Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream on Vanilla Cupcakes

Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my favourite buttercream to make. Not only because it’s easy, but because it has the smoothest texture and leans lower on the sweet scale. Sadly, I feel like many home bakers are reluctant to make meringue buttercreams because they seem intimidating or like they will be overly complicated. This just isn’t true. Especially when it comes to this buttercream as it actually comes together quite quickly and is the easiest of all the meringue buttercreams to whip up (no pun intended).

Swiss Meringue Buttercream is really rather humble and only requires three ingredients. This buttercream comes together by using the stove-top method of heating the egg whites over a water bath (baine-marie) then whipping until stiff peaks and adding in butter, creates a light and silky frosting.

Why you need this Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe in your life:

  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a stable buttercream (this means it won’t separate) and holds its shape really well. This makes it ideal for piping and decorating on any layer cake or cupcakes.
  • It will elevate your cakes from home baker status to master pastry chef instantly! Seriously the number of compliments I get on my buttercream alone was well worth the cost of culinary school.

Ingredients

list of the ingredients needed to make this Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  1. Eggs Whites. Egg whites are what make up the main structural portion of our meringue and its really important that you have no traces of egg yolk in your whites. The fat int eh yolk will keep the egg whites from whipping to a stiff peak
  2. Granulated Sugar. White sugar, either granulated or caster is not only going to add sweetness to our Swiss Meringue Buttercream but it will also give it a lovely, glossy sheen.
  3. Unsalted Butter. Butter is our secondary structural component and turns our meringue into a rich buttercream perfect for layer cakes and cupcakes.

How to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • Fill a saucepan with approx 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. 
  • In a large heatproof bowl (or use the metal mixing bowl from your stand-mixer) combine egg whites, sugar and salt. Set bowl over the saucepan and whisk continuously until the mixture is warm to the touch or approx 85°C. You can test this by quickly dipping your finger in the mixture and rubbing it against your thumb. It should feel smooth and have no sugar granules. 
  • Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg mixture on medum-high speed until stiff peaks form and it has cooled completely (around 32°C). This will take approx. 10-12 min. 
  • Note: It is important that your meringue is cool otherwise your butter will melt and your buttercream will be runny.
  • Switching to the paddle attachment, begin beating in room temperature butter 2-3 tablespoons at a time. Once fully incorporated, add vanilla. Beat on medium-low until combined and smooth.
Single Cupcake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Pastry Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Make sure your bowl is free of any grease. If you want to be overly cautious, you can do what I do and use a splash of lemon juice or white vinegar and wipe the inside of your bowl.
  • Depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the humidity, buttercream will sometimes curdle slightly. To avoid this, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar as this will help stiffen the egg whites and create more volume which will decrease the chances of it curdling.
  • Switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment once you have reached stiff peaks. This will create a smoother, creamier texture while beating in the butter.
  • You can make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream up to a week ahead of time as long as you store it in the fridge. Before using, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature and re-beat the buttercream with the paddle attachment until smooth. If it looks lumpy or slightly oily you can gently warm the butter cream over a brine-marie (double-boiler), just for a few seconds at a time! You don’t want it to melt. You just want the butter to soften enough so that it will re-emulsify.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream

How to Store Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

Swiss Meringue Buttercream is best when used immediately but will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. If refrigerated, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature and re-beat until smooth.

Here are a few recipes that would go perfectly with this Swiss Meringue Buttercream

It is honestly a dream come true when you make my recipes! Make sure to leave a comment if you have tried this recipe. Also feel free to take picture and tag me on Instagram at @kiramcmullan

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Light and silky. Swiss Meringue Buttercream is probably the most versatile buttercream. Not too sweet, its great for layered cakes and pipping intricate designs.
Course: Dessert
Servings: 2 Cups

Ingredients

  • 4 Large US Eggs
  • 200 g Granulated Sugar
  • 450 g Unsalted Butter (Room Temperature)
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt

Instructions

  • Fill a saucepan with approx 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer.
    In a large heatproof bowl (or use the metal mixing bowl from your stand-mixer) combine egg whites, sugar and salt. Set bowl over the saucepan and whisk continuously until the mixture is warm to the touch or approx 85°C. You can test this by quickly dipping your finger in the mixture and rubbing it against your thumb. It should feel smooth and have no sugar granules.
  • Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg mixture on medum-high speed until stiff peaks form and it has cooled completely (around 32°C). This will take approx. 10-12 min. 
    Note: It is important that your meringue is cool otherwise your butter will melt and your buttercream will be runny.
  • Switching to the paddle attachment, begin beating in room temperature butter 2-3 tablespoons at a time. Once fully incorporated, add vanilla. Beat on medium-low until combined and smooth.
  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream is best when used immediately but will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. If refrigerated, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature and re-beat until smooth.


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