Simple Swiss Meringue – my cheater version

IMG_7391I am very excited to share with you my very own Swiss Meringue buttercream… but it’s far from traditional…. I LOVE a good meringue based buttercream. Be it Italian or Swiss or any other method, they’re all delicious. My favourite attributes are their silky texture, their less sweet flavour and simple fresh ingredients.

However, the method is always a royal PAIN. Heat the sugar, double boil your eggwhites, cool that…. sheesh… When you have to make 8-10 batches of buttercream in a weekend, you need a quick buttercream that will come together in minutes. All the time. None of this fussing around stuff.

I first saw a cheater recipe over at Artisan Cake Company. Loved it. Except one thing… I still tasted a bit of the grit of the icing sugar rather the completely smooth texture of typical SMB. Then one day  I was playing around with a macaron recipe and failed at the meringue portion (must have had oil in the bowl somewhere) and almost pitched my eggwhites and sugar when I realized I could just turn it into a buttercream. hmmm…. So after a few trial and errors I got it. I had created a Swiss meringue buttercream with no boiling sugar, no icing sugar, no fussy meringue and best of all, no waiting.  I’ve been thinking of posting this recipe for a bit, but really just hadn’t had the time. And I realized I hadn’t given Italian (IMBC) a fair chance. So I made up a batch this weekend to test it out and see if there was any difference. Nadda. It was almost identical in ratios EXCEPT the IMBC called for 2.5cups sugar, and mine only has 1.5cups (yay!). The texture was the same and so was the taste. I wondered if theirs would be more silky in look, but nope. Just the same. So I’m happy to say it’s a TRUE cheater (oxymoron?).

I’ve been using this recipe for quite a while now and I can honestly say it WORKS.. all the time. I’ll still give you a few tips/tricks to make sure it comes out and some troubleshooting. But honestly, it’s super easy.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1.5lbs of butter (3cups) softened (I use salted – but if you use unsalted, then add a pinch of salt as well)
  • 1.5 cups sugar (divided 1cup & 1/2cup)
  • 1 cup egg whites (MUST be pasturized) (divided (1/2cup & 1/2 cup)
  • Vanilla or flavouring of your choice

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A stand mixer is definitely very very helpful for buttercream but not a complete necessity.

A couple items to go over first. This is a cheater swiss meringue, so we are not creating a simple syrup, but we do need to warm up the sugar a bit.

You MUST use pasturized egg whites because we are not heating them nor are we creating the simple syrup which would temper the egg and make it safe for eating.

I typically have my butter at room temp, and then pop it in the microwave all together for about 30 seconds to get it a bit softer. It’s ok if it’s a tiny bit soupy, this doesn’t affect it at all.

OK!! Ready?? Let’s go.

Measure into your stand mixer, 1/2cup of sugar and 1/2cup of egg whites. You can mix it up a bit, but just to combine.

IMG_7366Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of egg white into your microwave proof container (should be a 2 cup min. capacity) and add the remaining 1 cup sugar.

Stir it up and pop it in the microwave for 45 seconds

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Add your softened butter into your stand mixer (yup just plop’er in. Don’t worry about adding it slowly, scrape out the whole bowl right into that mixture)

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Mix it up! It’s gonna look a little strange

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Keep mixing and pour in the warmed egg white/sugar mixture. Make sure you scrape out the container and get all that sugary sludge that’s at the bottom and may not have totally disolved yet. As long as it’s thick and a bit warm, you’re good to go.

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This is when it looks like it’s all gone wrong. WRONG. Don’t despair… Keep mixing. The cottage cheese/curdled look is perfectly normal. Within about 20-30 seconds of mixing it’ll come into a beautiful whipped look.

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I’ve already added the vanilla into my mix at this point, so you can see that the colour has changed from yellow-y to a almondy white colour. You can add whitener to it if you need a crisper look for your creation.

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That’s IT! Seriously. You’re done. No fuss, no muss. Beautiful buttercream all completed in a matter of minutes.

A couple troubleshooting tips:

If it seems to be taking a while to get from curdled to smooth buttercream (it may look oily and separated) then scoop out about a cup of the mixture, and put it back into your microwave safe container. Pop that in the microwave for about 30 seconds to melt it down a bit and pour it back in. Normally this is just happening because your  butter was too cold still. You do need warmer than room temp butter. UNLESS it’s the middle of August 😉 Then room temp might work just fine.

You can freeze or keep this in the fridge. I find warming it up on the counter or in the microwave at 20 second intervals works, just keep mixing and you’ll bring it back to a good consistency.

I use this buttercream for filling, crumb coating, covering cakes and making buttercream flowers. It can easily be altered to a flavoured buttercream by adding melted chocolate or cocoa powder, mint chocolate, or anything you wish!! 1/2 fruit puree works great as well.

Here are some little green succulents I made after watching this tutorial with the buttercream. She has amazing buttercream flower tutorials which I just love!

**Edit – I’ve done this recipe as a DOUBLE batch in my mixer (Kitchen Aid Pro – 6qt (I think???) ) and it was great! Fit well, just couldn’t blast it on high as quickly as I normally do. Why didn’t I start doing double batches sooner?!?!

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Enjoy and have fun!!!!!

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Comments

    • says

      I’m terrible with how much this actually measures out to in terms of cups. But here’s what I can cover with ONE batch.
      24 “fancy” cupcakes – like a piped rose or piped peony
      OR
      36 regular swirl cucpakes
      OR
      torte and fill an 8″ cake with three layers of cake – plus leftovers.

      I add the vanilla once the buttercream has come to the right consistency, near the end. then just keep whipping to incorporate.

      • Loren says

        I have a question, after making this meringue how long do I have to wait to create the peony flowers, does it need to be in the fridge for certain time or can I make then right away?

  1. says

    I tried this as soon as you posted it and it was FAB-U-LOUS! AND, I made a double batch the first time ’round because I needed to fill a 12″ round, 4″ high cake which it filled, iced AND decorated with buttercream flowers and I still had leftovers! Wonderful recipe! Just about to make it again, too. Thanks a million for sharing such a great, easy and delicious cheater’s smbc recipe =D

  2. Pam says

    When you add a fruit purée is it in addition or do you adjust the quantity of something else? And when do you add it?
    I’m new to decorating but “easy and buttercream” caught my eye.

    • says

      Oh boy! I’m always bad at these measurements, i’m an ‘eye-baller’ add a little at a time, i’d say start with 1/4cup, and taste,see go from there. My gut tells me about 1/2 cup should be good. You just don’t want to break down the consistency of the icing too much so that it doesn’t hold. go slow! If you end up adding too much, try adding a bit more softened butter to thicken it again 😉 have fun!!

  3. says

    I can’t wait to try this! I recently posted a tutorial for my somewhat-unconventional SMBC on my blog and am always looking to try new things. Thanks!

  4. Juria says

    Hi, I just have a question. I’ve tried making smbc the traditional way a few times and every time I would end up with a soupy mess which I would have to refrigerate and then beat again, which took too much time. I even had to throw away a batch when it wouldn’t come together after more than an hour of refrigerating! So now that I’ve come across this recipe I really want to try it for myself because I love the texture and taste of smbc as opposed to other heavier and more sugary frostings, and I don’t want to give up yet, so my question is this: instead of using pasteurized egg whites would it still work if I cook the first half cup of egg whites and sugar over a double boiler as you would in the traditional smbc method and wait for it to cool down before I add the butter? And what if I did the same for the rest of the egg whites and sugar that get added in after everything is mixed? Im thinking this would make the egg whites safe to eat instead of using pasteurized egg whites, because this step is done in the regular smbc method also.

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