By Michelle Anderson
Cake Decorating Expert, about.com
This is not a difficult recipe, but it is important to follow some simple guidelines to ensure that your icing is successful and has the right texture.
- Make sure you separate your eggs stringently so that there is no yolk in the whites. Even a teeny tiny bit will impede the process pf whipping your whites. It is best to crack your eggs over a glass and then transfer the uncontaminated white to another bowl so breaking a yolk will only wreck one egg, not the whole batch.
- Use cold eggs to separate and room temperature egg white to whip.
- Store your butter cream at room temperature until you use it because it will harden in the fridge. If you do have to store it in the fridge or freezer, let it come back to room temperature and then bet it back to the right texture.
- Use your beaters and mixer on lower speeds because whipping it faster can create curdled looking butter cream.
- Make sure your utensils and bowl are completely fat free and slightly cool. If your bowl is warm, you might melt the butter before it is incorporated into the egg whites.
- Ensure that your butter is softened but not too soft before you add it. If your butter cream looks like scrambled eggs, your butter was too cold. Keep beating and the texture should smooth out.
- Swiss buttercream will usually come together at the end despite any pieces of butter or lumps, just keep beating. If you have the opposite problem, and your buttercream is too runny, place the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes and then continue beating.
- You can also freeze the butter cream for two months. Just thaw it on the counter before remixing it.
- 7 large egg whites (225g)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2¼ cups unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, cool
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Place a medium saucepan with 2-inches of water in it over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat and place a large stainless steel bowl over the water so it continues to simmer. Add the egg whites to the bowl with the sugar and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 10 minutes. The egg and sugar mixture will be hot.
- Remove the egg white mixture from the simmering water and beat with a hand mixer or in a mixing bowl on medium speed until the mixture is very glossy and smooth. By this time the bowl should be room temperature.
- Slowly beat in the butter, one piece at a time until all of the butter is whipped into the egg whites and the icing is smooth and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat on low until the vanilla is blended in, about 1 minute.
- You can keep the Swiss meringue butter cream in the fridge in a sealed container for up to one week. When you need to use the icing, take it out of the fridge, let it come back to room temperature and beat the icing until it is smooth.