A Pipeable and Fluffy Meringue Based Buttercream
Today, I want to share this standard Swiss Meringue Buttercream with all of you since it is one of the best ways to prepare a meringue based frosting which is fluffy, stable, pipeable and most importantly, delicious tasting. As the name suggests, it’s part of the meringue buttercream family so unlike American buttercream, which is simply made with powdered sugar and butter, it doesn’t have that overwhelming sugary taste and gritty texture.
There are many different types of meringue and non-meringue based buttercreams: Swiss, Italian, French etc. If you don’t know the difference between them all, read this post here: Macaron Filling Ideas. Many home bakers find that the method for making Swiss Buttercream much more approachable than the Italian one so it’s a great recipe to have on hand in case you need to frost a cake, cupcake or fill macarons. Once you have mastered the easy steps in this base recipe, you can modify it for a variety of different flavours. The possibilities are endless!
3:2:1 Ratio Frosting
One of the best attributes of this Swiss Meringue Buttercream is its easy to remember 3:2:1 ratio of 3 parts butter, 2 parts sugar and 1 part egg whites. That means for every 1 oz. of egg whites, you just need to multiple that by 2 to calculate the amount of sugar you need and multiple it by 3 for the butter. It comes in handy if you ever find yourself constrained by a certain quantity of ingredients you have on hand. Say for example, you only have 3 oz of sugar left in your pantry, all you need to do is divide 3 oz. in half to get your egg whites and so forth. I made a handy chart below for you:
Help! My Buttercream Looks Curdled and Separated!
Once you start adding the butter to the meringue, you will find that it will start looking separated or curdled. It’s really grainy and gross looking! The fats bond quickly together with the proteins while the water takes longer to get incorporated but if you keep beating it, it will all come together.
Runny Buttercream Fixes
On the other hand, if your buttercream looks runny even after lots of beating, put it in the fridge until the outer edges start to firm up. If the center is still soft, that’s okay, it will start balancing each other out when you start beating it.
Tip: remember to always use room temperature butter and only add the butter when the meringue has cooled to 32C.
Secret to a SMOOTH Buttercream
Have you ever piped a frosting that breaks intermittently because of air pockets inside the mixture? The secret to get this buttercream to a smooth piping or spreading consistency is to use rid it of excess air by folding it out with a flexible spatula. After beating in the mixer, gently press the buttercream against the bowl with the spatula until you can see some of the bigger bubbles in the cream have “popped”. This will prepare the cream for spreading and piping.
Storing and Freezing Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This buttercream can be stored for up to 5 days in the fridge and 3-5 months in the freezer. If storing in the fridge, make sure it’s placed in a sealed air tight container. I usually make more of this buttercream at one time since it freezes so well. It saves a lot of time when I have buttercream on hand to frost cakes or fill macarons. I usually divide the cream up into 100 gram packets and wrap them up with seran wrap and shape them into flat rectangles. This way, the extra surface area allows them to defrost easier and I don’t need to defrost a whole tub at once. When you’re ready to use it, take the packets you need out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. As soon as you can break up the cream with the beater, you can start beating it in the mixer. This will make it all nice and fluffy again. And don’t worry about it separating at first. Keep beating it, it will all come back together. If you still have problems, take a look at the section above on how to fix a curdled buttercream.
I hope you find this tutorial and chart useful. Don’t forget to PIN it to your recipe box since it can be used for a variety of baked goodies.
The Best Swiss Meringue Buttercream using the handy 3:2:1 ratio of butter, sugar and eggs. Servings: Enough to fill 4 dozen regular macarons. Double recipe to frost a round 6 inch cake.
- 65 grams egg whites
- 130 grams granulated sugar
- 195 grams butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or any other flavoring added to taste)
- optional: food colour
Set butter out at room temperature.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
Place egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl. Stainless steel is light and safe.
Gently whisk the whites & sugar mix over the boiling water.
Pay attention to whisking the mixture when it starts getting hot, you don’t want to cook the eggs.
Whisk the mixture until the temperature reaches 160F*
Pour the mixture into the Kitchenaid mixer with the balloon whisk attached. Whip on low to start, then increase to medium.
Once the mixture is stiff and the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch, stop mixer. Change the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment.
Add butter a little bit at a time while beating with the paddle attachment on medium speed.
The mixture might look curdled or separated for a while but keep mixing. It will all come together.
Add any extract, flavourings or food colouring if desired. Whip until incorporated.
Using a flexible spatula, fold out excess air in the frosting so that it can be piped or spread smoothly.
*This is the temperature generally regarded to be able to kill salmonella in eggs. Caution should always be taken when serving meringue based desserts to children, pregnant women or those with a compromised immune system.
**Store the leftovers in an airtight container until use for a maximum of 5 days. It can also be frozen.
***Before using, place on counter until it comes to room temperature, then re-whip with a paddle attachment until it becomes fluffy again.
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November 16th, 2015