Make a list of the ten most seductive foods you would want hold on your tongue forever… and Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing is near the top. It’s a sensuous delight to be enjoyed by the eyes, lips, tongue, and er… mind. It’s also something of a right of passage to both taste and make the elusive smooth topping found on special cakes, pastries and cupcakes from the world’s best establishments. Who better to demystify this most elegant frosting for us than Mara? Mara lives in Madrid, has a lifelong connection with Thermomix, an insatiable culinary curiosity, and a mastery of English that makes it easy to share her recipes with readers of this blog.
in Mara’s words:
It’s great to have a “baking” recipe at which Thermomix clearly beats the KitchenAid® hands down!
Although the meringue itself is quite sweet, the buttercream is by far less sweet than manufactured treats which have a ratio of 2:1 sugar to butter/creamcheese. Swiss Meringue Buttercream should be made and served when the weather is not too hot because it’s best eaten at room temperature, not chilled. (If chilled, the butter will firm up and the texture isn’t half as nice. If hot enough to melt, it’s not optimal either.)
The texture is just divine in your mouth but also perfect for piping pretty things, people want to buy cakes from me all the time and I really am not a baking person… that’s how good it looks!
Swiss meringue (left) and meringue with about half of the butter (right)
- 140 g (4.9 oz) egg whites (better if they’re room temp but not essential)
- 230 g (8 oz) sugar
- Pinch of salt or to taste
- 450 g (15.9 oz) unsalted butter, cubed, cold but not rock-hard
- This recipe is quite foolproof and very forgiving, so long as you get your meringue right. For this it is essential to have both the bowl and the butterfly perfectly clean and dry. Put the butterfly into place and add egg whites, sugar and salt to the Thermomix bowl. Whip 5 minutes/60ºC/140ºF speed 3.
- Once finished, Beat again 6 minutes/speed 3½/no temperature. After this step you have swiss meringue. If not (time may vary slightly depending on freshness of the eggs and their temperature), beat for another minute.
- Keep the machine running on speed 3½ and start adding butter cubes little by little. This can take about 4-5 minutes. (When you start adding the butter it will deflate almost completely. Don’t be scared — just keep adding and beating, it will turn out ok. If at one point it ever looks curdled, it’s just that the butter wasn’t cold enough. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes and then go on beating.)After all the butter has been added continue beating for another minute until it’s all well incorporated.At this point you can add any flavours and colours of your choice (see note below). Use as is for flat or piped icing. See notes below for inspiring video link.
flavours and colours: Add any flavours and colours you like. For instance, for chocolate SM-buttercream and for the amounts given add 100 grams melted and cooled chocolate. Or make it lemony by adding some lemon curd (mine is really tangy so I add a small amount — follow your tastebuds) or some fine lemon zest and lemon extract. Other possibilities include adding jam (will make it sweeter), fruit purée or, of course, vanilla. In photos above the Swiss Meringue Butter-cream was coloured with a tiny bit of pink colouring (gel) and it was rose-scented with a rosewater syrup made in the Thermomix, which I added for the last 30 seconds of beating or so. It smelled almost like a bouquet!
Good to know! This is actually two recipes in one because if you don’t add the butter you get swiss meringue, which is a favorite for making meringue cakes and meringue bites (baked at low temp for a long time) and for decorating.
- Mara’s cake in the photo at top of this page is inspired by Amanda’s (I am baker) already legendary “rose cake”. See Rose Cake tutorial here.
- Why is it called “Swiss Meringue Buttercream?” How is this different from other buttercream frostings? See middle of this wikipedia page for the answers.
- See a quick and inspiring demo for how to pipe piping buttercream (rose cake) frosting in the video below from iambaker.com.