Swiss Meringue Buttercream
All Sunny Bakehouse cakes are iced with swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC). Why?
Well first up, I’m not a frosting fan because generally I find them too sweet, swiss or Italian meringue based buttercreams tend be less sweeter than the American varieties. I want to be able to taste my cake and it’s flavours, not just taste sugar.
Secondly, the texture is unbelievable, it’s silky and smooth and just melts in your mouth. The texture also lends itself to having a beautiful finish when it comes icing a cake (much easier to knock those air bubbles out, I think).
Lastly, I think it takes on flavours more, what I mean is if you add raspberry puree to your SMBC it’ll incorporate it more than say if you had attempted adding the same quantity of raspberry puree to American BC, mostly likely the American buttercream will split due to the excess liquid. It gives more opportunity to use fresh flavours and step away from essences and fake flavourings.
Why swiss meringue vs italian meringue?
Honestly, I think making Italian meringue is faster and gives you more opportunity to multi task, the only reason I prefer swiss is because I don’t like working with hot sugar syrup. I’ve messed up the temperatures one too many times to keep doing it.
So that leads me to a few troubleshooting steps when making swiss meringue buttercream (some may also apply to Italian meringue).
You got some yolk in your egg whites
Unless you completely obliterated that yolk into the egg whites, it’s totally fine. Use an egg shell to scoop out the yolk and proceed, no need to chuck out your whole batch of egg whites over it. Lets not waste precious ingredients. (You could also take the precaution of using two bowls when separating eggs but I like to live on the edge).
The mixture has split
Please please be patient with your buttercream, it hasn’t split I promise. That is the most forgiving thing about SMBC, no splitting. Most likely the butter was too warm. Put your soupy mixture in the fridge for about 10 minutes and then beat again. It’ll come back and be that silky texture you’re looking for (it’s faithful like that).
Similarly, if the butter was too cold when added to the meringue, the mixture will look chunky, just let it sit at room temp for 15-20 mins and then beat again.
I never want to see a batch of SMBC in the bin.
Okay so finally my recipe!
I don’t have one …..
That’s because I use a ratio for the buttercream, I usually make large quantities and make whatever will fit my mixer.
The ratio is essentially 1 egg whites : 2 Caster sugar : 2 Butter
So, if you have 104ml of egg whites, then it’ll be 208g of caster sugar and 208g of unsalted butter.
It’s a very convenient ratio because not all eggs are the same, I can’t say use two eggs and x amount of sugar/butter because the egg sizes I might have are different to yours.
For the how to, mix the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of your mixer or a heat proof bowl if using a hand mixer. Put it over a bain marie and keep mixing until the sugar has melted and it has reached 63’C (the eggwhites are essentially cooked at this point and are safe to eat). Take it off the bain marie and whip the mixture until you have a thick, glossy meringue. Switch to a paddle attachment when it’s ready for the butter (if using a stand mixer). Add in the butter in batches and beat until you have a silky smooth buttercream.