Love/hate Relationship With Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Baking By Joanne M Updated 17 May 2018 , 1:31am by lukbeealady

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Joanne M Posted 14 May 2018 , 4:51pm
post #1 of 8

So I love the light, silky smooth, non-gritty features of Swiss Meringue.  I hate its yellowish color and, to me, its lack of full-bodied flavor.  I love how easy it is to pipe.  I have been going back and forth between American and Swiss meringue for a long time and have tried tons of different recipes and variations of both.  I really didn't want the grit of American buttercream.  For those of us who have watched Cake Wars, every time I made it I could hear Waylnn Lucas and Ron Ben Israel say, "It's gritty and sweet."  And then yesterday I had absolute success with Swiss meringue with the modifications I made.  It came out WHITE, yes, WHITE, and is still white today.  It did not taste like a stick of butter and it was not overly sweet.  It passed the "kid" taste test as well as the taste test with all the adults. Here is what I did:

1 cup pasturized egg whites, 2 cups granulated sugar

Heated to 140F to thoroughly dissolve the sugar.  Whipped with whisk attachment.

Added two sticks salted butter, two sticks unsalted butter (may try 1 stick salted and 3 sticks unsalted next time for comparison) and 1 cup powdered sugar (though I think that could be decreased to 1/2 cup or completely left out based on others' individual tastes). 

I added about 1/2 cup hi-ratio shortening.  This stabilizes it for warmer weather, and I suspect it helps with the white color.   It seemed to also make it come together more to my liking but did not add any greasiness.  I do think it would be fine to leave out the shortening.  I think the white color and other attributes that I liked came from the extra cup of granulated sugar.  I used butter/vanilla emulsion rather than vanilla extract.

It didn't go through the extreme break down phase that Swiss meringue often does.  It took to gel coloring beautifully.  I know it's not really "authentic" Swiss meringue, but it is a buttercream that worked really, really well for me. 

I do think that under fondant the classic Swiss meringue would still be the way to go to get the really hard setup in the fridge.

This is my variation for my taste and preference.  (Though maybe someone else has previously come up with this and I just never came across it.)  I'm sure it's not for everyone but I feel like after a very, very long journey to find a buttercream I like,  this is the one for me.

7 replies
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crnewbold Posted 14 May 2018 , 7:00pm
post #2 of 8

Thanks for sharing.  This sounds like a good way to boost stability and lessen the yellow tint.  

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whatthedogate Posted 14 May 2018 , 11:36pm
post #3 of 8

Thank you for sharing.  I'm right there with you on the fence.

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jchuck Posted 15 May 2018 , 1:28am
post #4 of 8

Yes, I have done this. I have many  versions of SMBC, from several decorators and decorating blogs. I do know  It is one of the blogs I follow where I stumbled upon the addition of shortening. I like that the shortening version takes colours so much better than regular SMBC.  I also make the “poor mans” version of SMBC, cooked flour icing. I double the batch and do one with all butter, one with all shortening and combine the two together. I add extra icing sugar and meringue powder, that’s just my personal choice. Allows icing to set up faster, and pipe better. Tastes silky and light, every bit as good as SMBC, without as much work.  If you’re interested, here is the recipe I use.

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me_me1 Posted 15 May 2018 , 1:36am
post #5 of 8

I love SMBC - I only ever use that with all butter, or ganache, or cream cheese frosting. Unless I'm making something for vegans and then I go with the cooked flour frostings.

I don't know what might be different here in Aus but I don't seem to get a yellow tint with mine? I use all unsalted butter and it just comes up a beautiful very pale ivory colour - is that what you mean by yellow tint?

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jchuck Posted 15 May 2018 , 1:47am
post #6 of 8

me_me1 I think it depends on the brand. Some here in Canada are less yellow than others. Especially organic butter. Many organic butters come from strictly grass fed cows. They always seem less yellow. 

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me_me1 Posted 15 May 2018 , 2:29am
post #7 of 8

Ah, I see! :)

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lukbeealady Posted 17 May 2018 , 1:31am
post #8 of 8

Thanks for the recipe! Will definitely need to try this!

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