Out of the three main types of buttercream (American buttercream, Italian meringue buttercream and swiss meringue buttercream) Swiss meringue has to be my favourite by far. American buttercream is often too sweet but it is very sturdy and easy to make, Italian meringue buttercream is glossy and not too sweet but it is a complicated process using hot sugar syrups. SO for me swiss meringue buttercream is really just combining the best of both worlds. It's a sturdy icing that can be used to cover and fill cakes, ice onto cupcakes or even just to be eaten by the spoon. The best thing for me is that it's not too sweet there's nothing worse than putting a spoonful of cake into your mouth and tasting nothing but sugar. It's perfect to use on just about anything and as an added bonus it flavours incredibly well. Follow along to make this delicious icing, great taste and texture without the sugar and complicated process.
Step 1: The Ingredients
The 4 simple ingredients you will need to make this buttercream are:
- 4 egg whites
- 250g castor sugar
- 380g cubed softened butter
- 1tsp Vanilla (or any other flavouring)
- Food colouring (Optional)
Step 2: Dissolving the Sugar
Place the eggwhites and the sugar into a heatproof bowl and mix together with a whisk, place a small amount of boiling water into a medium sized pot and place the bowl over it. Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is completely dissolved. To test this rub a small amount of the mixture between your fingers and if it is ready it should feel completely smooth
Step 3: Making the Merringue
Once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat off and take the bowl off. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer beat the egg whites until the bowl is cool to touch (about 10 minutes), scraping down the bowl when needed. Once the bowl has cooled completely it is time to begin adding in the butter, this step can not be rushed. Add the butter in cube by cube not adding the next one in until the one before is completely incorporated.
Step 4: The Two Stages
Once you have added some of the butter the buttercream will begin to look very soupy, don't worry this is normal just keep mixing. After adding some more butter it will begin to look like cottage cheese. The buttercream will look like it is separating and there will be small grains, but once the rest of the butter is added in it will become smooth and glossy.
Step 5: The Final Touches
Once you have added all of the butter into the meringue mixture continue beating for about 2-3 minutes. This is also where you should add the flavouring of your choice. A few ideas could be, salted caramel, chocolate, lemon, coconut or vanilla. It depends on what kind of cake or cupcake you are making.
Step 6: Enjoy
Time to enjoy this silky buttercream. I have included a picture of a cake I made using this swiss meringue buttercream. I flavoured it with vanilla and added one drop of blue food colouring and one drop of green food colouring.