Jennifer Bratko's Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Bratko SMBC Cream Cheese Recipe

This is an original recipe for SMBC, and as far as I can tell, this is also an original method for making a cream cheese version. I have never seen this posted anywhere or in any cook book so I’m excited to share with the CC community! So many have taught me so much since I’ve been a member!

I make this all the time with great success.


  • My ratios for SMBC
  • 6.25 oz egg whites

  • 7 oz sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 lb of unsalted fine quality butter ( suggest 83% butterfat), 72 degrees or warmer
  • Cream cheese ratios listed after SMBC recipe/instructions.


  1. Whisk egg whites, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, pop onto KA mixer with whisk attachment, and beat on high until stiff peaks form and bowl is cool to the touch. This may take 10 minutes or more.

TIP: You have to get STIFF PEAKS, sometimes I’ll even let my meringue (gasp!) deflate a bit. It IS possible to have a cool bowl and medium peaks. DON’T STOP! Keep mixing until those peaks are stiff!

Swap out to a paddle attachment and add your room temperature butter. Mix on LOW. Yes, LOW. Not medium low, not #2, but the lowest setting your mixer has. “But wait!”, you might say, “I’ve been mixing for 3 whole minutes and it looks weird!” Yes my friend, that is exactly what it’s supposed to look like. Soupy and curdled. This is science happening, so this step can take up to 15 minutes or more before the emulsion between the butter/sugar/eggs/water takes place. Don’t rush it! If you crank your mixer up on high because you are impatient, it will come together but all you did was break your meringue and end up with sweetened butter (the primary complaint from people that claim to not like SMBC). When made in this method, you should get about 5 cups of SMBC. BUT, I have measured SMBC that I made as fast as possible vs. SMBC that I allowed to come together on it’s own time. Not only did they taste different, but the hurried SMBC has a full cup less in volume. (A hand mixer will work if you don’t have a stand mixer, but that’s a lot of standing around. But it’s your feet :D ).

TIP: If you can pick your pieces of butter up with your fingers and it’s still firm-ish, it’s still too cold and will take much longer to emulsify. So for perfect results make sure that butter was pulled out the night before and is nice and soft.

“But wait!”, you say, “I forgot to pull it out the night before!” Try grating your cold butter with a cheese grater to maximize surface area to warm it up. Then let it sit for as long as possible before use.

I DO NOT refrigerate my SMBC. Science is at work here, called osmosis. The science that works for crusting icings made with shortening, butter, cream and milk that people don’t hesitate to leave out for days on end is the same science that makes European buttercreams perfectly safe.

I included my above SMBC recipe because I don’t know if my cream cheese to SMBC ratios will work with other recipes, although you are welcome to try and post your results here. (EDIT – a few people have tried with their own recipes for both SM and IM and had great results).

Now, for the moment you have ALL been waiting for………….

Cream Cheese SMBC (heretofor CCSMBC)

10 oz. finished SMBC
8 oz. (1 package) Cream Cheese (can be cold)

Put your cream cheese in a bowl and whip it on HIGH to make it smooth and creamy. Pass thru it with a spatula just to make sure there are no pesky lumps. Keep whipping. Once it’s nice and smooth, add your finished SMBC in batches, mixing on high (1/2 or you can do 1/3 if you are doubling the above ratios). This is where people have gone wrong in the past. Notice I said add the SMBC to the cream cheese, NOT the other way around. Very important. Until you have made this a few times, you will need to watch it because if you add too much SMBC it will start looking glossy and curdled. If this happens, add more cream cheese (but make sure you follow the “whip it until it’s smooth” step, if you toss in a lump of unwhipped cream cheese it will forever stay a lump of cream cheese.

Finished CCSMBC is softer then regular but is great for topping cupcakes or using as a filling (damed with regular SMBC) I do not put it on the outside of cakes or under fondant (except as a filling) because of the softness, I worry about my layers shifting. It also has a very strong cream cheese flavor (which is hard to get using any other icing) so personally I think covering a whole cake is overkill.

Refrigeration: I have had iced cupcakes and cake out for 12 hours with no problems, flavor or texture changes. More then that though and it gets a strange… skin? Almost like the film you get on custard or curds that do not have direct contact with plastic wrap when it’s left out with direct air contact. So in this rare instance I do refrigerate if I use it in advance or if it’s in a cake just to protect the flavor and prevent a skin from forming.

1 batch should make enough to fill/decorate 1x 6″ round 4 layer cake.
8″ = 1.5
9″ = 2
10″ = 2.5
So on.

Additional variations:
Chocolate SMBC = melt then allow to cool 8 oz 72% bittersweet chocolate, then fold into 1 batch SMBC.
White chocolate = melt then allow to cool 8 oz 30% butterfat white chocolate, then fold into 1 batch SMBC

Comments (15)


Thanks Jennifer! This is the first SMBC recipe that I have used that was 100% successful. I TOTALLY agree with is all about mixing SLOW.


Can't wait to try this - I don't think I mixed slow enough as my SMBC does taste like sweetened butter so I always use American Butttercream. I can't wait to try this method - I really like the smooth look you can achieve with SMBC. Thank you!!!


When I made my daughter's wedding cake in '05, I mixed my cream cheese and buttercream frosting together and this is the same thing I came up with so I know this is a very tasty btr crm!! You all should reeeeeeally try it!!


Oh wow! I absolutely cannot wait to try very favorite 2 icings MIXED!! Thanks so much for sharing Jennifer!


In wich step should I add the colouring? I tried the BC recipe (without cream cheese) and it was delicious, fluffy and tasted divine (much better than the recipe I´ve been using since now). I added colour after my BC was done (used my handmixer, on low) and it totally collapsed and started to taste like weet butter. Obviously I over worked it but how can I add the colour without this happening?


Is this a stable enough frosting for a warm outdoor wedding? The bride wants a version of cream cheese, but I don't think it is stable enough for an outdoor summer wedding. Any insight would be most helpful.


Can you decorate a cake with this type of icing. I would like to decorate with shells tips and star tips from the Wilton cake decorating set. I don't won't runny frosting decorations. Thanks..


will it pipe roses for cupcakes, have been searching the globe for a successful recipe to do so and how would you suggest to stiffen it if need be thanx


Thank you so much for sharing this recipe for us Jennifer. I can't wait to try it, i have never ever tried making or ever tasted smbc icing so i'm definitely going to Make this. Is this good for decorating and making roses? As for the cream cheese, i wont be trying that one because i am partial to my own homeade cream cheese icing lol. But i still will keep that one in mind. Lol. Have a great day.


I have been making IMBC for past 7 years and I was very happy with the taste and everything..But after reading this post I tried the SLOW mixing method... and O My God!!!the result was was like a total different species.. It was soooo fluffy,light, no sheen, no bubbles, dreamy buttercream....and you were right it did not taste like sweet butter at all...Thank you...thank you so much....


Excellent recipe! I did make SMBC a lot of times before, but mixing it slowly does make for a fluffier and less buttery buttercream. Cream cheese version was a great hit (I used this recipe to make cupcakes for my sister's wedding and people are still raving about them!) :) Excellent detailed instructions too, wish all recipes were this specific! I added creamed coconut to non-cream cheese version, and it was amazing!


I've made this recipe successfully several times before with a hand mixer and tried it today with my new kitchen aid. Followed the recipe exactly. Butter was out on the counter for 12 hours and was nice and soft. Merangue was very stiff. I added the butter and it's been mixing for 25 minutes now and the butter is just chunks and it doesn't seem to be doing anything at all. Any idea where I may have gone wrong?