Saturday, July 9, 2011


Everyone is familiar with commercial bakery "buttercream" which is commonly made with shortening and it leaves a greasy or waxy film in your mouth, yuck!!  Todays recipe is for a light and fluffy frosting (almost the consistency of whipped cream) called Swiss meringue buttercream. It is the creme de la creme of all frostings and it is slightly sweet and extremely stable.


The recipe has a few steps, but it is well worth the effort and as long as you follow a few tips, it is NOT hard to make.

5 egg whites (from large eggs)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 pound of UNSALTED sweet cream butter (room temperature)
Small pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Place the egg whites and sugar in a glass or metal bowl (whisk together until well mixed) and place the bowl over a gently simmering pan of water (don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water).

Now here is a tip; right after you mix the sugar into the egg whites, press some of the mixture between your fingers and you will feel a grainy texture (remember that feeling). Heat the egg white-sugar mixture (whisking every 30 seconds or so) for about 3 to 5 minutes or until it reaches 140 degrees on an instant read thermometer.  NOTE: If you do not have an instant read thermometer, just heat the mixture until it feels nice and warm (not hot) and you can no longer feel that grainy texture when you press some of it between your fingers. Remove from heat.

Pour the warmed egg white - sugar mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer and attach the wire whisk. Beat the mixture on medium high for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture forms a thick and fluffy meringue that is cool to the touch. It is VERY IMPORTANT that the mixture AND the outside of the bowl have cooled down to room temperature.

Stop the mixer and change to the paddle attachment. With your stand mixer at medium speed, start adding the ROOM TEMPERATURE butter, two tablespoons at a time, beating 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. Stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides to make sure everything is mixing well.

After you have added all of the butter, add the extracts and beat on medium high until light and fluffy (another minute or two). Use immediately.

TIP: You want the butter to be at room temperature but not super soft/melty(very important). I cubed the butter when it was COLD and then let it sit on the counter for an hour to insure it would be at room temperature (of course that depends on how warm your house is). Do NOT warm up your butter in the microwave.

This frosting is a dream to work with!!! It is EXCELLENT for borders and trim work (it is VERY stable) and it is very forgiving when doing flat work (smooths easily with a knife).
NOTE:  If you start adding your butter too early (while the meringue is still too warm), the frosting will separate or look curdled.  Don't panic, just keep beating on medium high and it will eventually come back together and whip up correctly, I promise!!

NOTE: Do not use SALTED butter, I tried that once and I was amazed how salty the frosting tasted!!!



Anonymous said...

Happy 63rd birthday to your hubby, I am also 63 in late may of this time flies, being a baby boomer I feel grateful and happy..I love your blog, love the recipes and your attitude and your musings, hope your summer is wonderful with the ones you love and yummmeee for your recipes.thanks mjs from the 'couv that is vancouver washington, we are finally after over 300 days some sunshine, it only lasts for 1 day the heat & humidity we don't like but heh it ain't raining and cloudy, thanks to the Lord for that..ciao mjs

Katy ~ said...

Coleen, you are, once again, an inspiration. How I have longed to try this and just never had the courage. So many people have spoken of it curdling that I've been scarrit to try it,smiles. The frosting looks absolutely beautiful!

Peggy Clyde said...

Looks so yummy. I hop I will dare try it sometimes. Happy birthday to your hubby.

Laura said...

I think this will be the new secret in my arsenal :) I love the look of it!!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Colleen, you are so right! I took a cake decorating class at Michael's Crafts, and I fought that butter and shortening recipe they insisted that I use. I made a Swiss Buttercream a few months ago, and LOVED it! I don't think I can ever go back to making any other kind of frosting. Thanks for sharing.

Pip said...

I'm like Katy, I've always wanted to try this frosting but have been afraid. You made it look so easy and the cake is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing and happy b day to your hubby.

girlichef said...

It's beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this along with your tips, I am not so great with frostings other than our favorite whipped cream, which of course doesn't hold up for too long. I'll be saving this! :D

Julie said...

I'm a frosting fanatic, and this sounds great! Happy birthday to your hubby :)

Debbie said...

I've never made this frosting before but have always wanted to. I am going to finally give this a try soon and I will follow your directions since you explained this so clearly. Thanks Coleen!

the domestic mama said...

Aw happy birthday to your man! What a beautiful cake! Awesome job, Coleen!

Anonymous said...

wow, I'm so amazed at your hard work! You have a wonderful recipes to share to anyone who have a passion for baking just like me. It is your GOD-given talent(baking) so keep on posting more...
All the instructions are so clear to understand & easy to follow.
This swiss meringue buttercream is so nice & beautiful to look at! It's just look like the non-dairy whipped cream i often used.
Good luck on your baking,dear Coleen.
I'm one of your blog visitor in your website!