Swiss Buttercream
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yields: about 180 grams (or 1 cup) of buttercream. Enough to frost half a cake or about 5 cupcakes.
  • 2 egg whites
  • 70g (or ⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g (or ⅓ cup + 4 teaspoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  1. In the bowl of a double boiler (or a medium-sized bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water) combine the egg whites, sugar, vanilla and salt. Heat, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar and salt into the egg whites. You can test whether the sugar has dissolved by rubbing a bit of mixture between your fingers. It should feel smooth. If you want to pasteurize the egg whites and kill any salmonella that may be present, clip on a sugar thermometer and allow the egg white mixture to reach a temperature of 70°C/160°F, gently stirring continuously.
  2. Once the egg whites have reached the desired temperature or the sugar has dissolved, take the bowl off the heat and, using a mixer, whip the egg whites until the bottom of the bowl has cooled and the meringue holds stiff, shiny peaks. The meringue itself should have cooled down to body temperature.
  3. Next, start adding the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each tablespoon of butter is incorporated before adding the next. Once all the butter has been added, the resulting buttercream should be smooth and thick. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or for up to 2 months in the freezer in a freeze-proof container or bag.
  4. To use buttercream that has been refrigerated, allow to come to room temperature (this takes about 3 hours in a warm kitchen) or microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until it's soft. Then mix through until it's spreadable again. Thaw frozen buttercream in the fridge overnight, then allow to come to room temperature before use and, once at room temperature, mix briefly until smooth.
  5. Serve at room temperature. If you've assembled a cake or decorated cupcakes, allow cake or cupcakes to come to room temperature before serving (about 3-5 hours in a warm kitchen).
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at