Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is the frosting that I used for the Tender White Cake by King Arthur.  When I talked to Kameron about what kind of icing he wanted for his birthday cake, he just said “Surprise me.”  I made Hershey’s chocolate icing before, but I wanted to make something else.  After searching online, I came across this Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream by Annie at Annie’s eats.  Granny Anny meets Annie. 🙂

Annie mentioned that her recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe.  I saw Martha’s recipe prior to finding Annie’s blog and decided to skip it since it involved 10 eggs.  I guess I could halve the recipe and would achieve the same result.  But you see, Martha was not as persistent in convincing me to use her recipe.  Annie did.

When I read through the recipe, I had to read it twice, since it involved cooking the egg whites with the sugar, but somehow you don’t end up with a white omelet.  This is very interesting.  So after I had a chance to sit down for a few minutes, I just looked for more information about this particular frosting.  I found Rosie’s blog, Sweetapolita, where she demystified this Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting.  Thank you Rosie for enlightening us with this Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting!  And for those of you who are curious about the history of this frosting, I found a little tidbit from none other than King Arthur’s bakers blog.  Just read through how Susan Reid created 2 GALLONS of Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting, and the answer will be in the Q&A section.

So I reread the recipe and mentally prepared myself for it.  After all, this was my first go and had to present this birthday cake.  Are you ready to follow my journey?


Sugar, egg whites, butter, vanilla….err… VANILLA?  I don’t remember using vanilla?!?!  I did it again!!!  I missed an ingredient!  I guess I was lucky that the cake was tasty enough and did not really need flavored frosting.  See how I can’t be a professional baker?  Harrumphh!  I guess I need to change the title of this post to just Swiss Meringue Buttercream Posting!


Okay. Next step.  Or, first step.  I put all of the egg whites into a very clean bowl.  Meringue is very tricky and finicky.  If the bowl has just a tiny smudge of grease, it will not do.  It just wouldn’t fluff itself up to be meringue.  Then I added the sugar.


A pinch of salt.


Put the bowl on top of a pan with simmering water, while whisking it.  This turns out to be a pretty cool picture, since you can see there is movement in the egg whites, but you can’t see what causes the egg whites to be agitated.


In this next picture you can somewhat see the flat whisk is on the right hand side. 🙂


I cooked the egg white mixture until the temperature reached 160F.


Poured it into my mixer bowl and set the whisk attachment.


Whipped it for eight minutes, as according to Annie, where the egg would become the meringue and cooled it down to room temperature.


Then I added the room temperature butter, two tablespoons at a time.


I didn’t take a picture in between, since Annie explained that if the meringue collapsed due to the butter addition, just keep on going and it will right itself out.  So here it is!  My first successful Vanilla Swiss Buttercream frosting.  Until the next birthday request!

Print recipe here.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe courtesy: Annie’s eats

5 large egg whites
1 cup and 2 tbs sugar
a pinch of salt
1 pound / 4 sticks of unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

Make sure all of the ingredients are room temperature.
Combine egg whites, sugar and salt.
Heat the egg mixture on top of a pan with simmering water, whisk frequently until the temperature reach 160F.
Transfer to a mixer bowl, whisk with the whisk attachment for eight minutes using medium high speed.  This will bring the meringue back to room temperature.
Reduce speed to medium, add butter by two tablespoons at one time, and whisk until incorporated before adding more butter.  If frosting turns soupy, just keep whisking at higher speed and frosting will perk back up.
Stir in vanilla and whisk until incorporated.
Frosting can be kept in room temperature.
For a detail recipe, read Annie’s recipe here.

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2 Responses to Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. Annie says:

    Congrats on your first Swiss meringue buttercream! It’s really not as bad as it seems, right?!


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