Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 12 large egg whites (14 oz by weight)
- 1 pound 4 oz granulated sugar
- 2 pounds butter, softened, cut into tablespoon-sized pats
- Vanilla extract, to taste (or flavored extract or liqueur of your choice)
- In a mixing bowl set over simmering water, whisk egg whites and sugar until sugar dissolves.
- Place mixing bowl in a stand mixer, and using wire whip, whip the whites on medium-high speed to stiff peaks (about 10 minutes).
- Switch to paddle attachment. Add butter, one or two pats at a time, beating after each addition until fully incorporated. Full incorporation will take longer as more butter is added.
- Do not be alarmed if buttercream looks "curdled," it will smooth out with continued beating.
- After the butter is added, mix in vanilla and continue beating until combined.
During pastry school, we made a batch of each variety of buttercream: Italian, French, Swiss and American. I preferred Swiss by far, and it's the only buttercream I use. It's smooth, not overly sweet, nor overly buttery. The following recipe should frost and fill one 9-inch layer cake.