Swiss meringue buttercream is better in flavor and texture than American buttercream. Once you try it, you will want to use it on all of your cakes, cupcakes, cookies, everything! It is silky, pipes beautifully, and is stable (scroll down to see the fun design I made for my niece and nephews puppy-themed birthday party).
Swiss Meringue buttercream is my favorite of the meringue frostings because it is not overly sweet or difficult to make, and this method pasteurizes the egg whites in the process – Hooray!! It is simple enough to use for everyday baking but the flavor is special occasion worthy. This frosting makes me think of wedding cakes every time I make it!
When you want a light, creamy, smooth buttercream there are two choices, Swiss or Italian buttercream. I love both but have to admit there is less less chance of burning myself when making the Swiss variety as you’re gently heating the meringue over a double boiler. The other benefit of these buttercreams is the color; you can get a very bright white with them and not have to resort to covering your cake in fondant.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SWISS AND ITALIAN MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM?
Both are meringue based frostings that use egg whites to create a lightness and silky structure perfect for decorating. Italian buttercream uses 240F sugar syrup poured into the fluffed egg whites to stabilize the meringue while to make Swiss buttercream you gently heat the egg and sugar mixture to 160F using the steam heat of a double boiler. I find Italian meringue buttercream to be just a bit stiffer than Swiss but bother are EXTREMELY creamy.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream keeps really well overnight at room temperature without drying out or forming a crust like American buttercream will. You can completely assemble your cake ahead of time without taking up space in the refrigerator and it will look and taste just as good the next day!
- 6 fl oz pasteurized liquid egg whites (3/4 cup)
- 24 oz powdered sugar (6 cups)
- ½ tsp salt
- 24 oz unsalted butter (3 cups) , at room temperature
- 2 TBSP vanilla extract
- Combine the whites, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix everything together on low speed, until the sugar is moistened and no dry patches remain. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, then turn the mixer to medium speed. Beat on medium for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, turn the mixer to medium-low and start adding the softened room temperature butter, 1-2 tablespoons at a time. Once all of the butter is incorporated, add the vanilla extract and mix it in. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides once more. Turn the speed to medium and beat the buttercream for 10 minutes. At the end, you’ll have a frosting with a wonderfully light and creamy texture. It can be used right away, or stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or the freezer for up to two months. If you have chilled the frosting, let it come to room temperature and then beat it for several minutes to smooth it out and restore its texture before using it.
- To make chocolate buttercream, chop 12 oz unsweetened chocolate, and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Once the chocolate is melted, let it cool until it is completely room temperature. Make the frosting as described, and after it is finished, add the melted and cooled chocolate. Mix on low speed until the chocolate is completely incorporated.
- This recipe is adapted from a frosting recipe by Lauren Kitchens.