Swiss Meringue Didn't Work :( Help Please

Decorating By JodieB Updated 1 Apr 2014 , 2:29am by AZCouture

JodieB Posted 27 Mar 2014 , 5:09pm
post #1 of 23

I tried a swiss meringue buttercream last night and it is a soupy curdled mess! I used fresh eggs and super fine sugar. I did pop the butter in the microwave to soften a little bit. could that be a problem? I tried putting it in the fridge for a little bit and remixed....didn't work. I tried taking a small bit out and microwaving it and pouring it back in. didn't work. I've tried to read everything and everyone seems to have had those two tricks work. Anyone know what I'm doing wrong? Is my frosting salvagable or should I just start over? I'm so scared that if it does get creamy it will just separate once the cake is frosted.

 

I typically use all butter american buttercream but the person I'm making the cake for thinks that's too sweet. Any other recipe ideas for a less sweet frosting that I could try?

 

I've been pretty lucky, this is really the first thing I've tried that hasn't worked for me. I'm scared to try again...

 

The recipe I used was

 

5 large egg whites

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

1 pound butter

22 replies
morganchampagne Posted 27 Mar 2014 , 5:51pm
post #2 of 23

ADon't microwave the butter next time..just leave it out to soften

How long did you mix it? Typically you just have to keep mixing it to bring it around it...sometimes it does take a minute

ellavanilla Posted 27 Mar 2014 , 6:13pm
post #3 of 23

yeah, curdled is how it looks just before it comes together. typically, a few minutes in the fridge followed by a rebeat will do the trick. 

JodieB Posted 27 Mar 2014 , 7:06pm
post #4 of 23

I beat it for a good 10 minutes. Someone suggested I maybe didn't whisk my eggs stiff enough? I will try and give it a good whisk tonight. If it doesn't work I'll try again... Just afraid of it happening again.

GRAMSB123 Posted 27 Mar 2014 , 7:15pm
post #5 of 23

Hi, I find that when I make french meringue which is very similar to Swiss meringue, if you put the butter into the whipped egg whites before they have cooled then it will become soupy. All you have to do is put it into the refrigerator for a few min. to cool down and then start mixing it again and it should be fine. Good luck.

TheSweetTreat Posted 27 Mar 2014 , 7:18pm
post #6 of 23

JodieB, this is the recipe I use when I want something similar to SMBC without the fuss over a double boiler, etc. 

 

http://cakecentral.com/a/fluffy-american-buttercream

 

It's Fluffy American Buttercream since it's sort of like SMBC in that it is soft and buttery, but like American buttercream in that it can use shortening and powdered sugar.  This has a nice mix of buttery and sweet, but not overly sweet at all.

auzzi Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 4:00am
post #7 of 23
enga Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 4:08am
post #8 of 23

Try leaving it in the fridge overnight, use the paddle blade when ready to mix again.

deuceofcakes Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 5:23am
post #9 of 23

ANo need to put in the fridge overnight. If it looks curdled , it means the butter isn't emulsified yet. When you make the smbc you whisk your egg whites and sugar over a double boiler to 140-160 degrees (I go to 160 but some people go to 140). Then whip the egg whites/sugar combo in your mixer until they are stiff and cooled. Stiff=taking off the whip and turning it upside down and nothing moves. You could probably turn the bowl upside down and have nothing move... Cool = no longer warm to the touch. At 100 degrees butter melts. You don't want that... Then switch to the paddle attachment and add your butter. Some add it piece by piece but I don't. I add butter that's near room temp all at once (cut into small chunks) and let it go. It takes a while and goes through stages. If your meringue is still a little bit warm (and sometimes I'm impatient and it is) it will become quite soupy (the butter has melted a little bit) but keep mixing. Then it starts to look like cottage cheese but you keep it mixing. Eventually it will come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. Now it is emulsified and ready to flavor. You should be able to draw a knife through and leave its trail open. You can color it now too. Use it on your cake. Some people say to beat at a low speed only (are you using a stand mixer? I hope so). In truth you can beat it at increasingly faster speeds (1 for 1 minute, then 2 for 1 minute, then 3...etc) as well. (I learned this from a top instructor). This makes it come together faster BUT it incorporates more air into your smbc so when you go to spread it on your cake it will have little air holes and you'll need multiple coats and a hot scraper to get rid of them. Mostly though you need to beat the butter in for longer than you did IMHO. Patience!!

Beyond buttercream has a nice tutorial on her website if you want to follow one. She's more precise than I've found you have to be but both of us will tell you you haVe to be willing to keep mixing when it gets all curdled and horrid looking. It just isn't ready yet at that point. Put your bowl back on your mixer and let it mix.

Also next time use a recipe that makes you measure your eggs whites by weight or volume. Counting egg whites leads to inconsistent results because there is variation among eggs. Good luck.

enga Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 5:39am
post #10 of 23

When I first tried the recipe at home mine turned into soup, after trying so many ways to bring it back, I wrapped the whole mixing bowl with plastic wrap and threw it in the fridge out of frustration,loz. when I made coffee the next morning, I said what the heck and started mixing it again, and what do you know, it came back.

 

I'm not saying it works for everyone but in that instance it worked for me. I don't try to do it that way anymore, I use Gretchen Price's SMBC recipe, it comes out perfect every time.

MBalaska Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 9:41am
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JodieB 
 

I tried a swiss meringue buttercream last night and it is a soupy curdled mess!

The recipe I used was

................

5 large egg whites

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

1 pound butter

JodieB: use your wire whip to add the butter to your meringue.  Since I invested in an 11 wire whip beater, the SMBC comes together in half the time.

MB

810whitechoc Posted 28 Mar 2014 , 11:21am
post #12 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by deuceofcakes 

No need to put in the fridge overnight. If it looks curdled , it means the butter isn't emulsified yet. When you make the smbc you whisk your egg whites and sugar over a double boiler to 140-160 degrees (I go to 160 but some people go to 140). Then whip the egg whites/sugar combo in your mixer until they are stiff and cooled. Stiff=taking off the whip and turning it upside down and nothing moves. You could probably turn the bowl upside down and have nothing move... Cool = no longer warm to the touch. At 100 degrees butter melts. You don't want that...
Then switch to the paddle attachment and add your butter. Some add it piece by piece but I don't. I add butter that's near room temp all at once (cut into small chunks) and let it go. It takes a while and goes through stages. If your meringue is still a little bit warm (and sometimes I'm impatient and it is) it will become quite soupy (the butter has melted a little bit) but keep mixing. Then it starts to look like cottage cheese but you keep it mixing. Eventually it will come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. Now it is emulsified and ready to flavor. You should be able to draw a knife through and leave its trail open. You can color it now too. Use it on your cake. Some people say to beat at a low speed only (are you using a stand mixer? I hope so). In truth you can beat it at increasingly faster speeds (1 for 1 minute, then 2 for 1 minute, then 3...etc) as well. (I learned this from a top instructor). This makes it come together faster BUT it incorporates more air into your smbc so when you go to spread it on your cake it will have little air holes and you'll need multiple coats and a hot scraper to get rid of them. Mostly though you need to beat the butter in for longer than you did IMHO. Patience!!

Beyond buttercream has a nice tutorial on her website if you want to follow one. She's more precise than I've found you have to be but both of us will tell you you haVe to be willing to keep mixing when it gets all curdled and horrid looking. It just isn't ready yet at that point. Put your bowl back on your mixer and let it mix.

Also next time use a recipe that makes you measure your eggs whites by weight or volume. Counting egg whites leads to inconsistent results because there is variation among eggs. Good luck
Exactly how I do it.
MBalaska Posted 31 Mar 2014 , 10:52pm
post #13 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by 810whitechoc 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deuceofcakes 

................Beyond buttercream has a nice tutorial on her website if you want to follow one. She's more precise than I've found you have to be but both of us will tell you you haVe to be willing to keep mixing when it gets all curdled and horrid looking. It just isn't ready yet at that point. Put your bowl back on your mixer and let it mix.

Also next time use a recipe that makes you measure your eggs whites by weight or volume. Counting egg whites leads to inconsistent results because there is variation among eggs. Good luck
Exactly how I do it.

 

Definitely going to try your method.  I love the taste of mine and it whips up really fast,

however to have a Swiss Meringue Buttercream without the holes would be even nicer.

 

Jennifer Bratko's (Beyond Buttercream) tutorial is really detailed, thanks for sharing.

AZCouture Posted 31 Mar 2014 , 11:04pm
post #14 of 23

AI've probably made a thousand pounds of this stuff by now at this point, and have figured out a few short cuts, which I won't bore you with. But...to the person who wants to cut out the air bubbles, I have some advice.

Make sure you're making a big enough batch that it fills the mixing bowl up over the top of the paddle. My giant batch includes twenty one egg whites in a six qt KA...so it fills that bowl, nearly coming out at times. When you're all done with your batch, let the paddle spin on lowest speed for another five minutes or so. That generally works out the majority of the bubbles.

MBalaska Posted 31 Mar 2014 , 11:09pm
post #15 of 23

Thanks for sharing AZCouture.   :)

AZCouture Posted 31 Mar 2014 , 11:12pm
post #16 of 23

AAnd thank you for promoting 160 degrees, I do as well. And I will ALWAYS use a thermometer, I don't care how long I've been doing this, I won't go by feel or by time when it comes to working with raw egg whites. (Grates my nerves when I see instructions that say "140 degrees and/or when it doesn't feel gritty anymore." Arrrrgghh! Food safety people, food safety! :)

AZCouture Posted 31 Mar 2014 , 11:13pm
post #17 of 23

A

Original message sent by MBalaska

Thanks for sharing [B]AZCouture.[/B]   :)

Anytime..it really does help.

deuceofcakes Posted 31 Mar 2014 , 11:44pm
post #18 of 23

AThanks for joining in Jennifer - especially since I sent people to your tutorial, which I think is one of the clearest and best there is -- especially for those who haven't made smbc before. I agree with your full bowl = fewest bubbles. 160 is very important for food safety. It doesn't take much longer and why put anyone at risk? I always use a thermometer - the sugar melts into the egg whites way before it reaches 140 degrees so any subjective estimate of temp could be way off.

But you count eggs rather than measuring? I like to use measurements (volume or weight) rather than counting eggs because it enables me to mix fresh and packaged liquid egg whites should I need to, and I've found there is some natural variation among large egg whites so my results are more consistent now.

AZCouture Posted 1 Apr 2014 , 12:27am
post #19 of 23

ANah, I personally find it's actually a pretty forgiving recipe. Sometimes I add an extra half to a whole cup of sugar to my batch, sometimes an extra egg or two. I am a "by weight" baker for cakes, but my smbc varies. I'm not Jennifer by the way, but I send people to her blog as well when they get started on SMBC.

deuceofcakes Posted 1 Apr 2014 , 1:04am
post #20 of 23

AI know who you are Jaime... I was just testing to see if YOU know who you are. ;-) Good thing you passed that test. Phew! Too much sugar makes you loopy sometimes, ya know? (That is too funny. Sorry about that!)

AZCouture Posted 1 Apr 2014 , 1:05am
post #21 of 23

AHa ha....too funny

deuceofcakes Posted 1 Apr 2014 , 1:30am
post #22 of 23

ASo glad your sense of humor works well too!

AZCouture Posted 1 Apr 2014 , 2:29am
post #23 of 23

A

Original message sent by deuceofcakes

So glad your sense of humor works well too!

Oh if I lose everything else in life, but retain my sense of humor, I think I'll be juuuuuust fine! :D

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