Our Swiss meringue buttercream recipe is the one we use exclusively at our award-winning bakery. It's reputation of being more complicated and difficult is definitely not based on our recipe as it is straightforward enough for complete novices to follow as well. In fact, countless novice bakers at home have made it following our steps and have sworn they would never go back to "normal" icing ever again.
Once you've had Swiss meringue buttercream you'll be thinking why you ever wasted any time or kcals on ordinary icing or frosting. Sure, it's a bit more laborious with a few extra ingredients and a double boiler BUT it's far superior in taste and texture than your bog-standard icing sugar and shortening crusty frosting.
What is Swiss Meringue Buttercream?
Swiss meringue buttercream, aka SMBC, is a frosting made from cooked egg whites and sugar (the "meringue"), and butter. It is creamy, smooth and is very stable holding its shape well and can have many applications in addition to filling and covering cakes such as piping and filling macarons and eclairs. It is also a lot less sweet than traditional American frosting and this is why everyone loves it.
Which Ingredients are Needed for SMBC?
You only need 5 key ingredients. These are egg whites, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla.
Egg Whites - Fresh separated egg whites are great (and you can use the extra yolks to make custard or lemon curd!). However, if you want to avoid separating eggs or do not have use for the yolks, then you can use packaged carton egg whites. Do note that carton egg whites may not whip up to as stiff a meringue as fresh egg whites due to the factory pasteurisation processes. Whilst this doesn't make much of a difference to the end product once the butter is incorporated, it could throw someone off when following the steps. In our experience, Clarence Court egg whites whip up better than Two Chicks egg whites.
Butter - We prefer unsalted butter, however if you only have salted, then simply omit adding the salt in the recipe. Make sure the butter is at room temperature to avoid damaging your whisk attachments.
Sugar - Granulated sugar. SMBC calls for half the amount of sugar than in ordinary frostings. Also, by using granulated sugar vs icing sugar (which contains corn starch), SMBC stays soft and smooth all the time as it will never crust.
Vanilla - We use vanilla extract. Once the basic SMBC recipe is made it can be coloured with gel pastes or flavoured with absolutely anything - Nutella, peanut butter, cocoa, fruit purees, cream cheese, Oreo, rose water, rum, malibu...anything.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
The recipe below yields enough for a 6" layer cake or a dozen cupcakes. It's extremely stable and is deliciously smooth and silky. Check our our full range of Cakes to order for inspiration.
150g egg white at room temperature (approx. 5 eggs separated)
225g granulated sugar
300g butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1) Place egg whites and sugar in a clean stand mixer bowl with no traces of fat over a simmering saucepan of water over medium heat. The water in the saucepan should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk with a hand whisk until all sugar is dissolved, the mixture is frothy and has reached 60 degrees C or is hot to touch.
2) Place the stand mixer bowl into the stand mixer and whisk on high speed with whisk attachment until the mixture has reached glossy stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to touch. This is now the Swiss meringue base.
3) Add in vanilla, salt and softened butter on low speed till all combined. The mixture will look splitty, curdled and chundery and scare you. Don't panic! Increase the speed to high and beat till it all comes together as a smooth and silky buttercream (takes about 5-8 minutes to reach this stage).
You can now colour or flavour the buttercream and use to frost layer cakes and cupcakes, sandwich macarons or even fill profiteroles. It really is a versatile buttercream and also keeps well for up to 2 weeks in the fridge or freezer - just make sure to bring it to room temperature and whip up again to its smooth consistency before use.
I hope you love this buttercream as much as I do. You probably will as most of our customers do too! Don't forget to share your goodies and tag me on Instagram @angesdesucre #angesdesucre to show off ;)
Lots of love,