Beautifully Smooth Buttercream: A Guide to Achieving Crisp Edges and Flawless Sides

By cakesafe, Mon, 11/24/2014 - 14:45

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe - For a 5 qt. mixer

2 cups egg whites

1 ½ cups sugar (you can vary amount based on how sweet you like it)

 ½ - 1 teaspoon salt (to your taste)

  • Warm the egg whites, sugar and salt in mixing bowl over pot of boiling water (double boiler) just to dissolve the sugar.
  • Whip mixture on high with whip attachment until stiff peaks, or just over top of bowl.

1 ½ pounds softened unsalted butter

3 Tablespoons vanilla extract, or vanilla and whatever other extracts you want

 (Pictured here are all the measurement conversions but I've also listed the Metric down below the instructions.)

 

  • With mixer on low, add vanilla extract first.
  • Then add chunks of butter (like ½ pound at a time) with mixer still on low until all the butter is added.
  • Mix on low to combine, then increase speed to medium/high to whip Swiss meringue until it’s nice and creamy in consistency and fully emulsified.

All the quantities of the ingredients in this recipe can be adjusted to your preference. The more butter, the more stable the buttercream. Note: As you add the butter to the meringue, it may look like its “breaking” but don’t worry, it will whip together. If it takes a long time, you may need to put the mixture back over the stove or double boiler to warm it some. The cooler the butter is, the more the buttercream breaks and the longer it takes to come together.

With the egg mixture warmed before whipping it and the butter softened, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. It’s pretty forgiving, so don’t be afraid to play around with it until it’s the consistency you want.

This buttercream can be stored at room temp for 24 hours. I usually make up a bunch of it, double wrap it in plastic wrap, and freeze whatever I’m not using. Once it’s at room temp (fairly warm), it can be re-whipped and used. This is a non- crusting buttercream. It stays soft at room temp, and hardens up when refrigerated.

Metric Conversions:

528 g egg whites

340 g sugar (you can vary amount based on how sweet you like it)

 2-4 g or 1/2-1 teaspoon salt (to your taste)

683 g softened unsalted butter

45 ml or 3 Tablespoons vanilla extract, or vanilla and whatever other extracts you want

 


Some Tips and Pointers

So to begin with, I’m aware that to some of you, this may be old news and you've been cranking out beautifully smooth cakes for decades. But for those less experienced, I hope you find this interesting, useful, and beneficial to your business or hobby! First, you need a good foundational recipe and after experimenting for about 5 years, I came up with the following recipe that I've used for over 20 years. A Swiss Meringue Buttercream is incredibly stable, creamy, not too sweet, and smooths beautifully. The recipe is above if you're interested in trying it.

Once you have your buttercream, the “big tip” is to make sure that you warm it sufficiently so that all the air bubbles are out of it before you start icing your cake. It will be silky smooth, still stay on an angle spatula, and be well-mixed so you don’t have any lumpy bits that are harder or a different temperature. If you've used buttercream to fill the layers of a tier, the buttercream should be stiffer for the filling than for base coating the tier.

The tiers should be chilled before you apply the base coat so there’s no possibility of the layers sliding. 

 

CLICK HERE to watch a video tutorial on how to ice using Acyrlic Disks using this recipe. 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

By Debs_place on
You mention above that your SMBC should be stiffer when going between the layers, how do you make is stiffer. Also, will the acrylic disks work with SMBC. I am a beginner, and my son just told me he wants me to make his wedding cake. I want it to be perfect. Thanks.

By cakesafe on
Hi there! If you want to stiffen up your buttercream you can refrigerate it briefly or for however long you need to get the consistency you want. Be sure to scrape down the mixing bowl thoroughly before you go to mix/whip it again so you get a smooth consistency. As for our comment about soft buttercream, we just mean that you do not have to warm the buttercream for the inside filling as much as you have to for icing the outside of the cake. You need the outer icing to be silky smooth. This means warming it to room temperature and whipping it well. Yes, this SMBC works perfectly with the Acrylic Disks. Thanks so much. Email info@cakesafe.com with any other questions.

By bkkyere on
You mention above that your SMBC should be stiffer when going between the layers, how do you make is stiffer. Also, will the acrylic disks work with SMBC. Thanks.

By cakesafe on
Hi there! If you want to stiffen up your buttercream you can refrigerate it briefly or for however long you need to get the consistency you want. Be sure to scrape down the mixing bowl thoroughly before you go to mix/whip it again so you get a smooth consistency. We just mean that you do not have to warm the buttercream for the inside filling as much as you have to stay on top of that for icing the outside of the cake. You need the outer icing to be silky smooth. This means warming it to room temperature and and whipping it well. Yes, this SMBC works perfectly with the Acrylic Disks. Thanks so much. Email info@cakesafe.com with any other questions.

By S4steph on
I prefer the SMBC over Itilian? If so, why? Thanks!!! Thanks so much for the FB live feed the other day. Learned a lot!!

By cakesafe on
We prefer SMBC simply because we think it's easier to make. Email info@cakesafe.com if you have any other questions.