Swiss meringue buttercream is the cure for all of our frosting heartache. It is consistently smooth, glossy and stable to make our cakes and cupcakes shine.
When I first learned how to bake, I struggled with buttercream and cream cheese frosting (who am I kidding – I still do). I couldn’t always get the consistency I wanted – smooth and creamy so I can properly frost with it but also stiff enough so it doesn’t fall off the cake (or cupcake). Then I discovered Swiss meringue buttercream – the frosting of my dreams.
I’ve had my share of frosting fails. Some batches were way too soupy. I tried to refrigerate lemon cream cheese frosting once and when I thought it hardened enough I started frosting my cupcakes; it started melting 2 minutes later. I just told our guests (good friends, fortunately) that it was called the cascading waterfall frosting style (they still ate it, bless them).
Some batches I just had to throw out – in my effort to stiffen them up, I kept adding confectioner’s sugar that in the end, they just tasted like, well, confectioner’s sugar.
Swiss meringue buttercream
I’ve heard about but mostly ignored Swiss meringue buttercream because it involved a slightly more complicated process (plus a stove, which as you know I am a little averse to). Then I saw this video by Thomas Joseph. He made it look sooo easy.
But it was this excellent, step-by-step tutorial by Sweetapolita that finally convinced me to try. And my oh my, where have you been all my life Swiss meringue buttercream?
While it does involve a stove, the method is easy enough that someone like me can do it (therefore, so can you!). I did invest in a candy thermometer (found a $10 one at the local Walmart…doesn’t need to be fancy) because I was dealing with eggs (if you read my post on Key Lime Pie, you’d know I have egg…
issues concerns). But after the first part’s done it’s really just making meringue but with butter.
At times it will look like a complete disaster (think: curdled and looking like somebody threw up – I kid you not), don’t give up. Just keep whipping and you will end up with this wonderful buttercream – smooth, shiny and creamy, can be made ahead and frozen (handy when you have extra egg whites), and so versatile. I’ve done the traditional vanilla, lemon, cookie butter and chocolate.
I must say this though, it is a little challenging to tint. I use the gel icing colour that’s really concentrated but I’ve found that it takes a lot for Swiss meringue buttercream to darken. If you’re going for light pastel colours then it’s fine. But last Christmas I had to mix lots of browns, blues and greens to get to a vibrant Christmas green but I couldn’t for the life of me make it turn Christmas red (it turned coral instead).
Regardless, it’s my go-to frosting now. Try it! You’ll discover why lots of bakers (pros and amateurs alike) love it.
(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart).
Happy whipping! Check out this post to see how I use Swiss meringue buttercream to frost a childhood favourite.
Did you make Swiss meringue buttercream? Tell me about it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear all about it.
And let’s get social! Find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google+. Or subscribe so you don’t miss a recipe (if you missed the pop-up form, there’s another form at the bottom of this page).
Do you want to improve your food photography, monetize your blog or start your very own food blog? Check out the awesome resources at the bottom of this page (they are affiliate links).