Swiss Meringue Buttercream....any pitfalls?

Decorating By lkern777 Updated 6 Feb 2014 , 12:01pm by lkern777

lkern777 Posted 4 Feb 2014 , 8:55pm
post #1 of 7

I am thinking about trying out SMBC and have read many threads on how great it is and how versatile it is with flavorings.


I read that it is not good as a "glue", like for attaching flowers and other stuff to the cake.


Are there are other things that anyone has come across that it is not good to use it for?


Since it does not crust, what is the best way to get it really smooth?


Do fondant decorations stick to it like a crusting buttercream?


I would love to switch from American buttercream to Swiss just to not have the super sweet icing taste on everything.


Any advice is appreciated.

6 replies
costumeczar Posted 4 Feb 2014 , 9:56pm
post #2 of 7

I use the meringue buttercreams for fillings because they do take the flavorings better due to not being as sweet. Smoothing it out is more difficult because you can't use the paper towel method since it doesn't crust...If you use a hot spatula or just practice with a long spatula or bench scraper you'll be able to get it pretty smooth without messing around with it too much.


It's best used to cover cakes when it's freshly made, if you put it in the fridge you ahve to let it warm to room temp and rewhip before using it, and it's never as good to cover cakes with once you've done that. I do that for fillings all the time but I wouldn't use a meringue buttercream that had been refrigerated to cover a cake.


Make sure that you use unsalted butter to make it!


It's also not the best choice for outdoor weddings in hot climates.

lkern777 Posted 5 Feb 2014 , 9:36pm
post #3 of 7

Thank you for your input. 


What do you offer instead for outdoor events in hot weather? I'm in TN and it gets quite hot here with very high humidity.


Can you still use it under fondant and for fillings in hot weather?

costumeczar Posted 6 Feb 2014 , 3:39am
post #4 of 7

I used to live in Sewanee...I'm trying to think how close that is to Murfreesboro, but it's hard to compare since it's up at the top of the mountain. I'm in Richmond now, so it's probably closer to you climate-wise than it was when I was in TN.


For outdoor weddings in the summer I will ONLY do fondant. If the brides don't like it they can go to someone else, but it's the only safe thing to do. I tell them that if it looks like we'll have a freak cold snap in July I can switch to buttercream, but I won't be responsible for telling that that it will be okay then having the cake melt. I would use meringues under the fondant, but I'd be more likely to use the confectioner's sugar buttercream.


I did see a weird recipe for an all-butter confectioner's sugar buttercream on the Craftsy blog that a Florida decorator uses, but I haven't had a chance to try it out in real heat and humidity to see if ti really does hold up. It does work fine, it's a little harder to smooth out than the shortening/butter version, but it tastes better. Here's a link to it:

musicmommy1 Posted 6 Feb 2014 , 5:47am
post #5 of 7

I am also looking at saying good-bye to American buttercream (unless I find I really need to use it)  and am slowly learning about the things that SMBC can and can not do. One thing I can say is that it does seem to take fondant decorations very well. I apply them them same way I do on a crusting buttercream and have never had a problem :smile:

Lizzybug78 Posted 6 Feb 2014 , 9:39am
post #6 of 7

This is true to a point...


I've been using SMBC for years now as I can't bear the (to me) over-sweet grainy icing sugar/butter mix. If you stick it in the fridge it is a pita to use without a bit of reworking. 9 times out of 10 in fact I'll find mine turns into a curdled mess when back at room temperature.


If you're using it from the fridge or freezer (I love freezing this stuff - no more waste!), let it get back to room temperature and then give it a cursory beating. Now take out a good 1/3 of the buttercream and melt it completely in the microwave. Pour the melted mess onto your (probably) curdled mess and start beating, either by hand or with an electric mixer. After a few minutes it will come together into a beautifully glossy smooth buttercream. Promise :smile:


I find this a nicer finish that when I've just made it (it seems to reduce air bubbles, particularly if I just re-work it by hand), so I quite often make it a few hours ahead of time, leave it on the worktop or in the fridge (at the moment with no heating in the kitchen they're pretty much one and the same:grin:


Oh, and I'm always in awe of how smooth you can get your buttercream cakes in the US - is that due to using the crusting type? I have to get smooth finishes in order to use the sugarpaste on top of it, which I do using a warm metal edge, but there's always a few bits I'm not entirely pleased with! Luckily mine gets covered :smile:

lkern777 Posted 6 Feb 2014 , 12:01pm
post #7 of 7

Thank you everyone for your input.


I'll give it a try in these cold months to see if I even like it. If so, then I'll give it a whirl this summer and see how it works for me.

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