project wedding cake: swiss buttercream

[Previous Project Wedding Cake episodes: An Introduction, Mango Curd, The Cake is Baked]

Oh, hi. Are you still out there? Oh, right, it’s the middle of a holiday weekend and you’re probably a) at the beach, b) sleeping on a hammock in a backyard or c) taking one of those media breaks the kids are so into these days. And believe it or not, I had a few days off too.

egg whites

Because of my overly-paranoid baking schedule, I was actually able to not work on the wedding cake for a few days. Once I made a big vat-of-curd, I was pretty much done for a few days, on one of them even making dinner. Like, from ingredients you buy at a store. True story!

egg whites

I made also made a tiny practice batch of Swiss buttercream, frosted it onto an even tinier cake and declared it my new favorite frosting. All of your advice was tremendously helpful in getting me through the oh-my-god-this-isn’t-working-FAIL period after I added the butter to the egg whites and once again ended up with a bowl of curdly soup. But with my laptop on the counter, I read what you all said–in short, “whip, whip, whip!”–and you know what? It worked. In a span of about 2 seconds, this frosting turns from slosh to, well, a mayo consistency which I know sounds revolting but I can assure you is anything but.

egg whites + butter

This is exactly what I’m using on the wedding cake for several reasons: one, it doesn’t crust the way a pure meringue frosting and some shortcut buttercreams do; two, it manages to taste so much less sweet than most frosting, likely because its structure comes from the egg whites and butter, not just sugar; three, it’s a lovely frosting that can be made so much smoother than most, and pipes really well, and four, it held up really well in an unairconditioned room for more than a day, convincing me that it’s totally ready for its closeup.

practice, practice

… Which is good timing, because the wedding is tomorrow! Today was Fill and Frost Day and I had some seriously well-practiced help come over, but I’ll get into all of that later. For now, I just wanted to get a little update out there and let you know I’m alive and miraculously, no longer freaking out over the magnitude of this project. Heck, I might have even entertained the idea of making a high-altitude wedding cake for friends next spring, but uh, I was also entertaining my second glass of wine at the time, so um, we’ll see about that.

a sample

Swiss Buttercream

The recipe comes from wedding cake genius and my unpaid assistant, Torrie.

For a wedding cake (or most of one, depending on the size)
2 cups of egg whites (approx. 12 large)
3 cups sugar
5 cups unsalted butter, softened (2 1/2 pounds, 10 sticks)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For a 9-inch cake (plus filling, or some to spare)
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
26 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the tiniest amount, if you’re just practicing (or enough to cover and fill the 4-inch cake pictured)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg white
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size. (Here’s a tip: when you transfer to the mixer, make sure you wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl so that no water gets into the egg whites. This can keep them from whipping up properly.)

Add the vanilla.

Finally, add the butter a stick at a time and whip, whip, whip.

Deb note: Do not have a panic attack when this takes a while to come together (though I did every time). One super-large batch took 15 minutes, but it did and will come together. Patience, young Jedis.

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587 comments on project wedding cake: swiss buttercream

  1. Keri

    That buttercream looks amazing! It looks like the extra time waiting for it to transform from slosh into something wonderful is worth not having to cook the sugar, like with other buttercreams. I’m definitely going to have to try this out. I’m anxiously waiting by my feed reader for the full wedding cake close-up :)

  2. You had me at “much less sweet”. I haven’t even tasted it and it is my new favorite frosting, too – jeez, what a great suite of features! Sounds worth the effort and then some.

  3. Good for you! That frosting looks so smooth and yummy! I have never made Swiss buttercream and am ashamed to admit I use canned frosting more often than I make my own. Shame, it is so simple to whip up homemade, I really need to do this more often! Thanks for the pics!

  4. kerry

    If you do take on the high altitude cake, definitely get hold of a copy of “Pie in the Sky” by Susan Purdy. I’ve had excellent luck with her recipes and also using her suggested modifications on other recipes since I moved to 7000 feet 2 years ago.

  5. Ana

    Oh gush that looks so …. yummy… and sturdy… thank God for egg whites! I have to try this sometime. Deb, do you know what the purpose of whisking it over a simmering pot of water? Do you think it’s to kill of all the possible bacteria in the eggs? *Just curious*.

    Love. Love. Love your blog.

  6. Susan

    Oh..thank goodness, it finally worked. I have been checking back every time I get on the computer waiting for this very update. I’ve never made this frosting..I have just used the simple buttercream, the one with the powdered sugar when I’ve needed white icing. I don’t care for it because of the raw cornstarch/sugar flavor so I don’t make it very often. I’ll give this one a whirl..for 15 minutes..sometime when I need white! Thanks for working through this with us on board! Good luck tomorrow, Deb!

  7. Jennifer

    I’m sure the whole thing will be a huge success! I took your Whole Lemon Tart to a dinner this evening, (actually2 of them) and they were GONE in about 5 minutes. Everyone loved them!

  8. The little cake already looks like a perfect wedding cake! I am really looking forward to the photos pf the ‘real thing’! And I hereby vow to try out swiss buttercream asap.

  9. OMG, go Deb! I CAN’T WAIT to see the final product! every new PWC installment is rushed to from the RSS feed!

    I am ridiculously invested in the nuptial confections of people I don’t know on the other side of the world.. and I’m not ashamed to admit it! Hope everything goes smoothly, you certainly have a big support team backing you here with virtual cheers :)

    and don’t forget to post the results and pics ASAP!!

  10. Neesha

    you know what? you’ve convinced me to give this another try. maybe not a big batch though. butter IS expensive. did you use unsalted? are you gonna color it? is it white white or kinda yellow-y from the butter?

    sorry. i have too many questions. please answer them AFTER this big project of yours. don’t forget the pictures! :) congrats again.

  11. Hi,
    I’ve been following this topic from the other side of the world. I’m looking forward to seeing the final results of this project! This buttercream looks amazing, I think I will try to make it very soon! Good luck today!

  12. becky k

    what temperature is best for the butter in this recipe? my trouble with frosting is always lumpy bits of butter so I wondered what you found worked best here. thanks! am loving this series as I’ve done two wedding cakes and love learning more since both used 5 gallon buckets of cheater frosting from a cake supplier :-)

  13. Melody C.

    I agree with Zoe/puku #16 that I am way too involved in this process from far away! I have no intentions of ever undertaking a project like this but love to read Deb’s trials and tribulations and her results from trying readers comments. I think we all pick up a tip or two here whether we actually make the recipe or not! Thanks Deb – keep up the wonderful pics and tips and general life from NY! I’m from upstate and miss my trips to the city. I’m now living (temporarily thank goodness) in rural England where a trip to London makes NYC look downright inexpensive!

    Enjoy the wedding. I love NYC weddings, large or small!

  14. Bernie B

    Sounds good. I really had super sweet frostings too. Would Cream of Tartar have helped this set? Just a thought.

  15. really?! keeps a day in an unconditioned room? i have to try this, good for my bring to school cupcakes. i’m sure it’s going to be my favourite frosting too later :) good luck on your wedding cake project!

  16. AMR

    A friend and I went for a long steamy walk Saturday afternoon and (more than once) it was mentioned with excitement “I wonder how Smitten Kitchen is doing with her cake”. This test cake looks fantastic and SO delicious and, no doubt, the real deal got a standing ovation…and then *poof* the big cake plate was empty. Best wishes from Ottawa, Canada.

  17. You are so brave Deb – so, so brave! I honestly don’ think I could take the pressure. I am loving following your progress though – it is fascinating. It’s like you have a midas touch for baking, incredible. Born to bake!

  18. I don’t do so well with those tricky, hold your breath it will turn out ok recipes. I tend to freak out just before the point where it would have worked out just fine. Your cake looks wonderful, it is so nice to find other people in the world who feel the way I do about cake. Thank you!

  19. Deb, I just wanted you to know that your wedding cake plans were so inspiring that my husband and I made a buttermilk cake with mango curd and seven-minute frosting for a birthday this weekend. It was delicious, as I’m sure the mother of all wedding cakes will be – have fun at the festivities, and thanks for a great set of recipes.

  20. Laura

    OMG! 15 minutes! Thank God for stand mixers!!! My arms are hurting just thinking about spending 15 minutes with a hand mixer. Looking forward to pics of the completed cake. I just have to say I absolutely love your site. Thanks for a great site and great recipes.

  21. Christine

    Could you use those egg whites from a carton? (Like EggBeaters?) I know it’s a sacrelige to mention them but I’d never use all those egg yolks. PWC has been an enjoyable cliffhanger. Good Luck!

  22. BUTTERCREAM FROSTING – BUTTERCREAM FROSTING! AAAAAAAAAAAH my all time favorite! Great looking practice cake! Now, I CANNOT wait for the real thing as well as a peek INSIDE to see the mango curd and all the layers! Hope the wedding was fun fun fun!

    Waiting patiently for your NEXT post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Picot

    The frosting looks beautiful. Even though my kitchen here at the Jersey Shore never seems to get cooler than 80 degrees, you have made me really, really want to bake a fabulous cake (which will crank up the temp to 95 or so).

    Question: How many cups of frosting did the recipe above make? I would like to try it, but I would like to avoid separating 12 (!) eggs to find out.


  24. Kim

    I am loving your little pieces about this wedding cake, I especially enjoyed the first post where someone posted the “How to eat a cupcake” link. I made my first batch of swiss meringue buttercream and frosted my first ever angel cake with it. (Angel cake are uncommon here in the UK). I can’t wait to see the final results.

  25. MargeMari

    I have enjoyed the entire series and look forward to the last episode, the bride and groom cutting the cake.

    In the meantime, should the butter for the frosting be cold or room temp? Is it best to cut the butter in smaller pieces or the single stick? and, can this receipe be cut in half for us mere mortals who are not up to tackling a wedding cake?

  26. Kate M.

    Congrats on the frosting! Way to get back up on that Swiss buttercream horse after a fall. My mom and I had another thought as to why your previous batch did not work. Any trace of fat (butter, oil, greasy fingers,…) will keep your eggs from whipping up properly. We use half of a cut lemon and run it over the entire inside of the bowl and balloon beater before whipping and that has never failed us. You probably know all of this already, but it might keep you from tears when making the final batch of frosting. Good luck!

  27. Amy

    Best of luck, Deb! You are going to do GREAT! Like so many others have said, I am entirely TOO involved emotionally with this blog… : )

  28. karen

    Martha Stewart has some swiss buttercream recipes on her website that uses 2 or 4 egg whites, I can’t remember, but it makes enough to frost a double layer 9″ cake. The first time I made swiss buttercream I loved the science experiment aspect of it. It’s cool how a bowl of egg white goo can be transformed into buttercream. You should try making brown sugar buttercream. It is lovely and amazing! I can’t wait to see the pictures of the completed wedding cake! I’m sure it will be beautiful and delicious!

  29. Yes. It’s true. I got to see Smitten’s kitchen. She is awesome, and my god that chocolate cake was divine.

    Since Smitten is currently enjoying the wedding festivities I thought I would answer some of your questions.

    The butter should be at room temperature. You actually want the icing to be surprisingly soft when you ice the cake.

    Ana, the egg whites and sugar get put over a double boiler mostly for the purpose of dissolving the sugar.

    Neesha, the buttercream is pretty white (off-white) when you are done whipping it.

    Bernie, cream of tatar is unnecessary. The icing sets up really well on its own, especially when refrigerated.

    Christine, you can use egg whites in a carton- just make sure they are 100% egg whites.

  30. Kate

    So after hearing about this Swiss buttercream stuff, I decided I needed to try it out myself. I used the Martha Stewart recipe…and as I was making it, it dawned on me that THIS FROSTING is the magic stuff that comes on the CakeLove cupcakes here in the DC area. I’ve been trying to figure out what was different about Warren’s frosting for the longest time and now I know. I also know how he gets away with charging $3 a cupcake–it’s a lot more stressful to make than normal buttercream. I threw some fresh strawberries into my frosting and now my tiny studio smells amazing. Thanks for the inspiration on this one and glad yours came out so well!

  31. Silvia de Castillo

    I’m soooooo looking forward to the grand finale!! Congratulations on all your efforts and delicious, beautiful, elegant, enticing, etc, etc, etc results!!

  32. Becky

    Do you get the exact exquisite texture for this particular frosting if you use pasteurized egg whites? I completely shy away from uncooked egg in any shape or form since I had gotten seriously ill once from eating raw egg. (And to think of all the cookie dough batter I used to eat as a child!) Finally, can one use powdered egg whites as well? Thanks and thanks for your lovely blog!

  33. Becky

    Ooops…I just realized that perhaps the cooking of the egg whites and sugar over the water bath kill the bacteria. Once the sugar granules are gone, it’s past 140 degrees, right?

  34. zakia

    KATE – Warren has a cookbook out now, it gives the recipe for the frosting that they use in the bakery. Its actually Italian Meringue. I saw the book last night at B&N

  35. Penny

    Congratulations! I have been checking Smitten Kitchen every time I turn on the computer! The recipes are so wonderful and I am definitely going to try the buttercream. I have been a home baker for all my life; now that I am a grandma with little grandDAUGHTERS I am looking forward to some frilly wonderful birthday cakes. You have given me the courage to try the buttercream. I can hardly wait to see your finished product!

  36. Neesha

    Becky, you got it. that’s a good way to know that you’ve reached the right temp to kill whatever bacteria is in the eggs. it’s in a video somewhere.

    torrie, thanks for answering the question. :) once the buttercream is done and on the cake, if you refrigerate it, does it harden and then become soft again after thawing? i only ask this because when i attempted this the first time, i had to put some left over frosting in the fridge and it hardened and took a lot of whipping time before it became buttercream-like again.

  37. linda

    Congratulations! Looks great! Neesha – it is my experience (pastry chef) that a buttercream will harden in the fridge and then soften beautifully. If you are looking for nice clean slices, do not slice when the frosting is still very hard. Let it soften a bit or the center will collapse. Also – I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this, but always let buttercream come to room temp before re-beating. Otherwise it will curdle.

  38. mani

    hi! what does 1 tbsp vanilla mean? is it vanilla bean or sugar or extract?
    that buttercream looks so yummy…makes me wanna lick my screen :)

  39. Jan

    Deb, if you really do end up doing the wedding cake for the high altitude wedding, the thing recommended by several folks over on the BakingCircle is to bake the cake layers ahead of time and take them with you-already baked. No fuss with trying to get the high altitude adjustments to work under pressure of an upcoming wedding.

  40. great!!! so glad you went for the SMB, i refuse to use anything bu that anymore! i finished my first wedding cake yesterday and i was surprised at how NOT stressed i was. i’m sure yours came out beautifully and perfectly wonderful!!! can’t wait to see it!!! :)

  41. Marie

    OK, this post might belong on the earlier page — I just checked and there are 249 comments!!! No, I haven’t read all of them so don’t know if someone else posted on this subject.

    Wedding cakes in ye olden days were fruitcakes, soaked in brandy, covered in white royal icing. No, I wasn’t there, I’m talking 1700’s, 1800’s. Fruitcake was a big deal back then as the ingrediants were costly. No modern day baking soda’s, baking powders. If you wanted lift in a cake you (or more likely your servant) beat eggs until your arms fell off. Remember they didn’t have fridge’s, freezer’s, saran wrap, aluminum foil. Fruit cake could and did store for years. (Think of all the fruitcake re-gifting jokes.) The newly married couple could save a piece of their rum/bandy soaked wedding cake/fruitcake. And it probably tasted way better than a piece of our modern cake saved in the freezer. Also we forget that over the ages, tastes change. Fruitcake was costly then and therefore served only for weddings and Christmas. If something is rare and costly — somehow it tastes better. Think about it.

    That’s how saving the top layer of a wedding cake became a tradition. And a tradition that needs updating.

    OK, enough food history. (If I’ve erred, please correct me, it’s been a while since I’ve done any food history research.)

    I hope THE CAKE and Deb and Alex have had a big sigh of relief and are having a ball! Save me a slice!

    Mazol Tov!

  42. n_joy

    i think you might be wrong about your fans, off swinging in hammocks. i’m # 53!

    i have had house-guests and various holiday activities all weekend but that still has not stopped me from checking smitten_kitchen as much as possible! i hear the drum roll as i type. please post photos as soon as possible, it is a pleasure to watch your process and enjoy your sweet success over the ether.

    with anticipation!

  43. Ann

    I hope it went well for you today, Deb. I can’t wait to see pictures and hear how it went. Thanks so much for sharing this project with us!

  44. NicM

    Congrats! Sounds like everything has come together and the cake should be a hit. I can’t wait to see pics. I’ve been inspired to bake reading all these cake posts. I made a chocolate stout cake this weekend and will be making the topping tonight after the rarebit muffins finish up.

  45. Sue

    Did you say add the butter a stick at a time? No wonder you are having curdling issues. Try adding it 1 tablespoon at a time, letting it incorporate before adding the next. It might still curdle, but way less than you’ve been experiencing.

    Also, make sure the butter is just north of room temperature, firm but cool.

    Good luck!
    Sue, former dessert caterer

  46. Anna

    I’d love to make the 3-tiered 8-inch chocolate butter cake that you listed in a previous post. Could you give us the recipe for the brandied ganache you mentioned? Thank you so much and can’t wait to see the final pics!

  47. I had a slice of the chocolate and a slice of the mango and HOLY SCHITT, it was so amazing. The bride & groom actually made Deb stand up during the reception and EVERYONE clapped. She’s such a star and the cake was outstanding. We’d all be so lucky to have her make a wedding cake. Or any cake for that matter. Oh wait, she makes me cake all the time. God damn am I spoiled!


  48. deb

    Sue — The recipe absolutely works adding the butter one stick at a time.

    Everyone — The wedding is over! I’ll get to ALL of those details, but first I must take a much-needed nap on the sofa, the kind that takes two day. But really quick, I have updated the recipe with some smaller quantities and clarification so you can use this even if you’re not making, say, a wedding cake.

    Thanks for all the cheers!

  49. Kate

    ZAKIA: Sigh, I know and yet I’ve missed every book signing in he DC area. I actually went to a baking class with Warren a year ago, but it was for pound cake (no frosting discussed). Though he did mention his cookbook and gave us a few recipes from it. He likes to measure everything on a scale, though, which is too fussy for me. That’s why I always check out Smitten for recipes when I want something I can make in my teeny city kitchen!

  50. Leighann

    ahhhh…Thank you for the scaled down version. I loves to spoil the guys that work for me, but not to the extent of baking a huge Wedding Cake. :) Since I am on vacay this week, this will definitely be the thing I bake next Sunday and take to work next Monday as a “Sorry I deserted you for a week” apology. Yay for Smitten Kitchen!

  51. Looking forward to hearing all the details about how fabulous (and flawless, I’m sure) the wedding cake turned out.

    Also, is it weird I had a dream I went to a friend’s house and you were making a wedding cake in their kitchen? Yeah, I thought so too.

  52. Swiss buttercream, oh my goodness, a new frosting to try! I was gone the weekend and came back to posting tonight to see this, so unexpected! And the drama continues….how will the buutercream look on the cake? Will there be different tips used for decorating or simple spread on the cake? And why “Swss” and not “American” to celebrate the 4th weekend? Tune in to the next post for more “As the Wedding Cake is Made”!

  53. Rose Marie

    YEA!!! You are done. Now sit back and relax after the cake has been eaten.
    I might try that Swiss Buttercream. I have never done one before. I usually just make the Decorator Frosting and that this is super sweet but will hold up to the heat.
    Don’t forget to post pics of the finished cake.

  54. Carrie

    Can we use a hand beater and get the same results? as much as I covet the Kitchen Aid it is just not in the budget.

  55. Sharyn

    Yum . . this is so outstanding . . . and Kate . . Warren uses a different buttercream . . he actually uses the one that requires a candy thermometer and streaming a simple syrup into the egg white mixture but you are correct . . the taste is similar. I have eaten an entire pink lady . . . so good . . . he just came out with a cookbook . . .it’s awsome . .

  56. Bernie B

    Also, nice to see someone make a real frosting as Fondant is all the rage these days. I’ve always preferred buttercream, but had never made it.

  57. Goodness, I’m sitting here hitting refresh every 20 minutes waiting for the post-wedding update! I may have to make swiss buttercream frosting tonight. Cupcakes anyone?

  58. Mmmm, the wedding cake is coming along swimmingly! The frosting challenge was a tough one, and I’m so glad you took it on, this makes me want to make a batch of cupcakes just so that I can try that frosting!
    Thanks for sharing. :)

  59. I think I’m going to make this! Really helpful of you you include the recipe for all 3 quantities, thanks :D [I hope the wedding went well – i’ll be hanging off the edge of my seat, waiting for your next post…]

  60. I’m really interested in all these wedding cake-related posts because, well, my family and I might be making my own wedding cake. (Is that just crazy? It’s a very small wedding.)

    I’m so glad your frosting turned out OK! I might have to try it, especially because of the “much less sweet” part…mmm!

  61. Jessica

    Deb, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now – lurking you might say :). I decided to post today to let you know that you have inspired me to try the Swiss buttercream frosting. My mother and I will be making my wedding cake in October and I’ve been a bit wary of trying anything new (new to me that is!) for such a huge and nerve wracking project. But, now that you’ve been so kind as to post your trials, tribulations – and successes (congrats, yay!) I think I will try a test batch of the Swiss buttercream frosting (and maybe even a white chocolate version).

    Thank you so much for sharing and I look forward to hearing/seeing more about your final results!

  62. Hi Deb,
    Swiss Meringue was the right decision… Please advise your readers to cook the sugar/egg white mix over the hot water until it reaches 165 degrees. There is no reason to be nervous about making some older person or pregnant gal sick. Or use pastuerized eggs, then the temp doesn’t matter. By the way, SMB freezes really well. Simply defrost overnight in the fridge, then microwave a few seconds and whip again until smooth.

  63. krg

    I have made only 2 scratch cakes in my entire life, but you have nagged me into trying these birthday cakes and curds and swiss creme. thanks

  64. Looks fantastic. I’ve loved reading up on your progress with this project. I once ended up making 500 profiteroles for a friends wedding, and I know the panic such large scale baking induces. Something that before took five minutes now takes an hour. But it seems like you have it all under control. Believe me, the feeling when you finish is tremendous, though in my case it was quite a while before I made profiteroles again!

  65. karen

    Deb, could you give me the recipe for the small 4″ test cake that you have pictured? Sometimes I don’t have enough people around the house to make a big cake. Weeks could go by without a nice slice of cake after dinner. (gasp!) When you get around to it. You’ve had quite a weekend!

  66. deb

    I didn’t just bake one cake. It was a recipe for 2 9-inch circles and ended up being about 6 of those 4-inch pans. If you’re looking for the amount of batter, 3/4 cup seems just right for them. (I kept using 1 cup of batter in each, and it kept almost-overflowing but I never learned.)

    Cake update coming … soon! Just catching up on my other work today, long overdue.

  67. Michele

    Peeked at your pics on flikr, the cake looks amazing! Beautiful in fact. No doubt it tasted just as good. Congratulations on your success!

  68. Wendy

    OH, WOW! I’m writing this post-cake photo blog, and I have to say, the final product was sooooo beautiful! I am in awe. Your success inspired me to make the small (test) batch of frosting today for my hubby’s birthday cake (which the 13-year-old son made from scratch – he’s perfected our “moist chocolate cake” recipe to a “t”). In any case, I’ve discovered that a) the frosting turned out very well, b) the small measurement recipe just barely, thinly, covers a 13×9″ cake (top only; I left it in the pan), c) I LOVE the taste — very subtle, not overly sweet, smooth… though mines lumpy b/c I added flaked coconut at hubby’s request, d) I read everyone’s posts and suggestions before I made the frosting and e) it was easy (and the test batch didn’t take me 15 minutes of beating with the mixer). Thanks!

  69. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us. I can’t wait to try it. Would this work good for frosting for piped on cupcakes or will they fall when warm?

  70. Alicia

    Deb, I am such a lucky gal! I was looking for peanut butter cookies and was smitten with your recipe/blog and signed up for it JUST IN TIME TO EXPERIENCE THIS WEDDING CAKE SAGA! I can hardly wait to see the end result. And! I can hardly wait to try this icing!

  71. SallySitwell

    Can you mail me some of that frosting? Forget this silly diet; I want sugar and butter and eggs whipped into a delicious frosting delight.

  72. I’m just now getting around to re-reading this, and I’m so excited to try another buttercream recipe. I grew up with the American butter-and-powdered-sugar version and recently started using an Italian buttercream. I love that this doesn’t require a candy thermometer: Hurrah! Congratulations on your wedding cake success!

  73. Daniel C

    I’m making my own wedding cake, and it is a 3 teir hexagon shape, with 3 different types of cake…Now this buttercream icing that you have posted looks amazing and smooth, I am covering my cakes with a chocolate fondant, now, in my trials over the past few months i have been adding the falvor to the icing i have been using, to match the flavor of the cake, so orange with orange, lemon with lemon and what not, so im sure that this would work the same way with this icing, and not just using vanilla correct? im going to expirement tomorrow when my vacation starts with a smaller batch and see how it tastes :)

  74. Christina

    This project is so inspiring! I’d like to make this for a baby shower in two weeks. Do you think that the egg whites are cooked enough when you have them on the double broiler? Or am I better off finding a different frosting? Thanks!

  75. deb

    Hi Christina — Yes, the egg whites are cooked to a safe point. That said, I know many mothers-to-be are extra paranoid; if yours if of that sort, it might be best to use something else.

  76. Gosh that looks delicious! I’m glad I found this recipe, my Daughter’s birthday is just around the corner and I want to make her cake this year. The last cake I baked was, well, not that great haha.

  77. syd

    Not to be a total pain in the ass, but it’s called Swiss MERINGUE buttercream, indicating that it’s a buttercream made with a Swiss meringue base. There are three types of meringue:

    Italian meringue: sugar is cooked with water to soft ball stage 235-240 F), then slowly streamed into whipped egg whites – this is the most stable

    Swiss meringue: sugar is mixed with egg whites and whipped over a double boiler until 170 F; mixture is then whipped
    French meringue: sugar is mixed with egg whites and whipped – this is the least stable

    You can make buttercreams with either the Italian or Swiss meringue base, as those are stable enough to maintain their shape and texture at room temperature. However, meringues (like those baked cookie thingies) are commonly made using the French method, as they will be baked and therefore it doesn’t really matter if they hold up at room temperature.

    And that is the end of your lesson on meringue :)

  78. I have a bride who saw your recipe and sent it to me. She is interested in a less sweet frosting. I would be so afraid to put raw eggs in a frosting to feed 100 people. I don’t have that much insurance.

  79. deb

    The egg whites in this recipe get cooked on the stove. Swiss buttercream is much less sweet than other frostings, and is something of a wedding cake standard.

    I’m noticing an increase in questions and emails from people who are making wedding cakes and have run into issues or things that confuse them. I want to reiterate that I am not an wedding cake expert, I only made this one. For better answers to wedding-cake related questions, I’d definitely suggest that people check out’s message boards. Not only has every question been answered more than once by droves of homemade wedding cake pros, the new ones I posed were responded to quickly. Hope that helps!

  80. Hello!
    Greetings from Oregon… I just had to write to thank you for the wonderful buttercream recipe! You saved my tail…I too, just made my first wedding cake, and thanks to you for sharing your experience and the recipes, the cakes was a total hit! The swiss buttercream frosting was an ABSOLUTE dream to work with, and I can’t rave enough about it to all my friends. I would love to show you a picture of how the cake turned out-can I email you a picture of it?

    Thanks so much…

  81. Kitty

    Just tried out this buttercream recipe. It’s silky smooth and it taste less sweet and it hold up great!! I’m using this for a wedding cake for this coming sat. Wish me luck!!!! =D

  82. Just wanted to say THANK YOU for this recipe! I made a birthday cake with this, as I loathe overly sweet frostings. It’s smooth, pipeable, just lovely to decorate with (and I’ve never decorated a cake before). Totally delicious too, of course. Mine never got “soupy”, but at one point did look kind of curdled, like over-whipped cream. But as you said, it came together in a heartbeat after more mixing.

    I ended up using less butter (1 stick of butter for each egg white) and ~30% more sugar since the cake was for kids. But, I made the original version as well and loved that too — just depends on your target audience. Really tasty and beautiful frosting… I don’t know that I can bring myself to use regular buttercream ever again!

  83. Hi! I want to say thank you for inspiring me to try Swiss buttercream at such short notice. I went for italian meringue instead as another site mentioned it held better in hot weather where i am from….Malaysia. But the basics were similar and your advice to ‘whip,whip,whip!’ saved my buttercream! I know, it was crazy stupid to try something on the day itself but i guess i do best under pressure.
    Anyway, i love your site and am waiting for pics of this wedding cake you blogged about with Swiss buttercream. Or have i missed it?
    Thanks’ve been a gem.

  84. Amy

    This is the best frosting I’ve ever tasted, by far. I just wanted to say that if you are going to have your cake outside, in the sun, perhaps another recipe might be a better choice. I used this swiss buttercream for my daughter’s birthday cupcakes and they were really beautiful until they spent a little bit of time outside. The frosting just disappeared into the cupcakes!!!

    But still, thanks so much for the recipe. I feel so fancy when I make it. Everyone is so impressed!

  85. Susan

    I have been trying to make some mousseline buttercream for the gingerbread macarons on Tartlette’s blog and have failed twice now. I whipped and whipped but I think whipping for 20 minutes with still a curdled mess seems a bit long. I think I’m going to take a nap then try the mini recipe. I can’t bear to ruin another heap of butter and egg whites (not to mention racking my brain for things to do with the yolks).

  86. beckyk

    I know I am late to the party but I just made Swiss Buttercream for a cake and I am hooked! What an amazing icing! Soooo nice to work with and I’ve worked with quite a few different kinds before. I followed all your tips and it came together beautifully with no drama. However, I did chill it until the next day and then I paniced as it was a rock. When it finally warmed up, I whipped it again – it looked like curdled eggs. With a bit of patience, and high speed whipping, it came together again and was perfect!

  87. Kris

    OMG! The icing is delicious and it’s amazing how all at once it does come together! How well does this icing hold up out of the fridge?

  88. Just came across this recipe and will be using it for my son’s first birthday cake. I’m really looking forward to it, it sounds wonderful. I hate overly sweet frostings and especially dislike those make with powdered sugar, so I was thrilled that google found your recipe that calls for normal sugar.

    Many thanks for sharing the smaller size version of the recipe!

  89. Shara

    I have just used this recipe to ice my friends wedding cake. It is a two tier square mud cake. I made up this recipe and a simple buttercream (with half shortening) and taste tested – this one is so much nicer! Is a very hot day here in Sydney today so hopefully it will hold up! Will send you a photo of the finished products with orchids and all!

  90. Hilary

    I just tested out the tiny batch, and I too have declared this my new favorite frosting. I love the fluffiness and the taste is fantastic. Thanks for the recipe, and your pictures-they helped a lot!!

  91. Tiffany

    I’m making my first wedding cake, and your site is a marvelous help. I just made the small batch of buttercream, and WOW! That texture — I can tell how wonderfully smoothly it’s going to spread. And the lovely flavor — mmm. Thank you so much!

  92. Andy

    Hi, made 1/2 of the 9inch recipe. This is a wonderful recipe. Very smooth and creamy, YUMMY. I do have a question about the recipe for a wedding cake. I am making a three tier wedding cake-14, 10, 6 are the tier sizes, they will be 4inches tall. If I use your recipe for the wedding cake, how man recipes do I need to ice and fill these tiers. This is the problem I have each time I make a wedding cake, not sure how much icing to make for a big cake.

  93. Andy, I would make at least two, if not three, of the largest recipe above. (Especially if you will be filling the cake with it.)
    It freezes really well. I actually stretch out a bunch of plastic wrap, pile the buttercream in the middle, fold it up, and then wrap it again.
    I freeze it like that, and then when I want to defrost it, I just pop it in the microwave in the plastic wrap, and heat it for 1 minute increments on half power until it is soft (I take it out of the microwave and break it up with my hands periodically).
    Then, I just re-whip it.
    Good luck!

  94. Erin S

    Dear Deb,

    Landed on your site after googling “buttercream how-to.” I am in love with your blog, and as of five finger-fulls ago, in LOVE with your buttercream!! My daughters first birthday cake is going to be the yummiest anyone ever tasted!! Thanks a million!!


  95. Zainab

    I know this was a long time ago for you but do you remember the cake proportions on which you used this buttercream recipe? I am baking a 3-tiered cake (14×3, 10×3, and 6×3), with 2 layers in each tier and need enough buttercream to fill and frost all of it. Will 1 batch of your wedding cake recipe suffice? Also, did you make it all at once or portion it out? I have a regular-sized kitchenaid stand mixer and it seems too small to make the entire batch at once. Any advise is much appreciated! Thanks!

    1. deb

      I don’t remember how many batches of buttercream I made, but I am pretty sure I made two. I did have extra but I much preferred having extra than realizing the day of I had a major need to touch up the cake and only a cup or two of spare frosting! There are many baking resources out on the Web, however, that can advise you about the amount of frosting need per cake size.

  96. cindy

    I trued to be adventurous and make the Swiss Meringue in the smallest quantity. But I failed miserably when my mixture didn’t double in size and form stiff peaks so I gave up. I don’t know how you managed to make anything of the egg white and sugar – my mixture just kinda splattered itself around the bowl. Could it be the bit of cream of tartar I added?

  97. laura

    Oh my goodness Deb, I have been on a search for a good recipe for buttercream after tasting the perfect buttercream on my girlfriend’s baby shower cake. After learning that there are several different kinds, and thanks to your post a few days ago about your layer cake referencing this post – I have found it! I made the regular batch last night and it is just heavenly. Thank you so much!

  98. Okay, I’m DETERMINED to make this frosting :) but I’m on my third unsuccessful attempt and I have a question.. After the sugar dissolves in the whites, and when it’s time to whip the whites, are the whites supposed to stiffen at all? My sugar/whites mixture doubles in size but stays at the equivalent of “ribbon” stage of egg-whip – thick but liquid, no matter how long I whip it. From the looks of your pics it appears the whites are supposed to stiffen, but I’m not sure which of those pics is the whites and which is the finished buttercream.

    In each of my attempts, I didn’t experience the curdling; the butter incorporated right in, but the end result was kind of slippery and tasted overly-buttery and just sort of ick. I know I’m doing something wrong here.. haha….

  99. deb

    The whites don’t stiffen until the rest of the frosting does — many minutes later. I would say that this frosting is on the slick/buttery side, though, well, not ick to me. I hope that what you’re thinking is a mistake isn’t actually correct, but not to your taste!

  100. I do love the slick/silky texture of this.. FAR superior to storebought frosting. I hope I didn’t offend with the “ick” description; all “icks” are due solely to my buttercream inexperience. :) I also realized I was using salted butter, which was affecting the flavor in a not-so-great way. I have since purchased ridiculous amounts of unsalted butter and am determined to end up with fluffy mounds of yum. Thanks a bunch for being so helpful, Deb!

  101. Michael

    Wow.. I’ve made several cakes with similar buttercream icing. This is awesome. I’m so happy that I found this site. I made a test cake for my friend Meg’s wedding and it looks amazing. Thanks so much to all of you.

  102. meekster

    Lisa’s issue could be something as simple as butter brand. I’ve bought some that are really greasy/oily, for some reason. Some have a much stronger flavor base, too. I’m going to be saving this for when I can afford some of the gourmet butter that’s recently appeared at my grocer’s. This, some good (real) Parmesan, and I have a meal fit for…well…me. Fettucine Alfredo and a home-made cake with home-made frosting? Yeah, buddy!!!

  103. Andrea

    Deb, In making the swiss buttercream tonight and assembling the chocolate butter cake, the first batch of buttercream came out perfect. It is wonderful. When I discovered I needed more (for 3 layers), I made another batch and I ended up with a thick sweet butter. The only thing I can think of is that I beat the eggwhite/sugar mixture too long before adding the butter. It is the only thing I did differently. I will get up at the crack of dawn and try again as I have promised this cake for tomorrow. Anyway, thank you – the cake and icing are both wonderful.

  104. Colleen

    I made the swiss buttercream for a chocolate cake I made Easter. It was a box cake but it was a good box cake. My only problem was that I didn’t let the cakes cool enough before frosting so the frosting in between the layers sorta disappeared. But everyone loved the frosting it freezes really well not that I froze it before frosting, I froze the frosted cake. It was yummy but I don’t have piping bags. Oh well guess I should invest in some once again. Thanks for the frosting it worked well. Just kept whipping the hell out of it with my Kitchen Aid.

  105. well, i just made my 3rd attempt at making smbc. the first 2 times it came out perfect, but this time i have only made a lovely soup. what could i have done wrong?the only thing i did differently is that i heated the eggs to 165 degrees. could this have messed it up? i followed the largest recipe. i have a cake due tomorrow, and i have to figure this thing out today.

    btw, i LOVE this frosting. its the best i have ever tasted, and is a dream to work with!

    1. deb

      Did you keep beating it? Mine was soup, soup, soup, omg I’ve really ruined this, soup and then all of a sudden, it snapped together and it was frosting. Maybe this batch is taking longer. Don’t know about the temperatures, I’ve only made as I described in the recipe.

  106. Okay… it looks like it is coming together. i just left the mixer on and walked away. i thought i was going to die, standing there looking at that huge bowl of soup!!!

    thank you so much.

    BTW, mine took about 20 minutes to come together.

  107. shawna

    I made this big bowl of satin-delectableness yesterday for some birthday cupcakes. (The cake was a classic 1-2-3-4 cake.) Although I loved the texture and ease of decorating, I need help on the flavor. It wasn’t overly sweet, and I ‘m okay with that. But it wasn’t overly buttery, which I assumed would be the pronounced flavor since the powdered sugar was nixed. So I ended up with this extremely creamy, gorgeous frosting in the flavor of “interesting.” Any ideas on how I can ramp up the flavor without affecting the sweetness or texture?

  108. Wendy

    I’ve got a wedding cake to do for a friend’s daughter and really want to use swiss buttercream, however, she wants roses. Can swiss buttercream be piped in roses, leaves, shells ect? I’ll do the ‘fake’ stuff if need be but I’d rather not. I HATE royal icing :P

  109. Jessica

    Do you think this recipe would turn out with some sort of fresh raspberries or raspberry syrup? I made the vanilla buttermilk cake (from you wedding cake recipe) and wanted to fill it with a raspberry lemon curd. I thought tinting this with some raspberry would go nicely.

  110. I’m making my wedding cake for my wedding in August and have been trying almost every frosting recipe I can find in my attempt to get one I really like. I think this is it! Thank you! Not overly sweet, and I can already tell that it won’t dry up like a lot of the “American” buttercreams with powdered sugar. Thank you! This entire section of the blog has been really helpful to me.

  111. michelle

    I made this and the consistency was amazing. However the taste was like eating a stick of butter, am i missing something?

  112. Liza

    Hi there! I’m a longtime lurker, but I finally have a question to ask you about your AMAZING recipes. Short version: I have not yet found a buttercream frosting that doesn’t taste like I’m eating lightly sweetened whipped butter. I know they exist, because I’ve TASTED them, but everytime I try? Gross. Am I doing something wrong? Or have a just had cheap, sugary buttercream for my entire life, and have thus become so used to sub-par frosting that my tongue loathes the real thing?

    Thanks for your lovely photos and instructions.

  113. kristin

    Hi Deb- will you be providing a chocolate version of this? if so, where can i find it? My mom’s fav is chocolate buttercream…thank you!

  114. This weekend I made a second batch of this frosting using brown sugar instead of white sugar. The flavor was much richer, but not sweeter – very similar to french vanilla ice cream. It was a big hit with all the tasters. The color was a bit darker, but for my purposes (something tasty), that wasn’t an issue. I think this is a variation I’m going to stick with.

  115. deb

    As I said above (148) I have not made a chocolate version of this. Check out the link for many recipes from people who have for leads.

  116. Larafox

    Hi, I just finished with the practice and I’m a little concern. Although it come out, for the most part, ok I still have questions. First, what kind(brand) of butter do you recomend to use, because the one I used gives it a rich butter taste. Also, it did not come out as white as I hoped it would (at least like your picture). And last, it is softer than I thought what did I do wrong. Please help, I knwo that this will be a great recipie to use, but I still have to master it. Thank you!

    1. deb

      I don’t have a recommended brand of butter. I use anything from store brand to Land O Lakes to Plurga, whatever I have on hand. The richer the butter, the better the butter flavor, so you might want to spring for one of the European brands. The softness may relate to the warmth in your kitchen; it should firm up in the fridge.

  117. Hsin

    You are wonderful! I’ve been meaning to try Swiss buttercream for a while, but never got around to it until just now when I saw your recipe scaled down for the practice run.
    I whipped it up in hardly more time than it takes to make whipped cream, and it turned out beautifully! Light and smooth and buttery! I’ve been searching the entire area where we now live, and not a single bakery here uses butter in its buttercream. Whatever it is that they glob onto their dry cakes, it leaves an unpleasant waxy residue on the tongue and tastes horribly grainy and sugary.
    I’ve been dreaming of real buttercream like this for a few years now, and you’ve helped me finally get it!

  118. JS

    @Katie G. (or Deb, if you happen to know!): When you substituted brown sugar for white sugar, did you use the same amount of brown sugar, or did you increase/decrease?

  119. Terra

    I love this recipe! I need to make a lemon cake in a few weeks do you have a recomendation on how to make THIS recipe a lemon bettercream?

  120. JS

    Sigh. Ok, I made a mini batch of the frosting last night, subbing brown sugar for white (at a 1:1 ratio). It’s AWESOME, and fantastic, and not too sweet and buttery and I LOVE IT. However, I gave some samples out to friends, and they’re saying it’s too buttery. Valid point, taste being subjective and all. But I’m making this cake for a friend (and not for myself) so I’d like to try to lessen the butter flavor. Should I (a) add some powdered sugar, (b) reduce the amount of butter, (c) use half butter, half shortening, (d) some combination of the above or (e) something else I haven’t thought of yet? I’ll definitely be testing a few variations, but as time is limited, any nudges in the right direction would be appreciated!

  121. Rebecca

    How does this type of buttercream do for stacked wedding cakes? I have a cake to do for my brother’s wedding next June & it is an outdoor event. The bride is wanting a white chocolate raspberry cake with white chocolate shavings…any ideas if this would work?

  122. Hoodz

    I love this buttercream (and this site!)…

    for a chocolate variation of this buttercream, I melt and cool approximately 6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate (I use chocolate chips), then whip it in at the end (this would be the amount used for recipe that makes enough for a 9 inch cake)…I’ve also used white chocolate chips as well, divine! or for a toffee falvoured one, melt approx 1/2 cup of toffee bits and cool, then whip in

    For a lemon variation, I would use a lemon curd (bought or homemade) and whip approx 3 to 4 tbsp of that in

    the variations are endless!

  123. Cricket

    This is a really lovely recipe and my new favorite buttercream! I frosted a bridal shower cake using it a couple of weekends ago, and it is a dream to work with. The crumb coat sets QUICK in the freezer, it frosts smoothly, and pipes REALLY well. All this, PLUS it held up great for an afternoon without refrigeration (and in the fridge for next day leftovers). Now reading through the comments I see it also can be frozen and then whipped up again for use. AMAZING!

  124. Claire

    Just finished making this recipe- WOW. I don’t have a stand mixer and it was still more than worth my time. I absolutely love that it isn’t as sweet as others I’ve made. Just one more recipe from your blog that will be made regularly at my house! Thanks a bunch for this one!!!

  125. Aulia

    I made the buttercream this weekend and loved it. I have been on a quest for the perfect buttercream for a number of years and this is it!! It held up so well. It tasted light and fluffy. Thank you, I am so happy to find my new go to frosting. Oh and did I mention this was so easy to make too!

  126. evilbunnie


    I made this recipe based on your recommendations and my cake lust looking at your pictures- ok, I technically made Martha’s recipe, because I needed to frost cupcakes, not cakes, and hers is set up for cupcakes, but the proportions of egg to butter to sugar look about the same (Hers was 10 egg whites to 2.5 c sugar to 8 sticks of butter- and it made twice as much as I needed, and almost exceeded my mixer’s capacity). Bottom line — my guests and I experienced frosting nirvana. It was great and got rave reviews!

    Here’s a couple of things I noticed: happily, my frosting didn’t “curdle” at all, but I wonder if that’s because I used a copper beating bowl to heat and mix the eggwhite and sugar over a water bath. The copper bowl may have helped stabilize the meringue, or at least, that’s my theory. Also, I tasted the frosting after each addition of butter (and who wouldn’t? It was damn good) and I wonder whether you could use less butter (say, instead of 8 sticks to 10 egg whites in the above recipe, maybe use 7 or even 6 sticks?) and still end up with a great frosting? It might tend more to the meringue side (and hence may lose some of those great properties- i.e. it might crust a bit) but I’d think it’d be worth trying. I mention this because although this is now my new go-to frosting, I think I could do with just a touch less butter. It is somehow cloud-light and still very rich.

    Thanks so much for your site, I’ve made a number of your recipes (the pink lady cake, caramel chocolate cracker crack) and they are so good!

  127. Amy S.

    I just made my first wedding cake following this icing recipe and it turned out amazing (kept well at room temperature, piped easily, tasted amazing… my only alteration was cutting the butter by a couple of tablespoons) and the entire cake was demolished happily within a few hours! Your posts gave me a lot of confidence to tackle this project and it has turned out to be one of the most awesome things I have ever done so far! Of course my family who has had to put up with my random panicking and loads of dishes might disagree but there’s a cake crumb trifle coming up to satisfy everyone =) Thanks so much!

  128. New-to-baking

    my mixer’s been on for over 15mins but still curdly soup :-(
    I’m hoping it comes around like many of you say it does..

  129. Sarah

    This saved my life, Deb! As did the rest of your wedding cake series! I just made my brother’s wedding cake and it was a hit – featuring this recipe and the same chocolate and vanilla cake recipes you used in yours. Yay you!

  130. Deb! You are amazing. you have me shaking my head and chiding “Oh ye of little faith!” to myself. I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for frosting for the cake I”m making for my MIL’s birthday…a “white cake with white frosting” was her special request. It felt wrong just do the usual box of powdered sugar, stick of butter kind of buttercream.

    So I did a test batch of this…I followed the Project Wedding Cake posts with eager interest last year…especially this one, because when I turned 16 I attempted to make SMB for my own birthday cake and it was a curdled embarrassment (that my mom assured me I should serve anyway…the beginning of my lifelong love-hate relationship with cake-making).

    But fast forward to my test batch today – you are so right! I was even committing kitchen heresy by using my favorite vegan butter-substitute. Before you send the food police after me…it worked!! It’s delicious (I added just a touch more vanilla). I wish I could post a picture of how pretty my cupcakes (made especially for the test batch frosting) look – with strawberries on top. :) Yummy!

    you were so right though – it was a wretched, horrific bowl-full of gloppiness for at least 10 minutes, but, magically at 10 min 2 sec- *POOF* it turned into a silky, lovely buttercream. You rule, lady!

    Hope you and that baby are doing well. :) Good luck w/ the rest of your pregnancy and the delivery! :)

  131. Sunny

    Wow, I just made this stuff to frost some cuppy cakes I made for friends. I’ve tried to make Swiss buttercream one other time and it separated and got all slooshy so I tossed it. I was expecting to have to wait a lot time for it to come together with your recipe, but surprisingly once I added the chunks of butter it just whipped up nicely in about 3 minutes with no weird stages. I was very surprised; beginners luck I guess. Anyway, this stuff is great and has a beautiful texture. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and for the detailed and reassuring instructions.

    1. deb

      It would really be a different recipe, so you will have to try it and let us know how it goes. By the way, there is a Swiss buttercream-style cream cheese frosting recipe in the Sky High cake book I am always gushing over. It sounds like exactly what you are looking for.

  132. Kristina

    Just tried making this today for my birthday cake, and though my batch was never curdled, it never thickened, either. I left the mixer on for a good 20 minutes, and the frosting remained the consistency of cake batter. I’m sure, given all the great reviews here, that your recipe isn’t the problem and that I mis-measured something along the way. I’ll just have to try it again sometime and see if I’m not more successful.

  133. Erika

    I’ve made this recipe successfully several times, and it’s by far my favourite for every occasion. The only time it’s failed me is when I took a short-cut and used a carton of egg whites, instead of the real thing. So lest ye be tempted – as I was – to save yourself the hassle of separating eggs, be warned! You will most certainly over-beat the eggs in a second, and end up with a chunk-o-butter meringue-flavoured frosting (which was actually still tasty, if you can get over the texture).

  134. OK – Finally had time to try the recipe (exactly as written). I made the practice amount and I am in love! I have a small KitchenAid mixer and set it on the fastest setting and used the whisk attachment. I set my timer for 20 minutes and kept an eye on it. It came together in only 4 minutes!

    My son loves my signature chocolate cake (made with black & dutch cocoa), so when he asked if I would make the wedding cake I said … “yes”. YIKES, what was I thinking? I don’t have big ovens – don’t have a big freezer, I will have a houseful of out-of-town guests for the wedding weekend (8/22)

    Thankfully the bride only wants a 12 round layer cake – no decorations on it. She is ordering a floral arrangement as a cake-topper.
    This is my idea… I will make six 9×13 cakes and the Display cake will be two layers: Bottom layer will be 12 inch round styrofoam and the top layer will be12 inch round real cake.
    I will frost the 9×13 cakes to serve to the guests (the will be in the back – the guest won’t see the 9×13 cakes) and I will frost the 2 layer “cake” as the display.

    Because of my company and time restraints, do you think it would be possible to frost the cakes (at the reception place) on Thursday morning, refrigerate them then serve the cake on Saturday night?

    I would appreciate any input you can give me. :)

    1. deb

      It should be okay but the only way to tell for sure will be to make a small cake, frost it, and see how it holds up for a few days. No advice can beat what you’ll learn in a test run; I know it saved me from making a lot of bad choices on this cake!

  135. Lauren

    Deb, do you have any idea how this beautiful-looking buttercream might work with a fairly-low-powered (i.e. cheap!) handheld mixer? I don’t have a stand mixer and I don’t think any of my food processor attachments would really do the job. Normally I disregard equipment instructions if possible and just use what I have, but this just looks as though it really depends on the stand mixer to pull it all together!

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated :)

  136. Rebecca

    I followed your recipe and instructions and made this beautiful frosting! It is so delicious. I added raspberry jam at the very end with a little red food coloring for extra flavor. Pure heaven. I don’t know how I will ever go back to regular icing again!!

  137. Judy

    Hi, just made Swiss Buttercream yesterday for the first time. Not this recipe, but very similar, no corn syrup. What does the additon of corn syrup do for it? Also, I had a problem with air bubbles, both after it was frosted and when I used the piping bag. Any suggestions? I used a hand mixer and a stand mixer and liked using the hand mixer better.

  138. Emily

    Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe. I’ve tried others with corn syrup before and prefer this one so much. To anyone who has problems where the frosting seems to curdle – DON’T toss it. Just put it in the fridge for a few minutes, then resume whipping. I’ve had that problem with a few of the batches I’ve made this summer (it’s hot here in Atlanta), and cooling it a bit helped.

    Also, I’ve tried this with cream cheese and it makes a WONDERFUL cream cheese frosting. I hate the ones that are just powdered sugar, cream cheese and butter. I think powdered sugar has a horrible aftertaste. Anyhow, to make it with cream cheese, I use the equal parts of butter and cream cheese. So if you’re duing the 26 tablespoons recipe, use 13 of butter and 13 of cream cheese. You need to make sure your cream cheese is at room temp, and I alternate the cream cheese and butter. It seems to take a bit longer to whip up to a good consistency, but it does get there. It’s SO much better than the standard cream cheese frosting – no where near as sweet!

  139. Isabel

    The cake is so so yummy …. however i had trouble ‘w2hipping’ the frosting. it was also a little to buttery for my taste. thanks again!

  140. kera

    learned something new about this fantastic, perfect, no-fail, idiot-proof recipe… i just made two big batches – one mocha and one lemon – and learned that the SOFTER the butter the faster it comes together. The mocha batch didn’t separate or anything… came together in about 3 minutes!! the butter for that batch was so soft it would barely stay on the spoon… the lemon batch, also came together quickly, but it did separate a little bit. The butter was still firm…

    could possibly have something to do with the humidity too… it’s a hot, sweaty 30C in our kitchen, maybe higher…

    regardless, it turned out perfect as always.
    thanks for such a fool-proof and delicious recipe.

  141. Hi Deb! I’ve been avoiding this recipe for ages; just looked way too panic-inducing for an obsessive like me. However, I made a test recipe for my son’s 2nd birthday cake (Very Hungry Caterpillar cupcake train!) and it was just like you said, soup soup soup soup oh my gosh it isn’t going to– hey, it’s gorgeous!

    I made 3/4ths of the 9-inch size, and it was not quite enough for piping onto 20 cupcakes. Next time I’d use the whole amount.


  142. Elizabeth

    Wow… just made this. Yes, it is quite buttery but really, really good. I hope I didn’t do something wrong, because it came together beautifully right from the start. I used 3/4 c. white sugar and 1/4 c. brown. Tomorrow I’m putting it on your white cake (which baked up beautifully!), filled with passionfruit curd (which also worked like a charm). So all this success probably means I’m going to drop the cake on the floor once I get it all put together…

    Thanks so much for taking the time to document this so very thoroughly — it’s been so helpful. I’m going to attempt to make a wedding cake in November and seeing someone else’s experience has been invaluable.

  143. Nicole

    I just made this using my cheap-o Kitchen Aid handheld mixer, and it came together wonderfully. It came together in about 8 minutes after I added all the butter. I kept beating it until I hit 15 minutes, because I couldn’t believe it actually came together so quickly.

    I am in a cake making class at my local community college, and the instructor said you can’t make swiss meringue buttercream without a stand mixer. I didn’t believe it (what did they do in the olden days?!), and we just proved her wrong! Yeah, my arm is a little sore, but it was worth it! This icing is delish!

  144. Kay Bingaman

    I need to make this for my granddaughter’s Birthday cake. BIG party. Cake will be 3 odd shaped tiers high, out of 1/4 sheet layers. I need to color this icing in about five different colors. What do you recommend using to color this particular icing without changing the consistency?

  145. Liz

    Well, this recipe gave me the promised panic attack. I made a small batch to cover a three-layer 6-inch cake used as a cutting cake at a wedding and it took about 15 minutes before it came together. I seriously almost dumped it at the 13-minute mark, but something (all the encouraging comments here) made me press on! It worked really well in the end. My only note is to use the fake vanilla extract that’s clear if you want a very white frosting. The good stuff turned the frosting to a lovely ivory, but that might not matter depending on what you’re using it for.

  146. So I just had a late-night “I’m going to bake a wedding cake” moment (yes, I thought I could do this in an hour or so) and made this AMAZING frosting and wanted to say thank you – 1) for the fantastic recipe and 2) for telling me not to freak out when it took longer than expected! Mine took about 20mins to look like real frosting but it was well worth the wait.

  147. Maggi

    This stuff is FANTASTIC! Finally, an icing that I won’t scrape off of the cake. I have now made this 4 times and it is perfect each and every time. Thanks!

  148. Haha oh goodness… Jocelyn does love eloping! No, this was actually the result of me clicking “Surprise Me” over and over looking for a fun project. Of course I was feeling overly ambitious and went for a mini wedding cake! The frosting was fantastic, by the way. A very big hit with everyone!

  149. Laurie

    I tried the frosting. Too buttery for my and my friends’ taste. My husband like it, but said it was pretty buttery and might not suite the taste of others. It turned out great as far as consistency, but was a yellow color. I followed the recipe to do a 9” round to a T. Perhaps a preference thing.

  150. kim

    so a few nights ago i tried this icing. it was comical to say the least. my husband walked in after 30 minutes of blending the eggwhite and sugar mixture and couldn’t believe i was still mixing….nothing was happening…i still had the tiny amount of soupyness in the bowl i had begun with. i got fed up and just threw the butter in and instantly it came together! albeit a little buttery for me so i put in some cinnamon and allspice and my husband came back and tried to eat the whole thing…..i think it was an incidental success….

  151. Sarah

    Wow! I have visited the heavenly Smitten Kitchen a few times and I am inspired! Like most here, I love to cook, bake, and provide lovely yumminess for my friends and all loved ones…but my lifestyle doesn’t provide much occasion. I recently moved in with my boyfriend and currently have a kitchen that is sparsely equipped(we’re working on it–he’s a super minimalist and we live in NYC so cooking in happens a few times a week at best.). In the interest of making a cake that is both celebratory and scrumptious, AND keeping it just big enough for two, do you have any idea of how much I would need to reduce the recipe to actually make just the 4 inch cake that is pictured here with the Swiss buttercream? I am making the frosting tonight–sooo excited! Many thanks for the inspiration…

  152. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ve tried the buttercream recipe and love it. I also finds it easier to work with as compared to Italian Meringue Buttercream. Thanks again!

  153. Danielle in NH

    I have been on a seemingly never ending quest for THE perfect buttercream. I am happy to say that after making a tiny batch using your scaled down recipe above the search is over!!!!! Such an easy frosting (well, a larger batch would be much easier – my stand mixer is too big to effectively do anything with such a small amount of frosting) that will certainly be my “go to” frosting recipe.

    Thank you for sharing your messes, successes, stories and recipes. Your blog is a joy to read!

  154. Stacey

    Just a quick question about the buttercream – I tried & failed with this recipe (and I think I know why) but I just wanted to ask – when you say “stick” of butter, what is the weight? All your recipes translate fine from ounces into grams for us using Metric, but 1 “stick” of butter for me is 250grams or 8.8 ounces – and I think I may have gone over-board on the butter because of this.

  155. Kristi

    PERFECT! I came across this post about a year ago, after reading most of your entire blog (probably following a link from TthePioneerWoman, but I honestly don’t remember) and bookmarked you. Unfortunately my laptop was stolen last summer and I hadn’t saved my bookmarks – then of course I just got to busy with real life stuff to try & find most of my hobby blogs… ANYWAY, today I recieved a request from a friend for several dozen cupcakes for a baby shower and, being my first actual “order” I knew this was the frosting recipe I wanted to try (none of my “shortcut” buttercream recipes are good enough to sell). But of course I had no idea where I had found it. So, I googled “buttercream cake blog” and HERE IT IS!!!!!! Sry for the novel, but I thought you might find it interesting. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you! ~Kristi

  156. shan

    OMG! this is the best frosting I have ever tasted! Not too sweet and not heavy like most buttercreams. It did look funny halfway through the whip process, but came together like a dream. It really wasn’t hard to make at all. Awesome, awesome stuff!

  157. Ruby

    I made this for first time and it came out perfectly. My question is that the taste is quite buttery, too much for my taste. Could I reduce the butter slightly?


  158. Nicole

    I have made this buttercream recipe a few times, and I love it. Out of all the recipes I’ve tried, this one has the best consistency and holds up the best. I am making my sister’s wedding cake in April, and she wants chocolate icing. Does anyone have any ideas for a chocolate icing based on this recipe? I need to use cocoa powder (as opposed to melting chocolate) because I need to get a dark color (will use King Arthur’s black cocoa).

  159. Hi Deb,
    Im making my friends wedding cake next month and am FREAKING OUT!
    i love this buttercream frosting, sounds great. My question is, how far in advance can I make this and refrigerate it?

  160. Lisa

    Hi Deb,
    Like the above comment, I’m curious about the keeping time of the buttercream. Is it possible to make the buttercream the day before, refrigerate overnight, and then frost the following afternoon before I serve the cake?
    Thanks so much!

  161. Sunny

    It’s weird because I’ve made your recipe for Swiss Buttercream a few times, and it never goes through the weird, soupy phase. Of course the next time I make it, everything will probably go to hell, but I thought it was kind of weird since most people report the frosting going through that phase. Guess I got lucky, for now… :)

  162. Sunny

    I know I’m not Deb, but I believe because of the high fat content in Swiss buttercream that it can be kept for quite a while in the fridge, at least a couple of weeks. Just make sure you bring it up to room temp before using it, as hard frosting tends to act like cold butter and break off in chunks, since, you know it is mostly butter. ;)

  163. Ariel

    I have been searching and searching and searching for a great butter cream frosting. I found this one, and I fell hard for it. I am baking a cake for my friends birthday party and I decided to give this recipe a test run. It worked marvelously. It was easy to spread, it had great consistency, it kept well, and most importantly tasted great. Not too sweet which can be a big problem for me when it comes to icings. I used it on cupcakes today, my cousin used it on valentines cookies over the weekend and tomorrow I plan on frosting a cake with it. Thanks so much, I will definitely hold on to this one.

  164. Mindy

    Fun blog, reminds me of my experiments in the Kitchen, some good, some bad. I have a question about your buttercream. (I honestly didn’t read all the posts so I am sorry if this has been asked before.) Can you use powdered egg whites? I have a can and would rather use that than a dozen egg white and then have to find a home for the yokes.

  165. SP

    I tried this recipe along with the Vanilla Buttermilk Cake-it was wonderful!! The buttercream whipped up nicely. I love that it wasn’t overly sweet. I used the buttercream along with a passionfruit marmalade as the filling and it was great!! I had extra batter and decided to toss mini chocolate chips in to that. My co-workers were very impressed!! Thank you so much!!

  166. Bee

    I choose this recipe for my first foray in to fancy buttercreams. When if went from soupy to buttercream it was like being in chem class. I kept repeating, ‘That’s so coool!’ I used to to from your Pink Lady cake. It was great!

  167. Antonia Kroon

    I discovered this website last July. WHAT A FIND! I was so happy. My daughter asked me to make her wedding cake for end of August. My first wedding cake. I knew I did not want the usual buttercream (confectioners sugar, shortening etc.) So when I stumbled over this one I could not wait to try the test batch. Got hooked. Took advice from previous posts to do test cakes for durability. I made sure I ruled out everything that can go wrong. IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! 2 bottom layers were stacked and then tiered the top layer. What seemed liked a very complicated recipe, turned out to be soooooooooo easy! Loved the consistency, the ease of piping border and other designs. Especially when you discover your hand was a little shaky, you could easily smooth it over and try it again…………by the way, I took the time to read each and every post before mine and I have to say, that I have gathered so much information and tips that I can’t wait to work on another wedding cake for my nephew in May. THANKS TO EVERYONE!…………… the way, someone asked about a chocolate version. I found this in a magazine. For every 3 egg whites add 1 cup of cocoa powder. You whisk into finished buttercream, in 1/4 cup intervals. Have not tried it yet but I’m sure someone is going to go for it.

  168. Adrienne

    Love this buttercream. I actually just made a batch and covered my cake with it. Super yummy. I can’t see myself piping with this buttercream since my hands are naturally really warm and they have a tendency of melting buttercream, but I will totally use this on all my cakes and also to mask my cakes when I use fondant.

  169. Oh, Deb, this is just wonderful. It’s 1:10 AM and I finally finished assembling my cake, but it’s beautiful, delicious, perfection.

    The cake is for a baby shower, so I used All Whites pasteurized egg whites to be on the safe side, and they worked perfectly (and were super easy, worth mentioning)! I mixed a few spoonfuls of seedless red raspberry jam into the frosting I filled the cake with, as a surprise. It’s such a pretty pink and tastes sooooo good!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  170. Elizabeth

    I’ve struggled with Italian Buttercream for a long long long LONG time now and my husband told me he hates it because it is so mean to me. But your recipe has restored my faith in buttercream because it was a SNAP! It’s my new go to recipe for frosting. I made a batch of vanilla and a batch of chocolate. I’ve spent way too long now dipping fresh strawberries into the leftover chocolate one.

    I made the chocolate batch with butter and the vanilla batch with shortening just to experiment. Both stood up well, but the shortening batch wasn’t sweet and I think I’d use a tiny bit of extra sugar next time if I ever use shortening again.

  171. Anna

    For other readers wondering about reducing the butter, I’ve successfully made the amount for a 9″ cake with 16 tablespoons of butter rather than 26.

  172. Sofie

    Hola –

    I made the chocolate version for a test cake last night, and OMG! Amazingly delicious and beautiful, too boot. I can’t wait to try the vanilla for my next taste cake, then put it all together in June.

    Thanks so much for the advice. I’m also currently in love with Sky High…seriously. I took it to work with me because I couldn’t bear to be away from it for an entire day.

  173. Tara

    Made this recipe today. First batch worked like a breeze. Second batch had an issue. My finished frosting had hard little pebbles in it (similar to undissolved gelatin). Do you know why?? I just couldn’t trust the “occasionally whisk” (I have an unhealthy fear of things sticking), so I constantly whisked the first batch. But, for the second batch, I perhaps took “occasionally whisk” a bit too far?!?!? I’d really like to avoid that happening again. I’m pretty sure I got all the hard bits out by straining the icing through a sieve, fortunately. :/

  174. Tara

    AND AND. A few more questions.
    1 – I did a crumb coat yesterday. When I re-whipped the icing today and went to frost the cake, the color difference between the crumb coat (and middle filling) and the frosting was ridiculous. The crumb coat was almost white and the newly added frosting was much yellower. WHY??
    2 – Perhaps “like a breeze” was wrong as we ate the cake a little less than two hours after I removed it from the fridge. The icing between the layers was…sort of hard…I can’t describe the texture. Is it just because it was still cold?

    I think I got in over my head here. :)

  175. em

    I made 2 batches of this frosting today. I loved it. I did sub All Whites for both batches since I didn’t want to waste the yolks. On both batches I used 2 1/2 sticks of butter instead of 3 (for the 9 inch recipe) and on the 2nd, I subbed brown sugar for white (3/4 cup instead of 1 cup) and I added about 1/2 cup of fresh pureed strawberries. It’s fantastic! I know some were weary of the buttery flavor, if so, the strawberries really covered that up. My first batch didn’t curdle, but my 2nd did and because I used brown sugar, it looked sort of like watery, evil oatmeal (ha) but it finally came together.
    Thanks for all of your recipes, tips, and stories deb! I always look forward to a new post.

  176. KelleeG

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I have been admiring all your culinary delights from afar for a few weeks now and when my husband and I had to make a 60th birthday cake (I make all the bits and bobs and he decorates it in amazing shapes) I didn’t want to head down the same crusty butter icing road that I had before. I was sure you’d have written about something perfect – and you had! This is amazing stuff. I have to admit to giving a squeal of delight and dancing around the kitchen when it was finished.

    I wish I’d make your perfect birthday cake for the cake instead of the one I did make (just a simple butter cake) as it turned out a little dry, but next time I’ll definitely be making it.

    Thanks for saving the day. :)

  177. KellyH

    I had to respond to your Swiss Buttercream recipe. I made 75 cupcakes and a ‘top tier’ wedding cake for my brother in laws wedding last Saturday. I’ve done a good amount of baking, and even took a cake decorating class- 20 yrs ago, but I never had I made a wedding cake, let alone super fancy cupcakes for a wedding. I poured for weeks and months over different sites, looking for the perfect cake and frosting, and yours was the one I chose. Your pictures and simple step by step instructions made ME, a simple ordinary girl, a HIT!!!! People were BEGGING me for the recipe and for more cupcakes. I owe ALL my wedding cake & cupcake greatness to YOU. I was, and still am, so proud.
    Your Swiss Buttercream is a recipe I will treasure for the rest of my life. It’s pretty simple, didn’t take me nearly 20minutes of mixing in my Kitchen Aid ( maybe I was just lucky!) and tasted like a frosting out of the finest bakery in the state.
    I can not begin to thank you for you wonderful blog, extrordinary step by step instructions- with pictures none the less, and your inspiration.
    All my thanks~

  178. Elisa Nadeau

    I tried making this into a chocolate buttercream by adding melted but cooled unsweetened chocolate at the end. Unfortunately, the chocolate seemed to ruin the texture of the buttercream and it was nowhere near stiff enough. I put it in the fridge and that helped somewhat. If I were to try converting this recipe to chocolate again, I would use dark cocoa powder.

  179. Hello!

    I just finished a cake for a friend’s reception, it didn’t look as great as yours, but it tasted pretty okay. Especially the buttercream! First time I’ve made butter cream from scratch and wow it was awesome! This will definitely be my go to icing from now on.

    Thanks for the advice on “whip whip whip!” I too panicked!

  180. I love the way you put it all together and gave us option of a lot, medium and small cake recipe. I will most deffinetly try it. What brand of butter did you use? Please reply at

    Thanks for simplifing it. have a great day,


  181. I need this TODAY…RIGHT NOW for a cake. Just for the topping. As I read I thought “Oh my gosh, yes, I love you!!” Thank you thank you! The “tiny” proportion is just what I needed!

  182. Jenn

    I made the test batch last night and could not get the egg white to whip up into anything peak-like. It was just thick and gloopy and not at all like your egg whites picture. After some frantic, unsuccessful hand-whisking I decided to just add the butter and hope for the best. it worked. first it got horribly grainy/curdled (THANK YOU for the warning!) and then it turned into buttercream.

    I suspect my egg white issue was because of the small quantity (I used my 4.5 quart KA) so I am curious if you made your mini batch in the KA? If you did, and it worked, then maybe I did something else wrong. the frosting turned out ok in the end but I wonder if it could have turned out better given the egg white situation.

    thank you!

  183. Hilary

    I was wondering if you had any thought/comments in regards to the constitancy of this frosting. Some frostings you can make stiffer or thinner to better accommodate the type of decorative frosting you want to do. I love you blog and the wonderful variety of recipes you share!

  184. Debra

    Deb – I’m getting conflicting advice on frosting (with buttercream) a frozen cake. So many people say it will sweat and the frosting will be ruined. But you seem to have had success with it. Help! I’m frosting a birthday cake today!

    1. deb

      I didn’t have issue with it. If you are concerned, you can always leave your cake layers out for an hour before you frost them.

  185. Debra

    This recipe was excellent! I let the cakes defrost a bit before I frosted them, and it came out beautifully! Thanks so much for the advice, the wonderful recipes and awesome blog!!

  186. Emma

    I used Antonia Kroon’s (#222) method for making this chocolate just now. Using the test batch recipe, I added 1/4 cup of cocoa powder(I know it would be 1/3 but well I messed up my measuring cup sizes). It tastes great and the texture is fine.

  187. So I just made this frosting as a test run for my wedding cakes. Came together VERY quickly – I only whipped for about five minutes.

    It started to “melt” a bit as I was mixing and piping – I’m guessing I should have let it harden a bit and cool down before piping? I’ve never piped, and maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing! haha

    Or did I not whip it enough? It was pretty stiff when I stopped.

    The butter was not as pronounced as I thought it would be. On the cupcakes, it was very airy. I really liked that.

    Thanks, Deb. :)

  188. Ramona

    I tried the swiss buttercream today and it turned out very well. The flavor was good but it was a little loose. I was able to ice my cake without difficulty but it was too soft to pipe anything other than dots, roses were out of the question. I checked other comments to see if others had a similar problems and didn’t see an answer on point.
    I am new to your web site but I added you to my favorites, great site!

  189. Stephanie B

    This is exactly what I was looking for! I tried the smallest quantity and added some crushed stawberries to half of it, and orange & lemon zest to the other half and it was divine. I can’t wait to try it with cocoa too. Fantastic, thank you!

  190. Natalie

    This was the recipe I used to make the frosting for a wedding cake for a friend. I mixed it with some lemon curd for the filling. It was so great. Soooo many compliments.

    Thank you!

  191. Audrey

    I made a small batch this morning to cover and fill a small basketball cake. It’s currently sitting in my fridge VERY runny. I can’t wait to get home and place it back into my old sunbeam machine and beat it for 15 minutes longer to see if this helps. Wish me luck, I will share my results. I need this frosting to work as others say BUTTER is expensive.

  192. Rebecca

    So I was considering using this buttercream recipe for my niece’s first birthday party but then I got worried about the heat aspect. Her birthday is in August and it will be an outdoor bbq in Chicago where it is super humid and will likely be very hot. I saw some comments about making it half butter half cream cheese and also considered just making your red velvet cake recipe with the cream cheese frosting. Do you have any suggestions about what type of frosting would hold up best outside in the heat and humidity? I’ve considered the Italian meringue frosting but I worry that it might not be very kid friendly…but I’m not sure. Any advice would be great!

  193. Maria

    I made this for cupcakes (which happened to be filled with your raspberry filling recipe) and it was delicious! Mine came together with no problem, it never really looked soupy, so I wasn’t sure if I had done it correctly but it was in fact perfect. Everyone loved it, and it looked great. It held up perfectly despite 100 degree weather in Maryland with insane humidity, although I didn’t leave them outside all day, only for about a half hour. Still, it was perfect – thank you again for another great recipe!

  194. Stacy

    I use this recipe and add different flavors also according to the cake I am making.
    Instead of using vanilla extract, I split a real vanilla bean and added the seeds to the mix instead and it was AMAZING! Just make sure you add to taste, the first time I did that I used TOO MUCH!
    I made a chocolate cake and used instant expresso (dissolved in hot water) to make a mocha cake.. so many variations to try people!

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  195. Miri


    I tried this recipe for the first time today and a first I thought I turned out great and I loooove the taste, however, I am not sure if my house is too hot or if something went wrong with the buttercreme, but when I started icing the cake, it became a little curdly, very soft and it looked like water or melted sugar started running out of the buttercream… I instantly put it in the fridge and when I just checked (1 hour later), I noticed that even though the cream is staying on the cake, there is like a water or clear liquid ring around the bottom of the cake??? Any idea what that could be?

  196. Kate

    I saw this recipe and just had to try it, as my family has always complained how heavy and sweet the buttercream with an unimaginable amount of confectioner’s sugar is. I didn’t have any sticks of butter on hand, and decided to use margarine in stead (smart balance, probably not the best idea). I whipped and whipped, for about 15 minutes, but no magical thickening occured- is this due to the oil in the margarine, or did I give up to soon?

  197. jeanette

    I scrolled through all the comments looking for an answer but I didnt see it so…

    If I made the buttercream tonight and refrigerated it and then frosted my cake tomorrow would that be fine? I am worried it might change the consistency of the frosting?


    1. deb

      You’ll want to rewhip it in the morning. Honestly, if your home isn’t overly warm, you can probably leave the bowl out, wrapped, overnight. I believe I did this. Then it should not need to be rewhipped.

  198. I thought this frosting was perfect–if it seems too liquidy, I would recommend whipping it longer. At first it almost looked chunky/curdled, which really worried me, but it thickened up after a few more minutes of whipping. So keep whipping, like Deb said!

    My only issue was that the recipe for a 9-inch cake was definitely enough to frost but not enough to frost AND fill; I filled with a very thin layer (and strawberries, mm) and there wasn’t quite enough frosting to hide the “outside layers” of cake all the way.

  199. Amy D.

    this is perfect!!! thank you, thank you, thank you, I am going to be making cupcakes for a whole gaggle of people for a bridal shower and need a frosting recipie that will hold up well, and that isnt disgustingly sweet….and I used this recipie this weekend on my moms bday cake to givve it a test run and it was perfect….oh and thanks for the patientce tip- there was one moment where I was watching the mixer going on high and wondering fi maybe I messed up because it still looked kind of runny…and then woosh it turned into frosting,

  200. Brittany

    I finally had the occasion to make this frosting and it is brilliant. It’s like magic at minute 15 when it suddenly transforms from soup and all comes together! I made Rose Levy Beranbaum’s yellow cake and put a layer of this frosting and strawberries in the middle for a strawberry shortcake-like effect, and then covered the whole thing in this deliciousness. Thanks so much — can’t wait to make this again!

  201. Hillary

    I’m making a three tiered stacked anniversary cake. I have some questions
    1. Can this swiss buttercream be used for the cumb layer or am I better off with a crustier american buttercream for that?
    2. If I make the cake on Friday and am serving it Saturday night, do I store it on the table or in the fridge until the party? Should I cover it with saran wrap or will that stick?
    Thanks! Your site has been so helpful.

  202. Heather

    In case Deb doesn’t answer in time – Use the swiss buttercream as a crumb layer then refrigerate for at least 15 minutes(will make it hard). This makes a excellent crumb layer. Store in frig without saran but make sure that the cake is at room temperature before serving or the icing will crack and the flavour isn’t as good.

  203. KIRSTIN

    HIIII!!!! This is my GO-TO recipe, however, my friends have more “commercial” palates, so…I have added confectioner’s sugar at the end and also a little bit of whipping cream….FABULOUS!!!!!

  204. Katie

    I just made this frosting – no luck. I whipped for 25 minutes with breaks to rest my arms (no stand mixer) and to look at the recipe again and again. Then I whipped for 20 minutes straight through. So, 45 minutes for the 9-inch size recipe and it never came together. I frosted the cake anyway; I hope it doesn’t all run off. I’m so disappointed!
    Question – I whipped my egg whites until they were white and doubled in size…but not to stiff peaks. Should I have?

    1. deb

      For a large volume, it can take 20 minutes or more in a stand mixer on the highest speed — which is like lightening fast — so I am not surprised that it didn’t come together for you in 45 whisking by hand. Although it’s kind of against my cooking philosophy to ever say that a large, expensive kitchen appliance is needed to make a recipe work (because it’s just not true for 99% of the cooking in the world), this might be the rare case where I’m sure someone has pulled this off by hand but it is nearly impossible.

  205. Katie

    Oh no – I didn’t do it by hand. I used a hand mixer. Does that make a difference? I had to rest my arms bc the vibrating was so annoying.

  206. Bonnie

    I recently made a three layer wedding cake for the son of a friend of mine. He is a Johnson & Wales trained chef, so needless to say, I was under the gun! The reception was a casual Tuscan style outdoor affair for about 50 people. I used your Swiss Buttercream frosting and the Wilton butter cake recipe from Wilton’s website. I made all of the cakes the evening before the wedding since I don’t have a freezer large enough to do them in advance. I was afraid the cake might be dry, and since I didn’t practice first, I couldn’t check it. So, I made a simple syrup and added a splash of Amaretto to it, painted the cakes with the syrup and wrapped the layers in plastic wrap. I made a “fuzzy navel” filling by cooking some frozen peaches in orange juice and adding some orange zest and sugar to make it a jam consistency. This took several hours on low heat…and a lot of watching and stirring. I took the cake layers to my friend’s house the morning of the reception, and filled and frosted it there, since she lives two hours away and I was worried about transporting a decorated cake. It was a very casual- looking cake, decorated only with some fresh flowers, not prettily decorated like yours, Deb, but boy, was it ever a hit! Everyone LOVED the Swiss Buttercream! I swirled the frosting, and it looked just like Venetian plaster…totally fitting the Tuscan theme. I received SO many compliments on that cake. The chef/groom said it was perfect in every way. Thank you, thank you for that recipe and all of the research you put into your cake! I trusted that you were on the money with that frosting, and you were so right. I love that it isn’t too sweet. My daughter is getting married next year, and I’m going to insist that her cake be made with Swiss Buttercream! I’m making a 9 inch cake for her and her fiance’ to try when they visit in a few weeks.

  207. pinkpiranha

    Ooookay, so I made this frosting. It is un-un-unbelievable. It is the lightest, airiest texture, smooth as silk, a beautiful barest off-white color and sweet but not sickeningly so.

    But… it never came out curdled or gooey looking. I don’t know if it’s because I kept the eggs and sugar on the stove for a bit longer to bring the temp up and whipped it the whole time until it was quite foamy in the bowl. I also cut the butter down to 16T instead of 26 (did the 9″ amount) and added a bit of cream of tartar when I was whipping it with the stand mixer. I also did everything in the stand mixer bowl rather than transfering it.

    I’m sorry, I can never leave well enough alone; bad habit of mine, but it usually results in good things. I meant to do it exactly like your recipe and then the Evil Baker side of me took over.

    I must say the first thing I did was pipe some roses and they were gorgeous. Very easy to pipe, not at all resistant in coming out of the bag, and held their shapes beautifully. Until I ate them. Hubby likes old school powdered sugar icing, but he has the sweetest sweet tooth of anyone I’ve ever met.

    I give this a total A+++++++, h/t to Ralphie from A Christmas Story.

  208. mikaela1

    Hi! I tried this recipe a few times before I got it to work, the thing that worked for me was to chill the bowl for a couple of minutes in cold water before adding the butter, which was also chilled. The only thing is that I find this recipe is just whipped butter… it’s oily, and it reminds me of the whipped butter you get on your plate at Denny’s when you order pancakes. The other problem I had, was when I chilled and rewhipped it the next day, it turned to syrup. Is this because of condensation? I think I’ll stick to my old standby 7 Minute Frosting.

  209. kams32902

    I love this recipe. It worked perfectly, with all the stages in mine matching the pics provided. The texture and taste are amazing. I made the test batch to see if I would like to use this for my sons birthday cupcakes, and I am definately going to be using this. It isn’t supersweet and I like that. I let my 3 yr old taste it and he wanted me to give him a spoon and the bowl and let him go at it, of course I didn’t do it though. The taste was a little bit off, but thats because my butter had picked up some kind of odor from the fridge and developed an off taste. I recommend making with freshly purchased butter. This is my new go to frosting!

  210. Jessica

    this frosting is heavenly. and so easy to make! i followed your instructions exactly and had 0 problems with curdling or having to whip an extended period of time. i used a plain metal bowl (not copper), probably heated it a little longer than necessary because i didn’t expect the granules to dissipate so quickly. after removing it from heat, i had to let it sit a couple mins to put my daughter back to bed, then i put it in the stand mixer and walked away. i checked it a few mins later and it was all glossy and meringue-y and ready for vanilla and butter. took much less time than i expected. thanks for buttercream perfection!

  211. I just made this! I doubled the small batch size to do a test and it worked well. The panic almost overcame me though when the initial mixture didnt ‘double in size’ after 20 minutes of beating! What!? oh well, i kept going and it turned out tops. Thanks!

  212. So, I just made this recipe after failing miserably a few weeks ago. OMG! It is awesome. I am doing a salted caramel frosting, so I just added in a bit of caramel after it set up completely. LOVE IT!

  213. Lori

    I was looking for a french butter cream recipe and noticed a comment on the recipe that I found that said not to bother with the french version but to make a Swiss butter cream. Lo and behold my search led me to you. I have been reading your blog for a while, have bookmarked many recipes to make in the future but have never gotten to one. Thank you for making me make something. It was great on lemon lime cupcakes for my Mom’s 65th birthday.

  214. Nina


    Does anyone think (or have tried) to make this frosting with thick greek yogurt rather than butter? I’m worried the fat content might be too low, and don’t want it to curdle…it’s for a friend’s birthday tomorrow!


  215. Katie

    It worked! I tried it again and this time it came together at minute 16 instead of not at all. So excited. I don’t know what I did differently though. Curious.
    However, I am among the minority – I don’t love the taste. It is a bit too oily to me.
    I did follow another commenters suggestion and cut the butter from 26 tbspn to 16 (for the 9 in cake amount). Everything turned out fine and I’m glad to save a stick of butter.

  216. Denise

    Can you tell me how i can make a chocolate version to this frosting recipe? I found this website and i made your frosting and it is my new best friend, but i have a baby shower coming up and my friend loves chocolate so i want to make this in chocolate can you help me out please?????

  217. whitney

    WOW! This recipe is simply fantastic. I did end up putting in a little more vanilla in but other than that I absolutely LOVE it. I’m making a wedding cake for this weekend and i’m certain that this will be a huge hit!!

    Thank you so much.

    p.s. I didn’t even freak out when the frosting turned to cottage cheese. :D

  218. Kams32902

    I used this for a birthday cake. It was a huge hit. It’s a perfect balance for chocolate cake. Yum! I also made a batch with strawberry extract instead of vanilla. Turned out wonderfully.

  219. KelleeG

    Hi Deb,

    Thank you so much for going through this experience and blogging about it so that we could all benefit from the experience!

    I’ve got the bottom (10 inch chocolate) and top tiers (6 inch vanilla) of a wedding cake sitting in my freezer for next weekend and I’m about to make the middle one (8 inch vanilla with some lemon zest as it will have a lemon curd filling). However, I had a quick question about the icing. I did look through all the comments but I couldn’t find anything about this.

    I live in Brisbane, Australia, and currently we’re in the middle of spring. It’s quite mild and lovely at the moment, but I woke up in a panic last night worrying about what might happen with the fully iced cake if it’s too hot on the day – you know, whether it might start to melt. At this stage it looks like it will be around 25 degrees (77 Fahrenheit). Just wondering if you could please tell me what the weather was like on the day of the wedding that you made the cake for? It would be good to have something to compare it to.

    Thanks heaps for your help.
    – Kellee.

  220. Patti

    Just when I thought I would be serving a sugar and butter soup with a dollop of whipped cream – it came together. LOTS of whipping!!!! I did reduce the butter by 1/4 and it does not taste TOO buttery. Thanks so much for all the tips.

  221. KelleeG

    Thanks Deb.

    It was quite a warm day, but after I assembled it (and left it in the kitchen during the ceremony – no air conditioning) I popped it, whole, back in the fridge for a little while and it kept perfectly until it needed to be cut. It was a big hit. Thanks so much. You’re rad.

  222. Mara

    Would I be able to use the buttercream icing (above) with your 9″ classic yellow birthday cake recipe? I love the yellow cake but would like to use this buttercream instead of chocolate icing.


  223. Hi! I’m wondering how many cups of frosting this makes (the one for a 9 inch cake). I’m going to make your red velvet cake, and I actually read that cream cheese frosting isn’t the TRUE frosting for a red velvet cake?!? Who knew, not I, haha.. at any rate, I think the buttercream frosting would go really well with it, but I don’t know how much to make, ahh! (I also might scale back the cake to be just 2 layers.. I’m lazy and only have 2 cake pans) Sorry for rambling :)

  224. Holy deliciousness! I made a teensy bit extra (x1.25 of the middle recipe) and it made 5 cups (in case anyone needs to know) I must use all the willpower I have to not eat it straight from the fridge before I ice the cake! It only took about 5 minutes of whipping (with a hand mixer) for it to come together.. I was worried that my hand would fall off from 20 minutes of mixing, phew! Thanks for the recipe and tips :)

  225. Natalie

    Proof that this recipe is pretty idiotproof: I accidently missed the step about whipping the egg whites and sugar before the butter’s put in and it worked well still. Thank you!

  226. Marcy

    Deb-I made 2 batches of this tonight for a cake I’m delivering tomorrow (!). It’s perfect. Even with all the butter (only 4 sticks per batch still worked), it’s still fluffy and white…which is good because they wanted the cake to look like snow. I’m still up making snowflakes to decorate with after I assemble it all in the morning.
    I made a lemon variation by whipping in about 3-4 tablespoons of lemon curd into each batch after it was done. (made with Meyer lemons, btw. I found some (rare here) and had to use them)
    Delicious! I halved the big recipe because I wasn’t sure if it would all fit in my KA 6 qt. (It wouldn’t have) This cake is an 11 x 15 sheet cake, 2 layers. I’m sure I made more than I needed but I live in fear of running out at the last minute, with no time to make more! I didn’t have any trouble at all with the flopglop stage. I was a little freaked out after reading all the posts but I took a leap of faith and it paid off.
    Thank you, thank you! You are the best!

  227. Shelley

    I am almost done with a 5 tiered wedding cake for a New Year’s Eve wedding. I have all 5 tiers filled and forsted in my freezer. I have never done this before so I would appreciate a little advice. I had some extra buttercream for the decorations that I left out at room temperature and planned to use for the piping. However this morning when I looked at it it appeared to have separated. I tried to re whip it and it turned to slop. I made a new batch and am wondering if I should refrigerate it or how I should store it tonight to use tomorrow? Any other tips for this first time wedding cake baker?

  228. Becky

    I loved the icing! I added a small dollop of marion berry jelly to the icing, which added just a slightly sweeter taste and a hint of color, without changing the texture. It is delicious!!! Thanks so much!

  229. dana

    deb – using this for my daughter’s birthday cake which has to be ready in wednesday morning – can i make this the night before? and if so, do i just put it in tupperware and refrigerate? and then assemble in the morning? more importantly, am i spoiling my kid by making this for her second birthday??? can’t bring myself to stick with a quick buttercream or a cream cheese frosting…. let me know about storage. thanks!

  230. dana

    never mind – saw post upthread about bringing it to room temp and then beating it again- is that the way to go? or can i assemble and frost the night before? if so – do i refrigerate or keep it at room temperature? THANKS!

  231. Antonia Kroon

    Hi! I have posted here before. I have made a couple of wedding cakes using swiss meringue buttercream. They turned out great! Just wondering though! Being the icing stays wet at all times, is there a way to prevent the stacked cakes from sticking to each other? I have heard of confectioner’s sugar or graham cracker crumbs between the cake and the cardboard bottom of the cake that was stacked on top, but that must be for fondant or standard buttercream that crusts over. If anyone has any suggestions (if there is a way) would appreciate it! I am doing a cake for the 28th. Thank you!

  232. Jaclyn

    I just want to encourage all those without stand-up mixers. I just made two batches of the “tiniest amount” with my super-cheap hand-held mixer and it came together in minutes. I beat the egg whites with sugar by hand over the heat for about 3 minutes, then moved over to the hand-held and beat them for another 5. The mixture did not form stiff peaks, but did increase in size, turned white, and became a silky smooth texture. I then added the butter and vanilla all at once and started beating again. I alternated between high and low speeds, and it came together in under 5 min! And its awesome. I was so afraid that I couldn’t make this without a stand-up mixer after reading all the comments, but it can be done! Maybe small batches is the key? I am making test cakes for my own wedding cake, I’ll update if large batches work as well. Thanks for the great tips and recipes!

  233. Lisa

    I just tried to make the small batch of this and it was a total failure =(. Everything was going great up until I added the butter. Unlike the curdling that I was expecting everything integrated smoothly, but it never fluffed back up. I added the butter slowly and continued whipping with a hand mixer, but it stayed like melted marshmallow fluff. Any ideas what could be the problem? The meringue itself was fluffy before adding the butter. Maybe it was too warm?

  234. Ann

    i made double the smallest batch, and half of the vanilla buttercream cake recipe from the other wedding cake post – it made about 24 mini cupcakes and around 18 regular size cupcakes – i also used my variation of the whipped mint cream (i used bittersweet instead of white chocolate) and used this for frosting on teh cupcakes too – after frosting them I stuck them in the freezer in a tupperware overnight – they got rave reviews at work!
    i was a little afraid when i tasted the frosting, because it seemed way too buttery and i was worried it hadn’t whipped properly – but when actually on top of the cupckaes it was perfect!

  235. Amy P.

    To Lisa who posted on 1/23—Was your kitchen warm? Sometimes I have to stop and put the swiss buttercream in the fridge when I am making it (not too long or it will harden and then you will have to wait for it get “workable” again)…or I place a couple of gallon size zip lock bag of ice under the metal bowl when whipping in my kitchen aid stand mixer. This truly is the best tasting frosting ever! You can ad melted chocolate or other flavors and it is a crowd pleaser!!!

  236. Claire

    Tasked to help decorate a friend’s brother’s wedding cake this past weekend, I remebered reading your blog during Project Wedding Cake, and looked it up straight away! We had 40+ degree C weather (more than 105 F for the North Americans) here in Australia this week to contend with, along with an outside wedding and unairconditioned houses and very little time for decorating. Despite all that, the swiss buttercream held up amazingly well – lasting more than 12 hours without any problems and retaining all the detail we put into it, and we only had some melting when the cake was placed on the outside table in the sun (which we didn’t know was going to happen!), just in time for cutting by the newly married couple (Since it was just a display cake to cut, and didn’t actually get eaten, that wasn’t such an issue). Swiss Buttercream definately gets the thumbs up for me, and will now be my icing staple.

  237. Wow, my first time making a successful batch of any meringue buttercream. I’ve tried before. There’s one from Barefoot Contessa she makes that is done exactly this way. When I tried that I ended up wasting a bunch of butter and eggs but as I’ve read here, I must not have whipped it enough. I love the mouth feel – like thick silky sweetened whipped cream. I will make this again although I must do my research on the food safety of the whites. Thank you for giving me the courage and instructions to try again!

  238. Hillary

    Deb, I’m such a huge fan, and excited about embarking on my first meringue buttercream…looking forward to the idea of not having to use a pound of powdered sugars in frostings anymore.
    I’m using the SMB To frost one of your 3-layer cakes (almond raspberry). Will the amounts you suggest for a 9-inch be enough do you think? Thanks as always!

  239. Hillary

    Scratch that, I’ll just make the suggested quantity for the 9-inch and then make the “tiniest amount” as needed. Thank you!

  240. I know you posted this a hundred years ago (back when I was just 41) but I’ve finally made it today with my new Viking mixer. (I previously used my grama’s electrolux from the ’60s, not for the fainthearted, that).

    I have whipped this up and my kids will each decorate a third of your vanilla pod pound cake (a go-to recipe at my house!). When they’re done squirting various colours on their pieces, we’ll cram ’em back together and sing me a very happy 44th.

    Thanks for being a part of my birthday. If I have to “do it myself” (I love to bake, so this is no pity-party) I’m thrilled to make it happen with a bit of smitten magic. I totally love your blog!

  241. First of all, let me say I am SMITTEN with SMITTEN Kitchen! I just love this site! :)

    I just made this icing for a square cake, doubling the tiniest amount and it was just enough! Not enough for filling as well but it did cover the cake; I’d make the 9-inch ratio next time. I was so surprised when it came together, I used a bit less butter than the recipe stated (I’m like, HOW much in grams?) and was worried it was ruined, but no, it came together, as promised! It’s funny, it actually seems to get worse before it gets better but it came together in the end.

    It’s very light, fluffy, vanilla-y and very, very buttery. So if butter is not your thing than a sour cream type icing might be more suited.

  242. MAH

    Hello everyone. I tried the recipe last nigh, but it came out watery. I’m not sure what happen. For sure no water from the condensation. Maybe I didn’t whisk it enough when it was over the simmer water. Could that be it??. The tastes was delicious. It took me back to my younger years eating vanilla ice-cream in my country. I would love to try it again!!!

  243. Ro

    hi quick question???…………I am making my own cake for the wedding. the wedding is on a saturday i have no time on friday to ice the cake do you think if i ice the cake on thursday that it will still be fresh on saturday(both icing and the cake). and how should i store it….is it going to be ok to keep it in the refridgerator for over 24 hrs. when should i take it out.
    any help would be appreciated…………
    i really do not want someone else to make my cake………..
    please help!!!

  244. I tried this frosting tonight for my brothers birthday, but I added a TINY bit of peppermint extract and two lemons zested and some lemon juice. it came together in the end and tastes wonderful!!! putting it on the white cake from this wedding cake too with some strawberries. yummy :)

  245. Maggie

    I’ve made this recipe (medium-size batch) 4 times. Don’t own a KitchenAid stand mixer, but like a couple of others have mentioned, it CAN be successful with a hand mixer! My hand mixer is decent quality but nothing super fancy. Even with the hand mixer, I’ve never gotten the soup stage when I make it. Each time I brace myself for the dreaded soup but it never happens; the butter just beats right in and everything turns creamy. At worst it looks sorta “chunky” but easily smooths with a spatula (which helps eliminate air bubbles too, since my hand mixer doesn’t have an equivalent paddle attachment). I definitely suggest using UNSALTED BUTTER. First 3 times I made it I used unsalted. Perfect. Made some last night to frost cupcakes for a friend but only had salted butter in the fridge. Much more pronounced flavor than you get with unsalted. It’s not bad it’s just SUPER buttery. Threw me off a bit.

  246. Al

    I’ve been lurking for awhile, just wanted to say thank you! I use a lot of your recipes and the buttercream, like the rest, came out exceptional. I did mismeasure my butter, and the first batch came out funny, but up until I added it, it tasted heavenly. And yes, I did have a panic attack while whisking : )

  247. Angela

    Wow – awesome recipe! I had failed with Italian Meringue Buttercream much in the same way – it all just loosened up and broke after adding the butter. This was the frosting I always wanted but never thought I could have. THANK YOU!!!

  248. I just made the buttercream tonight and was very lucky got it right. This is my first time making buttercream and while I love the gorgeous smooth texture of the buttercream, i found that it’s not sweet enough for me. It’s too bland. Can i add less butter or more sugar the next time i made it? I really love the texture

  249. Janet B

    Deb, I have to tell you, you saved me! I was making a raspberry buttercream to fill the French almond macarons for my daughter’s wedding favors on tuesday afternoon, and it was a big batch. I’d put in all the butter and it was soup and I was freaking out! Then I remembered what you said – keep on beating! And so I didn’t give up, and all of a sudden, bam! It was buttercream! So thank you, so very very much, from the bottom of my heart!

    And the vanilla buttercream was wonderful too :)

  250. Darla McDavid

    Hi, Deb — I made this tonight (the tiny amount) and it’s excellent. I’m making one of several cakes for my niece’s September wedding. I’ve never made a wedding cake before (she gave me a photo and it’s three tiers), I’m not even that great of a cook, but she asked and I love my niece! And she wants a test cake, of course, before the wedding. Your recipe came out perfectly, and I used a regular hand mixer, too. I did have my doubts for a moment when the mixture looked like soup, but your “whip, whip, whip” advice stayed in my head and then came that glorious moment when the soup became frosting! I wondered about how it would hold up in California’s summer weather, until I read comment #312. My cake recipe is Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake and the taste combination is divine. Thanks so much for the recipe. I know my niece will be pleased.

  251. Betty

    I had tried this method twice in 2 days. And sadly i didn’t get the result as claimed. I beat the cream for more than 30 minutes but it’s still very runny and i gave up. Now there are 2 tubs in my frigde. Can i still thaw and beat the mixture? Will it still work? Please advice. Thanks.

  252. Eliza

    I made this frosting for cupcakes for preschool party. It was the perfect recipe for cupcakes that needed to stay fresh for 4 hours in the car with cool temps then warm temps. They looked great and the kids were very happy to just eat frosting and skip the cake (from the 1-2-3-4 cake.. love it too!). The icing wasnt super sweet. I tried to make it with just 2 sticks of butter (but didnt scale down the other ingred), but it didnt set up until I added the third. I worried it was too much butter, but it was great. It’s a lot of icing though for 24 cupcakes, so I’d half it next time.

  253. Beto

    Hey! This is one of my all time favorite buttercream recipes (and it’s really convenient, what with the lack of confectioner sugar). Just like to add that I added 3oz of semisweet chocolate (this is for the 9in cake recipe), melted with about half a cup of whipping cream, and added that in with the butter. It came out perfect! The chocolate was not too strong, which makes it perfect for chocolate cupcakes.

  254. I made this for a chocolate birthday cake and stirred in a few drops of a natural blue food coloring (from Whole Foods, dyes are from red cabbage juice) to a portion of the finished buttercream and got a lovely periwinkle for decorating. I also used dried, pasteurized egg whites to be safe (have to resuspend first in warm water; I’d favor the pasteurized egg whites in a carton for convenience) and it all worked out perfectly. I’m very impressed and will use this recipe again and again. It’s fun to watch the phase transition when the consistency turns to a perfect buttercream.

  255. Julie

    I just have to chime in and say that this frosting is a baking miracle. I was making a batch for my husband’s birthday cake and everything was going swimmingly until I accidentally added the whole pound of butter instead of just 3 sticks and 2 T. Gasp! I freaked out and quickly added another egg white (uncooked, I know — travesty) and a bunch of powdered sugar to try to keep the sweetness constant. I didn’t want to add undissolved granulated sugar for fear of the grainy texture. And then for the next five minutes I hung over the bowl of the mixer with my heart in my throat. I was convinced that I had screwed it up and would have to go to the store for more butter, but I remembered your advice to whip whip whip, and sure enough — one moment I was thinking, “hmm, the texture is starting to look different,” and then poof! Gorgeous silky shiny frosting! It was amazing. I’m still kind of flabbergasted that it worked. Thank you for the recipe, and for the encouragement!

  256. What an interesting frosting! So as a beginner froster, is this recipe safe in terms of using the eggs? Does it need to be refrigerated? Can it sit at room temp. and for how long? Thanks for the answers!

  257. BunnyCakes


    You made me feel like a total rock star tonight. First time and BAM! I nailed it! Even did a cocoa infusion for a decadent Chocolate Swiss Buttercream. What to do with the extra yolks? Make pudding, of course! LOL. Thanks for the amazing recipe and the fortifying advice.

  258. Wellington House

    My sister and I are hosting a baby shower for our niece. This is she and her husband’s first baby and the only, we’re claiming, grandchild we’ll have. So this is very special. My niece wanted Swiss Butter-cream frosting on her cake.

    I have taken culinary classes and have only made it once in class, a couple of years ago.

    I followed the formula and instructions to the letter and it REALLY works and taste GREAT to boot. This frosting is very east to spread and even easier to smooth. LOVE IT. Will be making this again and again.


    M. Ann Irby

  259. Rose Marie

    My two cents: I made this up (using the recipe for a 9″ cake) and only used 2 sticks of butter plus 2 T. Mine never went through the soupy phase but was too thin, so I thought I was going to have to add another stick of butter. Between the time I went to the fridge to get an extra stick, the buttercream came together beautifully with an ethereal texture. Tasty to boot. I didn’t time it but it perhaps only took about 4 minutes to come together?

  260. Hi, My name is Piera and I just wanted to say, thank you sooooooo much for many of your great recipes. It is so hard to find recipes that actually end up as said. Bravo!!!!!!!! This is the best web site ever. Your an awesome cook. There is really no recipe that I have tried of yours that failed me. Thank you again

  261. bridget

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I am also about to tackle my very first wedding cake (for my very first paying customer) and I am in extreme panic mode (like, every time a crumb is out of place, I cry a little bit). I REALLY wanted to use swiss buttercream because it’s my absolute favorite BUT I was nervous about it holding up in the heat. The fact that you are the ONLY place on the entire internet to mention that it will hold up okay in the heat makes you love more than usual! So, THANKS!!! You’ve helped me to feel a little bit less panic stricken!

    1. deb

      Hi bridget — I think that it will hold up in some heat or out of the fridge for even 12 hours. But I don’t think it would hold up in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. I certainly haven’t tried it. I hope that clarifies.

  262. I just made this frosting for my wedding cake. It is so lovely, and so delicious! I cut my butter into cubes so it would soften faster, and the mixture never got curdle-y. It was very soupy, until–just like you said!–it transformed into frosting all of a sudden. I made it with a cheapo hand mixer my soon-to-be mother-in-law has (my KitchenAid is home in Massachusetts!) and it took about 10-15 minutes of beating at high speed.

    I’m making a 10″ square rainbow cake, with 6 layers of about 3/4″ each, and I made a double batch of the 9″ round recipe. I’m sure I’ll have leftover frosting!

  263. Hi Deb,
    THANK YOU, thank you, thank you for giving us a no-shortening version of buttercream! And also, for putting in the recipes for smaller proportions so we can practice. No one EVER does that! (clap clap clap… sound of me giving you applause!).

    I’m glad that you mentioned (above, #342) that this probably wouldn’t stand up really well unless cool – I’m guessing that this is one of the reasons why most of the buttercream recipes include the shortening.

    Also, thanks for the sugar note (#314/#315 above) where you say to just use regular granulated sugar (Almost every other buttercream recipe says to use confectioner’s, so it’s nice to have a recipe using good ol’ fashioned regular stuff).

  264. Thank you so much for the practice proportions. I made it this morning and both my husband and I loved it. I have been looking for an awesome frosting recipe and this is it. I am making my granddaughter’s first birthday cake for this Saturday, and of course it has to be perfect. Again thanks for all the tips, my computer will be right on the counter beside me When I make and frost it this Friday – and then store in the fridge.

  265. Greta

    I am making my first wedding cake in a few weeks for my younger sister. I made two tester cakes this morning using your swiss buttercream recipe. My husband is in love with the frosting! It tastes just like the buttercream from our own wedding cake. The cakes are very smooth and it pipes well. Thanks for the great recipe! Now I am confident that the wedding cake is going to look and taste amazing.

  266. Miriam

    I’ve been making swis buttercream from Amy’s Bread cookbook- I always used my handheld mixer with no problem. I’m dying to use your recipe- it has less ingredients. thx!

  267. MOnica

    Your recipe is AMAZING! I just made my 2 sons a birthday cake (their birthdays are 1 day apart and they turned 3 and 5yrs) and it turned out great! It was a practice run for making my sisters wedding cake in just 3 more weeks. The 3 tire birthday cake turned out soooo nice and yummy. I can’t wait to make the wedding cake.

    I have one question. CAN THE SUGAR BE INCREASED WITHOUT AFFECTING THE QUALITY OF THE ICING? My sister has requested the icing be just a little bit sweater.

  268. Victoria

    OMG! I just made this icing for some rainbow cupcakes and almost had an “O” in my mouth when I tasted it! I only did half the vanilla required for a 9″ round and added the seeds from a vanilla bean to make up the rest and let me tell you, it is unbelieveable!!!! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe with the world, I know my world will be a yummier place now for sure :D

  269. Lydia Burgess

    For goodness sakes, this is am amazing recipe. I was a bit unsure about it because it seemed to be such a simple recipe. it did not seem as if it will be of a great consistency, but it was, and the flavour is sooooo good. I added a tablespoon of confectioners sugar to it for a little more sweetness and that did not change the consistency. Needless to say that I ate more of it than I really should. From now on, this is my frosting. Thank you so much for sharing .

  270. Krista

    You’re an inspiration especially with all these demystified, decadent desserts! I made the almond cake with raspberry preserves and frosted it with this buttercream as a birthday present to myself. I’m sure I’ll use this recipe again and again.

  271. Rachel

    Hi Deb, I’ve read almost every comment and all episodes of project wedding cake, and I can’t seem to convince myself that you used regular salted butter for the icing. I know you mention elsewhere, especially in the vanilla cake recipe, “unsalted” butter, but what did you use here? Thanks!!

  272. Erin mcAdams

    I used half salted and half unsalted butter. I wish I had used mostly unsalted, and maybe just a tablespoon or two of salted. Butter cream came out great though! I used a hand mixer, and yes…it took about 15 minutes for it all to come together. It was worth it though! I made this chocolate by melting 6oz (for the 9inch cake frosting recipe) of chocolate chips (i used semisweet) over a double boiler. I let the chocolate cool (wet a dishcloth, ring out excess water, and fold and place under the bowl to help heat disperse), and then folded it into the buttercream (I let the buttercream hang out in the fridge while the chocolate cooled).

  273. Emily

    Anyone who’s added coloring, have you had more success with liquid, gel, or powder? I don’t want to ruin the consistency. Any help would be appreciated!

  274. Juan

    Hi deb! I jus used this recipe for my cake today! The consistency is very good for spreading and piping! But I still think it’s too sweet.. Do u think I can reduce the sugar further? What is the minimal sugar I muz add to the 4 egg white recipe so as to get the same consistency?

    Hi Emily.. I jus used pink gel and made a pink buttercream and the consistency did not change at all :)

  275. So delish!! It looked like I was doing something wrong for awhile until, poof, it all came together!! I spread this on a dense carrot cake to switch it up from the cream cheese frosting and sprinkled some cocoa and cinnamon on top — heavenly!!

  276. Arcelly

    I just made this recipe, always been scared to make Swiss buttercream. Thank you so much for sharing. Everyone complimented me on my best cake ever. Thank you!

  277. shannon

    Thanks for doing the math on the buttercream recipe :) I made the tiny recipe the day you posted this recipe & have been making it ever since for half batches of cupcakes. It’s still my favorite, and sometimes I make it with brown sugar now.

  278. JanD

    Yeah, this worked the first time for me – I’m a novice. I could not beleive the result, this is a gem. I don’t think for one minute I want to go back to traditional buttercream frosting. I made a batch for a victoria sponge a few days ago and it did not turn out as my usual smoothie baby look. I then turn to the net for help and guess what, I found Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting – whoo! whoo! whoo!. ’tis everything I wanted; no sugar dust plastering the work service and going up my nostrils, followed by the effort to get it as the professionals – with SMBF I look professional baby! I read a piece on the net where someone was asking why is SMBF so difficult to work with and poor dear her flowers turned out as flat as a pancake. All I can say is that I piped some lovely patterns on my first-ever-using-SMBF-successfully. Also, I note that ‘project wedding cake’ above first-timer made a few balls etc on her project. I’ll definitely try making roses etc the next time to see if mine would hold – I’m somewhat confident though.

    Love it, love it, love it.

  279. tayuri

    Dear Deb,
    I’m a novice at cooking/baking, but your website is very inspiring and I love the pictures. I just wanted to drop a message of thanks for this recipe (and the best birthday cake one). I combined the two recipes, but made just two alterations. Because I currently live/work in Japan and I’ve heard many Japanese people say that American-style cakes are too sweet for their tastes, I reduced the sugar in the cake recipe by half. I didn’t reduce the salt, but I probably should have. I also LOVE this buttercream recipe because it isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, but still wonderfully creamy. Because I wanted to give my Japanese boyfriend the ‘typical’ yellow, layered birthday cake with chocolate frosting, I simply added 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa powder to the smallest buttercream recipe and skipped out on the vanilla extract. I think it makes a very nice chocolate buttercream–not too sweet or too chocolate in tastes.
    I will definitely be trying out more of your recipes in the future. :)

  280. Christina

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting a recipe in tablespoons that can be scaled to any amount. I did half the amount you suggest for a 9-inch cake last night, and it came together beautifully. SO much easier than hot-syrup-into-eggs buttercreams. Is anyone else mystified about how to measure the temperature of half a cup of syrup when most thermometers want you to submerge to a full inch and a half? I’m convinced it’s a conspiracy against home cooks. This is totally my go-to buttercream from now on.

  281. Trisha B.

    Thank you soooo much for this recipe!!! My sister’s and I took on the task of making our brother’s wedding cake, and it was a total success!!!! We have all done a little baking for holidays and birthdays, but nothing like this. I did a couple tester batches throughout the week before the big day, using them as experiments. I never had the problem of “soup” or separation, which was nice, but did find that how long and thoroughly I mixed the egg whites and sugar made a difference in the fluffiness in the end product. I made a practice cake, iced it, and left it on the counter to see how it would hold up. It was just as perfect on day 3 as it was when I put it together. I had put some extra SMB in the fridge and put some in a air tight container on the counter to see how it would react. It hardened like butter does when refrigerated, which I expected, so I elected to use it fresh.
    We made a 12″ round for the base, which was Red Velvet w a cream cheese filling, a 7″ square Yellow w cream cheese filling for the middle, and a 6″ Yellow for the top. We made the cakes the day before, covered them w plastic wrap, and left them on the dining room table. The day of the wedding, we trimmed, layered, and iced them. Since their colors were purple, blue, and silver we colored some of the SMB and piped ribbons around each base, and used silver edible flakes to sprinkle around the top of each layer. We decided to assemble the cake at the reception to avoid disaster. Once we put it all together, we used flowers to add more color and tie in some of the flowers used in the ceremony. It was a MASTERPIECE!!! Everyone thought it was professionally made! It was a lot of work, but was well worth it to see the reaction on my brother’s face!! I can’t thank you enough!!! This is definitely going in my recipe collection! I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes now too!! <3

  282. Maia

    Thank you for this recipe!!! I have one question (I scanned the comments and could not find the answer):

    Do the egg whites need to be room temperature?

    Thank you!!

  283. Dear Deb:

    I feel as if you were in my head when writing this blog. I know exactly what you mean about having a panic attack semi depression to see the fluffy frosting turn into a creamy soup. It is frustrating! I have tried a few times already with different approaches- adding the sugar after the egg whites are stiff peaks, making sure the butter is cold, placing the soupy frosting in the freezer so it hardens- but nothing has worked! Eventually it becomes liquidy again and I need prozac.

    I live in quite a warm environment and everyone says that is my curse and I must live a life without buttercream. But did whip whip whip really work for you?
    How long shall I whip for? I can’t imagine not ever being able to conquer the difficuties of making buttercream. Save me I beg you!


  284. Sue

    this is the best best best buttercream. so easy to work with, looks beautiful and grown ups and kiddos love it just the same. I feel like a baking rockstar when i use this recipe! thanks so much for sharing.

  285. LillyPad

    Hello, I am making a 3 tiered cake and I have been using tub icing (EXPENSIVE!!) and I was wondering if you could give me a receipe for a LARGE batch of Vanilla icing. (Enough to coat a 12”,9”,6”). Oh, I will need enough to cover top and sides (it will be covered in fondant) but I would like to have some left over to fill as well! Thanks!!

  286. If the bride wants the 3 tier cake to be iced in a “Mocha” coloured buttercream, but is allergic to Caffience, what is something else I could use to colour it. I’m at my wit’s end. Thanks Jacqui

  287. Wendi

    Dammit. I didn’t read the comments before I made a test batch. Needless to say my test batch bombed but now that I’ve read the comments I think I know what went wrong. I will have to try it again.

  288. Kylee has a really awesome tutorial on how to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which is the first place I saw it when I was making her Super Epic Rainbow Cake.

    The main points are to whip, whip, whip! It undergoes a metamorphosis stage and transforms magically. Amaaaazing. Additionally, if even after whipping (for even up to 12 minutes) it doesnt come together, try refridgerating it for 10 or so minutes and trying again. Apparently that solves most of the soupy problem.

    Chocolate Swiss Meringue is made by folding through cooled melted chocolate at the end. I think Martha Steward has a recipe.

    The best part about this frosting is that it hardens in the fridge, making the frosted cake easy to cover and store. Then just let it get back to room temperature before eating.

  289. Gwen

    This was disgusting…. It has the texture of greasy mayo and very little flavor (added two fresh vanilla beans, as well).
    I like other things you’ve done but this, this will never be used by me again. Ew.

  290. Jill

    Would you recommend this frosting for a castle cake that cannot be shoved in my fridge for two days? I’m at a loss of what type I should used. I’m afraid a cream cheese frosting will spoil. It’s for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. :)


  291. Samantha

    I just made this buttercream for some dulce de leche cupcakes I’ve been working on… it’s phenomenal! My new favorite :)
    Thank you so much for posting

  292. Megan

    I was just asked to make about 200 + cupcakes for a wedding. I will defiantly try this. I have almost 6 months to figure this out lol. Looks delish!

  293. Ann

    I made this recipe but the frosting turned out a really yellow butter color. It wasn’t as white as yours. How can I get it whiter?

  294. jesse

    Hi there!
    I have been visiting your website regularly (love the icebox cake recipe) and you came to my rescue when I wanted a frosting that would be pipeable, unlike cream cheese frosting which was my first choice. I wanted to do a honey flavored buttercream but I’m wondering if adding straight honey is going to mess up the consistency or ability to pipe it on? I’m only making cupcakes, but I’d rather be able to pipe the frosting so it looks nicer. I was also wondering how long this frosting can sit out and if it will droop the way cream cheese frosting does? The cupcakes will be out for around 3 hours at room temperature. Thanks!!!

  295. Ann Munson

    I too wonder at the safety of the raw eggs. Could you use dried whites instead? The problem with non-hydroginated fats is the icing is too soft and doesn’t ever crust. This makes summer here, Fresno, a problem. A. Munson

  296. deb

    The egg whites are not raw but cooked until quite warm. (There are recipes that can give you an exact temperature as a safety threshold but I didn’t follow one.)

  297. I’m hoping this hasn’t already been addressed, I scrolled through comments and did a site google search, so I apologize if this is a repeat question, but:

    I cook a lot out of the Sky High book, too, but have NEVER been able to successfully make the buttercream frosting recipe that calls for making the hot sugar syrup and pouring it into the eggs. The syrup turns solid as soon as it hits the bowl/eggs. I was just curious if you or anyone can maybe point out what I’m doing wrong?

    In the meantime, I’ve always had success with a version of Swiss Merengue Buttercream (Martha Stewart’s version), so I just opt for that know — but I’m dying to know what I’m doing wrong with the Sky High buttercream :-)


  298. Maria in NJ

    OK so I just made this…it is just OK, has a very butter taste, like your eating just plain butter…help? Is that what it is supposed to taste like?

    1. deb

      Hi Maria — Yes, it’s very buttery frosting with not a ton of sugar so the butter flavor is … more prominent. However, when applied to cake, it will all make sense, promise. It will be recognizable (I hope) as that delicious frosting that the best bakeries use on wedding cakes. And it looks gorgeous.

  299. This post is so helpful! I attempted a Swiss Buttercream last night and it hit the curdly stage and I panicked, scrapped the batch, and made a new batch of a basic sugar frosting. It made me really sad because the flavor was so good, I thought I was on track to finding my new favorite frosting. From what I’m hearing you say, the trick is to keep whipping after it hits that curdly stage and trust that it will become thick and spreadable. I definitely will be giving this another try. Thank you!

  300. Buklz

    I made a double batch of the 9″ recipe to put on 30 cupcakes, and it came together like an absolute dream!! No soup, no curdle, just the best frosting that’s ever come out of my kitchen. I had made it two days in advance, and it kept well in the fridge and sprang right back after bringing it to room temperature and giving it a quick mix on the KitchenAid. I mixed half the batch with ground Oreos and half with strawberry puree, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I ate the leftovers for breakfast.

  301. Jennifer

    Ok so I started to read through everyone’s comments in wondering if anyone had an experience like I did. After about 50 comments, I just did a search for “curdle”, lol. I made the cake for my friends baby shower a month ago. I was looking up recipes for buttercream and my mom found this one. We tried the the test batch and I thought it came out pretty darn good. When it came time to making an actual larger batch, that’s where it seemed to go wrong. I followed the directions and it just didn’t seem to get past the curdling stage for me. I thought it looked funny and didn’t remember the practice batch looking like that but my mom assured me that everything looked fine. We tried putting it in the fridge for a while but when I took it out, it looked like there was a small pool of water in it and my mom tried to whip it but it just looked wrong. I never got it to that smooth buttercream look that I thought it should be. We tried making another batch and finally I just gave up and just used the second batch. I definitely would like to try this again because I’d love to see if it curdles again. Any idea why it stayed curdled? I felt like I was whipping it for a long time.

  302. florence

    I LOVE icing but traditional icing can be way too sweet when you have a rich cake.
    If I add some shortening might it help the SMBC crust and hold up under TX heat?

  303. Well, I whipped that sucker right into shape. You know, I’m not sure I have had swiss buttercream until I made it now. And I will NEVER EVER NEVER go back to butter + icing sugar. Thank you as always for your uber-clear directions.

  304. Sarah

    I am currently making a practice wedding cake/three-person (my dad, twin sister, and I all graduated from college this semester!) three-tier cake. I was just wondering if one needs to crumb coat when using Swiss Buttercream. I know I won’t receive an answer in time for this cake, but the wedding is in August. Thanks!

  305. This is spectacular frosting! It works so perfectly. Just made my very first wedding cake for a friend using a martha stewart lemon cake and this buttercream recipe. Because we had to carry it pretty far – I did messy icing and got away with no crumb coat because i’d frozen the cake and it was still stiff. photos of what that looked like: I made the wedding cake amount PLUS the 9″ amount, and had about 1.5 cups leftover for touchup.

  306. I LOVE this recipe, it turned out perfectly the night before my husband’s birthday. But after refrigerating overnight, I had a tough time getting it back to the fluffy amazing-ness of the day before. It did come back somewhat (I melted some down and added it back while whipping the rest), but I think next time I’ll make it the day of. Made it for Beatty’s Chocolate Cake from Ina Garten. Cake was yum!! Highly recommend trying it.

  307. Judy Johnson

    Just made this and it turned out terrific! It never did “curdle”, but came together beautifully quickly. I would like it to be just a bit sweeter. Can I up the amount of sugar in the recipe without ruining it?

  308. essiepett

    Just made this yesterday, trial run for best friend’s wedding cake. It is amazing. I made it with a handheld electric whisk and no problems, didn’t even curdle. Added some lemon juice for flavour, lovely. And still looks (and tastes) amazing today, 30+ hours and a hen party later (without refrigeration). The best.

  309. joan of dark chocolate

    Hi! I made a sample batch (1/2 of 9 inch size cake) and it worked the first time (delicious, good for piping and so easy!). I just tried to make the full batch and it didn’t come together. The only thing I can think that I could have done differently is continuously whisk the egg whites and sugar over the pot of boiling water rather than “whisk occasionally”. Do you think that could have ruined it? Could I have maybe not gotten the eggs warm enough? Although, it only curdled and after reading the comments i wonder if I need to just do another round of whipping (it is hanging out in the fridge). Any help would be great! Thanks.

  310. Colleen

    Thank you for this recipe! I made a 3 layer ‘anniversary’ party wedding cake and it was a hit. I made numerous batches (8 egg white batches) but i RUINED the second batch by not washing the beaters from the first! BECAUSE OF THE BUTTER ON THE BEATERS THE EGG WHITES WOULDN’T SET UP. Remind every one that there must not be any water, yolk, or butter near those egg whites in the first few steps!
    It took color very well. Thanks for a new favorite frosting recipe!

  311. Heather

    Deb, I have just finished making sheet cake versions of your chocolate cake, best yellow cake and a couple of other cakes for a large party on Sunday. I’m freezing the cakes before putting the layers of sheet cake together. I was wondering if I can make the Swiss buttercream this far ahead, or if I need to make it when I put the cakes together Saturday.

    Btw – made a tiny batch because I wanted to check it out and added dark cocoa too the finished product. Oh – it’s awesome – other than the dark black cocoa turned the icing an unappealing taupe-ish brown. LOL!


  312. Priscilla

    I’m a fairly new at baking. I dont usually make frosting from scratch. This sounds superb. I want to make it for cupcake 12-24. What should the amounts of the ingridients be? Any advice before I attempt my second time making frosting ever? I would appreciate it. I like that you say it’s not too sweet either. Sweet sweet frosting is too much. Thanks ladies.

  313. Priscilla

    I made it tonight . It came out perfect! Just the practice amount. Never tasted frosting so good. I was scared I would mess up. Thanks deb! I love it absolutely delicious !

  314. THANK YOU for this post!! I have been so stressed about making a wedding cake for this on coming weekend. I bake.. and frost cakes, but don’t call myself a decorator. Luckily it’s a vintage simple style so really it is the “frosting” not the decorating that has to be perfect! I was looking at an Italian Buttercream recipe but was afraid it wouldn’t hold up well. On my Pinterest wedding cake board I have numerous recipes and styles that I have been staring at for weeks without making a decision. I’m hoping that since this post was back in 2008 it’s still the frosting of choice. Going to try it out today! :)

  315. Jessica

    So I’m doing a practice run for my son’s birthday cake – and this is the most beautiful buttercream I’ve seen. It’s pearly and has a sheen. So pretty. It isn’t super sweet – I think I may add just a tad more sugar as it’s for kids and they like sweet. but it’s beautiful and I can’t wait to frost my cake! I hope it holds color well b/c I have to add color now. Wish me LUCK. I was so afraid it was falling and then boom it thickened up and was perfect!

  316. Kathy

    Thanks for the recipe! I tried it last night and nearly gave up 2 seconds before the frosting came together. Good thing my friend was there to keep whisking when I stopped. The frosting is delicious…perfect for my chocolate cupcakes.

  317. Fleur

    I’ve been searching for a good Swiss Buttercream and this is it… thank you!
    I made the tiny batch twice for practice, and had the same problem twice: The hot eggs melted my butter and it wouldn’t come together… it stayed a creamy slosh for as long as I would beat it (a long time!). Has anyone else had this problem? Popping it into the fridge for 15 minutes helped it get fluffy. It tasted fabulous on chocolate cake. :)

  318. steph lee

    HI Deb~

    I’ve been following your blog for about a year or two now and it’s always amazing desserts and foods that come out this site and I want to thank you for always posting and keeping us in your loop~

    I’m actually using this icing to ice my friend’s wedding cake, which is this saturday.
    I have two questions regarding the icing:

    1. I’ve made this icing 3 times now and I haven’t been whipping it to a whipped cream cheese consistency. HOw can I make this happen? Do i need to refrigerate the icing for a little bit and re whip???

    2. Can this icing be used as the filling too??

    I really appreciate your answers =)

    1. deb

      steph — I’m glad you’re enjoying the site — thanks. I am not sure what you mean by whipped cream cheese — is it too thin? too thick? something else? It can be used as the filling as well.

  319. steph lee


    Yes, the icing was thin and so I’m weary about using it as the filling.
    How can i make it thicker? Would putting it in the fridge for a while help?

  320. steph lee

    Just wanted to give you an update!
    The Icing was magical!! It was great!!!! The cakes came out beautifully and everyone enjoyed it!!

  321. Heather from Canada

    Squeeeeee! This turned out so well! Icing has been my nemesis for years but despite butter that was slightly too cold, I just kept whipping and it’s amazing icing. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of pure almond extract as well as the vanilla listed and decorated the sides of my cake with toasted sliced almonds. Thank you so much!!

  322. Heather from Canada

    Fleur – did you miss the step where you beat just the warm egg whites and dissolved sugar until they are like a huge fluffy meringue (third picture above)? My mixture was cool enough from the beating that no butter melted (fourth picture is with butter added).

  323. Gary

    Hi Deb

    My daughter is getting married tomorrow and she asked me several months ago to make her wedding cake. Your amazing recipes have given me the confidence to pull this off! Had the opportunity to practice all Summer long. The chocolate butter and vanilla buttermilk cakes for the three tiers were done and frozen last week. The Swiss Buttercream and raspberry cream filling were completed this morning thanks to the old Cuisinart DLC-7 food processor with a whip attachment. Set the the alarm for 6am tomorrow and we’re off to the church for assembly! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  324. Nooreen

    I am planning on baking a 2 tiered birthday cake for my daughters 2nd birthday, 9″ and 7″ round. Do you think the amount of swiss buttercream that you mentioned for frosting and filling a 9″ cake would be enough to frost (no filling) the 2 cakes? Thank you

  325. Bam Bam

    Many thanks to you, Deb! I decided to make Swiss meringue buttercream for the first time to frost my Mum’s birthday cake. With your directions, I managed to whip up the most delightful frosting on my first attempt; it was very difficult to stop ‘taste-testing’ it every couple of seconds. While the guests have yet to try it, I know they are in for a treat!

  326. Sarah

    I loved this recipe I used it for a wedding cake for the weekend. I made it the day before and some more the day of. The thing I noticed it was a lot easier to decorate with the next day after it had been sitting. This is my new favorite recipe. Thank you.

  327. chris

    Wow, I am so used to making the Wilton buttercream recipe that I have not even thought about trying something else. I am curious how this swiss buttercream withstands heat and does not melt? With the wilton buttercream I use half crisco and half butter to keep it stiff and not soft. Does this recipe, using just the butter, hold well?

  328. Caitlin

    Thank you so much for putting together this wedding cake guide. Believe it or not, but I am making my own wedding cake and this has been immensely helpful. My cake is going to be quite small and less so about feeding my guests, but showing part of who I am. Anyway, I am using your Red Velvet cake recipe for the cake and the Swiss Buttercream for the frosting. One question though, I would like to do fondant. Typically I use a less fluffy frosting with fondant, but really love this recipe. Do you think if I fondant that the frosting will come off the cake when it is cut and removed? Any tricks around it? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Hi Caitlin — What a project! I have never worked with fondant before, but would troll the boards for advice; I am sure there is plenty there. Good luck to you!

  329. Lori

    LOVE this frosting!! My search for a great recipe is finally over with, this is the one I will use from now on. It turned out great, just follow the directions as stated. Thank you so much for posting!

  330. Liz

    Ackk… I’ve been standing here staring into my mixer for 17 minutes and even though I feel like it should be coming together it’s not… I am starting to feel hypnotized by the mixer going around and around. I’m going to give this 5 more minutes and then through it into the fridge and try again tomorrow. It tastes awesome so I don’t want to give up yet.

  331. Kirsty

    I am SO pleased to have found this blog… I am making my own 3 tier wedding cake (crazy, yes.) It looks like freezing the cake is fine, freezing SBC is OK, but has anyone frozen the layers with the filling, and with a crumb coat already applied successfully? This would leave me with just the outer layer of butter cream and decoration to do the day before the wedding. I will of course trial, but wondered if there was any one that had tested this already? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Hi Kirsty — You should be able to freeze it with a filling and crumb coat, but some fillings will freeze better than others. I haven’t frozen a curd before so I’d do a test of its texture once defrosted before freezing a whole cake with it. However, I have done it jam-like or frosting-like fillings successfully.

  332. Kirsty

    I wanted to just follow up on my last post, as I had my first attempt with both the chocolate cake, and buttercream recipe this weekend. I don’t have a big mixer, so my feedback is that if you are trying to make the cake with a little hand mixer like I was, be prepared for this to be your biggest challenge. If I was to do it again i’d make it in two batches and then combine.

    The butter cream worked a charm (even with my little mixer) and was MUCH easier than a lot of the post here lead me to believe! I am comfortable with making meringue though, and also used caster sugar rather than regular sugar, which meant that I had a very stable meringue, that didn’t even go runny when I added the butter.

    The buttercream held up very very well, froze like a charm in the freezer in a matter of minutes for decorating. I would say though, that if you like a sweet frosting, this frosting is not for you, and with the cocoa rich cake, I was pleased that I added a layer of jam for sweetness.

    Last point! I made the 9′ cake and the medium amount of frosting, and it was wasn’t enough for me to use as filling and decorating the cake (I was doing roses though, and so needed a lot).

    Happy baking!

  333. Em

    Hi there would love some help please!!
    I can make swiss meringue buttercream and its beautiful, ive always had good results, looks feels tastes like whipped cream, but ive run into a problem. the last 3 batches of cakes ive frosted have gone waxy! the frosting whips nicely and pipes beautifully but after i leave the cakes out for a bit they seem to be going hard with a waxy rubbery look and feel, they also taste rubbery too! I am using the same ingredients, brands and methods butsomething is wrong somewhere, like i said ive always had success until now what could be causing this? i have noticed lately that the frosting is whipping to a stiifer consistency than it used to, like clotted cream, whereas it used to be a bit thinner like whipped cream (i can remember thinking it wouldnt pipe or hold its shape the first time i made it) anyways, today i made another batch of cupcakes so decided to use classic buttercream frosting…and guessed it…the exact same thing has happened! so i cant blame the egg whites..could it be the butter? over mixing? kitchen temp? please help!!

  334. Kirsty

    Em – I’m only guessing, but my instinct is that you are over whipping the butter. When I made a smaller test batch the SMB I found it to be a little waxy as I was giving it hell with my beater and it did quickly change texture. I didn’t find that this happened when I made a larger portion :)

  335. I made your Swiss Meringue Buttercream recently to frost a rose cake for my friend’s party. I even slowly took the egg whites to 160F (to sterilize) and had no problem with the frosting turning out. It held up beautifully – at least until the young man transporting it decided to indulge his inner race car driver… But even with a little smudging it was a hit! Thank you.

  336. Joy

    When do I abort? I’ve whipped a medium-sized batch for 30 minutes now. Still gloopy and I think my butter is melted? I’ve just frosted a cupcake and put it in the fridge to see if I can still get away with using this non-swiss buttercream I’ve made.

  337. Michasia

    An absolutely stunning buttercream; best I ever made! And so simple, comign from a 14 year old ;) Even my mum (who typically hates buttercreams’) loved this one. Apparently it’s the same recipe my deceased granny used in her bakery, and I can’t thank you enough for posting it ^.^

  338. Nicole

    I loved making this frosting! It turned out great, even though I used honey instead of sugar, and about 2/3 of the butter for the 9 inch recipe (it seemed like enough, tasted great, so I didn’t feel like adding more). I also only have a very old hand mixer and the frosting came together really quickly, less than 5 mins to double and less than 5 mins after the butter to come together. Also, half my butter was very room temperature, almost too soft, and the other half was straight from the fridge. I was worried, but it turned out perfectly!
    Thanks for the recipe notes, they were helpful to reassure me while making this for the first time!

  339. Paul

    Thanks, that was pretty cool, I like it a little less sweet, & tried this on a whim, so I only had almond extract, but I love the texture, can’t wait to try it on something

  340. Sally

    I’ve successfully made the basic swiss buttercream several times and we all loved it. THIS time DH wanted a chocolate version for the only birthday cake I’ve been allowed to make him since 1965. After reading through various odd recipes on the web I decided to just add 8 oz. chocolate, melted and cooled, to yours. Absolutely first rate! I was concerned for a while that the meringue had collapsed when I added the vanilla, but it fluffed up again with the butter and chocolate. I had more than enough for two 9″ round layers, tall ones.

  341. Thank you smittenkitchen for the inspiration! I recently made my own buttecream wedding cake, largely based on what I read here :) I didn’t make my own buttercream in the end (because I had long travelling by car and no guarenteed refridgeration), but nonetheless, this post was critical in getting me from idea-to-reality, and for that, I thank thee.

  342. Kathy

    Deb, I totally trust you, but this buttercream did NOT come out. I’m assuming it’s user error, but after whipping in in my stand mixer for 40 minutes, I’m gonna call it dead. Never came together! I may have overcooked the egg whites, possibly? Because they never whipped up. I’ll give it another shot sometime when I have more butter!

  343. Linda

    Absolutely wonderful!!!!!! I’ve never been a fan of icing. It’s always too sweet and greasy from the shortening. Even when I use all butter, just didn’t feel or taste the way I wanted. When I eat cake, I usually end up scraping off the icing leaving just a skim on top. I’m making cupcakes for our lenten fish fry and found this recipe. It did take a little more time, but it was so worth it. I took my time, as you said, and it came out so great. I just love it. It has the taste and texture of what I imagine when I think of “buttercream” I love this site. I especially like that you give tips so we know what to expect and look for as we follow the recipe.
    Thanks so much.

  344. naa

    made this without a kitchen aid mixer but just a whisk and a bowl……..came out perfect…..and i live in hot humid GHANA. ok maybe took a bit more time. And adding the butter a stick at a time helped the buttercream come together easily.Think i tasted the buttercream after about adding a third of the butter. could have sworn it tasted like ice cream!

  345. I made a batch and stuck it in the freezer (wrapped tightly in plastic wrap) for my daughters 4th bday party next weekend. I made your pink lady cake and am going to use the swiss buttercream for the outside icing. Will 2 batches of the 9″ proportions work for covering the outside of a 3 layer 8″ cake?
    I was nervous with the egg whites but followed your directions and took the egg/sugar mix out when the granules were dissolved. Hope that was correct!
    It whipped up surprisingly fast, and was also sweeter than I expected (almost too sweet for me-but maybe its because I tried it from the bowl and not with cake to tamper it down.)
    My daughter licked the spoon and loved it so it got the kid stamp of approval. It was very light but very rich.
    I definitely like it better than powdered sugar!
    Once a year (for my daughters bday) I go crazy and start looking up recipes and reading baking tips, blogs for cakes. This will be the 2nd one of yours I have made for her bday. Thanks Deb!!!!

  346. Arti

    I know I’m one of the many thanking you. But this recipe was amazing. I used it for my nephew’s birthday cupcakes. Every other recipe for cooked buttercream out there was so much more complicated. This was easy (!)…. And tastes great.

    1. deb

      Julia — It will probably work, but it won’t taste very good here. In some baked goods, the flavor difference is small because there’s so much going on (i.e. chocolate chip cookies). Here, the flavor is mostly butter.

  347. Nina

    My 12 year old son (gotta start them young) is making a 3 tiered cake for my friends 60th 1960’s birthday party. He loves using fondant. Can this buttercream recipe be used under the fondant? (as well as in between the layers). The cake is neon pyshcadelic colors on the inside and tiered with 10″ white fondant, 8″ black fondant, 6″ white fondant. Pop art on the outside, hippie on the inside. The only question for us was the buttercream. This recipe seems perfect, especially since its white so won’t show through the white fondant.

  348. Ashni

    Deb – Do you think I could add a tablespoon or two of hazelnut paste at the end to make a hazelnut buttercream?

    1. deb

      Hi Ashni — I think so, and it would be delicious. My concern would be getting the the paste to distribute evenly throughout the frosting. You might want to whisk a little frosting with the paste and then a little more, before you fold that mixture back into the big bowl of frosting. (You could also use frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur, or some hazelnut extract for extra flavor.)

  349. Ashni

    Thanks, Deb! I tried with the hazelnut paste and it was incredible on a chocolate cake. I just added it into the bowl of the stand mixer once the frosting came together. No issues blending the paste in!

  350. Jenny

    Thank you! I am planning on using this recipe for my brother-in-law’s wedding cake next week! I experimented with salted butter today, and the end result was not sweet enough for my liking. I am planning to make a chocolate cake with sweet cream for the bottom layer, very vanilla cake in the middle, and lemon lovers with lemon buttercream filling for the top layer. Looking forward to using your recipe! Thanks for the directions and adaptations!

  351. Emalie

    This is a phenomenal recipe, but I am wondering if a chocolate version could be made. Any idea what amount of chocolate should be added to bring the flavor through, but not ruin the perfect texture and consistency?

  352. Jenny Demczyk

    TaDa! My swiss buttercream is ready for the cakes! :) Really LOVED watching this come together (took 10 minutes in my Kitchen Aide)! To save time, I used the Walmart brand egg whites…seemed to work just as well as eggs that I hand separated during my trial runs. Also, I dissolved the sugar and egg whites in the Kitchen Aide’s mixing bowl over my double boiler. This saved the messy water drips from the bottom of the bowl getting mixed into my final product (not to mention dishes—yay)!
    Thanks so much for your recipe and tutorial! I happen to come across your blog through a google search, and I am so excited to try more of your recipes! Thanks again!

  353. Melanie

    Thank you thank you for this recipe! Your easy directions make this fabulous frosting a cinch. I used it 2 years ago for my sisters wedding cake. It tastes great and works well under fondant. Anytime I want to make a little project seem extra special I use this buttercream recipe! Thanks again and I am going to make some right now for a birthday cake!

  354. Poppy

    This is wonderful! I’ve been looking for a real buttercream recipe and at last I found it!. I made the practice batch and loved it. Now I’m gearing up to make a special birthday cake for family and friends with July Birthdays. Fingers crossed my cake will come out as delicious as the buttercream. Thanks much!

  355. Lily

    I used the smallest amount for practice.

    This buttercream recipe terrified me. It was soup, soup, soup…still soup. Until somehow it just whipped! Took about 15-20 minutes before it whipped, but it did.

    After I removed the egg whites-sugar mixture off the stove, my egg whites did not turn stiff. It did double in size and turned foamy white. The mixture remained soup-like until long after I added the butter.

    It works. It’s good. And I’ll be using it for cake.

    Thank you.

  356. Thanks so much for sharing this…I’ve never made swiss buttercream but I’ve become curious about it because someone’s told me it’s better then the american buttercream. I personally don’t like the american buttercream because it’s just too sweet for me so this should be perfect.

  357. Georgina

    This was the best ever!!! I was super panicked when after over 20 minutes of whipping it wasn’t coming together. I was cursing the amount of eggs and butter wasted, but thanks to comment 182 (Emily) I realized the Texas heat was probably messing with it. I stuck in the fridge for about 5 minutes and came back to it to continue whipping. After about 2 minutes of whipping, it was suddenly frosting. Thank you, Deb, for posting this awesome recipe and thank you, Emily, for the fridge tip.

  358. Kate

    I just made my first wedding cake, using both this swiss meringue buttercream and your chocolate cake recipe that paired with this. The bride and groom wanted a chocolate mint cake, so I also made a chocolate peppermint ganache and used that as a filling. It was a total success! Thank you so very much for these recipes. I tried to read the Wilton boards but they were a little intense and so your wedding cake blogs were my main go-to. One thing to note – if you are making a stacked wedding cake, definitely put powdered sugar and parchment between the tiers otherwise the cardboard bases suck up all the frosting.

  359. I love swiss meringue buttercream and I have always done it the other way (where you pour sugar syrup into beaten egg whites). I decided to try doing it this way because your recipes are always so trusty, and I was really disappointed. Because I have always done it the other way, I didn’t know that the egg whites didn’t need to be whipped to stiff peaks before adding the butter. Also, the 3rd picture has the caption “egg whites” so I assumed that was what they were supposed to look like before you added the butter. Well, turns out after reading the comments when my egg whites weren’t whipping up for the second time (I tried it twice because I though I might have just gotten a little yolk in my whites the first time), the egg whites aren’t supposed to be whipped to soft peaks. I wasted a lot off butter and eggs on this – perhaps you could add to the “deb note” after the recipe that the egg whites don’t stiffen until after you add the butter? You do mention it in comment 128, but I didn’t have enough time to read all the comments before I began (I suspect others don’t, as well). It was my own mistakes that caused my distress, but I figured it wasn’t too crazy of a mistake to make and wanted to save others from doing it as well. I will definitely try this again sometime, but SMBC and I are taking a short break after this slight disaster.
    I’m still totally your #3 fan (#1 and #2 are jacob and alex) :)

  360. Magda

    I made this frosting and it came out buttery tasting (which I understand is what it’s supposed to taste like) but it also came out very packed – it wasn’t light and airy as some of the other commenters mentioned. Mine was similar in consistency to slightly softened cream cheese. What should the texture of the frosting be? And if the butter is too cold (which I suspect), could that have caused the non-airiness? Or not beating the egg whites enough? (Mine never sloshed…..)

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  361. Kitty

    Hi Deb!

    I have a question about this Swiss Buttercream frosting, your 7-minute frosting and the Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream filling/frosting on your Fudgy Chocolate Sheet cake that you made for Jacob’s 4th birthday. Which would you say is the LEAST sweet? The only buttercream I’ve ever made is the Wilton version (for the classes) and I can’t stand that stuff!

  362. Marcy

    FROSTING SO EASY IT MADE ITSELF! After whisking the sugar and egg on the stove for a couple of minutes as directed, I put the ingredients in my in mixer (as indicated) and let the Kitchenaid do the work (using the 6-wire whip beater) while I unloaded the dishwasher! That’s how easy this frosting was. It came out as smooth as silk, as shiny as glass and as light as air.

    This frosting is very similar to authentic (cooked) Red Velvet frosting but better tasting and easier to spread on the cake because it doesn’t sink off the sides. I will start using this on my Red Velvet cakes, for sure!

  363. Jean

    hi deb! i’m fairly new to baking and i would really love to try your swiss buttercream. i dont have a candy thermometer. i just want to ask how many minutes does it take for the egg whites to be considered safe?

  364. MAPLE buttercream! I made this recipe a few times in the past year and love it. My first real buttercream! So today, Thanksgiving morning, when I went to make Ina Garten’s pumpkin cupcakes with maple frosting….I had no confectioners sugar for the frosting and remembered this recipe. I doubled the smallest batch you list and substituted granulated maple sugar for the regular granulated and otherwise followed all the directions. It was more than enough for a dozen cupcakes. Thank you!

  365. Rachael

    so i usually read a lot of the bottom comments when i make a recipe for the first time, but i did not this time.

    let me just say that the frosting came out nicely, but after reading comments now, i see you mentioned above that you used unsalted butter. i made sure to use salted butter because you didn’t clarify in the instructions, as you usually do. heads up!

  366. Carla

    THE BEST frosting ever!!! Just made it, with fear and trembling I might add, for a wedding cake. Used my chocolate cake recipe. OMG! I can’t wait for the bride and groom and guests to taste thus! I did have to put a bowl of ice under my mixer to get it to whip up stiffer. (My butter was a little softer than it should have been.) Just heavenly!!! Thank you so much!

  367. Leah

    It worked!!! No question to post, just so relieved and excited after a quarter hour of hovering fretfully over my mixer. Your voice was a comforting guide, Deb – thank you!

  368. Leah

    I spoke too soon – I do have a question after all. When I started to pipe a border and decorative writing, I found there were lots of hidden air bubbles in my pastry bag, causing the frosting to occasionally “burp” out of the tip (this created an explosive little detail in my daughter’s name when I piped the “Happy Birthday” message). Any tips for reducing these bubbles? Thank you!

  369. Thanks for this recipe; it has become my go-to frosting for most everything. I love how sweet it is-not too sweet. It allows the other flavours to come through so well. It’s perfect! Your wedding cake looks beautiful too!

  370. As someone crazy enough to decide I’m baking my own wedding cake, thank you for this recipe! I’ve been experimenting and haven’t been happy with American-style butter creams and will give this a try. I really appreciate the different quantities for different sized batches and will definitely mix up a starter batch tomorrow!

  371. KC

    I made this buttercream today , doubling the recipe and here is what went wrong:

    I let the merengue cool then proceeded to add the butter one stick at a time and once I had added all the butter the mixture looked curdled. So I tried to whip it faster to get it to be a homogenized mix but it started to separate and I saw some liquid starting to pull out. Additionally the consistency was lumpy like almost cooked egg whites but it did not taste like it.

    I did not want to risk any further and just added 2-3 cups of powdered sugar to bring it back to life.

    I used a kitchen aid stand mixer with a whip attachment. When adding the butter I did so at speed 4.

  372. Chelsea

    This recipe looks amazing. I’m considering using it for my husband’s 30th birthday cake. He can’t eat any of the usual amazing cake additions (chocolate, fruit, etc.), so I’m trying to make the best damn vanilla cake ever! Question – I’m thinking this is the right frosting to use, but which cake is better to go with it: your vanilla buttermilk cake, or your best yellow layer cake? Or is there another cake that you would recommend that would really stand out and/or complement the swiss buttercream?

  373. Clara

    Hi Deb, could you please give the measurements if making a 3 layer 9 inch cake? I’m making your Almond Rasberry cake, so for those measurements. Thaaanks :)

  374. Melanie

    I skimmed through as many comments as i could to see if my question had been answered so forgive me if this is a repeat. I love this recipe, the pictures are so helpful. It is the first one i came across when looking for a fabulous frosting for my sisters wedding cake. I use it now for almost anything i can, so thank you for making me a believer. My predicament is that I have people wanting me to make cakes for outdoor parties this summer and i have searched all over google, numerous times, looking for any way to make smbc hold up under the shade of a tent or awning in the summer heat. I live in the PNW so worst case 85% F. I have decorated my cakes while frozen(though i have to use a different filling that won’t get all weird when unthawed) and that has seemed to help keep the temperature down for a while but i admit it is a little odd when you cut into it and the middle is still a little frozen! I really don’t want to have to switch to that icky shortening, powdered sugar frosting that is reminiscent of a grocery store store cake (no offense to anyone). So please, is there any way to make smbc love the summer heat?

    1. deb

      Hi Melanie — I’m not sure I followed. I frost after the cake comes out of the freezer, not before. If you’re worried it will be frozen, give it an extra 6 to 12 hours to defrost in the fridge. It can’t hurt to have a wider window, especially if the cake is particularly large.

  375. I am making the cake for a coworkers wedding – first wedding cake I’ve made – and this frosting recipe just saved the day! I have tried so many recipes and this one is absolutely perfect! Thank you for sharing your cake making story!

  376. Klára

    I’m about to make my first-ever wedding cake in a week and your (incredible) wedding cake story is giving me hope! I love the way you described every little detail of the making process so now I know what to count with at least a little bit. :)
    I’m also gonna use the chocolate cake layer you used. I’ve tried it once and it was really delicious plus very nice to work with.
    Thank you so much for the help! :)

  377. Klára

    Just want to share my personal experience. :)
    I’ve just made a tiny amount of this frosting, just for a bit of a practise and it’s WONDERFUL! :)
    It was easier then I expected (We’ll see about that with more than 12 egg whites.) and everything went well! :)
    The frosting tastes amazing and pipes really well too.
    Thank you so much, Deb, for the recipe and also the helpful advice! :)

  378. Inge

    What i have noticed wile making any kind of Swiss buttercream is that before you add your butter you have to make sure your wippend egg whites arn’t warm anymore, this way the butter won’t melt on you.

  379. Amanda

    I know this is four years late but if you are using a stand mixer which I entirely recommend there is no need to soften the butter. Also I worked in a commercial bakery and we stored this frosting for 1 week at room temperature. For best use whip before using.

  380. Jean

    hi deb! tried your buttercream last saturday for my in-laws’ bday celebration. i must say, it was a huge hit! everyone loved it! it’s not overly sweet, just right for our taste buds. it was the perfect pair for my moist chocolate cupcakes. love, love, love your recipe! thank u so much for sharing your recipes and tips with us. ☺️

  381. Stephanie

    Just wanted to send along a thank you. My gf is getting married and I am making the cake….. using your Vanilla Butter Cake and the your Swiss Butter Cream. They are both the best I have ever made. Thank you a thousand times!

  382. Sarah

    Hi Deb! The chocolate cake and buttercream recipes both worked out so well for a recent birthday cake I made – huge hit with everyone, lots of compliments. Quick question: what size tip did you use to pipe those beautiful big buttercream pearls? I tried it out but I think the tip I was using must have been too small. Thanks!

  383. carol

    So I did something a little crazy. I said sure no problematter to baking a bunch of cupcakes for a wedding which happened to be in OBX. So I lugged 12 pounds of butter, a new stand mixer, and what felt like a half ton flour and sugar up three flights of stairs. We figured out the quirks of the rental oven and made the cakes. I had a problem with swiss buttercream. It wasn’t my first swiss buttercream. Eggs whipped up beautifully, but once I added the butter it never really got thick enough to pipe. I made two batches and still cannot figure out how I goofed. Any thoughts? I am probably going to try again. There were a ton of variables….at beach, strange kitchen, extreme exhaustion, new mixer…but I cannot figure out what to do differently. I have chilled swiss buttercream and had the sugar crystallize so I didn’t want to do that. Many thanks. Your blog helped give me the courage to do the wedding cupcakes. I did hide while they were being eaten but I have heard pepole were happy with them and the pictures looked very nice. Now to fix the Swiss buttercream….thank you!

  384. Hi Deb….I know this is an old recipe, but I’m looking to make a white frosting for chocolate cupcakes for my 5 year old granddaughter…for her birthday party in Bklyn. She wants the icing to be blue and I already have the food coloring, but not sure which icing to make. And, what can I make one day to serve the next day since her party is on the early side. Thanks!

    1. deb

      Arlene — Which frostings are you deciding between? One thing I learned when using this frosting for my son’s rocket ship birthday cake this year, blue is apparently the hardest color to tint any frosting. I used SO MUCH and it only came out light blue (and this is a dark photo. This might be fine with you, but just wanted to give you a heads up, just in case.

  385. Cool cake! I was thinking of butter/confec sugar kind of icing because (I think) I can make it today, ice the cupcakes and then leave it out of the frig overnight. Is that ok to do, because I know you can’t put buttercream in the frig or it separates. Any other ideas?

  386. Sandra

    Thank you for all your fabulous recipe and the super helpful tips! We live in Tanzania, East Africa and it is the middle of summer right now. I used your italian buttercream recipe and it held up PERFECTLY and was so delicious – every one was stunned. Will never use a different buttercream again! Thank you!! Your tips on the whole process made my experience a lot easier as well! Can’t wait to share with others and keep baking :D

  387. pooja

    Dear Deb,
    My daughter’s 5th birthday is on coming 7th. I am planning to bake a barbie doll cake (with 2 base layers of 2.5 inch thickness and wilton mold as gown part)using your “best yellow cake” recipe, and fill and frost with the “swiss buttercream). I have a few doubts:
    1. Do u think yellow cake with swiss buttercream is a good combination? Can I stuff in strawberry coulis or canned blueberries without thinning out the filling?
    2. Will the base layer yellow cake support the gown weight?? the diameter is 8 inches or should I use dowels and separating plates?
    I hope you get time to reply to this one..have a nice weekend!



    1. deb

      pooja — Sorry, I’ve never made a cake like this before so I cannot comment on whether it would be supportive enough, but it can’t hurt to have dowels on hand in case it seems necessary. The cake is fairly sturdy, though. Swiss buttercream is always welcome. I haven’t combined it with fruit, I suppose if the fruit isn’t thin it wouldn’t be an issue.

  388. Jessica

    Deb – I found this back when it was first posted. I have made many a couple of weddings cakes, quite a few special occasion cakes and numerous birthday cakes now with this buttercream recipe. It’s 2015 and I am still referring to this page because my print out is stained and splattered with buttercream ingredients.
    Thanks again!

  389. pooja

    Dear Deb,
    Thanks for getting back. I shall go ahead with dowels and let you know how it goes. My daughter is super excited and I am a bit jittery but I think I can pull it off..

    Many thanks

  390. Becky K (another one)

    ‘Bout to frost a lamb cake made with your best yellow birthday cake recipe, and thanks for reminding me of swiss buttercream! I used it last November when making a TARDIS cake for my 6yo ds out of chocolate butter cake, and it was delish!

    I noticed your note about wiping condensation off the egg white/sugar bowl, and though I’d pass on my tip of just using your kitchenaid bowl over the bottom pot, then there is no transferring. Maybe someone mentioned above, but sooo many comments here! :) Thanks for all you do and share! I always check here and brown-eyed baker before google when I am looking for a baking recipe.

  391. Amanda

    I love the smittenkitchen so veru much. My go to holy grail for baking. Someone to instruct me in my own kitchen language. Opened up so many doors for me. This buttercream was my first ever successful attempt, made with Best Birthday Cake and it was so beautiful and creamy. But i must say, for someone who loves sugary cakes, even if age is tempering that love, this frosting is bland!! Maybe it’s not the lack of sugar but the excess of butter. It honestly tasted liked whipped butter with food coloring. I will probably make again just with less butter…if that will even work. We’ll see. I am still sold on this because….IT WORKED but thought I’d mention a sweet tooth/butter moderation perspective. I AM STILL SMITTEN …and I use my kitchenaid mixer bowl for a doulble boiler too.

  392. Dawn

    I have a friend who is dairy intolerant. I love, love, love this recipe. Not liking a super sweet frosting this is wonderful. Everyone who has had my cakes love it.
    I used o all things – Crisco (butter flavored) It worked! for all of the Gluten free/dairy free peeps out there this worked!
    Thanks you are my go to for inspiration in the kitchen!

  393. Jennifer

    This is epic frosting and it comes out beautifully every time I make it.
    I often use the leftover egg yolks for a batch of lemon curd. For my partner’s birthday, I made two 9-inch lavender cakes (think white cake with culinary lavender), filled the middle layer with lemon curd, and frosted with this beautiful buttercream, barely tinted with a whisper of purple, and topped with a few lavender sprigs.
    Am I the best girlfriend ever, or what?

  394. Kalle

    do you think i could add raspberry puree to this icing successfully? i’ve used this recipe many times, and it’s always a hit. just curious as to your opinion on adding a little puree.


    1. deb

      Kalle — I haven’t done it with this kind of frosting, but I have with a quick buttercream successfully. It’s definitely worth trying here. I usually blend fresh berries then press them through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of the seeds, and measure a tablespoon or two of puree from there.

  395. Maddison

    I am making this for my wedding saturday! Over ambitious!! Could you tell me how many cups of frosting the top biggest recipe makes? I have an 11in pan 8in and 5 in. Thank You!!

  396. Mary

    Thank you! I have been playing with Russian tulip tips and a lot of the videos talk about Swiss buttercream. It made the trial batch, which is enough to cover three rectangles of graham cracker with tulips, and you may have ruined American Buttercream for me and my family. :-)

  397. Jana Kadden

    Hi there, I’m wondering if you have an equally tasty and stable chocolate version of this? This has become my go to and I use it as a base for probably 15 other flavors all with delightful success. But the chocolate is never deep and tangy enough- truth be told I’d love to add sour cream but then it’s no longer strong enough to stand up under a fondant decor and fancy carvings. I’ve been testing and retesting and being disappointed for months. Hoping maybe you have an answer I missed? Fingers crossed, and thanks so much.

  398. Rebekah

    I made this for a wedding cake that I made back in June! Super impressed by the results! :) I’m now tasked with making my sister’s wedding cake but wondering if the frosting can be made the day before?? Would it be ok to leave out? Or refrigerate it?



    1. deb

      I left it out overnight in a definitely air-conditioned kitchen but I’m not sure that’s like Food Safety Official Practice or anything. It was fine, though and saved us the trouble of having to warm it back up to pipe and spread it.

    2. I made my friends wedding cake last year. I made the buttercream in two batches two days before the wedding. I kept it covered in the fridge. About an hour before it was time to ice the cakes, I pulled it out of the fridge to warm up. Then I re whipped it in my mixer. It worked so well!

  399. Eden

    This is amazing frosting! I can’t wait to frost my daughters 4th birthday cake with it! I am adding cardamom to it as her cake is a vanilla cake but I add orange to it. I have always hated the American buttercream and didn’t even realize there were other kinds! Thank you for making it possible. I’m not gonna lie though, I completely panicked when I noticed the curdling… But then I just kept whipping kept whipping kept whipping, and voilà! I had perfect Swiss buttercream.

  400. I am not a cook-type person but needed to make a birthday cake for a friend and was feeling sassy enough to try fancy frosting. THANK YOU for saying to have faith that it will come together. I was CONVINCED it was an utter failure and was ready to dump the whole bowl when POOF it came together into a creamy yum. Thank you for making me look like a better cook than I am!

  401. Stephanie

    I tested this out last night! It came out thick, like cream cheese rather than a whipped mayo consistency and wouldn’t stick to the cake. Any advice on what I can change to make sure this is more fluffy on my next go? I know I messed up somewhere but not sure where to start!

    1. Sarah

      With buttercream it’s always about temperature. If yours was too thick, it was too cold. Warm it up (not too warm) and re-whip and it should soften nicely.

  402. Lorraine

    I love the consistency and smoothness, but it tastes too buttery … has anyone tried this with less butter or more sugar?

  403. Rosa

    Thanks so much for yours and everyone’s comments to just keep whipping! It served me well for the wedding cupcakes I made for this weekend, and each time when I was about to lose hope, whip whip whip and it came together.

  404. I made a tester of this recipe for a wedding cake I’m doing in a couple weeks and my buttercream broke twice in a row. On the second time I took to the internet and found out you can scoop out a portion of the buttercream, put it into the microwave for 10 seconds, and drizzle it back in and it totally fixes it! If it doesn’t come together, take a bit more out and repeat.
    I have no idea how it works, but I just witnessed it with my own eyes.
    Hope this saves some time and stress for everyone.

  405. lauren payne

    I just wanted to let folks know a few tips. My friend & I are making wedding cake for 200 for another friend. After some side-by-side taste tests, the following concoction was unanimously chosen: SK wedding cake project chocolate cake, filled w/dulce de leche & a thin layer of this swiss meringue buttercream, and frosted with the buttercream. We also added about 1/4 cup of butterscotch sauce (from SK!) into the “wedding cake” sized batch of buttercream. It’s dreamy that way!

    1) Make a batch (or 3!) of SK’s butterscotch sauce. Wait until it cools, and drizzle some of it into this buttercream recipe. It’s heavenly.

    2) We made the “wedding cake” sized batch of frosting. In our calculations, it made approx 8 heaping cups of frosting. We ended up making 5 batches for all of our cakes. I’ll come back & let you know if it was enough/too much, etc.

    3) Do not let any butter get into the egg whites prior to their being fluffy. We had an incident and a half batch of our egg whites never “meringued” properly.

    4) We did the entire wedding cake batch amount of egg whites & sugar in a big bowl on the stove (over a bain marie), but we found that the batch was too much to make in one of the standard Kitchenaid “artisan” models…I believe the 3.5 quart size. We ended up dividing the whites in half & making half batches that way (we had 2 mixers, which meant we were able to make 5 batches in like 2 or 2.5 hrs!)

    5) Swiss Meringue Buttercream seems fussy to make, but it only adds a few minutes of work, and is SO worth it. I promise, you can do it. My partner who’s never made anything that didn’t come in a package helped, and she had no problems with it. (It was the seasoned baker who got some butter in the whites too soon!)

    1. lauren payne

      Shoot…I can’t edit my comment but just realized I made a mistake in my numbers…I had been working from two different recipes & combined them. Apologies; all of my above notes are for a DOUBLE batch of the “wedding cake” sized batch. In other words:

      – The “wedding cake” batch size makes 4 Cups of frosting.
      – We made 10 batches of the “wedding cake” size for 5 two-layer 13 x 18 sheet cakes & a two-layer 8″ sq cake. Will keep you posted on how it works out.

      – An “artisan” Kitchenaid will easily accommodate the “wedding size” batch of frosting above; it’s quite simple to make a double amount of the egg whites & sugar over a bain marie using a large bowl & sauce pan and then dividing in half once it’s time to add butter.
      – We put 1/8 C of butterscotch sauce per “wedding cake” sized batch of frosting.

      Again, apologies. Deb, if there’s a way to edit my comment, please feel free to just fix my numbers and delete this comment! Thanks for all you do!

  406. Sarah

    This post saved me endless hours of fretting over meringue buttercream. The frosting was a major success by all including the baker! Thank you for sharing your experience with others! I recently made a 14-10-8″ cake and one 2 layer 10″ cake using 2 batches of the “For a wedding cake” size recipe. Each batch measured approximately 14 cups of frosting. It provided me to be very liberal in my crumb coat, fillings, and outer coat frostings. Thanks again for the wonderful project!

  407. Claudia Natera

    Dear Deb, I was asked by my niece (which is also my Goddaughter) to bake the wedding cake for her. Sounds familiar? Well I happen to live in Mexico City which is around 7,500 feet high. So did you bake that high altitude wedding cake and can give any advice? HELP!!

    1. deb

      Ack, I have never baked at high altitude before so will not be helpful in advising, although King Arthur’s tips look as solid as any. As with all wedding cakes, the surest way to feel good going into it is to make a smaller test layer or two in the weeks before, so you know how it will work, and make adjustments on a smaller scale. Good luck! You’re a wonderful godmother!

  408. Claire

    Hi Deb, long-time reader and fan of yours and first time commenter here! My soon to be sister-in-law recently asked me to make the wedding cake for her and my brother’s wedding. I’ve enjoyed making cakes but never done a wedding cake before but I remembered reading your detailed reports on “project wedding cake” right away and they are giving me confidence that I can do this with your helpful tips! You’ve about sold me on the merits of the Swiss Buttercream you used (though I’ve never had or made Swiss buttercream). However, I am curious to hear your thoughts: They want a “naked” cake, so I think I’d want a very firm frosting that’s going to hold up the exposed cake layers well/keep them on straight and most importantly not ooze out the sides. Do you think this Swiss buttercream would be up for that task? Or would a traditional buttercream be thicker and more firm and thus work better in this instance? Thanks for all of your great recipes over the years – they’ve never failed me yet!

    1. lp

      I know you’ve asked Deb, but in case she doesn’t get back to you or doesn’t think to mention this, don’t forget to factor in heat and humidity. I’ve found this particular frosting is really dependent on weather. If it’s hot AND humid, it is not very firm and gets a little melty (not super melty tho, just too much to act as a support).

    2. deb

      First, thank you. Second, for oozing out, that likely relates to what the filling is even more than the frosting. A correctly dowel-ed and supported wedding cake shouldn’t be crushing itself and forcing filling out the sides, if that makes sense. (It totally may not; feel free to ask more if so!) For a naked cake, I think I’d prefer this frosting. It’s quite rich but not excessively sweet and won’t get crunchy or crusted at the edges as it sits out. Good luck!

  409. Stacy Patrick

    Greetings from the other side of this recipe! I can proudly say my first go around today was an overall success. Wanted to share a few tips that I learned along the way. Firstly, as Deb says, don’t freak out once you’ve combined everything and it looks like lard. :/ Fear not and keep on whippin’! Secondly, and my biggest mistake, be patient and let the egg white and sugar mixture fully whip (and peak like in Deb’s pic above) before adding the vanilla and butter. I whipped mine until it was white and somewhat double in size, but if I had whipped it a little longer I think it would have had a better consistency. The final product was delicious, but I thought it was a little too buttery. On second taste, I think the buttery aftertaste was all in my mind because only I knew how many sticks of butter went into this buttercream! Everyone loved the cake tonight and said it was just right and not too sweet. Smitten Kitchen recipes strike again! Thanks Deb, as always!

  410. Dora

    These many years later, I relied on your Project Wedding Cake posts (and many helpful reader comments) to make my first wedding cake, which went beautifully. Wanted to share with readers that I made this buttercream with BROWN SUGAR (plus salt) to make it more flavorful and a better match to the caramel cake with dulce de leche filling. It turned out gorgeously delicious and a lovely ivory color.

  411. Grant

    I was expecting this to be horribly difficult to make and to have to troubleshoot it when it didn’t come together (if this does happen to anyone, Bravetart has a guide on how to save Swiss meringue buttercream), but it came together just fine! I like the balance between butteriness and airy whippedness (two very legitimate words). I may be using this for a wedding cake I’m making.

    1. Amanda

      Add some chocolate ganache(heavy cream swmisweet chocolate) after the frosting is finished and voila chocolate!

  412. I’ve been perusing your recipes to find something to bring to a holiday party. Your recipes always get me rave reviews. This buttercream looks great! I’d like to use it for a buche de noel….how would you make it chocolate? Could it be done?

  413. Rachel Henson

    Hi! Love the blog. I’m making a cake for my daughters 1st bday and want to ice it using Swiss buttercream the day before. What’s the best way to keep it? I was planning on refrigerating.


  414. Kate

    I realize this isn’t a ‘real time’ comment section BUT I accidentally added the butter and vanilla to the sugar first. Then read the directions and removed the butter. Can I still use the sugar with the bit of vanilla mixed in for the egg whites over the dutch boiler? Is it better just to use new sugar?

  415. Linh

    Hi Deb, I always had trouble with buttercream or frosting in general that is too sweet or it comes out grainy. Finally I tried swiss buttercream this time and it came out perfect. Thanks for the recipe and tips. Would you also advise if I can make flavored swiss buttercream ( lemon) then at what stage shall I add lemon zest and if at all lemon juice?

    1. Amanda

      You can make lemon! I would reccomend using lemon curd (concentrated flavor) and whip it in to finished buttercream, maybe add zest for extra flavor. You can flavor with jams for a more natural flavor or use extracts of you dont mind that they sometimes have an artificial taste. Beware of adding too much liquid as it could comprimise the stucture.

  416. Kait

    I have made this buttercream more times than I can count. I just made a batch for the first time in a while for my son’s first birthday cake. I miscounted the tablespoons of butter and had a delicious puddle of sweet cream, but nothing I could pipe. When I realized my mistake, I added more butter and voila! The buttercream still came together!! This recipe is amazing and foolproof. Thanks Deb!

  417. Scott

    I made this yesterday for my wife’s homemade birthday cake. First time I made a cake or frosting. Verdict: the frosting worked as advertised–I kept whipping and eventually it turned into a fluffy, sweet confection that peaks like whipped cream, is colored ivory white like grandma’s wedding dress, and spreads and styles easily.

    I like the idea of splitting the batch into thirds, whipping strawberries into one of the thirds, blueberries to another, and leaving the final third white, and frosting a cake with red, white, and blue icing for Independence Day.

  418. Derek Sheeman

    Your project wedding cake is still my go-to set of articles for refreshing my ‘how to bake cakes’ knowledge. Whipping up this frosting for my mom’s birthday cake this evening. Thanks so much!

  419. Oh man! I made the little batch and it can’t out great. Then I made the bigger batch and it was not coming together. My kitchen had been a little overheated from making chicken wings so I put the bowl and mix into the fridge for a minute or two and tried again. Success! Who knows if it was really the cool down or just the continuous whipping but what a relief. Also, I surrounded the container in random ice packs and frozen veggies from the freezer.

  420. I just wanted to say that I have used this buttercream recipe for almost everything (wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cupcakes, etc) since I discovered it in 2014! It is the best and most stable buttercream I’ve ever tried! Thank you so much! I would be completely lost without it!!

  421. Marlys

    Hello, I am a neophyte cake decorator & first-time reader of this blog. Love it!! I have two questions: 1) I am making a baby shower cake that will need to withstand a day’s car travel. Can the buttercream frosting be made several days ahead & refrigerated till ready to fill/frost? 2) I want to use this to FILL ONLY an 8” cake — if I double the amounts given for a 4” cake would that be enough to fill a 3-layer cake? Thanks for your help!

    1. lp

      To answer question 1, you can refrigerate or even freeze the frosting, but be aware that it *may* need re-whipping the day you use it. It freezes really well, in my experience. If you won’t have access to a mixer, you may want to switch to another option, or have a backup solution available (if it’s to simply fill, maybe a jar of jam and/or lemon curd?)

    2. deb

      This frosting should withstand a day’s travel within reason — obviously not in the broiling sun. You can make the frosting in advance but I actually don’t refrigerate it, just make sure the kitchen isn’t running hot. Not sure if that’s not a food scientist-approved technique, but it’s easier than warming up hard butter from the fridge, which will then need to be rewhipped. I’m not positive how much you’ll need to fill only a cake. I’d try to scale it down to the smallest egg level, make a batch, and see how far it gets you. Good luck.

  422. el edwards

    The frosting is terric…and for some addictive.ONE WARNING..The recipe calls for whip whip whip. Be careful because you can actually whip it to much, just like whipping heavy cream it will go from a fluffy frosting to almost butter. still taste good but not as easy to frost or pipe with.

  423. I have made this twice now and both times it has come together even though it sure seemed like it wouldn’t…I’m glad you put that note in there!
    I would say this frosting is a little heavy on the butter and a little light on the sugar. I would want to see it a little sweeter and might increase the vanilla as well as the butter is just a bit overpowering.

  424. kathleenharper

    This is a perfect recipe. Warning: I’m super nostalgic about it. I have celiac and needed to make made my own gluten free wedding cake. I used this recipe to frost the cake. I made the buttercream the afternoon before the wedding (after doing several practice batches the week before) and the whole process was actually really relaxing once you realize that the buttercream is only temporarily a curdled mess… and trusting that everything will come together eventually. I remember thinking it was a great metaphor for what planning a big wedding felt like.

    I assembled and frosted the cake that evening and a friend decorated the cake with fresh flowers on the day of. I love going back to this recipe and using it for birthday cakes. I’ll keep making it forever! Thanks for this sweet recipe, Deb.

  425. Carrie

    This worked so well for my first foray into wedding cakes! For a 2 tier cake, 9″ bottom and 6″ top with 3 layers per tier and filled with curd, doubling the recipe left me with plenty of frosting to decorate. Just wanted to share since the math made my head hurt :) The frosting held up really well, even outside on a hot day (in the shade) for 8 hours. Also, I added the butter about 2T at a time as other recipes suggested that this would help it come together more easily.

  426. Kim

    This is the buttercream I make regularly for birthday cakes and today I finally tried subbing Earth Balance vegan butter sticks for the butter. It actually came out perfect, texture-wise, but since Earth Balance doesn’t make an unsalted variety, it had a slightly salty undertone. (I added some powdered sugar to compensate). So if you want to make a dairy-free buttercream and can locate an unsalted variety, I wanted to report that it works well.

  427. Ashley

    THANK YOU for giving us the “practice” recipe! What size cake would match this? A single layer 6 inch, or a 8×4 loaf pan size? Just want to know what to bake ahead of time.

    1. deb

      I make 6-inch for practice because I want it to match the height/shape of the final cakes. In fact, I’m doing it right now for my … next wedding cake project. ;)

    1. deb

      I haven’t tried it here — theoretically it should work but I bet there are espresso swiss buttercream recipes out there; I would cross-reference with one.

  428. Mary Talbot

    Hello! Made this with delicious results. Stuck in the fridge overnight then thawed for 2 hours on the counter and gave a quick rewhip, good as new. I’m curious whether this is considered pasteurized / at risk for salmonella? Given the heating process and the fact that it is designed to be served for large groups I’d assume it’s “safe” (I’m generally of a mind that raw eggs have a very low risk but I’m curious of the science here). When I researched it, it seemed like a longer heating period and or using egg white or meringue powder would be the most risk free option. I’ve also heard the trick of dipping the raw shell on eggs in boiling water briefly before proceeding b/c the shells harbor any germs rather than the inside of the egg. Thanks for any insights you or other commenters may have!

    1. Mary

      Kept looking into it and I think I answered my own question. If you want this to be fully pasteurized, check the temp w a thermometer during the heating egg white / sugar stage (see below for a great article on this) (will may require heating past the stage of the sugar dissolving). As long as you’re continually whisking, it sounds like the continued double boiler heat should not coagulate the egg whites b/c of the inclusion of sugar at this stage.

  429. Sara

    It was exciting when all of the sudden it turned into frosting! Alas, I discovered that to me it just tastes like butter. Happy I made the “practice amount”.

  430. Linda

    I’ve made this recipe many times because I love its smoothness and that it’s less sweet than traditional buttercream. I do slightly alter the recipe by using less butter (I generally use about 2/3 of the specified amount of butter, which varies depending on the amount of frosting I make.) Today I decided to change it up even more and instead of my usual 2/3 of the amount of butter, I used 1/3 butter and 1/3 cream cheese. It took a bit longer to reach the desired consistency but when it did, oh boy it was delicious.

    P.S. I love your recipes! I’ve been relying on your expertise going waaay back—at least 10 years. I truly appreciate the way you streamline recipes and explain why you’ve made those changes.

  431. Sally

    Your Swiiss Meringue Buttercream has been my go-to frosting since I first read about it. I’ve done some tweaks to suit our tastes, of course, but it’s basically the same one. Discovered that chocolate melted isn’t really satisfactory, but cocoa powder is! Only 2T. for a good choclatey taste for the 1 C. of sugar recipe. And, just this past weekend, to celebrate my 80th birthday, I used 9 oz. of dark brown sugar in place of white–spectacular taste and a pleasand blond/beige color that exactly suited a white cake. So, thanks!

  432. Kirstin

    I just LOVE this writeup. When you say put the butter in a stick at a time do you mean a Tbsp at a time?

    1. deb

      I was writing it with the largest batch in mind, which is 5 cups or 10 sticks of butter, so I meant 1 stick at a time. However, if you’re making a smaller batch, a few tablespoons at a time might be better.

  433. Christa Van Ermen

    I made this and it is perfection. What can I use to make this chocolate; specifically, type of chocolate and amounts, so that it won’t make it too liquid or too dry?
    Many thanks,

  434. My partner requested plain buttercream frosting for my kid’s first birthday cake. I normally do not like buttercream frosting, but I knew your site would give it the best shot. Of course, I waited until the last minute to make said frosting. In that stressful rush, I accidentally put the butter in before I whipped the egg whites. The curdled mess looked destined for the garbage, but I kept whipping, and then, thanks be to you, the best buttercream frosting I’ve tasted emerged. I managed to arrive at the birthday party, cake in hand, a mere five minutes late. You are the best.

  435. Angela

    I truly hate to be the one to ask, I’m making a cake for a friend who can’t have dairy and sugar.

    I’ve made this buttercream before with maple syrup replacing the sugar but now I’m replacing both the maple and butter with vegan butter.

    Do you think the vegan butter will work? Or am I substituting too many things? Also can I add chocolate as well? Would that be cocoa powder or melted chocolate?

  436. Jennifer Rea

    I’ve been making this recipe for my children’s birthday cakes for years. This year I tried another popular blogger’s recipe. It didn’t ever come together. I threw it out and made this tried and true recipe. It’s the very best. No changes!