Sunday, January 17, 2016

The World's Best Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I love watching someone bite into one of my cupcakes. As they dig into the ruffled frosting, the responses I get are nearly identical every time.

Can I have more?

When I began making cakes, I didn't understand that the key to everything was the icing. Without sturdy and smooth icing, your fondant is doomed. I tested a million different recipes before a good friend (and trained pastry chef, thank you Amanda!) taught me how to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Being a newbie and a self-trained baker, I had no idea what this was. Now I truly can't imagine life without SMBC! 

The reason I love this buttercream so much is that the base is a beautiful shiny meringue which makes it creamy and closer to a whipped cream than your standard heavy American buttercream. Once it is done, you can easily add chocolate or different flavors. 

Begin by placing the egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl over a double boiler. Whisk occasionally and cook until the sugar dissolves into the egg whites. You can test this by simply rubbing the mixture between your fingers to make sure there is no grittiness from the sugar. If you must be precise, heat the mixture to 160 degrees. 

Once this step is done, place the bowl onto your mixer and whip on high using the whisk attachment. 

Continue to whip your mixture for several minutes. The bottom of your mixing bowl should be cool to touch and you should have firm peaks when removing the whisk attachment. Try to resist having a taste. I dare you!

Switch your mixer attachment to the paddle. 
Add your butter a few tablespoons at a time.
*Note: I typically double or triple the recipe below. The photos shown are a double recipe*

This is the point at which you will curse the Buttercream Gods and swear you did something wrong. As the butter whips into the sugar and egg mixture, you will likely experience these 3 stages:

 1. Goop                                      2. Curdle                                    3. Perfection


As your buttercream makes these transitions, just let the paddle do its job and don't fret! It will take several minutes, but it will all come together. Once your buttercream reaches its final stage ("perfection"), place your mixer on the slowest speed for a minute or two. This will release any air bubbles and allow your buttercream to become smooth and creamy. 

This may seem time consuming, but the entire process will only take about 20 minutes start to finish. It's worth every second, I promise! 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
Yield: enough to ice about 24 cupcakes or 2-layer 8-inch cake

1 Cup of Granulated Sugar
2 Sticks of Butter (unsalted)
4 Egg Whites

Over a double boiler, combine egg whites and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon or whisk until the sugar dissolves into the egg whites. Remove from heat and place onto your stand mixer.
Using the whisk attachment, whip your egg white and sugar mixture until peaks form and the bottom of your bowl is warm/cool to touch.
Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Whip at a high speed. It may turn goopy at first but let it go and after a few minutes it will whip into the most delicious buttercream you’ve ever had! It’s that easy!
Recipe Variations:
Chocolate Buttercream: Melt 1 cup chocolate chips and cool to room temperature. Whip into finished buttercream with 2 tbsp. cocoa powder. 
Cookies 'n' Creme: Add crushed oreos
Mint-Chip: Add crushed oreos or chocolate chips and creme-de-menthe extract (and a drop of green food coloring!)
Mocha: add 2 tsp. instant espresso powder and 2 tbsp. cooled espresso (also add crushed Ferraro Rocher candies for a truly decadent buttercream!)

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Enjoy!

Love, Melissa

No comments:

Post a Comment