Carmela Sultana’s Ultimate Buttercream Recipe 
“Diary of a Decorator” contributor Carmela Sultana’s  recipe for her “ultimate”  buttercream. Read the full story of Carmela’s search for the perfect buttercream in Vol. 4, Issue 7 (July 2013).


  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3.7 ounces pasteurized egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, clear
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 stick salted butter


Step 1. Combine powdered sugar, egg whites and vanilla extract in a mixer with a flat beater at slow speed.
Step 2. Increase speed to medium-high for 10 minutes.
Step 3. Decrease speed and add butter.
Step 4. Increase speed again to medium-high and beat for an additional 10 minutes. The buttercream will be light and fluffy.
*Freezes well. Thaw and re-beat for about 5 minutes before using.


morganchampagne Says... 2013-07-09 11:13:06

From my understanding, Pastuerized egg whites are ones that have been heat treated to reduce the likelihood of foor borne illnesses. Its not like fresh eggs in the dairy aisle, these are usually in cartons no? It's as close as you can get without Pouring a hot syrup in them or something.

cakebloomers Says... 2013-07-09 11:48:53

I have a couple questions....Is this buttercream white enough for a wedding cake? How does it hold up to warm weather? Thanks, sounds yummy!

LeanneW Says... 2013-07-09 12:33:38

Here is a link that was shared on Facebook regarding the use and safety of pasteurized egg whites:

If you're concerned about using raw egg whites you might want to try another buttercream recipe, like this one:!

LeanneW Says... 2013-07-09 12:42:45

Hi cakebloomers,

Check out this old forum thread for advice about buttercream and warm weather:

As for the "whiteness" you'll have to make a batch to judge for yourself. How white do you think it needs to be? Personally I use an all butter recipe and I like that it isn't pure white. Try adding just a touch of violet food color to offset the yellow of the butter if you want it whiter.

Here is more help with buttercream:

NanaNut Says... 2013-07-09 12:47:03

Yes, how sturdy is this buttercream. I have a 4 tiered wedding cake that is VERY detailed I will be doing this weekend. I was thinking of using this buttercream as the filling and add pureed strawberries. What's your opinion on this? Would love to know. I ice my cakes with a combo of a crusting buttercream but with some cream cheese added. Think this would be a great compliment as a filling

sarahjanep Says... 2013-07-09 12:58:17

I'm in England & would love to know the conversions? How much butter is in a stick??? Looks like a good recipe

neecakes Says... 2013-07-09 13:05:46

This is essentially the same recipe that Mike McCarey and Lauren Kitchens use. This recipe has just been halved and uses the one stick of salted butter. It's very firm and great for sculpted cakes.

amaniemom Says... 2013-07-09 13:09:19

A stick of butter is 113 grams

GailL Says... 2013-07-09 13:31:03

I have not been able to find the pasteurized egg whites, and live in the country where getting to a store is not always possible. For my Swiss Butter Creme, I use meringue powder and follow the directions on the label for egg white equivalents. I have never had a problem doing this and people love, love, love the icing. It's not one that they scrape off, just the opposite, they always want more of it. If there are any questions about egg whites, I feel this is a safe product to use. Opinions?

BrooksieCakes Says... 2013-07-09 13:48:05

Just to clarify, the "flat beather" is just the paddle attachment of a Kitchen Aid, right???

BrooksieCakes Says... 2013-07-09 13:50:24

Also, I assume the butter should be room temperature? I know most recipes call for it to be room temp, but this one didn't specify.

goodvibrations Says... 2013-07-09 14:03:07

The ingredient list calls for butter in two different amounts but only mentions butter once (Step 3) in the instructions. Are all 4 sticks supposed to be added during that step?

Imakecakes18 Says... 2013-07-09 15:34:22

Yes it is

Imakecakes18 Says... 2013-07-09 15:35:56

That's too much butter for 4 cups of sugar, I wouldn't want to eat that! Wilton's buttercream I still my favorite

SweetNeddy Says... 2013-07-09 15:47:39

This is exactly what I've been trying to do... thank you! I do have a couple of questions though. What kind of pasteurized egg whites? Not all liquid whites will whip - the carton says "not suitable for meringues and such". Are dry egg whites OK to use? Finally, have you tried making this with cream cheese? I'm making a groom's cake next week - Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Buttercream. It's a carved, shaped cake, so I need something sturdier than regular buttercream.

kristine1213 Says... 2013-07-09 17:39:12

Wilton's buttercream is not buttercream it's shortening. Eating crisco is better than butter?

777Marianela Says... 2013-07-09 21:57:08

Sorry, I know you've been bombarded with questions, so I'll be brief. Would your recipe work as a crusting buttercream ? Thank you.

Ruth52 Says... 2013-07-10 04:14:26

The butter mentions is 3 sticks of UNSALTED and 1 stick of SALTED butter. That is why it is mentioned twice.

bozgirl2000 Says... 2013-07-10 06:24:15

this recipe takes 4 sticks of butter?

DesignerBaker Says... 2013-07-10 07:46:46

I had an outdoor wedding in August in California. Brace yourself, the bride insisted on SMBC. The cake was not in direct sun but it needed to sit out for 3.5 hours. I used hi ratio shortening for 1/2 the butter and added 2 TBSP cornstarch. I cooled it to near freezing before delivery which was an hour away. It sat beautifully, and was delish!!! That one gave me gray hair.....

CakeSamurai Says... 2013-07-10 10:29:14

I have an old countertop mixer Farberware with two beaters instead of a paddle or whisk. I have made several attempts at making different varieties of buttercream and they have a gritty finish. Without having to purchase a different mixer any suggestions on smooth finishes?

KateCoughlin Says... 2013-07-10 11:12:03

Wow - you did great! I grew a grey hair just reading that, haha. I've subbed HR shortening for half the butter before but have never tried cornstarch. I love SMBC for its creamy softness but that also accounts for its limitations. I will test out cornstarch next time I need additional heat proofing. Thanks.

ChelleW Says... 2013-07-10 15:00:42

I would love to use this recipe but only have powdered egg white someone mentioned that could be mixed and used instead of pasteurized egg whites? mine doesn't come with instructions anyone know how to do this?

DesignerBaker Says... 2013-07-11 09:56:09

I have a few question on the recipe.....when I tried it it didn't work out. Measuring the sugar was not a problem, can always add more....but the liquid that a weight or measure? 4oz is 1/2 cup in measure but not the same in weight.... and the butter is not a weight I just used 4oz per stick. could you clarify the liquid issue? Thanks

DesignerBaker Says... 2013-07-11 10:39:47

Kate, I did forget to add that it is important to add the cornstarch into the powdered (confectioners) sugar before adding the sugar to the frosting mixture. Blend the two together first. Sorry I didn't think of that until later....

DesignerBaker Says... 2013-07-11 10:44:10

I just made a batch and found it is very soft....but amazingly yummy. I am going to adjust to make it more sturdy because I would love to use it. It is not a crusting buttercream...and it is sweeter than SMBC or IMBC, I should say, that was my results.

DesignerBaker Says... 2013-07-11 10:51:02

You can pasteurize your own egg whites by heating them over a double boiler to I believe 160 degrees Fahrenheit, (71 degrees Celsius) .....please check that temperature out on line....the information should be readily available. Using fresh whites will make the frosting extra fluffy.

DesignerBaker Says... 2013-07-11 11:00:01

Thank you Leanne, that link is the perfect answer to the pasteurize issue.

kikiandkyle Says... 2013-07-12 07:00:07

So this is made either with carton egg whites, or fresh egg whites that have been heated to 160? Would you cool the fresh heated whites before whipping with the PS? Does this have a less buttery taste than SMBC because of the PS? Thanks!

cakesbylanetta Says... 2013-07-12 19:52:39

I made a batch yesterday and I also find it to be sweeter than my favorite SMBC. I love my frosting more flavorful than sweet so I streamed in some melted white chocolate and it turned out super delicious! I'm not a fan of super sweet frosting so I will definitely decrease the sugar in my next batch.

mollineau Says... 2013-07-16 16:20:30

How can I print this recipe I need it in paper so I can practice I like it very much look like is going to very good for hot weather and can I use powder egg whites?

mollineau Says... 2013-07-16 16:27:18

Ok am trying to learn how to do Italian butter cream dose pouring the hot sugar mix help to pasteurized the eggs when making Italian butter cream ?

Fyrgirl1 Says... 2013-07-17 04:33:12

This is my new favorite buttercream! I filled and covered my husband's birthday cake in it this weekend and the whole family loved it - it was so fluffy and creamy. I froze the remaining icing and will use it this weekend on something else. Thanks so much for the recipe!

sugarmagiccakes Says... 2013-07-17 05:41:13

At risk of sounding stupid but what does smbc and imbc stand for? I am in England and also don't know where to get pasteurized egg whites. Please help!

janetbakes Says... 2013-08-02 08:37:30

SMBC stands for Swiss Merengue ButterCream, IMBC is Italian Merengue Buttercream.

marianavitorato Says... 2013-11-19 13:48:16

I wonder how these amounts sticks of butter?

SallySugarcraft Says... 2014-04-01 13:42:39

How far in advance can I make this frosting and keep it refrigerated? Whats the protocol if I refrigerate or freeze it? Thank you!

SweetHeartTart Says... 2014-04-01 19:23:16

Keeps well for at least two weeks in the refrigerator or two months in the freezer. Either way, just be sure to bring to room temperature before using and beat the buttercream for about 5 minutes to bring it to a spreading consistency.

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