Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Favorite Buttercream is Swiss Meringue

OK, so the second time was a success.

This is what Meringue SHOULD look like.

Look at that perfect point.  A nice stiff consistency.  Get your mind out of the gutter, I'm talkin' buttercream here!

My first attempt failed miserably, as you may have seen.  If not, let's just do a quick recap. 

First Attempt...


This is a gooey mess, that I'm still trying to figure out what to do with.
Second Attempt...


Yippee!  You really have no way of truly knowing how excited I was to see this --->

I did a happy dance when no one was looking.

And then took a LOT of terrible photos, which I am now making you suffer through.

You are still reading, right?  Hello?!   That's alright, it wouldn't be the first time I've been caught talking to myself.

You see all that butter up there?  That's waiting to go in next.  To transform a meringue into a velvety smooth, buttery buttercream frosting.

Did I mention that I LOVE this buttercream.  It's buttery (have I mentioned that yet?), but not so rich that you want to scrape it all off and then drink a gallon of water.  It's smooth and spreadable, yet has structure and holds it shape.

I'm sold.  A true believer.  Why did I wait so long to try this?

Oh yeah.  See second photo above.  Fear of failure.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
From Confetti Cakes for Kids ( I LOVE her books/recipes)

2 ¾ cups plus 3T. (20oz) granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups (10oz) egg whites, or pasteurized egg whites** in liquid form 
2 ½ cups (20 oz; 5 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
 ¼ cup plus 2 T. (2 ½ oz) pure vanilla extract

  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, thoroughly whisk together the sugar and egg whites.
  2. Set the bowl over a pot of boiling water.  Whisking constantly, heat the mixture until all the sugar crystals have dissolved and the mixture is hot.  Get it as hot as you can but be careful not to cook the egg whites.
  3. Put the bowl back in the mixer fitted with the whip attachment.  Beat on high speed until the mixture forms a stiff meringue and the bottom comes to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stop the mixer and replace the whip with the paddle attachment.
  5. Set the mixer to low speed and add the butter, a few cubes at a time.  When all the butter is incorporated, turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until fluffy.
  6. Set the mixer to low speed and add the vanilla. Once the vanilla is incorporated, scrape the bowl and continue to mix on medium speed until you have a smooth, creamy texture.  If the buttercream is too liquid, refrigerate until completely cool and stiff, then rewhip.
  7. You can use the buttercream immediately, store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

**This is what I used in my first FAILING attempt at this recipe.  Skip the torment and use REAL, fresh egg whites and just heat them to around 140 deg F.

Now excuse me while I tear the house apart looking for left over frosting.

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