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Easy Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe by a Professional Chef

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.

Ingredients

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

Swiss meringue buttercream recipe

Method

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.

Swiss meringue buttercream recipe

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.

Swiss meringue buttercream recipe

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). 

Swiss meringue buttercream recipe

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. 

Swiss meringue buttercream recipe

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,

Reshmi xoxo

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6 Responses

Monica

Monica

November 20, 2022

I finally plucked up the courage to make this Swiss meringue butter cream to top my hero sponge cupcakes.

The heating and the amount of mixing (I don’t have a stand mixer, so used an electric hand mixer) sounded a little scary but it worked out well and actually wasn’t too difficult!

It’s delicious and soooo smooth. The most amazing part is no icing sugar coating your entire kitchen 😅

Lolly

Lolly

December 02, 2019

Would the egg whites in this recipe be considered still ‘raw’ do you think? Never use raw eggs anymore, because of the risk of salmonella contamination.

Cazz

Cazz

August 04, 2019

What size cake is the recipe for? Thanks

Harleigh

Harleigh

June 29, 2018

Amazing Swiss Buttercream method I’ll be adopting from now on. I even made this on a very hot day and it held so well for colouring and lots of detailed piping. Looking forward to trying again with more interesting flavour combinations.

Liz sayer

Liz sayer

June 18, 2018

Best buttercream ever! Made your mermaid cake followed your instructions ,turned out brilliant and your sponge is moist too!

Harvi

Harvi

March 10, 2018

Hey Reshmi, thanks for sharing! Once the Swiss meringue bc is in the cake does the cake need to be kept in the fridge too?
Thanks

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