This is the version of SMBC that I came up with. it uses less butter than most and is very light and tastes great. You can pipe with it and make flowers if you are patient. It takes flavorings well too.

The Well Dressed Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream with variations


  • 12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 5 egg whites
  • 8 oz (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP real vanilla extract


  1. Place the egg whites and the sugar in a clean mixer bowl, and place it over a pot of simmering water, whisking occasionally until it registers 160 degrees.
  2. Put it on the stand mixer and whip it with the whisk on medium high until it is reaches the stiff peak stage.
  3. While the meringue is beating, cut up the butter into tbsp sized pieces.
  4. When meringue is ready, switch to the paddle attachment, turn on low, and slowly add the butter.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Turn on medium high and let it rip until you have a lovely silky buttercream. You will hear a slapping sound when itâs ready.
  7. I will preface this by saying that I normally do this to taste so amounts are approximate. You may find it takes more or a little less to achieve the desired effect. You want to be sure that you don’t add too much so add them slowly and taste.
  8. To make berry BC add about 1/3 cup of sweetened seedless berry puree at the very end.
  9. To make chocolate add about 1/3 cup of melted chocolate (I like semi-sweet) that has been cooled but still pourable at the very end. If it was too warm and the BC melts down a bit.. just let it keep beating and it will come back together.
  10. To make a lemon or orange or lime flavored BC add 1/3 cup of a citrus curd (and a little zest if you want that extra punch) at the very end.
  11. To make a peppermint version add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract and 1/4 cup of crushed peppermint candies. (great in a chocolate cake!)
  12. The options are endless. Just have fun!

    It’s like the military.. don’t ask.. don’t tell.. ;)


BecuzImAGurl Says... 2009-11-25 00:28:21

what if we just have a hand held mixer?

aracely30 Says... 2009-11-28 18:18:07

the best SMBC that I've tasted! a bit of a challenge to smooth but still the best!! Thank you for sharing!

sillyjodes Says... 2009-12-24 14:21:54

Love, love, love this icing! Just finished making 6 batches in 90m!

Noey Says... 2009-12-28 16:08:51

I don't love SMBC but this recipe is amazing. The chocolate version is my absolute favorite!

_Jamie_ Says... 2010-01-06 21:55:19

Best. Recipe. Ever. Jeanne's da bomb!

cakes_rule Says... 2010-01-09 13:13:24

can u use meringue powder in place of egg whites?

lngo Says... 2010-01-18 22:02:29

WOW! I made this with a white chocolate variation, and the white chocolate flavor really came through. My friend (who hardly ever eats frosting) cleaned the leftovers from my bowl, spatula, and whip attachment! I think excessive buttery-ness is inevitable with SMBC, but this takes on flavor very well among the SMBC recipes I have tried.

ardenrae Says... 2010-03-09 11:50:05

what a great buttercream.....SOOO GOOD!! best version i've tried....

pj22 Says... 2010-03-18 18:44:23

Can we use meringue powder instead of egg whites? How much meringue powder? And do we need to cook it then because it is not raw egg whites? Thanks!

Bella214 Says... 2010-03-25 10:26:21

How much does this make?

TickleMySweetTooth Says... 2010-04-15 16:06:30

looks great! Does this hold up well? I've made a french buttercream many times and it just too soft to decorate a cake with.. what about this?

tabbylou Says... 2010-04-24 10:28:29

Where do you find citrus curd?

BakedAlaska Says... 2010-05-04 16:44:50

If you use this on a cake, does that cake need to be refrigerated due to the egg whites?

pmarks0 Says... 2010-05-26 12:27:12

This is a great recipe!! I've made a SMBC before but found it tasted too buttery, but this one tasted fabulous! Thanks! I'm going to try the chocolate version next.

mkolmar Says... 2010-06-12 07:28:55

Hands down the best thing to put on a cake!

sechrestloans Says... 2010-07-02 13:13:56

just did the chocolate for peanut butter cup cupcakes and it is incredible!!!! there goes my diet!

texastj Says... 2010-07-14 14:47:29

I use the same recipe with some slight differences, which is the temp. Love, love, love the taste but it comes out so soft that I can't even decorate with it. I follow the same recipe except I remove it once it reaches 140 degrees. I would love to add pureed fruit to it. What could I be doing wrong? And is there anything I can do to stiffen my SMBC?

whiteybear Says... 2010-08-03 14:59:46

Just got done making a batch of this and it is delicious. So silky and light! I was afraid, since it is so soft, that it wouldn't pipe nicely, but it held its shape just fine. I just frosted 27 cupcakes with a 1M tip. Someone asked how much this makes, so hopefully that will help.

justgettingstarted Says... 2010-08-09 22:49:49

This might sound really dumb, but how do you test the temp? Is there a special cooking thermomitor needed?

Redsoxbaker Says... 2010-08-24 04:57:15

justgettingstarted, You can use a candy thermometer for that. Don't feel dumb there are so many things I don't know that ypu probably do ! How long can you refrigerate this for?

artscallion Says... 2010-10-16 14:04:31

lovely frosting. light as a feather and creamy. Also very easy to make.

Sweet_Toof Says... 2010-11-02 05:21:36

Yes I'd love to know if meringue powder is ok to use??? Also perhaps instead of heating the sugar and eggs, could w'e use finer sugar and put it straight into the mixer, so basically skip step one?

jenny311 Says... 2010-11-11 12:13:47

Sweet_Toof the eggs need to be heated to kill off bacteria, this step can NOT be skipped!

glow0369 Says... 2010-12-31 14:17:12

can you use meringue powder instead?? Has anyone tried this?

s_mhammad Says... 2011-01-10 23:27:39

I just made this now and let's just say it was amazing! So light and so fresh! I hate BC icing, just the texture of it turns me off of it, but this is some good stuff! I now have my GO TO icing when icing cakes.

jenscreativity Says... 2011-02-03 09:20:55

Can you decorate with this icing or is it more for basic icing??I want to try this too! Let me know please!

tofu19 Says... 2011-03-13 19:49:48

yes me too. I would like to know if I could use meringue powder instead of egg whites??

eimiee1978 Says... 2011-04-03 21:02:43

i have made it using powdered egg whites and it tastes terrible. Definately use real!

turtles Says... 2011-04-14 12:56:45

Does this have to be refrigerated?? Anyone????

SweetOnYouCakesnCupcakes Says... 2011-04-15 11:15:42

This recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons of vanilla. I made it without even thinking about it... Way too much vanilla!!

wilgon1 Says... 2011-04-22 07:45:51

has anyone written how much merinque powder do we need instead of egg whites

BlueBerryBaker Says... 2011-05-13 12:38:07

Just made this last night and was my first time using SMBC. This is by far the best butter cream frosting. I started out thinking that I"d only need half a batch but as I was looking at the my cake "giant cupcake", I thought that I'd just make the full recipe. Well, being a bit sleep deprived, I thought I had grabbed my 1/2 cup, instead I grabbed a 3/4c. I ended up using 1 1/2 cups sugar and only 1 TBS plus 1/2 tsp vanilla. Which ended up PERFECT and not overly sweet. If I had made a traditional butter cream, there would have been almost 8 cups of sugar. So this was not sickeningly sweet. Oh, and I used this to make piped flowers as well as triple loops around the perimeter of the cake. Held up beautifully!

MrsMoe07 Says... 2011-05-14 08:52:48

How does this hold up in the heat? Can I use to decorate cupcakes for an outside party?

twooten173 Says... 2011-05-21 20:01:21

OMG, this is the best icing I've ever had. Normally no one wants chocolate BC but everyone who tasted this LOVED it and wanted the chocolate. Haven't tried decorating with it yet but the taste is incredible!

deborahjean Says... 2011-05-31 13:22:09

don't have candy thermometer, how long to get to 160?

deborahjean Says... 2011-06-04 00:06:15

absolutely delish!!!!!!

deborahjean Says... 2011-06-07 03:29:00

made two batches so far, amazing,.I left the cake decorated sitting out overnight and it held up wonderfully.Now,the challenge,I am decorating a two tier cake,three layers each and hoping i can apply some fondant decorations to it since it is going to be in the 90's:(,hope it goes well :).I tried the vanilla and adding chocolate next, I am adding some seedless jam!

deborahjean Says... 2011-06-08 03:55:16

I can only say love about this recipe:) made itthis morning and it is hot and humid in Phila today.I have one batch sitting out covered on the table to see how it holds up until I get home from work but, my guess,it will be fine!

cakelady1958 Says... 2011-06-08 16:20:12

I made it today and it tasted a bit too buttery for my taste. Does anyone have a recipe that uses a little less butter?

deborahjean Says... 2011-06-08 19:49:25

actually ,I gave people tastes of it tonight and they like what I normally make better, bummer, all that work,Well, the cake is for friday so hopefully it gets eatten.My normal buttecrream is butter ,half as much shortening, vanilla and fluff and I whip plenty of air into it

deborahjean Says... 2011-06-11 13:41:51

everone loved the cake and the icing was awesome!

jenscreativity Says... 2011-06-18 07:27:03

I made this last week along with the traditional buttercream icings..and I added a tad of van. to lesson the too much of a taste of butter and it was awesome!! BUT it IS different so, I used it for a wedding consultation with the other icings and they chose this one out of 4 other icings I made( white choc, cream cheese, coconut, and lemon b/c)!! This is a winner and love it! You have to try this! YET< I'm not sure about decorating with it because it is very silky, light,,but I will try it!

KTB4 Says... 2011-07-21 07:06:32

I really want to give SMBC a try but am used to crusting BC. How does this compare? Are there any tricks to smoothing it?

teezed Says... 2011-08-26 06:45:41

Yes, I would like to try this too but I'm wondering if there are any tricks to smoothing it, also I don't have a candy thermometer, so was wondering how long it would have to cook before it gets to that temperature...

pattisulli Says... 2011-08-26 10:45:18

OMG this is absolutely the yummiest... just made the chocolate with 3 squares semi-sweet baking choc, the BEST EVER! I hope there's extra icing after the cake is done!

kyauta Says... 2011-09-07 01:45:52

@teezed,if u dnt have a thermometer,u can dip ur finger in the mixture. If it doesn't feel grainy,its done. Then as for smoothing,u can crumbcoat with crusting bc before applying smbc. You can also just use a scraper and a turntable. Hope this helps

Chericakes Says... 2011-09-14 17:02:20

Does this frosting color well?

taimeaka16 Says... 2012-01-13 20:21:57

I absolutely loooove SMBC!!! A trick to finding out if the sugar and egg white mixture has come to temp is to feel it.Reach in the bowl and rub it between your fingers and if you feel that all of the sugar is dissolved then its ready, usually 105-115 degrees is the temp it should reach.

oohrahwifey04 Says... 2012-01-15 17:18:34

I don't know what I did wrong, but mine is a big lumpy mess. It has chunks all over it. Anyone know what I could have done wrong?

kisamarie Says... 2012-02-01 10:29:57

oohrahwifey04 you may have not let it go long enough, it goes through stages and one of them in the lumpy icky curdled stage, you have to just keep mixing until you get past it. I've read so many times people throw theirs out thinking its ruined and have just not let it mix long enough. HTH

candacethecook Says... 2012-03-02 13:12:59

Love the recipe. Was wondering how long it will keep in the refrigerator and how long can it stay out at room temperature.

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