This buttercream is not overly sweet, silky smooth, and surprisingly easy to make. It will definitely be your go-to vanilla buttercream in the future.
I watch a lot of baking shows on tv and have always marvelled at this mysterious thing called Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It seemed so complicated and tedious, yet coveted and admired...yes my world is obsessed with all things baking! So the day my mom came over and said we are making this buttercream today...I thought wow - moving up in the world of frosting! So here we go...thanks mom!!
A double-boiler or bowl over simmering water...but not touching the water...is needed to get started. As well, a candy thermometer, a whisk, and a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Nice and clean with no fatty residue.
Simply separate 6 large eggs. We are using the whites only here...save your yolks for making some lemon curd! It is easiest to separate eggs when they are cold and then letting them come to room temperature. But you do them however you prefer...just make sure you don't get any yolks in the whites. It prevents the whites from whipping up properly. I find separating them in a side bowl 1 at a time and then into the bowl on the stove the easiest. That way, if 1 yolk breaks...you waste only that 1 egg...not all 6.
In the double-boiler, whisk the egg whites and sugar. Whisk every 30 seconds or so and make sure you don't leave the bowl until it's ready. This is not a time to multitask people! Just keep an eye on the candy thermometer and keep whisking until it reaches 160°F.
So far...easy right?! You separated eggs...whisked whites and sugar in a bowl over heat. Good. Now when it reaches 160°F - pour the mix into your stand mixer bowl and whip it up until you achieve stiff peaks and the bowl has cooled down. You want the bowl cool enough so that when it comes time for the next step of adding a cube of butter at a time...that it doesn't melt the butter and make it all greasy. If your bowl isn't cool enough and your peaks are getting stiff...take a break from whipping and place the bowl over a bigger bowl of ice. Then right back to it and you're ready for butter!
Now I LOVE butter and vanilla! I mean who doesn't love butter and vanilla? How can you love baked goods and not love these two things? This is one of the reasons I adore this recipe. The two flavours just shine! And the smoothness and mouthfeel...it's not like the traditional buttercream that you scrape off the sides of your piece of cake because it hurts your teeth and coats your mouth. This recipe is special and tastes like smooth buttery vanilla goodness on cake. Yum! And to top it off, it pipes beautifully too!
I really hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know in the comments below how it turned out for you!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
All ingredients are room temp
6 large eggs whites
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups cubed butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 dash salt
Whisk egg whites and sugar in a double-boiler, or a bowl over simmering water on a stove.*
Whisk every 30 seconds or so over heat until it reaches 160°F on a candy thermometer.**
When the mixture reaches 160°F, pour into mixer. Using whisk attachment, whip until stiff peaks and bowl is cool.***
Add cubed butter 1 piece at a time while whip is on.
Add vanilla and salt.
Makes enough icing for a 2-layer cake to fill and ice.
*Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the simmering water. You don't want to scramble the egg whites, just gradually warm them to 160°F.
**You get the same results whether you whisk constantly, or just every 30 seconds, for the 10 minutes or so that it takes to bring it to temp...so save your arm from getting tired if you want.
***Make sure you let it whip until the bowl is cool to the touch. The butter will melt otherwise instead of mixing up glossy, sturdy, and ready to spread and pipe.