I Need Help With My Swiss Meringue Butter Cream

Baking By passion4baking Updated 19 Feb 2016 , 11:00pm by deuceofcakes

passion4baking Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 10:10pm
post #1 of 17

AIm new at bakibg and making cake decorations. Im used to doing simple baking. I finally tired to make swiss meringue butter cream. My sons bday is in a few weeks and that's what im using. It either comes out too runny even whwn I put it in the fridge for a while it wont do what its supposed to do. My other problem is that it curdles up. Can you ladies please help.

16 replies
-K8memphis Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 10:16pm
post #2 of 17

Curdling is simply part of the process just keep beating it.


Reminds me of the old adage that 'if you're going through hell, keep going'. Same same with curdling smbc--just keep going.


Are your egg whites still hot when you put the butter in? Is your butter too loose?


I'm thinking if you just turn on the mixer and walk away unless you use a handheld mixer--just let it beat --you'll get there.


What recipe are you using? How much sugar, butter, egg white and vanilla?

-K8memphis Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 11:10pm
post #3 of 17

And check out post #7 here http://cakecentral.com/t/752225/smbc-watery-why#post_7344102 if you are using liquid store bought egg whites.


I hope Auzzi doesn't mind me pointing you there.

passion4baking Posted 28 Dec 2012 , 11:59pm
post #4 of 17


Original message sent by -K8memphis

Curdling is simply part of the process just keep beating it.

Reminds me of the old adage that 'if you're going through hell, keep going'. Same same with curdling smbc--just keep going.

Are your egg whites still hot when you put the butter in? Is your butter too loose?

I'm thinking if you just turn on the mixer and walk away unless you use a handheld mixer--just let it beat --you'll get there.

What recipe are you using? How much sugar, butter, egg white and vanilla?

since im practicjng for a bigger batch I used 1 lrg egg 6 tbsp of sugar like 1 cup of butter. I saw it on youtube and decided to try that. How should the butter be when I add it to the meringue? How long should I beat the eggs before adding the butter?

-K8memphis Posted 29 Dec 2012 , 12:31am
post #5 of 17

Your butter should be nice and soft but not warm or anything close to warm.


The egg whites should hold at least a soft peak (and could be firmer won't hurt anything). Watch the bowl and when the beaters start to leave tracks in there and then they become deeper tracks --they do not dissolve back into the mixture--stop & check you should be at about soft peak stage. It's just when you lift the beater up it makes a soft not super pointy peak in the meringue.


If you have the kind of mixer where it's not convenient to remove the beater I just plop the back of a spoon in there an dpull it up to see if it leaves a soft peak.


Here's the recipe I use. I just multiplied out the one Margaret Braun gave in her beautiful red Cakewalk book with the gold edged pages.


2 2/3 cup butter

2 tablespoons (not teaspoons) vanilla

1 1/2 cups of sugar

6 egg whites (large eggs)


This is an excellent formula. Half of my recipe is one and a third cup butter to three whites and 3/4 cup sugar so yours is much lighter in the egg white department I think. Let's see a quarter of my recipe is 2/3 cup butter and 1.5 egg whites and 6 tablespoons of sugar. So mine is now the same sugar as yours but less butter and half again as much egg white. For what it's worth.

JWinslow Posted 29 Dec 2012 , 12:43am
post #6 of 17

I have always followed this tutorial from Beyond Buttercream.  I used this the first time I ever made SMB and it has never failed.  I've been known to cut the butter by just a bit but if you follow the instructions to the letter you will be fine.  Also,  it is best to do the tasting after you add the vanilla.  This is my Go To icing.  Let us know how you make out.



soldiernurse Posted 14 May 2013 , 3:40pm
post #8 of 17

PLEASE HELP!! I have made this before with perfection [and almost ate the whole batch!] but this time I tried to dbl the batch but my KA could was about to overflow before the meringue stage so I seperated the batch into 2 mixers---added the butter [the original bowl was kinda warm still] but didn't poof so I put in fridge after endless whipping [one with a paddle and one with beaters]--took back out and continued beating w/ beaters [could not use paddles bcause wouldn't fit n KA] and it finally turned cottage cheese then creamy..ok, I didn't even have to use a spatula to scrape it out of the bowl, I just slid out with no trace in the bowl..I was scared and knew something was wrong! Fridged it anyway but when i took it out to room temp, it got runny and seperated. What happened!! HELP!!

Lovebug2867 Posted 15 May 2013 , 2:58pm
post #9 of 17

I know when it's runny you are supposed to chill it and whip it.  When it gets chunky you can take a bit out microwave it for 30 seconds and put it back in to help melt the butter.

Rhianmcx16 Posted 20 May 2013 , 6:06pm
post #10 of 17

I attempted to make Gretchen (Woodlands) Bakery's Swiss meringue butter cream for the first time, the texture was quite thick like butter and not light fluffy, and all it tasted of was butter. I know they say this  it tastes more buttery than standard/American butter cream but it just tasted of pure butter!!! Could someone help please? Do you know what I'm doing wrong?

Asmita Posted 15 Jun 2013 , 6:08pm
post #11 of 17

Having trouble with swiss meringue buttercream. Just too runny. I beat the egg whites till stiff because the bowl was so hot to the touch that I kept whipping it. By the time I added the butter , it became so runny. Tried keeping it the fridge and adding more butter, but not working. Please help.

deuceofcakes Posted 15 Jun 2013 , 7:46pm
post #12 of 17

AYou should read the tutorial from Beyod Buttercream (formerly called "From Scratch"). The link is above. It is a good description of the process with photos. The Beyond Buttercream recipe is similar to mine (I use slightly less butter) and it is well tested so I'd use that one.

SMBC always gets soupy and curdles before it comes together -- IF you have the ratios basically correct in your recipe. It takes a while for the butter to emulsify (thoroughly mix into the egg whites) so you need to beat for a while, say 10 minutes or so, until it the buttercream starts to come away from the sides of the bowl as you mix it.. The first person who posted this didnt have enough egg whites relative to butter and sugar so her recipe wont work. Use fresh egg whites (not liquid egg whites from a carton) the first time you make it as they whip up much better. The meringue should be very stiff and glossy by the time it cools. Make sure your whipped egg whites/sugar are around room temp when you start to add the butter. However as butter starts to melt around 80 degrees, you will make your life more difficult if your room is very warm. The person whose finished buttercream is sliding out of the bowl is probably in too a hot room. The butter should be soft but not melting or mush when you add it.

If it s very warm where you are, you can substitute up to 1/4 of the butter with shortening (hi ratio is best, crisco in a pinch, spectrum organic is okay too). The shortening has a higher melting point so it will help stabilize the buttercream on a hot day. I won't make smbc for a cake that will be in 80 degree weather or hotter for very long. Too risky.

It isn't hard to make SMBC. You need a good recipe, a stand mixer, a room that is no warmer than mid 70 degrees F, softened butter and PATIENCE.

Sugerandsweet66 Posted 11 Jul 2015 , 11:37am
post #13 of 17

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for this help! I popped back into fridge a few times also the rest of the butter, then fetched out after about 20  mins and beat until thick, yeah no waste of 8 egg whites and sugar, Prom Cakes Saved!!!!! 

Reginesweets Posted 19 Feb 2016 , 1:11pm
post #14 of 17


I made a Vanilla cake with swiss meringue buttercream a while ago and it gets runny too. I hope what I did would help those who wanted to fix their "runny swiss meringue"

If you are in a hurry, really, IT WON'T TAKE MINUTES TO FIX IT!


1.  Transfer your runny Swiss meringue into a tin or stainless mixing bowl (the one that can easily absorb cold temperature).

2. Make ice bath (I don't know if it is the proper term but..)

        - Crush ice and put it in a bowl. Mix about 3 Tablespoon of rock salt in it.

        - put the stainless container/mixing bowl on that ice bath. 

        - Start mixing again the runny swiss meringue.. You will see, it will puff as easy as 1, 2 ,3!

At least, if you are in a hurry, you don't need to chill it on the refrigerator and wait for minutes or hour!

Just do not let it sit on the ice bath for a long period of time or it will freeze. 

Hope this will help as much as it helped me save my buttercream a while ago.

Happy baking!


JodieF Posted 19 Feb 2016 , 9:18pm
post #15 of 17

You need to always use unsalted butter.  If you use salted butter the buttercream will taste just like butter!

veghed Posted 19 Feb 2016 , 10:25pm
post #16 of 17

@JWinslow ‍ I had previously saved that SMBC, but have not yet tried it.  A few years ago, I made IMBC and some said it was too buttery.  I was told to flavor the heck out of it from members of CC.

Your link said, "One batch of this holds 1/2 pound of melted chocolate or 1/2 pound of strawberry puree..."  What if you want white SMBC?  Candy melts?  What else could you add?

deuceofcakes Posted 19 Feb 2016 , 11:00pm
post #17 of 17

SMBC will be off white, because of all the butter you add to it. It isn't as off white as say, an ivory color, but it isn't paper white either. If you are making a cake that you want to be close to true white in color, you can try adding a white food color gel.  That might help. I'd also suggest using shortening instead of 1/4 of the total amount of butter, and clear vanilla flavoring. Otherwise, if it is truly important to get to a true white, use a shortening based frosting recipe (which won't be IMBC or SMBC - they don't work with 100% shortening). Or convince your client that the flavor trade off is worth going a bit off white. :-)

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