

 

More Swiss meringue buttercream tips:

In the comments below, Rachel, a reader, posted a handful of tips for making this recipe. I thought I’d add them here so that everyone reading this would be able to take advantage of her great advice:

  1. Check out this video for how to make this buttercream, in action.
  2. Make sure the butter is actually room temperature. The butter I used was still cold in the middle and it did not cream all the way in the frosting, so there are tiny butter “globs”, not yummy!
  3. Go buy a candy thermometer if you don’t have one! I tried to use a meat thermometer because I was pressed for time. It never ever registered the heat because the lowest temperature on it is 135. My eggs had barely started cooking before I realize that it wasn’t working, don’t do this!
  4. Have patience! It took my meringue about 15 minutes to start coming together. I was starting to panic long before that, but I just walked away from it and distracted myself in the other room. The stand mixer is amazing, make sure you have one before you attempt to make a meringue or anything that take forever to come together.
  5. Make it a couple of days before you need it for two reasons, first, in case you mess it up (like I did!), you can start over with new found frosting wisdom, and second (and this is important!), the frosting sets up over night in the fridge making it much easier to work with and giving all the flavors a chance to come together to form a happy frosting family.

If you like this swiss meringue buttercream frosting recipe, here are some other recipes you might like:

Comments

  1. Wow – I love how this recipe only requires four ingredients. Certainly makes things a lot easier.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      I agree – and IMHO, it tastes better than those frostings that have a bunch of different things in then. Simple = yum!

  2. Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi says:

    I’m with Susan. There is elegance, simplicity and often deliciousness in recipes with a few high quality ingredients.

  3. what a great description of how it tastes. it sounds like a good discovery, and a creative combination of ideas on your part too.

  4. I’m so glad the recipe worked for you, Steph! XD

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Me too! Thanks for sharing, dear. :)

    • Does this buttercream hold up to warm temperatures after applied to cakes and cupcakes?

      • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

        Hi Paul, yes it does. Like any buttercream it will melt in hot temperatures, but it holds up pretty well to a warm summer day. If you really want it to stay put on a sweltering afternoon, you might try using shortening instead of butter.

        • Same amounts of shortning? And I am sure you would be loosing the decadence of the butter….

          • Oh, I guess if I use shortning I could always add a few tsp.’s of butter flavor..What are your thoughts?

          • Oh, instead of shortning and/or butter, what would your opinion be about adding softened peanut butter?

          • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

            My initial sense is that it wouldn’t work, on both a flavor and textural level – but this is one of those ideas that might be brilliance waiting to happen. Give it a try and report back, because now I’m infinitely curious to see how this would turn out.

          • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

            Could totally do that. Or maybe 60% shortening, 40% butter? If you try it, let me know how it goes.

  5. Almost Slowfood says:

    Yum, a good buttercream frosting recipe is one of the rarest food finds. I’m definitely trying this one soon.

  6. Ruth Pennebaker says:

    Anything butterscotch or caramel is a winner in my book. This looks divine.

  7. I really, really need some of this – right now.

  8. Donna Hull says:

    What a delicious sounding recipe for buttercream frosting. I would have never thought to include merinque. Will you be holding a virtual tasting party? Here’s my spoon.

  9. Wow. I want to make this. Like…now.

    Do you think it would be insanely painful to make it without an electric beater though?

    Also, I found my favorite buttercream recipe on the back of the Ghirardelli cocoa powder package, of all places.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      I think that without an electric mixer, you might get really tired for as long as it takes to beat. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

    • hi gaby,j
      ust goin thru the site,you cant make smbc without an electric mixer. you need a stand mixer for best results. even with a handheld mixer,it wiuld be insanely painful.

  10. joann cassianos says:

    I have made this and it is YUMMMMMMMM!
    Thanks for the perfect texture!
    I also added a pinch of salt…I saw that on Garretts board, and I usually add a touch of salt to all my sweet recipes – just seems to bribg out more yumminess…
    Thanks again for a little piece of heaven…

  11. I have made SMBC before and never had a problem. Thought this looked great and tried it. It was runny, soupy even. I feel certainl I followed the recipe. TASTED devine! Any ideas?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      How warm was it when you made the dish? Being a buttercream, if the butter gets too warm it will get too soft. I like to put the frosting in the fridge for a while before using it, just to firm it up.

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Also, Kathi, Rachel below has some great advice for making this frosting. She had some problems as well, and shared what she learned.

  12. I made this, and it tasted divine, but was runny. I have made SMBC before with no issues. Any thoughts?

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Hey there, question – was it really warm out? The butter will often melt in hot weather, making the frosting run. In that case, I’d say stick it in the fridge before using!

      If it wasn’t hot out, let me know and I’ll think on it some more. :)

      • I’ve learned you have to let the meringue completely cool before adding butter otherwise the butter melts when you put it in creating a soupy mess

  13. I made this recipe yesterday and I completely botched it up, but I think I know why, so here are some tips to avoid!:
    1. Make sure the butter is actually room temperature. The butter I used was still cold in the middle and it did not cream all the way in the frosting, so there are tiny butter “globs”, not yummy!
    2. Go buy a candy thermometer if you don’t have one! I tried to use a meat thermometer because I was pressed for time. It never ever registered the heat because the lowest temperature on it is 135. My eggs had barely started cooking before I realize that it wasn’t working, don’t do this!
    3. Have patience! It took my meringue about 15 minutes to start coming together. I was starting to panic long before that, but I just walked away from it and distracted myself in the other room. The stand mixer is amazing, make sure you have one before you attempt to make a meringue or anything that take forever to come together.
    4. Make it a couple of days before you need it for two reasons, first, in case you mess it up (like I did!), you can start over with new found frosting wisdom, and second (and this is important!), the frosting sets up over night in the fridge making it much easier to work with and giving all the flavors a chance to come together to form a happy frosting family.

    I hope this is helpful. Now I have a bowl of yummy-ness to eat while I am making a new bowl for my cake! Good luck fellow bakers!

  14. Hello again!

    I have just finished my frosting, and I am happy to report that I have perfect lavender colored frosting cooling in my fridge!

    Followed Katie’s excellent suggestion of letting the egg whites cool first, and it definitely helped. Gotta turn those eggs on in the mixer and just let them go! Walk away, do something else, let them rise or you will definitely start to panic. Also, if you want a sweeter buttercream, you are going to need to add more sugar. I added about 1/2 cup more sugar because my frosting was tasting a bit too much like a stick of butter and a lot less like a frosting. This is definitely a preference thing though, so taste as you go!

    I am about to make another batch, I’m not sure that this one batch is enough. Definitely give yourself time, I’ve been working on this for a couple of hours (the eggs took about an hour too cool completely). Also, let your butter come to room temperature and get soft naturally! It makes all the difference. Leave it out overnight if you have time.

    Happy cooking everyone!

  15. I love this recipe! I have made it a few times now and would like to try a chocolate version. What kind and what quantity chocolate/cocoa would you recommend? Thanks!

  16. I made this today for the first time. My son has a dairy allergy and we don’t like the overwhelming butter taste of buttercream or the texture. We can’t use butter or normal available-in-every-supermarket margarine, but we buy Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks (it has never failed me as a substitute in 5 years). We can’t use any of the store bought or store made non-dairy whipped topping because its still made from dairy (non-dairy and dairy free are vastly different for those with allergies or who live a vegan lifestyle).

    I tried to skimp on the butter by only adding 1 cup of buttery spread in fear it would be too buttery in flavor. It wasn’t really coming together well, so I added the last 1/4 cup and within 5 minutes it was in pillowy icing heaven. The flavor was light and extremely fluffy. I added the scraping of 3 vanilla beans and a little vanilla extract because there just wasn’t enough vanilla flavor and I didn’t have any more vanilla beans on hand.

    I am now on the look out on how to make a rich peanut butter flavor SMBC. :) I will let you know how much I end up adding. My husband is a HUGE sucker for peanut butter and chocolate so it will make him a very happy man.

    I have a KitchenAid and just added the egg whites and sugar straight to the mixer boil and use it as my double boiler bowl. I went straight from the heat to the mixer and started whipping. They cooled while they whipped and became room temp in about 8 minutes. Less dishes…same result :)

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      Oh! I’m also a peanut butter nut (heh), so if you go ahead with the peanut version, please let me know! I’d love to try it myself. :) Maybe with a little chocolate added. Ooooh.

      • So I tried this with peanut butter and serious…Oh..My..Word. I about died happy. My husband even licked the WISK! So you know it was good.

        I added 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter (natural peanut butter not Jif or Skippy, sweetened) the first time and it SUPER rich and too sweet for me. I was adding a Tablespoon at a time, sometimes 2 Tablespoons at a time. I would mix and taste again. I just wasn’t getting enough peanut butter flavor. Not thinking about it, but every time I was tasting I was messing up my taste buds. I was SO amazed that after adding SO much I still wasn’t getting a big peanut butter taste. I asked my husband to come taste test and he moaned with excitement. HE LOVED IT and so did 2 of my friends. One girlfriend didn’t even eat her cupcake, she just licked the icing off like we did when we were kids :) BUT…after letting my taste buds rest for the night, the icing was just too rich for me and way too sweet for my tastes.

        So for round 2 I used an unsweetened natural peanut butter instead. I added about a cup and then added extra sugar (or honey) until it was the right sweetness. I definitley like using the unsweetened peanut butter better because I am able to control the amount of sweetness in the frosting.

        Right now I am beating egg whites and going to attempt to make a chocolate SMBC. I will report back. :-D I just cannot thank you enough for sharing this recipe. It has been a complete blessing for our dairy-free diet :-D Next week I think I am going to make a lemon version and also mixing in oreos crumbs for another cake (my son’s birthday, 3 different parties).

        • So I ended up putting 1 cup of melted dark chocolate chips in the icing. I let it cool down to room temperature before I added it to the icing though. It was really good. I like really rich chocolate, so maybe next time I will double it. This recipe is VERY flexible.

  17. OMG! FINALLY! A recipe for SBC that has eggs in cup measurements and one that truly works after several failed attempts and many a wasted ingredients later
    I have a recipe that’s a keeper. I can’t stop staring at my beautiful SWISS BUTTERCREAM! Thankyou Ty Ty! <3

    • Stephanie Stiavetti says:

      That’s great news! So glad you like the recipe. :) I’m sorry others have failed you! That’s always a HUGE bummer.

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