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Swiss Meringue Buttercream

There are several types of buttercream options for bakers and I think it's good knowing how to make at least one or two.  Swiss meringue buttercream is among my favorites, because it's simple to make and its texture is light & creamy.  The buttercream can be flavored or tinted to suit your tastes.  It helps if you have a stand mixer for this, but a good hand-held mixer can certainly do the job.  Every baker should know how to make a good buttercream.  Let's begin!

Click here for the actual recipe.  The egg whites and sugar are ready to be whisked.

Place the bowl of your stand mixer over a pot of simmering water and start whisking vigorously.  You don't want the water to be boiling. 

After a few minutes, you will see a change in texture.  You want the sugar to completely dissolve.  Don't walk away from this task or you risk curdling the egg whites.

When working at the stove, I like to keep a dish or two set out so that I can rest my cooking implements after I'm completely done.  This is a good thing.

When your egg whites and sugar are ready, quickly attach your bowl & fit the mixer with the whisk attachment.  Turn the power on to high and let the machine do its job.

The mixture has to cool down before you can begin to add the butter.  One way of doing this is by wiping the mixer bowl with a damp towel until it no longer feels warm.  This helps speed things along.

You can see that I've cut up my butter into pats.  My paddle attachment is clean & waiting to be attached as soon as the meringue is done.   

This is what your meringue should look like (glossy & thick).  Tap out the whisk to remove every bit of 
meringue. You could actually use this mixture to make a meringue pie or pipe onto a cake, if you don't feel like making a buttercream. 

The paddle is attached to the mixer & the power should be set at medium speed.

Begin adding your butter one pat at a time.  You want to create an emulsion, so be patient.

You can see the butter changing the texture of the meringue.

Your buttercream will separate and look curdled.  Although it looks like small curd cottage cheese at this point, DON'T panic.  This is normal.  You have to keep beating this until it comes together.

When it's done, the texture will be quite creamy and it will taste out of this world.  This is what a good buttercream should look like.  If you're flavoring your buttercream with an extract or liqueur, you should do so now. 

Now that you've completed this delicious buttercream, you can begin to decorate that cake or those little cupcakes.  This icing pipes beautifully and it really does hold its shape well.  If you're going to use the buttercream later in the day, leave it out at room temperature.  This can also be refrigerated for a few days if you like.  Just make sure you bring it to room temperature before proceeding.  Start decorating!


  1. How do you get your buttercream so white? I have trouble with mine.

  2. The color of your buttercream will be based on the butter itself. Butter that is made in the winter months will tend to be a whiter hue, than butter made in the summer & spring. This is because the greens cattle eat in the summer, contain more carotene. The pale hay in wintertime, contains less. I hope this helps.

  3. Hello does this hold it's shape well if I pipe flowers? Or does it melt easily? I want to make this for my friends birthday but I have to travel for an hour or so to get there. Will the flowers last that long ??? Thanks

  4. This icing pipes beautifully and any flower should hold if the buttercream stays in a cool environment. I'm not sure what part of the country you're in or what the forecast has in store for you, but my advice is to thoroughly chill the iced cake before you head out. Once in the car, make sure it's cool enough inside and that the cake doesn't sit directly in the sun. Under no circumstance should you put the cake in the trunk where the temperature will soar!

    Good luck!


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