Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Originally published Aug y, 2008, Updated on 10/3/20
This Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe is the base for all of our delicious frostings... Light, yet rich and soo creamy! Ever since my Evil Cake Twin Jeanne Kalman - formerly of “The Well Dressed Cake” in New Hampshire - turned me on to Swiss Meringue Buttercream, there really has been no other frosting.
For the most part, anyway!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my frosting of choice when it comes to personal projects, and it was my default frosting when Celebration Generation was a custom cake business, rather than a food blog!
This frosting is more expensive to make than most other options, and definitely a little more labor intensive. It is SO worth it, however.
So very worth it.
SMBC is smooth, creamy, rich, and dense in a light way, not a heavy way - if that makes sense.. Picture eating the most perfect, creamy ice cream, if the ice cream wasn’t a cold food. That’s the best way to describe this frosting.
Egg whites are combined with sugar, and cooked over a hot water bath. The mixture is then whipped to a fluffy, marshmallowy consistency before butter is beaten in - Lots of butter. Yum!
A Few Notes
* Be VERY careful when separating your eggs. Even the slightest speck of egg yolk in the whites will prevent this frosting from properly whipping up!
* This frosting gets VERY hard if chilled. While this is good news when applying fondant, it’s also something to keep in mind when timing your service.
* Related: Always serve cakes at room temperature! Cold cake is dry cake.
Flavouring Your Frosting
No matter which way you're flavouring your Swiss Meringue Buttercream, follow the recipe through adding the butter and beating it into a frosting. THEN do one of the following:
You can swap out the vanilla for another flavour extract or flavour oil. Note that flavour oils tend to be more concentrated, so start with a smaller amount and adjust to taste.
Chai Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Mix 1-2 Tbsp of Unsweetened Instant Black Tea with 1 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp Ground Cardamom, ½ tsp Ground Cloves, and ½ tsp of Ground Nutmeg. Add a Tbsp or so of hot water, mix to form a thick paste.
Once you've added the butter and vanilla to the meringue - and have beaten it into an actual frosting - turn speed back down to low. Add the paste, beat to combine.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
To make a chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, melt a cup of chocolate chips, or about 6oz of chocolate of your choice, and allow it to cool slightly. You want it to be cool enough to avoid melting the butter, but NOT hardened.
Once you've added the butter and vanilla to the meringue - and have beaten it into an actual frosting - turn speed back down to low.
Making sure that the melted chocolate is no longer hot, slowly add it to the mixing bowl, pouring down the side of the bowl. Once all of the chocolate is in the bowl, you can speed up the mixer a little until it is all incorporated, and smooth.
Cocoa Swiss Meringue Buttercream
If you don't have chocolate on hand or don't want to mess with melted chocolate, you can make cocoa Swiss Meringue Buttercream!
Once the butter and vanilla are incorporated into the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and it's smooth, add 2-5 Tbsp of cocoa (Good cocoa, preferably!) to the frosting. Turn mixer on low speed until powder is incorporated to some degree - to avoid getting cocoa everywhere. Turn the speed up and beat for a few seconds to fully incorporate it.
How much cocoa you use will depend on how chocolatey you're wanting it to get. Start with 2-3 Tbsp, taste, and add more if you like.
Interested in making wickedly delicious cakes? You'll LOVE my second cookbook, Evil Cake Overlord!
We've long been known for our “ridiculously delicious” moist cakes and tasty, unique flavors. Now, you can have recipes for all of the amazing flavors on our former custom cake menu, and many more!
Bake your moist work of gastronomic art, then fill and frost your cake with any number of tasty possibilities. Milk chocolate cardamom pear, mango mojito.. even our famous Chai cake – the flavor that got us into “Every Day with Rachel Ray” magazine!
Feeling creative? Use our easy to follow recipe to make our yummy fondant. Forget everything you’ve heard about fondant – ours is made from marshmallows and powdered sugar, and is essentially candy – you can even flavor it!
Looking for some ridiculously delicious cake recipes that you can frost with this Swiss Meringue Buttercream? As the "Evil Cake Overlord", I've got you covered! (Ps: Check out my instructions for making Marshmallow Fondant, as well!)
Bundt, Sheet, & Upside Down Cakes
Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake
Brandied Apple Upside Down Cake
Deep N Delicious Cake
French Martini Bundt Cake
French Martini Upside Down Cake
Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake
Pina Colada Bundt Cake
Strawberry Mango Marble Cake
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On to that Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe!
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 5 Large Egg Whites
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 3 sticks Unsalted Butter
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- Mix egg whites and sugar in a *clean* metal mixing bowl, and place over a pot of simmering water on your stovetop. Whisk occasionally until it hits 160 degrees.
- Move egg mixture to your stand mixer and whip on high (using the whisk attachment) until stiff peaks form, and mixture is relatively cool. While waiting, cut up the butter into chunks. Set aside.
- When Meringue has reached the stiff peaks stage, switch to low speed and add the butter a chunk at a time.
- Once butter is incorporated into the mix, turn speed back up to high and whip until you have a smooth buttercream.
- It will go through some weird stages before this point - soupy, maybe curdled. Don’t worry! It will come together!
- Once everything has come together in a smooth buttercream, add your vanilla, and/or whatever other flavours you want. Mix on low until incorporated.
the whites will prevent this frosting from properly whipping up! * This frosting gets VERY hard if chilled. Always serve cakes at room temperature!