Basic Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is my basic, go-to swiss meringue buttercream recipe – always a crowd pleaser!

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Looks lovely piped on cupcakes and is a wonderful filling between cake layers as well.

Ingredients

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar

  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with vinegar on paper towel, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla and salt, mix well. Can also add fruit purees, extracts, or other flavourings.

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks.

Comments (25)

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I've never tried adding "dry" ingredients for flavoring my icing - typically I add liquid/melted - Ex.- strawberry puree for strawberry swiss meringue, melted (slightly cooled) chocolate for chocolate swiss meringue, caramel sauce for caramel swiss meringue, etc.

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Love this recipe! Thank you for the suggestions about the strawberry and chocolate, I'm going to try it soon :)

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Hi I just wondered how long the cake if covered in fondant would keep at room temperature? Say for instance you made the cake on the Friday and it was due Sunday would this still taste amazing?! :-)

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Leannesincy - I always refrigerate mine after completing but then take out about an hour before serving to allow the swiss meringue to soften slightly otherwise it would be too firm. The swiss meringue does tend to keep very well - when I made my son's birthday cake (with swiss meringue filling) we kept the leftovers in the fridge and as long as you allowed it to come to room temp a bit before eating, it was still just as yummy! Hope this helps!

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Thank you for this recipe. This is exactly the icing I have been looking for. P-E-R-F-E-C-T consistency, P-E-R-F-E-C-T flavor, and not sickening sweet. This is definitely a 10+++

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ptrish - I'm so sorry I'm just now seeing your question! If you'll look in my photo gallery at some of my cupcakes, you'll see about how high I typically frost my cupcakes and I usually have enough for 2 & 1/2 dozen. Hope this is helpful!

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Hi i would love to try this recipe and I was wondering if it goes well under fondant? Also can i leave it out once it's covered with the fondant or should it be refrigerated? Thanks! :)

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This recipe was actually easier to make then my regular SMBC, and I loved the texture- it was perfect! However it wasn't firm enough to use right away as a filling, I left it in the refrigerator all night, so once it thaws a little I'll rewhip and it will be fine - but I definitely will use it again!! Thanks! (and make sure you use unsalted butter!! I used one stick of salted and 3 unsalted b/c I ran out- and it is definitely on the salty side!)

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MaMaTaTa - I've used this under fondant quite a few times, with beautiful results - just let it firm up in the fridge first! :)

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Can anyone tell me if you ahve to refirgerate the cake after it's iced and filled with this meringue? WOuld it be safe to sit out for 24 hours? TY

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I own a cupcake shop and we use this buttercream all the time. It is shelf stable for about two days. So you could leave out for two days without a problem. Beyond that you would want to keep refrigerated. That's our policy anyway and have read many places it has this shelf stability.

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So after MONTHS of being mortified of making this...I finally made it last night! I didn't have a candy thermometer but I kept an eye and was constantly whisking to make sure the egg whites were NOT cooking! LOL It tasted GREAT! This is my to go buttercream...way much better taste then your typical American buttercream if you ask me :0)

Thanks for the recipe and all your tips via PM! :)

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Elisuhh, Yay! So glad you finally bit the bullet! ;) It took me forever to get over the fear of attempting swiss meringue!! Dunno why - now it's most definitely a fav, too - much less messy than American buttercream too :)

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I made this recipe today. It tastes great but it is so soft. I frosted cupcakes with a 2D rose and it barely held the shape. Did I do something wrong?

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Ivjan777 - could be your butter was a bit too warm/soft when adding it to your meringue? Or the meringue itself was still too warm? When it comes out correctly, you should have NO problem piping with this buttercream!

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Thank you for the recipe! When you start whisking and adding the butter etc, do you still have it over heat at this point or do you remove from the heat first? Also, I"m here in South Africa so by superfine, granulated sugar - do you mean powdered (icing sugar) or castor (finer than normal sugar)? TIA!

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Is there anyway to print just the recipe? On my computer, it wants to print all of the comments. Do you or could you make a page to print the recipes please. Thank you for your time. masdyl

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I have a question...can you decorate a cake with this and then freeze it? Or does it always need to be rewhipped again after coming out of the cold?

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This is the first SMBC I have tried making (or have ever tasted) and I am in love with it.  It is so easy to work with and melts in your mouth.  I did have to used salted butter because it is all I had on hand but it was delicious.  I was just a little disappointed that it didn't make enough to crumb coat and ice my cake.  Oh well, putting it in the fridge till tomorrow and will finish the cake.    thanks for turning me on to SMBC


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