Swiss meringue buttercream is the best and I think easiest frosting I have ever made. Most people say it is too complicated, however I don’t think it is. I have added my technique of doing this recipe and some flavor options to make it match what you need it to. Words just cannot describe the wonderfulness that this frosting is. It’s light, fluffy, smooth, sweet, and just melts in your mouth. It is hands down the best frosting I have ever had. A reason it is such a huge hit is because it not only keeps well at room temperature but it has that richness of a buttercream without tasting like you are just eating a stick of butter dipped in sugar.
It can be a bit frustrating if you have not made it before, as it does not seem like it is ever going to turn out right. You will just have to trust me, it will. I have done this frosting plain vanilla, chocolate, liquor flavored, colored, uncolored… it’s amazing every time. This is the most perfect frosting you will ever have. I never liked frosting of any type until I tried this type. I’m now addicted.
Swiss meringue buttercream is fairly white in color, so it absorbs any colors quite well. I suggest using gels or powders and personally I prefer gel colors for frostings as they incorporate into the frosting the smoothest.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
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You can use this recipe for just about any application that calls for a frosting. Add anything you like to it for flavoring or color or just use it plain.
Yield: Around 5 cups of frosting
- 5 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 c granulated white sugar
- 2 c (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature cut into 1 tbsp pieces
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or paste (optional if adding liquor)
- For Liquors: 2-4 tbsp of liquor based on taste. Start with 2 and add more as desired. Typically I use 4-6 tbsp Bailey’s, 3 tbsp Kahlua, or 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
- For chocolate: 2/3 c chocolate, melted, cool room temperature before adding to frosting
- For cream cheese: Add 8oz of room temperature cream cheese.
- In a heat-proof bowl add the egg whites and a pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously until all the whites are broken up. Add in the sugar and place over a pot of simmering water.
- Whisk the mixture consistently while heating. The mixture will become thick and frothy and take on a creamy color. At this stage if it appears that the sugar has dissolved, touch the egg mixture and rub between your fingers. If it feels smooth it is done. If you feel even a slight gritty texture keep whisking and every 30 seconds feel the mixture until smooth when rubbed between your fingers. FYI: Sugar melts at 186°F and in accordance to the USDA and FDA guidelines eggs should be cooked to 145-155°F to be safe. You do not need a candy thermometer to make this frosting which some sites suggest. Just due to the melting point of sugar your eggs are heated to a high enough temperature to be safe. Just make sure that when you rub it between your fingers it should feel smooth with no grittiness left at all from the sugar.
- Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the egg mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce to medium heat and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue adding the butter once each addition has been incorporated. After the last piece of butter has been added around 30 seconds later the mixture will look separated or curdled. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth, it will come back together, I promise.
- It takes around another 3 minutes for it to start to come back together. At this point add in the vanilla, flavoring, coloring, or liquor and mix just until incorporated. The mixture may look split again upon adding the liquor. Just whisk until it comes back together. Add more of the flavoring or color until desired result is achieved. Continue mixing until desired thickness is achieved; it takes a total of 3-5 minutes.
- Place into a piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. I typically use a Wilton 1M tip. Enjoy!
Adapted from Martha Stewart