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Monday, 20 May 2013

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC)

DSC04241 I already posted the recipe of Swiss meringue buttercream in my Vanilla Mango Cupcake post. But I wanted to do a separate post with more explanations and also I didn't want to lengthen the cupcake post further. The recipe is basically adapted from Dyann Bakes with a small change in butter, and am very thankful for her for being so patient in answering all my queries.

Making SMBC in a stand mixer is so easy, but it is possible with the hand held mixer too. It just takes a little more patience and elbow work.

SMBC is a very soft, less sweet and luscious type of buttercream unlike the American Buttercream made with butter & icing sugar. Its silky smooth and are great for filling and frosting cakes and cupcakes. Since its softer than the ABC, it may not hold some shapes well.

4 oz of Egg Whites, Room Temperature
8 oz of White Granulated Sugar
8 0z of Unsalted Butter, Cubed at Room Temperature
Pinch of Salt


Step 1:

Now, the equipment you are using for the buttercream must be spotlessly clean. Take a tissue and add few drops of lemon juice and wipe the bowl and beaters clean. This will remove even the tiny specks of oil from the bowl and beaters.

Step 2:

Separate the eggs and place the whites into a large metal bowl, plastic bowls don’t work well when forming stiff meringues. There SHOULD NOT be even a small amount of yolks in the whites. Eggs separate easily when they are cold. So separate them when cold and leave it to come to room temperature.

Step 3:

Bring water to simmer in a bowl. Add the sugar to whites and place over the simmering water, this method is called water bath or double boiler. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl containing the whites. Add a pinch of salt and whisk the whites and sugar using the whisk of your stand mixer or hand mixer. Keep whisking till the temperature records 160 degrees in a candy thermometer or simply whisk till the sugar completely dissolves into the whites and are not grainy anymore, and till your biceps feel Hard ;)

Step 4:

Remove from water bath and continue whisking on high with a stand mixer or a hand held mixer till the meringues becomes very sticky, glossy, white and form stiff peaks. Take the bowl and tilt it upside down over your head, if you end up with meringue pack on your head then you need to whisk more ;)

Step 5:

Once the meringue form stiff peaks and the bowl feels cool to touch add the butter one cube at a time with your machine running on medium speed. NEVER ADD butter when the whites are warm. The buttercream will become soupy. Be patient till the whites cools down.

Step 6:

Now after all the butter is added, the buttercream will begin to curdle and separate. Now, there is nothing wrong in what you are doing, its just the butter breaking down and mixing with the whites. You need to keep going and going. The buttercream will look like curdled milk with lumps and thin water separating from the butter cream. Just keep whisking on high and everything will come together beautifully. The buttercream will start to come off the sides of the bowl and appear light and cloudy.

Vanilla / Almond / Any Extract Flavorings:

Add the few drops of vanilla extract in step 6 and beat till combined.

Chocolate SMBC:

Add required cooled molten chocolate in step 6 and beat till combined.

Fruit Variations:

You can find Mango SMBC in the my Vanilla Mango Cupcake post. So, if you want a buttercream with fruit flavours beat in fruit purees in step 6. Just make sure the fruit puree you are using is thick enough so that it does not make the SMBC soupy.

Tinting Buttercream:

Add few drops of gel food colour in step 6 and beat for few mins.


You can use it straight away or make it a day before and refrigerate until you need to use it. Then let it come to room temperature. You may need to beat it again to get it the correct consistency. Since it has egg whites It is a potentially hazardous food if left unrefrigerated.
Happy Whipping!


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