Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe

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This is my absolute favourite cake filling and cupcake topping. We each have our favourites, and this is mine. Swiss Meringue buttercream was something I stumbled upon after finding that I didn’t really like  “normal” buttercream – there was lots of experimenting and finally this Swiss Meringue buttercream was a filling that tasted delicious, takes flavours well and pipes like a dream! Couldn’t ask for more really.

Personally, I find American buttercream and traditional buttercream too sweet and sometimes a bit grainy, not with Swiss Meringue Buttercream! The sugar is dissolved into the egg whites before whipping them into a meringue and finally adding butter, so there’s no chance of grainy buttercream just silky smooth goodness.

Another added benefit to Swiss meringue buttercream is the lack of icing sugar cloud. Anyone who’s made normal buttercream before knows how annoying an icing sugar cloud can be, especially clearing up after it has landed on everything in the kitchen!

Not only does it taste delicious, but it is also great to work with and can be piped onto cupcakes or cakes very easily, just fill a piping bag and away you go.

This recipe scales up really well, so if you suddenly need to ice 100 cupcakes just triple the recipe – although do make sure your mixer bowl is big enough! Also, if you’re making a big batch, these pasturised egg whites are great as there is no yolk wastage! Any left overs can be popped into a freezer bag and kept in the freezer for 2 months, just take out and defrost over night, give it a quick re-beat and then use as normal.

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5 large egg whites
250g granulated sugar
375g unsalted butter


Put the egg whites and sugar in a bain-marie and heat until it reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a metal Kenwood bowl this works really well too as you don’t need to transfer the hot mixture into another bowl.

Remove from the heat and put in a mixer with a whisk attachment, turn it onto high and leave it to whisk for 5 minutes. Check that the meringue has come to a medium peak

Take the butter out of the fridge and cut it up into smaller pieces

Change to a paddle attachment, turn the speed to as slow as your machine can go and then add the butter in chunks, a few bits at a time. Don’t be temped to turn the speed up! It needs to incorporate the butter slowly, if you speed it up too much it is likely to split the mixture.

Leave the machine to combine the butter and meringue mixture for about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if it looks curdled (like in the picture here)- this is just a stage and once the butter has properly been combined it will turn into a bowl full of silky goodness!


Add your choice in flavouring at this point – I went with vanilla bean here, it’s my favourite pairing for a lot of cakes and so good I could probably eat it straight from the bowl…

Add melted chocolate to go with a chocolate cake, lemon juice, champagne syrup, passion fruit curd…the list goes on and on!

Used this recipe? Let me know what flavour you went with!


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Sometimes when you try a recipe for the first time, something goes wrong and it can be really frustrating. SMBC can be a little tricky to get right, so here are some tips for when things don’t go quite to plan.

  1. SMBC soup – Normally this means the butter was too soft when added or the whole mixture is too warm. Pop the bowl in a fridge for 15 minutes and then mix again. Repeat until you have a bowl of silky smooth buttercream. If it still looks like soup then you may need to add some more butter, a little at a time  until it reaches the right consistency.
  2. Curdled SMBC – if this appears as you are initially mixing, don’t panic and just keep mixing on slow. If it doesn’t seem to go away, sometimes this can happen if the butter is too cold. Take a cupful out and warm it in the microwave and then pour back into the bowl and mix again.
  3. Meringue doesn’t peak – If your bowl or utensils have grease on the egg whites won’t turn into meringue. Use a little lemon juice on some kitchen roll to wipe the bowl and utensils before using them to make meringue.

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