Learn all the secrets of Swiss meringue buttercream with my easy and foolproof recipe! It's the #1 frosting for cake decorating, a perfect texture for smoothing a layer cake, topping a cake, or decorating cupcakes with a piping tip.
>> You may also like the white chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream version
Swiss buttercream recipe
Among all the buttercream recipes, there are the meringue versions, like the Italian meringue buttercream, but this Swiss meringue buttercream recipe is certainly the most popular and most used of all.
It is also called SMBC recipe, which is the best meringue buttercream recipe and after the American buttercream, it is the most used frosting in pastry all over the world.
We start by making the Swiss meringue, egg whites and sugar are heated in a bain-marie(double boiler) this action allows to cook egg whites and get a swiss meringue buttercream safe that can be used in cakes without any risk of food intoxication.
Then the cooked egg whites are beaten until obtaining a brilliant and firm meringue, Suisse meringue like the Italian meringue is used to top lemon tart or lemon meringue pie.
And finally, we turn it into buttercream by incorporating unsalted butter into the Italian meringue until we obtain this fabulous smooth, fluffy and creamy sweet frosting.
Why choose this buttercream recipe
Why is Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting recipe so popular around the world? It's simple, it's easy to make, it's the favorite choice of every cake decorator and here's why:
- Lighter and smoother! Unlike American buttercream, it's a less sweet frosting and more creamy.
- Perfect consistency for cakes! A perfectly smooth texture for smoothing the outside of a layer cake and for perfect assembly. But also to decorate with a piping bag, make borders, writings, flowers, piping cupcakes …
- Easily flavored! With almost anything, fruits purée, melted chocolate, jam, caramel, spices etc... You can easily flavor it while keeping its firm and smooth texture.
- Stable at room temperature! The best choice for cakes that stay at room temperature for a long time such as wedding cake and birthday cakes.
Ingredients for this meringue buttercream
This is one of the main ingredients, so choose carton egg whites that are a few days old rather than aged eggs and medium size. They must be at room temperature and without any trace of egg yolks to achieve the meringue.
Tip: Take fresh eggs out of the fridge 1 hour beforehand and if you don't have time then put them under hot water for a few moments. You can use egg yolk to make a pastry cream or a diplomat cream to fill your cakes.
The butter used must contain a high percentage of fat at least 80%. The butter should be unsalted and cut into pieces, it should be at room temperature but not too soft.
Use fairly fine sugar, such as granulated or powdered sugar. It should melt completely in the recipe. Do not use confectioner's sugar or other flavored sugar such as brown sugar or cane sugar.
Pure liquid vanilla extract is perfect for making a classic vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream recipe.
You will find the quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card at the end of the page.
How to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1 - Pasteurize egg whites
- Place egg whites and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl over a saucepan containing simmering water.
- Cook in a double boiler over medium heat while stirring occasionally.
- Check with a candy thermometer which should reach at least 55°C.
Tip: The sugar must be completely dissolved, rub the preparation between your fingers, you should no longer feel the grains in the eggs and sugar mixture.
2 - Whip the Swiss meringue
- Pour the eggs mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and pulse on high speed for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
- Whip the meringue until it is firm, glossy and completely cooled.
Tip: Check that the meringue has cooled sufficiently by touching it to the bottom of the bowl or with your fingertip.
3 - Add the butter
- Reduce speed to medium, then gradually add all the butter cut into pieces, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
- Continue on high speed for about 5 minutes until you have a thick frosting (the consistency will be liquid at first, then more grainy before it thickens)
- Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 more minutes to smooth out the Swiss meringue buttercream and remove air bubbles.
- Use the buttercream immediately, or leave it at room temperature if you use it during the day, otherwise place it in the refrigerator.
Tip: Continue whisking until the texture looks like a thick, smooth buttercream, this may take up to 10 minutes after the butter is added.
Storage and freezing
- In the fridge: You can keep Swiss meringue buttercream it in the fridge for up to a week, covered with plastic wrap.
- At room temperature: As the whites are pasteurized, it is stable and can be kept for up to 2 days outside the refrigerator in a cool place.
- In the freezer: You can freeze swiss meringue buttercream for up to 3 months in the freezer, in an airtight container. To defrost, you can put it in the microwave for a while. Or leave it out of the fridge.
5 tips for a successful meringue buttercream
- Use a powerful stand mixer: It takes a lot of time and a lot of power to make a meringue.
- Whip the meringue for at least 15 minutes: Until stiff glossy peaks form peaks.
- Use softened butter : neither too hard nor too soft the texture of the butter will define the consistency of the buttercream.
- Whip for 5 min. after adding the fat :Let the mixer run for at least 5 minutes so that the butter is completely incorporated into the other ingredients.
- Smooth with the paddle attachment at slow speed for at least 2 minutes: This is the crucial step to extract the air bubbles and have a smooth frosting.
Add flavor to your buttercream
- Food flavors, like almond extract, lemon juice, orange juice etc..
- Fruit puree or jam, raspberry, strawberry, mango…
- Melted chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate or even cocoa powder for a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream.
- Spreads, Nutella, peanut butter, salted butter caramel, praline paste.
- Mixed cookies, biscoff, oreo, chocolate chip cookies…
- Add gel food coloring.
Troubleshooting with meringue buttercream
- How to fix a curdled buttercream?
Why: The butter is too cold, it doesn't want to homogenize with the meringue!
- Heat the cream in the microwave or in a bain-Marie to warm it up and bring all the ingredients to the same temperature.
- Then whisk the mixture again to recover a smooth and creamy cream.
- Why is my buttercream yellow?
Why: It is completely normal, it is its natural color (the color of butter).
- Add a few drops of white food coloring to lighten it.
- Or a few drops of lemon juice.
- Why my buttercream is full of bubbles?
Why: By whipping it, the air is added to the Swiss meringue buttercream.
- Just before using it to smooth my cake, work the cream with a soft spatula by spreading it on the sides of the bowl to evacuate the air and obtain an even smoother cream.
Questions about meringue buttercream
The main difference is the addition of the meringue to the buttercream.
Like all buttercreams, swiss meringue buttercream becomes very hard when chilled.
Swiss meringue buttercream is mainly used in the composition of layer cakes.
As the egg whites are cooked (pasteurized) this buttercream is considered stable at room temperature up to 48 hours.
More frostings recipes
- Russian Buttercream
- French Buttercream
- Italian Meringue Buttercream
- Mascarpone frosting
- Chocolate mascarpone frosting
- Cream cheese buttercream
- Vanilla buttercream frosting
- Whipped white chocolate ganache frosting
Recipes with this buttercream
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