Smbc? What Is The Difference?

Decorating By CookieNibz Updated 14 Feb 2015 , 11:45pm by EdieBabe

CookieNibz Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 6:04pm
post #1 of 120

Since I only makes cakes for family & friends I have never tried SMBC. I always use an ABC. Everyone seems to rave about the SMBC, what is the difference? Is it tastier? Easier to work with? Does it pipe better? Would love to try it sometime, but I do have an ABC recipe I like, so I'm wondering if it is worth the trouble. Thanks in advanced for any information.

119 replies
petitecat Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 7:01pm
post #2 of 120

SMBC is less sweet than ABC. It uses egg whites (hence the 'meringue'), butter, sugar (I use regular granulated sugar), and flavouring. It's a lot more work than ABC, but worth it in my opinion. SMBC doesn't crust, whereas ABC does if you add some liquid to it.

 

SMBC pipes just as well as ABC, and i've never had a problem with it when filling and icing cakes with it.

 

Just a note, if you want a firmer SMBC, just add less butter until you're happy with the texture/firmness. When I did this, my cakes were much more stable because the SMBC was firmer.

 

Give it a go, then you can see for yourself what the fuss is all about :)

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 8:01pm
post #3 of 120

What petitecat said. SMBC is heavy on the butter flavor and much less sweet than ABC. The texture is also completely different (imagine a very light, whipped butter).

 

Do you have anyone in your life that always scrapes the icing off of cakes? Odds are, that person will be very fond of SMBC. As for everyone else, it can be hit or miss--some people accustomed to very-sweet ABC just can't wrap their heads around the butter flavor of SMBC.

Lizzybug78 Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 9:41pm
post #4 of 120

A

Original message sent by Dr_Hfuhruhurr

What petitecat said. SMBC is heavy on the butter flavor and much less sweet than ABC. The texture is also completely different (imagine a very light, whipped butter).

Do you have anyone in your life that always scrapes the icing off of cakes? Odds are, that person will be very fond of SMBC. As for everyone else, it can be hit or miss--some people accustomed to very-sweet ABC just can't wrap their heads around the butter flavor of SMBC.

True, I can't get on with abc - to me it's grainy and cloyingly sweet. Give me smbc with a healthy dollop of vanilla any day.

Really though I just commented because your user name is awesome :-D *sings* if you like-a me like I like-a you and we like-a both the same...yep, that's not leaving my head for a while :-D

Dr_Hfuhruhurr Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 11:04pm
post #5 of 120

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lizzybug78 


True, I can't get on with abc - to me it's grainy and cloyingly sweet. Give me smbc with a healthy dollop of vanilla any day.

Really though I just commented because your user name is awesome icon_biggrin.gif *sings* if you like-a me like I like-a you and we like-a both the same...yep, that's not leaving my head for a while icon_biggrin.gif


Leaping Lizards! You are, literally, the first person I've ever met that gets the reference (aside from my wife).

 

(Or, at least, the first person online to comment on it). :lol:

CookieNibz Posted 26 Jan 2015 , 11:45pm
post #6 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by petitecat 
 

SMBC is less sweet than ABC. It uses egg whites (hence the 'meringue'), butter, sugar (I use regular granulated sugar), and flavouring. It's a lot more work than ABC, but worth it in my opinion. SMBC doesn't crust, whereas ABC does if you add some liquid to it.

 

SMBC pipes just as well as ABC, and i've never had a problem with it when filling and icing cakes with it.

 

Just a note, if you want a firmer SMBC, just add less butter until you're happy with the texture/firmness. When I did this, my cakes were much more stable because the SMBC was firmer.

 

Give it a go, then you can see for yourself what the fuss is all about :)


Ok, thank you! I might actually really like it then! I have always thought ABC was too sweet, it took a ton of research & tweaking for me to get an ABC that i really like. I have always felt that the flavor of the cake should be the show stopper. Now I have something to play with :) Are there any recipes on CC that I should start with or are they all basically the same (kinda like ABC recipes are ALL very similar)? Granulated sugar huh, I would have never tried that! I always thought it was confectioner sugar for ALL icings. I'm constantly learning on this site. I' m obsessed  8O lol

 

Thanks for all the input, I really appreciate it! I know you pro's stay busy, so thanks for taking the time :-D 

Lizzybug78 Posted 27 Jan 2015 , 12:11am
post #7 of 120

A

Original message sent by Dr_Hfuhruhurr

Leaping Lizards! You are, literally, the first person I've ever met that gets the reference (aside from my wife).

(Or, at least, the first person online to comment on it). :lol:

Lol, I've watched it more times than I care to remember, although not recently. I must remedy that :-D

Cookie, the recipes are all pretty similar, and it's reasonably forgiving of you want to fiddle a bit with the butter/sugar quantities.

The sugar is normal granulated or caster because it's dissolved in the egg white, so you don't get any bits of sugar at all.

One word of advice - of you make it, there's a good chance it'll curdle at some point when you add the butter. If it does, don't panic (or chuck it, which I've done more than once!), just keep whisking, it will come together again. Once it's made, swap from a whisk to a paddle and beat on the lowest speed for 5 mins or so. It just gets rid of a lot of the air and makes it really smooth.

CookieNibz Posted 27 Jan 2015 , 12:50am
post #8 of 120

A@ Lizzybug 78,"The sugar is normal granulated or caster because it's dissolved in the egg white, so you don't get any bits of sugar at all.One word of advice - of you make it, there's a good chance it'll curdle at some point when you add the butter. If it does, don't panic (or chuck it, which I've done more than once!), just keep whisking, it will come together again. Once it's made, swap from a whisk to a paddle and beat on the lowest speed for 5 mins or so. It just gets rid of a lot of the air and makes it really smooth."

Great tips, [B]THANK YOU!!! [/B] I would have totally panicked & threw it out!

CookieNibz Posted 28 Jan 2015 , 10:24pm
post #9 of 120

UPDATE: wow, I see what all the fuss was about. I tried SMBC today & it was delicious! @Lizzybug, thanks so much for the heads up about it curdling. It looked like a hot mess, cottage cheese, I would have definitely thrown it out. Assuming I messed up. Well I stuck with it & it was beautiful. Light, silky& perfectly sweetened. Not too sweet, perfect. Thank you so much for changing my icing world ;)

Recipe I chose:

8 egg whites w/ 1c granulated sugar. Pinch of salt

6 sticks of butter 1c confectionery sugar 2 tablespoons vanilla 2 tsp almond extract (optional)

Lizzybug78 Posted 28 Jan 2015 , 11:24pm
post #10 of 120

AIt is lovely isn't it :-) Now imagine it with ganache, or Nutella, or caramel. Mmmm.

One other little tip - if you freeze it out can sometimes come out and separate when it's defrosted. Sometimes it'll come back together with a good whisking, but sometimes it refuses. If that happens, take about 1/4 - 1/3 of it out and zap it in the microwave until it melts, then beat that back into the separated mess. It will all come back together. It sounds really odd and you look at the amount of melted bc and think it will just liquify the lot but it doesn't.

I can't remember where I saw that tip first but whoever posted it is a star as it's saved my bum on multiple occasions!

CookieNibz Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 12:08am
post #11 of 120

A

Original message sent by Lizzybug78

It is lovely isn't it :-) Now imagine it with ganache, or Nutella, or caramel. Mmmm.

One other little tip - if you freeze it out can sometimes come out and separate when it's defrosted. Sometimes it'll come back together with a good whisking, but sometimes it refuses. If that happens, take about 1/4 - 1/3 of it out and zap it in the microwave until it melts, then beat that back into the separated mess. It will all come back together. It sounds really odd and you look at the amount of melted bc and think it will just liquify the lot but it doesn't.

I can't remember where I saw that tip first but whoever posted it is a star as it's saved my bum on multiple occasions!

Mmmmm that DOES sound delicious. How do you know how much to add? Suppose just a little at a time.

Geeze, you're just a wealth of wonderful knowledge! :) THANKS SOOOO MUCH! I will be writing that tip down on my recipe, for sure. All hail lizzybug! You're brilliant!

hobbist Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 12:41am
post #12 of 120

Smbc does not crust.  It smooths so nicely there is no need to viva method to smooth it.  I let it chill then use a warm ,not hot, knife to finish smoothing.  Since I have switched to smbc I am not a fan of crusting buttercreams anymore.  I use 15 egg whites to 3 cups of sugar.  Bring to 160 degrees slowly.   I then move it the bowl to a sink full of cold water and wisk for about 45 seconds before i put the bowl on the stand mixer to beat to stiff peaks.   I found that this helps cool it quicker than ice packs that are hard to keep around mixer bowl.  I slowly add 9 sticks of unsalted butter .  It sometimes breaks the meringue to a curdled stage but it becomes beautiful after a couple of minutes.  I then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of pure vanilla and 3 tiny dots of purple paste food color.  It brings it to a fairly white color.   Does anyone else cool the mixing bowl down this way. 

CookieNibz Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 1:52am
post #13 of 120

A

Original message sent by hobbist

Smbc does not crust.  It smooths so nicely there is no need to viva method to smooth it.  I let it chill then use a warm ,not hot, knife to finish smoothing.  Since I have switched to smbc I am not a fan of crusting buttercreams anymore.  I use 15 egg whites to 3 cups of sugar.  Bring to 160 degrees slowly.   I then move it the bowl to a sink full of cold water and wisk for about 45 seconds before i put the bowl on the stand mixer to beat to stiff peaks.   I found that this helps cool it quicker than ice packs that are hard to keep around mixer bowl.  I slowly add 9 sticks of unsalted butter .  It sometimes breaks the meringue to a curdled stage but it becomes beautiful after a couple of minutes.  I then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of pure vanilla and 3 tiny dots of purple paste food color.  It brings it to a fairly white color.   Does anyone else cool the mixing bowl down this way. 

wow, thanks for those tips too. Recipe & video I watched didn't say anything about cooling the bowl first! I bet the hot, dry spatula will work awesome too! :) I'll have to try those ratios too, sounds delicious. It must be a very versatile recipe from what you & lizzybug indicate. FUN AHEAD :) Thanks so much for your help!

After all that time spent on tweaking to a (what I thought) great ABC, I was missing out on this delicacy. Lol. SOLD. I have crossed over to the light side lol.

Thank you!

petitecat Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 5:32am
post #14 of 120

Good to know you like it!

Lizzybug78 Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 8:10am
post #15 of 120

AI do hobbist - got bored of waiting for 20 minutes for it to cool :-) Now I whack it in a sink of ice water and whisk for a good couple of minutes by which time it's only lukwwarm. If I can be bothered I'll do it till it's almost cold.

Lol cookie, I'd love to take credit but it's only stuff I've picked up along the way :-)

petitecat Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 10:49am
post #16 of 120

AJust in case anyone might be interested, I thought I'd tell you the new way I make SMBC. Same result, different method:

Make egg white and sugar syrup as normal, when done pour into a cake pan and put in freezer to cool down, about 15mins. Keep checking so it's just past lukewarm stage or ever so slightly cool to the touch, don't let it get cold. It's easier to do the next stage when the syrup is cool but not cold.

While syrup is cooling, beat butter (room temperature) in mixer until very very light and fluffy. About 5mins. Take syrup out and add to butter and mix on low speed. Bring speed up the more incorporated it all becomes.

I like this method because I don't have to wait for the meringue to get cool while beating- that's done by the freezer.

I add flavouring last.

And in case anyone is as forgetful as I am about taking butter out of the fridge to warm up, I soften butter by placing slices of it in a jug of lukewarm to warm water (heat of water depends on how cold the butter is). Leave for 5 mins or so and touch the butter to see if it's ready. Just drain all the water out into the sink, use your (clean) hands to stop the butter sliding out, and it's ready to be beaten.

As far as I can tell either method gets the same volume of buttercream.

Lizzybug78 Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 10:52am
post #17 of 120

ASo do you put the whipped meringue/sugar mix in the freezer or is it unwhipped? I might have to give that a go :-)

petitecat Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 11:01am
post #18 of 120

Lizzy, no whipping. When the syrup has been heated, pour into a cake pan (just to cool it quicker) and pop into the freezer. 

 

It should add a few years to our cake mixers with the reduced amount of beating it has to do with this method!

Lizzybug78 Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 11:45am
post #19 of 120

ooh, that's bizarre - so you can add the unwhipped eggs mix to the butter and it still works? Now I have to try it!!

julia1812 Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 11:50am
post #20 of 120

AIt works. I also do it. No need for whipping up a meringue when it gets destroyed as soon as you add the butter.

Magic Mouthfuls Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 12:11pm
post #21 of 120

I put my plastic electric mixer bowl in the freezer whilst I heat up the egg whites/sugar to 160F in a different stainless steel bowl.  I find the stainless steel gets the liquid to 160F quicker than plastic.  Then I pour the heated egg whites/sugar into the chilled mixer bowl and start whipping.  I found this method saved me about 10-15 mins of heating/cooling time.

 

Does the purple food colouring really work???!!!!!!  That would be awesome.  I've added "bright white" when I've had too, but I really hate doing that, coz it feels like a chemical rather than an ingredient.

 

I also add almost 50ml of concentrated vanilla essence - it costs a bomb but oh so yummmmmmmmmmmmmoooooo. 

Lizzybug78 Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 12:24pm
post #22 of 120

A

Original message sent by julia1812

It works. I also do it. No need for whipping up a meringue when it gets destroyed as soon as you add the butter.

That's exactly why I thought it was weird - when you whip up eggs any fat stops it getting the volume, so it seemed counter-intuitive to add unwhipped whites to a load of fat. This is cool though, will be trying next time :-)

Magic, have you tried to make your own? it's much cheaper! 118ml of Neilson Massey (so?) - the good extract - costs the best part of £6. I make 1l for the cost of cheap vodka (about £15 unless you can find it on offer) and extract grade beans (500g for £18, I use about 100g of them per litre) Under £20 for a litre of good quality extract, it just takes some time to infuse so you need to start one when you've still got plenty left of an old one :-)

petitecat Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 12:53pm
post #23 of 120

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magic Mouthfuls 

 

Does the purple food colouring really work???!!!!!!  That would be awesome.  I've added "bright white" when I've had too, but I really hate doing that, coz it feels like a chemical rather than an ingredient.

 

 

To a certain extent it does. You lose the yellow colour and get an off white colour after adding a bit of purple. You'll never get a bright white this way. Getting the palest quality butter in the first place also helps.

CookieNibz Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 1:38pm
post #24 of 120

AGeeze so many wonderful tips to try. Cooling the syrup really would save your mixer, gotta try it. I always froze my bowl & wisk for whipped cream wouldn't have thought to use it for SMBC. I have learned so much on this site & from other wonderful Bakers, like yourselves. My recipes have tons of notes & tips written on them now! Lol I'mso ggrateful. Makes my stress release hobby less stressful, that's such a good thing. Been addicted to this site since I joined. I run a painting Co & have never really had the time to practice or research as much as I would like, having all this knowledge in one spot is just wonderful!

Thanks everyone! All of you rock!

KathleenC Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 4:51pm
post #25 of 120

I love SMBC, and have only ever made that.  This is the recipe I use.  I tried a couple of others, but I found I like this one the best as it's a little less "buttery" - just personal preference  :).  Also, I've only ever used cartoned egg whites, and they work great.  (I'm not the best egg separator.)

 

http://sweetapolita.com/2011/04/swiss-meringue-buttercream-demystified/

 

The alternate method described by other posters is this one:

 

http://www.cakepaperparty.com/2014/04/foolproof-swiss-meringue-buttercream/

 

I loved how less fussy it was to make, but for some reason found that it didn't make quite the same volume with the same measured ingredients.  However, it's nice to have an option.

 

I like the idea of cooling the heated egg whites and sugar in ice water before whipping it.  I'd never thought of that.  :-) 

CookieNibz Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 5:29pm
post #26 of 120

AThanks KathleenC. I will check those out for sure.

You wonderful ladies have helped me out so much I feel guilty about asking another question, but I watched a SMBC video from global sugar art & was appalled! The first video I watched on craftsy (which was how I made mine) said NOTHING about heating the egg whites up to a min 140,preferrably 160 degrees. That instructor said you were heating it up to melt sugar & to just dip your fingers into syrup & make sure it wasn't grainy. So are eggs that you buy at a grocery store already pasteurized? I made the SMBC to put on a friend's cake while she recovers from surgery. I certainly don't want to make her sick! I tasted it & didn't get sick but still... Should I throw out & remake?

Really glad I found that global sugar art tutorial geeze. I never use egg whites, not even in my royal icing, so I want to be sure I'm being safe. Doh, Palm to head. Lol

Thanks again.

KathleenC Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 5:35pm
post #27 of 120

Quote:

Originally Posted by CookieNibz 

Thanks KathleenC. I will check those out for sure.

You wonderful ladies have helped me out so much I feel guilty about asking another question, but I watched a SMBC video from global sugar art & was appalled! The first video I watched on craftsy (which was how I made mine) said NOTHING about heating the egg whites up to a min 140,preferrably 160 degrees. That instructor said you were heating it up to melt sugar & to just dip your fingers into syrup & make sure it wasn't grainy. So are eggs that you buy at a grocery store already pasteurized? I made the SMBC to put on a friend's cake while she recovers from surgery. I certainly don't want to make her sick! I tasted it & didn't get sick but still... Should I throw out & remake?

Really glad I found that global sugar art tutorial geeze. I never use egg whites, not even in my royal icing, so I want to be sure I'm being safe. Doh, Palm to head. Lol

Thanks again.

I know which video you're talking about, and I kinda wondered that as well.  Even though I use pasteurized cartoned egg whites, I always make sure the syrup hits 140, although I believe it's not absolutely necessary.  The sugar will melt at 110.  With actual separated egg whites, I would definitely make sure 140 was the minimum, and some say 160 is required.

petitecat Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 5:42pm
post #28 of 120

Quote:

Originally Posted by KathleenC 
 

I know which video you're talking about, and I kinda wondered that as well.  Even though I use pasteurized cartoned egg whites, I always make sure the syrup hits 140, although I believe it's not absolutely necessary.  The sugar will melt at 110.  With actual separated egg whites, I would definitely make sure 140 was the minimum, and some say 160 is required.

 

I struggle to reach 160 without cooking the egg whites. 150 is my top temp so far!

CookieNibz Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 5:43pm
post #29 of 120

A

Original message sent by KathleenC

I know which video you're talking about, and I kinda wondered that as well.  Even though I use pasteurized cartoned egg whites, I always make sure the syrup hits 140, although I believe it's not absolutely necessary.  The sugar will melt at 110.  With actual separated egg whites, I would definitely make sure 140 was the minimum, and some say 160 is required.

Thanks KathleenC for fast response as I'm about to head out to store. Bummer I have to redo, but yay, cause I can now try all these wonderful tips you ladies have shared with me :). Kinda seems as an instructor (craftsy tutorial) he would have at least mentioned there was a safety issue. :).

BUT off on another adventure. Think I will try another recipe too, provided by you all. Decisions, decisions. Lol

CookieNibz Posted 29 Jan 2015 , 9:01pm
post #30 of 120

OK, well did another, safer batch. I tried using egg white liquid, and still heated to 150 degrees. I had my mixing bowl & wisk in freezer, but still took quite awhile to cool it.  I didn't use the non whipped syrup method, because I didn't want to experiment with 2 (since i was using liquid egg whites)  different elements at the same time,lol. Basically i was afraid to,lol. Wish I had, Next time!

 

I used the recipe on Sweetapolita. Turned out wonderfully, thanks to all of you! Can't beleve I have been missing out! :) xoxoxox to all you wonderful ladies!

 

You all rock!!!

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