Wednesday, August 18

How to Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I receive A LOT of emails and comments about buttercream. I try to respond to them as thoroughly and promptly as I can, but sometimes I just don't have the time to do so, and that makes me feel bad.

Like, really really bad.

So, what I decided to do was start a bit of a "how to" series on making different kinds of buttercream. I want to be able to address any questions that you guys may have, and be able to offer guidance with step-by-step photos just so you'll feel a little bit more confident about trying out the recipes. I know that stepping away from the classic powdered sugar and butter frosting might seem a little scary, but it's really not that difficult. European buttercreams may take a little longer to whip up and may make a little bit more of a mess, but trust me - it's worth it. Swiss and Italian Meringue buttercream are less cloyingly sweet than traditional buttercream and, in my opinion, both have a more pleasant mouth feel.

Also, when you present a cake to someone and tell them that it's frosted and filled with Swiss or Italian Meringue Buttercream, it makes you sound really fancy, and that's always good, right? Especially since they never have to know that it's not that hard to make!

So, let's jump in, shall we?

How to Make Swiss Meringue Buttercream
A step-by-step guide penned by Kaitlin and photographed by P.

Swiss Meringue buttercream was the first European-style buttercream I ever made. It's a little easier than Italian Meringue buttercream and it uses nearly the same exact proportions of ingredients. The taste is identical, but the difference is evident in the texture; Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a little less light than its Italian cousin, and feels a little heavier (but not oily!) on the tongue. Because it is thicker, I chose to use it for the Super Epic Rainbow Cake for structural stability.

The first thing you should do when starting any recipe is to gather your ingredients and hardware. Measure out everything before you start to be sure that you have enough and also to expedite the process. This is called mise en place, which is just a fancy French way to say, roughly, "everything in its place," and it is very, very important.

Here we have...

5 egg whites
You must be sure that you are using LARGE eggs or the proportions will be off. Your frosting will not set correctly if you use larger or smaller eggs (unless you compensate for the difference, but most people, myself included, are too lazy to bother). The egg whites do not have to be room temperature for this recipe, but it will speed things up if they are.
1 c (200 g) sugar
This is granulated sugar. Do not use powdered sugar!
2 sticks (226 g) butter
This butter is room temperature and should be chopped into tablespoon-sized slices before continuing. You must allow your butter to set on the counter for at least 30 minutes before using or it will not incorporate correctly. If, however, you would like a shortcut, simply slice your butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and arrange them in one layer on a plate. Microwave for 5 seconds, flip over each slice, and microwave for 5 seconds longer if needed.
1 tsp vanilla extract
Well, this is more than a teaspoon's worth, isn't it? No matter; just know that you can use almost any kind of flavoring you like for buttercream. I will touch on this point later in the post...
An arbitrary amount of water
This is more hardware than ingredient, so... My bad. This water will be poured into the pan of your double boiler.
Alright, now that you have your ingredients ready, let's move onto hardware.

We will be using...

A small pan and an accompanying bowl (not pictured - oops!).
If you have a double boiler, use it! I don't, so I suffice by doing it this way. Be sure that the bowl fits well on top of the pan and doesn't set too low in it.
A whisk
A rubber spatula
An electric mixer
You can use a hand-held model or a standing model. Or just a whisk if you're crazy like P.

Begin by pouring an inch or two of water into the pan of your double boiler. If you are simply using a pan and a bowl, make sure that the bottom of your bowl does not touch the water. If this happens, your eggs will scramble and you will have to start again! After an appropriate amount of water has been added, bring it to a simmer.


Meanwhile, combine the sugar and egg whites in the bowl of the double boiler with a whisk. You are not trying to whip the whites at this point, so don't worry about creating volume. Just be sure that they are evenly combined.


When the water is simmering, place the bowl over the pan. Whisking constantly, heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is quite hot to the touch (160F on a candy thermometer), about five minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every once and awhile with the rubber spatula to get all of the sugar off the sides of the pan. If all of the sugar doesn't dissolve, your frosting will taste fine, but it will be grainy and won't look smooth.

Heating the eggs and sugar has a few purposes. The first of which is that it melts the sugar, resulting in a very smooth meringue. And have you ever heard that room-temperature egg white whip better than cold ones? That's because room-temp egg whites have a more relaxed protein structure in comparison to cold ones, and heating them further only loosens that structure more. This means that heating the eggs allows them to whip to a higher volume.

Also, cooking the egg whites can serve as a method of pasteurization if you have concerns about salmonella. Just use a candy thermometer to ensure that the egg whites reach 160F before continuing, and then continue as directed.


Anyway, the whole process should take about five minutes. To test if the sugar is dissolved, just dip your fingers into the mix (don't worry - it's not going to hurt you!) and rub some between your fingertips. If it's gritty, keep cooking! If not, move on (after washing your hands, of course).


Pour the mix into a larger bowl (you may use the one from the double boiler, if you like, or a stand mixer if you have one), scraping the pan with the rubber spatula to get as much out as possible.


Begin whipping the egg whites on high speed. They will foam initially...


Then thicken slightly...


Then thicken some more...


And eventually you will have a lovely, glossy, light and wonderful meringue! It's a lot like marshmallow, at this point, and quite stiff. The bottom of the bowl should be room temperature and the egg whites themselves should have cooled. The whipping will take ten to fifteen minutes.


At this point you can begin adding butter, but only after chopping it into tablespoon-sized slices (thanks, P!)


With the mixer on high speed, add the sliced butter, piece by piece, to the meringue. Be sure to add the butter SLOWLY and make sure that each pat is completely incorporated before adding the next (counting to 15 usually works for me). Don't panic when the meringue deflates. That's supposed to happen, and it's totally fine!

Sometimes the buttercream becomes soupy after all of the butter is incorporated, and I have not been able to discern if that is due to adding the butter too quickly (which we did intentionally here) or if it is due to the butter being too warm. However, the cause is not terribly important, because I will show you how to fix it!


So, if your buttercream looks like this, don't be sad, scared, angry or frustrated. It may look more like soup than frosting at this point, but it's totally fine. All you have to do is...


Put it in the fridge. Seriously. Just let it cool for 5-10 minutes before you whip it again. You might also try adding a few more tablespoons of butter.

Of course, if your buttercream is not soupy, just keep whipping it.


But after whipping a little bit, the next "problem" may rear its ugly head. I know that that looks disgusting and curdled and just... Wrong, but it's ok. Just keep your mixer and your spirits on high...


... And keep whipping! I promise that it will smooth out.


And when it does, it is time to add the flavoring of your choice. We chose 1 teaspoon of vanilla for today, just to keep things basic.


Then we whipped it in...


And wound up with a little over 2 cups of wonderful, luscious, smooth Swiss Meringue Buttercream!

Now, to address the topic of flavorings.

You may use any kind of extract you like in place of the vanilla. Almond, lemon, peppermint - you name it. It's all to taste, so add more or less to your preferences. Oils are an option as well, but they are much stronger in flavor so only add a drop or two at a time. Melted chocolate can be used to make chocolate buttercream, but be sure that is has cooled sufficiently before adding it or it will make your frosting melt.

I like to use jams to flavor buttercream, but be sure that they are quite thick as too much liquid will cause the buttercream to break (meaning the fats and liquids to separate). I don't know of any way to fix it when this happens, so be careful when adding jams and drop in about a tablespoon at a time.

Using jam as a flavoring will lend color to the buttercream, but that can also be done by using food coloring. Gel and liquid colors work well (I imagine that powdered food coloring would too, but I've never used it) and are best added just a bit at a time until the desired color is achieved.

Leftover buttercream may be kept in the refrigerator for a week or two or frozen, well wrapped, until needed. Just be sure to bring it to room temperature and whip well with a beater before using.

I think I have exhausted my knowledge of this subject for the time being, so I would love to open this post up to anyone who has any questions about Swiss Meringue Buttercream. If you've want to ask something, please feel free to do so in a comment, or e-mail me if you prefer! I'll try to work the answers to your questions into the post if I'm able, or maybe I'll just add a small FAQ.

At any rate, thanks for reading! I hope I've been able to make at least someone feel a little better about this whole process. Keep an eye out for the next "how to" which will focus on Italian Meringue!

Oh, and before I go - I would like to thank P's family (Happy birthday to P's mom!) for allowing P and me the opportunity to use their kitchen for this project, and I would also like to thank P for all of his help!

149 comments:

  1. I love that you're taking the time to give us a Buttercream education! Thank you so much, this is great!!

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  2. this is so great!! i tried to make swiss meringue buttercream once and only once because it was a huge disaster! i'll have to give it another shot.

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  3. Thanks for this great step by step (with pictures) tutorial! I was never quite sure if I was making buttercream right so I just make EVERYTHING with cream cheese frosting. Now I can branch out!

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  4. Thank you for putting together this post! I've had some trouble in the past with Swiss Meringue Buttercream (and I think you noticed it when I made my cupcakes on my blog)but I'll be sure to use your tips next time I attempt it!

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  5. This is an awesome tutorial! Can you colour this frosting?

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  6. Oh my goodness...You have no idea how much this helps me! I've always been a failure when it comes to making buttercream that involves egg whites (both times I tried, mine looked "curdled" and the buttercream sort of separated). I will most definitely be trying again...Next time with this handy-dandy tutorial. :)

    P.S. The thumbs-up picture made me crack up for whatever reason. :P

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  7. This is amazing, I have been searching for something like this for ages! step-by-step photo guides make me feel safe, like the recipe I am going to be trying out is worthwhile!

    Thank youuuu!!!!

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  8. This was great! I'm a total beginner and have followed your blog for a while now (I've got some Boy Bait in my fridge now!)
    I'm exited to try this one, maybe I'll tackle the rainbow cake too while I'm at it.
    I think you should post your final cake too if you have photos!! Always good to see what you do with the end result!
    Keep baking!

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  9. OK.. I have the local village show on saturday and there are 2 recipes calling for buttercream icing, so I AM making this tomorrow.... I will report back... and if I win I will send you a rosette!

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  10. This is so helpful - especially the photos of the stages - it makes it easy to know if your buttercream is going in the right direction - many thanks!

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  11. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
    This saved my life, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I'm eager to try buttercream again (: Your photos and tips are so helpful!

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  12. I am eating this fronting with a spoon out of a bowl right now. Mmm, so good!

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  13. I usually stick to the traditional butter and powdered sugar frosting, but have been dying to try this. I just have this hangup about wasting all those egg yolks. Soooo could I make this frosting using Meringue Powder to make up the egg whites? Or do you have any good suggestions for the use of all those egg yolks?

    BTW I love reading your blog! Keep these tutorials coming!!

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    1. I use the yolks to make a boiled custard. 2 egg yolks, 2 tbs sugar, 2 tbs cornflour, 600ml milk, vanilla extract. Beat the yolks with sugar and 100ml milk in a bowl large enough to hold the final quantity of liquid and set aside. Blend cornflour in a saucepan with a little of the remaining milk until smooth, then gradually add the rest of the milk. Heat this mixture till boiling (Stir all the time, to prevent lumps) and boil for two minutes. Let cool a little, stirring regularly so no skin forms, and then add slowly to the bowl with the eggs, stirring all the time to prevent the eggs curdling. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a new saucepan (or the original one) if you wish, to remove any lumps and bits of egg. Heat gently (in a water bath if you are not sure your stove can be low enough) until the custard thickens. Do not let it bopil now, or the eggs will curdle. Cool slightly then add vanilla extract to taste.

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    2. I just made a yellow cake from scratch that called for 6 egg yolks, then came to Pinterest to find a Swiss buttercream recipe that had (almost) 6 egg whites in it. (I guess I'll be scooping out a little of the whites to make it the correct ratio.)

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  14. I made swiss and italian meringue buttercreams quite a bit. I find that the swiss become soupy more easily for whatever reason. Another fix I've found (in addition to refrigeration) is just add more butter. A lot of times another half stick or so of room temperature butter will make it firm right up.

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  15. This sounds so complicated but so yummy! And so well explained!

    Do you think you could give a weight measurement of the 5 egg whites because what we call large in NZ might be different to what you call large in America.

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  16. Thank you for your tips!!! I made Italian Meringue buttercream for the first time today, and the meringue looked amazing until I added my butter - then it turned to soup! I put it in the fridge as u advised, and it made the IMC curdle. I took it out after half hr and beat it again and it managed to whip back into a silky fluffy buttercream! Hallelujahhhh! TQ!!

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  17. Have to try it... I live in switzerland, we have this with "Doppelrahm" (no good for the diet)... and strawberries. I lately got a revelation when my better half decided to celebrate sth in a restaurant: I can't have industrial swiss meringue anymore. funny that this lovely recipe comes from very far away!!!

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  18. Hey, i've never made buttercream before and today i said i'll give it a try. Your tips and step-by-step were great. The buttercream turned out perfect. I also mixed some blueberries in it. Keep on the good work!

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  19. Hi,

    I made this buttercream recipe for the first time yesterday, and it turned out to be absolutely PERFECT. Every time I got scared that the buttercream was looking too liquidy or that it was like a mess of clotted cream, I just reread your instruction with the pictures for encouragement. Thank you for such a helpful post!

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  20. Hey!
    i used this tutorial and it was an amazing success!!
    so i posted the link to you gorgeous blog on my blog!
    www.thisishowibake.blogspot.com
    im definitely going to be trying out the rest of your tutorials soon!
    <3

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  21. This is amazing. YOU are amazing. Thanks so much. I have a few questions, if you have the time to answer: 1. Can you make this frosting (and the Italian Meringue, too) in advance and freeze it for re-use? 2. Is the purpose of the sugar in the recipe only to sweeten? I ask b/c I usually think frostings are too sweet for my taste, so I'm wondering how much of the sugar I can cut without compromising any structural or textural contributions it might have. Again, thanks so much.

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  22. hai..
    i am izma from malaysia..i recently found your site...and i have tried your how to do swiss maringue and italian maringue...you see, in my country, buttercream recipe & technique are different from yours.. simple because of our hot wheather..i've lots of recipe for swiss maringue & italian maringue, but i do not dare to try...but, since i found your website and since rainbow cake is becoming a trend in my country nowsday, i had tried to do this type of buttercream...suprisingly, in my first attempt, i succeed to do both..thank u very much...i am happy....

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  23. Kate.....my attempt was a complete disaster....it got all curdled :( i tried doing what you suggested and it didnt work....any suggestions??

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  24. Glad you guys like the tut!

    Adriana, how long have you been whipping it? If it won't come together after 5-10 minutes, try adding more room temp butter. I suggest 4 Tbls to start, then more if it still doesn't come together. Good luck!

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  25. THis recipe is perfect. I made it twice in the last week and it turned out perfect. The step-by-step pictures, and the troubleshooting suggestions, are perfect. A valuable resource on the internet!

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  26. I'm so glad that you liked it!

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  27. Hi Kaitlin,

    Ha! I only just now decided to read this! I used the swiss buttercream recipe from your rainbow cake post, which, by the way, doesn't mention the double boiler! I must have whisked and whisked and had my flame very low, because it came out perfectly, with no scrambled eggs in it at all!! Just thought I'd let you know now that I noticed the discrepancy! Thanks again for all your recipes and tutorials! keep 'em coming girl!

    Devorah

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  28. Devorah, thanks for mentioning it, but you really don't need the double boiler. It just helps distribute the heat more evenly which I thought might be a boon to those making this frosting for the first time. I don't use one, myself :)

    I'm glad that it worked for you!

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  29. Thank you so much for this incredible "how to". With your help i've made the most amazing swiss meringue buttercream ever!!! I´m going to use it for a ruffle vainilla cake to celebrate the Royal Wedding of William and Kate!
    Keep on baking and being so great!!

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  30. hi!
    I love how informative your tutorial is.
    And I tried it but my egg white wouldn't whisk up.
    It stayed liquid after trying to make it into a meringue. do you have any suggestions?

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  31. Veronica, I am happy to hear that you liked it so much!

    All.is.on, it sounds to me like you might have had a bit of yolk in your whites. If there is any yolk (or fat of any kind) in the bowl at all, the whites won't whip. Maybe try again with a super-clean glass or metal bowl?

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  32. Does it matter if the butter is salted or unsalted?

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  33. Hello Kaitlin, thank you for this great tutorial. I just found your site couple of minutes ago and I feel like I've found a treasure! :) I need your advice about the butter you use in buttercream recipes. I live in Turkey and buttercream is so heavy for Turkish taste. Is there anything else can be used instead the butter that you can recommend? Or can you recommend any other filling recipe to me instead of buttercream? Thanks in advance.

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  34. Omg I'm so glad a ran into this blog one word amazing! Thank you for putting up all your knowledge.

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  35. Wow - great blog, beautiful cakes. Tried making Swiss buttercream today for the first time following your recipe and instructions and it was fantastic! Thanks!

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  36. Thanks so much guys! Lisa, I am glad that it worked out for you!

    Anonymous, unfortunately I don't think there is a substitute for the butter. Maybe try frosting with whipped cream instead?

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  37. This was such a wonderful help! I flavoured mine with chocolate. It turned out perfectly smooth and tastes delicious, like a chocolate milkshake! The pictures were super helpful! Thanks!

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  38. Hi, could you use lemon juice instead of extract?

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  39. Glad you liked it, Alk86!

    Anonymous, lemon juice might work but you'd have to add more juice than extract which could make the frosting watery.

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  40. Hi!Your step by step pic was great!This is the first time i came across your blog..will continue to follow haha! BTW,can i add milo powder inside coz i wanna make a milo frosting as the traditional butter cream is way too sweet

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  41. I have 150 cupcakes to make for a wedding. Would this work if I made it the day before and put it on cakes on day of wedding (only asking because I have to travel 450 miles with cakes).

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  42. Tracey, I think you will find that this isn't terribly sweet. I am not familiar with Milo powder, but melted and cooled chocolate works well.

    Anonymous, you can make this in advance without any trouble. You can even store it in a piping bag out of the fridge overnight if you wish.

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  43. I made this, to go with your Rainbow Cake, it turned out perfectly. Your instructions are great. Thank you very much.

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  44. Wawa said... I made this icing today. I first should tell you that I don't bake and this is the first icing recipe I have ever tried. It actually worked out for me. I am surprised with myself. I followed your step-by-step instructions, thank goodness for the pictures as this helped a lot. Now I can't wait to try this out on my simple cake.

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  45. Woohoo! So glad to hear it, guys!

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  46. Hi Kaitlin!! I love your blog!!!
    How can i lemon flavoured it? just with lemon juice? or with shell lemon? how many?
    Thanks, regards from Uruguay, Monica

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  47. Hi Kaitlin, have to say i'm going to try this again.I got your recipe for this from cakes and sugarcraft magazine. On contacting them with an email about the disaster i had with it i can possibly see what went wrong. May i suggest that as this recipe is very temperamental that a suggestion to click onto your blog before attempting the recipe for trouble shooting would have been a very big benefit. I can only wonder as to how many more people have tried this and have failed. It's got to have cost the public a lot of money just for the absence of a help line before starting. May i say that any recipes you enter into magazines, that you leave a suggested link before starting should the recipe have problems to occur. It would help knowing this before. Thankyou Sally

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  48. Sally, I am sorry you had trouble. Hope this guide will help you.

    Anonymous, I would suggest adding a few spoonfuls of lemon curd or some lemon extract!

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  49. zavia great tips and tut. I tried SMBC and the result was amazing thank you so much

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  50. It worked!
    My attempt at the italian one failed drastically this morning, but this one turned out great.

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  51. Glad to hear it, guys! Bummer about the Italian meringue, though :(

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  52. Kaitlin,
    Thanks for your tutorial. I am having trouble. I think my problem is that my butter was actually a little colder than I thought, not actually room temperature, and the frosting wasn't smooth, it had tiny bits of butter that didn't seem to beat out. This process did confirm, however, that the soupiness can't be from the butter being too warm or added too quickly, as I added only a couple of tiny cubes and the meringue fell. I think it's the addition of fats. Anyway, it's in the fridge right now. I hope I can make it more solid and beat out the little bits of butter. I may try changing the blades on my mixer and see if that helps at all. Any advice?

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    1. I too had this problem - there were tiny chunks of butter that wouldn't beat out so I put it back over the pot of simmering water and beat it and it smoothed out. I then put it in the fridge for 10 mins and then beat it again and it turned out perfectly!

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  53. I was unable to rescue it. I did thicken it up a little, so I added some crushed hazelnuts and used it as filling.

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  54. Gaidig, I'm sorry I didn't get your comment in time. I hope the filling was tasty, at least!

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  55. It worked! I never post on blogs, but I felt the need to thank you for the great recipie and perfect instructions. I made the rainbow cake & the frosting for my princesses 4th birthday tomorrow and could not afford for this to go wrong - which it didnt! She helped make the colored cakes today, and is looking forward to putting her candy fairies on the finished construction when she wakes up tomorrow :) Looking forward to everyones faces when we slice the cake open to revel a riot of colour!

    PS I understand now why so many people in the 'old days' kept chickens and cows - you would need them to make this too often!!

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  56. Fantastic! Thanks for letting me know it worked for you. That's adorable that your little princess is so excited about the process :)

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  57. i am making the SM buttercream and it is acting more like soup! What did i do wrong??!! My daughters Bday party is tomorrow...Help!

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  58. Hey, I'm not sure what's wrong - was the bowl clean? Did you cook the egg whites until they were hot? If you see this comment, my best suggestion is to add a little more butter until it comes together.

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  59. Hi Kaitlin,

    Thanks for the tutes! It looks complicated and all,but apart from having to whisk the egg whites like mad on the double boiler, everything else is surprisingly .... less hard than I thought. Keep up the good work!

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  60. Thank you for such a clear step-by-step. I am going to attempt the rainbow cake with meringue icing for my son's 1st birthday cake next month. Could you use white chocolate powder instead of melted chocolate? And if flavouring with chocolate, do you add it where you would normall add the extract? And one last question, roughly how much? Thanks!

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  61. Glad you appreciate the instruction :) I actually don't know what white chocoalte powder is.. Is it like cocoa powder? I usually just melt some chocolate, let it cool, and add it in. Maybe 1/2 c for this recipe.

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  62. Love your blog... it is lovely.... wish that i can have a lovely entry like yours in the near future.. :D

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  63. Yummy! It looks so pretty and glossy without the butter, what if I skip that step? Can I fill the cake with this deliciousness and cover it with fondant? Will it keep for 2 days on the counter on a cool day?

    I will try Italian MB next. The sugar syrup part scares me. I even got the candy thermometer, now just need some courage.

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  64. Excellent, excellent recipe! I followed your recipe exactly and it came out beautifully :) I used my icing for French macarons, and I made half the icing vanilla and the other half butter-rum. Thanks for putting this up.

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  65. hi there|! thanks so much for this step by step instruction of how to make smbc. im planning to use it under my fondant (as a crumb coat and filling) for a bithday cake, is that possible? if so, where to keep the whole frosted cake? how long with the frosted cake lasts? thanks so much!

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  66. Sibel, I would use Italian Meringue for that instead. I think it might be more stable! And I wouldn't use a frosting without butter for fondant cakes as I don't think they'd hold their shape. Swiss Meringue is great for it though, and I have left cakes out for two days with no trouble. Just cover it!

    Anonymous, I'm glad to be of assistance!

    Switduchess, this frosting is perfect to put under fondant! I would refrigerate the cake after frosting, then put on the fondant. After that the cake can be left on the counter for probably 2-3 days. Just keep it covered and avoid refrigerating after putting on the fondant because it can make it "sweat."

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  67. Wow, thank you! I am soooo happy to find something other than the appalling crisco-butter-powdered sugar recipes on so many other cake decorating sites and classes. Now I'm off to read your tutorial on Italian Meringue.

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  68. hi there,

    would it be okay to use melted white chocolate in this recipe?

    Thanks!

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  69. It certainly would :) Just make sure it's cooled and add it at the end.

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  70. hi there! adorable site and ADORABLE cake! i am making this for my daughters 8th birthday mexican fiesta! i made the cakes last night and put them in the freezer. I am going to attempt this icing today... should I allow the cakes to thaw before putting the icing on or is it ok to frost them while frozen? her party is in 2 days so from what i am reading in the comments it seems that its okay for me to go ahead and assemble the cake and frost it now, right? should i refrigerate the finished cake until the party? thanks so much!

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    Replies
    1. Hope the info in the email was enough :)

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    2. Nasheta - Cape Town, South AfricaAugust 24, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      Hi Kaitlin - love your blog!
      I would also like to make the rainbow cake with SMBC for my son's 1st birthday next weekend.
      If the party is the Sat - how far in advance can I bake the cakes? Is it ok to store in the freezer? Must the cake be defrosted before decorating? I might possibly put fondant over the SMBC - does it affect the taste? Last question - adding the butter to the SMBC - does it not affect the colour of the SMBC?
      Sorry for all the questions :)

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  71. Thank you so much for your post on buttercream. I do have one question though, my sister has made this buttercream twice and each time it has turned back to the yellow colour of butter....is this normal? and how can we get it back to the lovley white colour? Thanks again!

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    1. The buttercream is a little more ivory than white, but never yellow. I am not sure what that would happen. Maybe the vanilla?

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    2. Hi Melanie and Katilin,
      First I love your blog Kaitlin, it's wonderful, thanks for the time and effort you put into it. Just a tip for when you need white white icing, when my icing changes due to my extracts, and grade of butter, I use the Wilton white White icing coloring

      http://www.wilton.com/store/site/product.cfm?id=3E30B53A-475A-BAC0-5FBDEF5E8A8FCFF2&fid=0EC60A47-475A-BAC0-54338024A0B6A5A5

      Hope this tip helps, it doesn't change the consistency and like the other Wilton gel colors a little goes a long way. :-)

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  72. Perhaps you have a printable version of this? With just a couple photos. thanks! ;)

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    1. Which photos would be most helpful?

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  73. Made this icing today along with the rainbow cake. It all turned out great other than the taste of the icing! It tasted too waxy and too buttery. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hi Pam,

      Did you use a cheap butter? Sometimes if I use a store-brand the taste/texture of the frosting suffers.

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  74. Yup, sure did! Ok, so name brand it is next time around! Thanks Kaitlin.

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  76. I've tried this recipe 3 times...everything is fine until I add the butter. Even after only the third cube, the meringue becomes a lumpy liquid. I've left it in the fridge for 15 min with no change, so then I ended up leaving it for up to an hour....still no change. Trying to whip it again doesn't do anything either, unfourtunately. Any suggestions as to maybe which brand of butter you use? The butter seems to be the problem with mine.

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    1. I use store brand, usually. It might be that you aren't cooking the egg whites hot enough, or maybe that you're adding the butter too fast? Is the butter melty or just soft? You want it slightly firm, but warm enough to be smooshed if you press it with your finger.

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  77. I LOVE this recipe and the rainbow cake and the combination of the buttercream with the cake is BEAUTIFUL!! One thing I thought I'd mention, British butter is more yellow than US butter, so to keep the whiteness I have made the buttercream using Trex (white vegetable fat) instead of butter and it stays lovely and white and the buttercream doesn't go soupy. It's not as nice to work with in the decorating stage though, but thought I'd share! It does taste delicious either way!!

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    1. AH!!! That is such great info! Thank you! I am very happy to know that.

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    2. thank you i live in northern ireland and from online heard of trex as it doesnt effect your food colouring due to not using yellow butter. nice to find someones tried this with trex and it tastes good. although bit worried about your deco statement i want to use it to pipe deco for wilton 3d penguin cake tonight.

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  78. Kaitlin, This is a terrific tutorial. Thanks for sharing all of your "fix" secrets! I found your site because you were mentioned as the inspiration for a blog post on Sugar Rush, and the pictures look luscious there, too!

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    1. I am glad you think so! Thanks for hopping over :)

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  79. I tried making this and it seemed to turn out well but then when I tasted it at the end, I realized it had tiny pieces of cooked egg yolks in it and I had made a double batch so other than going through 4 cups of icing, I guess I'll have to ditch it and start over. I hate wasting the ingredients, but I guess I learned for next time right? What did I do wrong that I cooked the eggs? I had it in a double boiler- too much water? Too high heat? I want to learn for the next time because it seems like a great recipe!

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  80. I found your rainbow cake and frosting recipe the other day when think-tanking for my son's birthday cake. I test ran the cake and iced it with mock cream and butter icing because I thought SMB would be way too difficult.

    What a major oops that turned out to be as the butter icing made it so sweet even the kids couldn't get through a piece.

    Today I decided to give this a go, and woot yippee yay SUCESS!!! My visions of a wonderful cake that looked awesome but tasted atrocious have given way to an awesome looking, E number filled (all the colourings, and I believe I owe it to all the kids coming to give them their yearly dose lol) cake that tastes great!

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  81. Thank you for making this guide!

    Today would be my 3rd time trying to make SMBC. I always get stuck with a soupy mixture and wouldn't know how to proceed. Well, thank god I found this post. Chilled the mixture, beat it, and nothing happened for a good 10mins but I didn't give up. Kept beating and I have never been happier to see something start to curdle. Lol. Beat for another 5 mins and I got buttercream in the end. I was so happy I wanted to cry. :D

    Thanks so much again!

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  82. Thank you oh so much for your tutorial. I had been searching the internet for recipes for SMBC frosting and they all seemed to call for a fancy mixer with attachments that I don't have. I was even told that I would not be able to make this frosting without a whisk and paddle. Not so, as you have proven here. Your recipe and step by step pictures made this so easy to follow. All went well. I have 2 batches and I am ready to go. My question is....can I also decorate using this frosting doing simple things like shells, stars, dots and piping? That's all I plan to do at this time but is there even more you can do with this icing? Do I keep the cake/cupcakes refrigerated after icing and before being served. Again thanks for creating this great tutorial.

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  83. Hi, i love your blog and like many of your recipes. This swiss merinque butter cream work so well and never fail me. It is my to-go butter cream ^_^ Thank you for sharing. I hope you don't mind if i add your recipe on my blog. here: http://sweetmakemesmile.blogspot.ca/2012/04/carrot-cake-for-easter.html

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  84. Amazing....I am a convert! No more sugary icing for me...wow! I love it! Thanks!

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  85. I had a lot of problems after adding butter. it went so soupy and wouldnt thicken, so i added some royal icing sugar and it curdled, and than i thought 'thats it! I give up!' but after a bit more whipping bang! It was buttercreme! tastes fantastic too!!

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  86. Thank you very much - made my first ever batch of this using your tutorial and it worked perfectly!! Will be bookmarking this page for sure!!

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  87. Finally i found this! i was about to give up on buttercream coz i was doing it like wrong for 3 times already..thanks a lot!

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  88. Hi kaitlin,
    Like some of you i am stuck with a soupy one.Chilled it... Tried adding butter but it got worse...I've been whipping for the past 20 min and nothing. What do you think went wrong and how can I avoid it. Need to start over again.
    thx

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  89. Hi Kaitlin, I found your TV appearence video on the Martha Stewart show whilst researching this receipe. I am so happy I did as you showed how straightforward making SMB is. I did not use a double boiler but whisked my egg white and sugar until combined straight over the heat in a large pan and then transfered the mix to my Kenwood Chef and added the butter really slowly. It didn't curdle until the last minute but I didn't panick and kept on beating. Well hey presto, I ended up with beautiful lemony SMB! My cake looks like an amaxing sucess(yet to taste it)and I think that if people watch the video it will explain all so I've added the link http://www.marthastewart.com/256688/rainbow-cake. By the way, well done on holding your own with the bossy Miss Stewart!

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  90. Hi Kaitlin
    Thank you for this step by step, I did a test cake (made little cupcakes for the layers) and this icing last night. The cakes were lovely, the icing tasted amazing but I had issues of not getting it smooth (after adding the room temp butter, a piece at a time it just stayed curdled like, had I thought about it the butter might have been a little too hard, so I could have tried sticking it over the water and refrigerating it. I had run out of butter (a first in my house!) so couldnt try adding more, we ate it anyway, but I will try again tomorrow, I am sure I will end up with beautiful looking icing like yours does. Thanks for the time you have spent putting into this.

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  91. Thank you so much for this recipe! About to attempt it tonight and just wondering if this will be enough to do a thin crumb coating and then full coating over a rainbow cake?!

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  92. hi kaitlin. right now i'm having problems with my swiss buttercream. it's soupy. i already added more butter and nothing changed. right now it's in the fridge. i hope when i whipped it again, it will be better :(

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  93. Oh no... the pictures didn't load so I was not sure what it should look like before I added the butter... and I did it TOO SOON!!!! Is there any way to salvage my cream? Its flat and looks like it will NOT stiffen or peak. :-(

    Ahh! I need Buttercream 911!!!!

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  94. Hi, would i have to make this twice for the rainbow cake ?

    IT LOOKS SO AMAZING and i am tempted to give it a shot

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  95. I just made this icing, it is so awesome, thank you so much for the tutorial, I couldn't have done it without it.

    Stacy

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  96. I will try making the rainbow cake on your blog for my boyfriend's birthday :P I've never baked anything in my life!! Good luck with that.

    Thank you so much for your tutorials, what could we do without you? :)

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  97. I just tried making this icing & it tastes really, really buttery. Where did I go wrong? Any help appreciated as its for my 4year olds birthday in 2 days - thankfully I did a trial run first.

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  98. This is by far my favorite tutorial online right now - with your help and recipe i have successfully made swiss meringue buttercream twice. I am happy to report that I didn't encounter either of the problems mentioned above and everyone has commented on how amazing the frosting looks and tastes - thank you so much xxx

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  99. love your blog. re the SMB, i've tried the icing with the butter, but have never really enjoyed the flavour. when i was originally introduced to 'swiss meringue frosting', my friend stopped at the point where you add the butter, and iced her cake. delicious! so, just thought i'd let you know it does work without the butter :) i love the marshmallow-like texture and the fact that its not as sweet as traditional frostings. also, the longer it stays out (if we can manage to not eat it all), the more the texture of the icing changes from soft, squishy marshmallow to a baked meringue texture - win win!

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  100. This frosting is so yummy! The tutorial made it so easy. I made some last night and it turned out great. Well the second batch did, sadly, I didn't have my stand mixer and the cordless/rechargable handheld mixer just wasn't up to the challenge. But that was on me. :-) I added cream cheese at the end and it tasted so good and went well with the chocolate cake I made.

    And thanks Kaitlin for answering my salted/unsalted butter question.

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  101. Kaitlin,

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! At first, I was a little intimidated by the instructions (I've never used a double boiler before, and I didn't even know that there was one in the house until my mom pulled my grandmother's ancient double boiler out of the very back of the cabinet), but your step-by-step pictures and directions made it so easy-- and it kept me from panicking when the mixture curdled. My first attempt at SMBC ever, and it came out PERFECTLY. I will never go back to powdered sugar buttercream ever again!!

    I can't wait to try your recipe for Italian Meringue Buttercream!! :D

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  102. I am going to try it and post it in my blog!!! www.sweetiepie.cl

    love all your recipes

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  103. This recipe is fantastic & buttercream is fluffy & light and tastes amazing!
    Thanks for the easy step by step instructions.

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  104. Hi!
    I followed your directions to a 'T' and it turned out SOOOOO yummy! I am making the rainbow cake for a surprise birthday/Fiesta House Warming tomorrow. I can't wait to show off my skills and tell them all about your site!
    THANK YOU!!!! :)

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    Replies
    1. I'll also confess that I HATE icing....BUT I COULDN'T STOP SAMPLING THIS STUFF!! SOOOO GOOD!

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  105. Hi! I'm don't usually comment on recipes that I use, (is that considered bad manners??) but I just had to thank you! I was a little daunted by all of the steps when I first saw this recipe, but your instructions were so easy to follow and the trouble shooting tips were spot on. I made this buttercream (along with the rainbow cake) for my sons 1st birthday. It was a labor of love and everyone at the party raved over the cake. It was truly delicious (and I'm not a huge cake fan)! I'm sending this recipe to my cousin next! I feel confident that anyone could make this exquisite recipe. You definitely have a talent for not only baking, but for teaching as well!

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  106. Perfect recipe and instructions! made this for my girls 4th birthday rainbow cake using your recipe and its perfect. troubleshooting was perfectly explained - thanks !! xx

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  107. Can anyone tell me what this tastes like on& in the rainbow cake? Is it super sweet/oily or anything? Im all for stuff looking good but if it doesn't taste yum it's a waste in my opinion! Thanks in advance! (my daughter's 1st bday is next week,really need this help!)

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    Replies
    1. today was the forth time i made it and it comes out buttery, just the right amount of sweet and honestly... delicious! i used this to cover a rainbow cake i made about 6 months ago and it made the cake more moist... mmm

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  108. Made this today for my daughter's first birthday cake-OH. MY. GOD! It is sooo good! And, I am pretty sure 90% because of this tutorial, it really wasn't hard at al! Anyone reading this who is scared because of the mention of the words 'double boiler' don't be, that is a very easy, minor part of the process.

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  109. Just made this icing today... BOTH problems happened to me haha but i kept going to success! I added crushed oreo to the icing to make cookies and cream icing for my oreo cupcakes... nom nom nom! Seriously this is the only food blog i read and its the best!
    Your being read from all the way in New Zealand x
    Nina

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  110. Just came across your blog & am deff going to be back! Amazing tutorial, can't wait to try it! :) Thank you! x

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  111. I love you and your blog.You blow me away, you are such a great teacher of bakery stuff.love the pictures,very helpful.
    Will follow this recipe...must suceed....
    Bravo
    <3

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  112. Just watched the Martha Stewart demo you did of your rainbow cake & followed the links to your bolg! I have always wanted to learn how to do this buttercream and with your step by step guide here I can't wait to try! You're a natural teacher and I am sure you will be fantastic at whatever you do! Keep up the great work. Love your blog way down under here in Australia :)
    Ourania

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  113. Thanks a ton for taking the time and give us a step by step guide i am amateur cook doing a barbie doll cake for my daughters bday this is of termendous help to me

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  114. I love your blog and am excited to make the rainbow cake and try the swiss buttercream for the first time, I've always made the old boring wilton buttercream. Some advice - what type of buttercream is best for a humid environment? I live in Bermuda, where it is humid ALL the time, and my buttercreams often wilt. Would swiss or italian hold up better? Thx!

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  115. Hi
    I've done this recipe 5 times and it is always lumpy liquid, after adding the butter. I don't know what is wrong beacuse I follow recipe step by step
    Please help :(

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    1. It sounds like your butter is too cold, maybe? Allow it to soften first.

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  116. Thanks so much for this tutorial. The 1st time I attempted turned out horrible, but after reading thru this my buttercream came out great.

    Thanks again

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  117. I had the same problem as many others. Everything started out great until I added the butter, than I just ended up with soup! I even stuck mine in the freezer and nothing! It was crazy. I ended up adding like another stick of butter, but no help! I finally just dumped in a like an entire bag of powdered sugar and it helped quite a bit, but I finally gave up. I'm not sure where in the world I went to wrong. Ha ha! Maybe next time. Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

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  118. Hi Kaitlin

    When I made this, the curdle stage did not happen and I didn't know when to stop beating. I just went on and on and for some reasons , the cream was a tad too liquified. Do you know what could be the reason for the dream not curdling ? Thank you

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  119. This is a sensational tutorial. Thank you. You will never know how much it has helped me. Well done :-)

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  121. hello.. can i substitute half of the butter with shortening?? will the end product not be as same?? thank you.. :)

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  122. Become Ordained Online
    I am speechless. This is a fantastic site and very engaging too. Excellent work! That’s not really much coming from an amateur publisher like me, but it’s all I could think after enjoying your posts. Great grammar and vocabulary. Not like other site. You really know what you’re talking about too. So much that you made me want to explore more. Your blog has become a stepping stone for me, my friend. Thanks for the detailed journey. I really enjoyed the posts that I have read so far.

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  123. My first comment got lost. Anyway let me say it again I am really impressed with what you have presented here. If I can write 1/2 as beautifully and as exaustively as you I will be very happy with myself. Thanks I am pinning this up as I want to make it later. Right now I am looking for an eggless recipe. Any ideas? Thanks

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  124. Thank you for the great tips to overcome the disasters in between. I made a batch for my niece's christening and it got all curdled up. I was all depressed and thought its not my recipe to try. But I went through your tips and WOW!!! it came out perfectly and my aunt says it tasted like icecream, also holding the shape neatly.. Thank you once again.

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  125. Muchas gracias por compartir tu creatividad

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  126. This is a great tutorial! But I have a question. Not too long ago I heard of cupcake in a jar and I thought it would be the perfect gift for my friend. I wanted to know if when I make this buttercream frosting, will it break if left at room temp in a jar (along with the cake pieces)? I know the jar is sealed but I don't want it to look bad with oil seeping to the bottom and such. Any thoughts on this?

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  127. This is thr first time i ever tried frosting in my life but turned out failure. Aftet double boiling i whipped for 15-20 min but it was soupy only, before adding butter. I do now what is wrong

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  128. What a fantastic idea! .. I am going to try this one Thanks for sharing it here

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  129. Can you stop when you reached stiff peaks? I mean put everything away until its all at room temp? Or maybe put the merangue in the fridge before I put the butter. I think my mixer's whisk also heats up after beating the merangue. I use hand mixer too.

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  130. Hi,
    CAn you replace the egg whites with meringue powder?

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Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email them to me at kaitlin@whisk-kid.com.

Have a great day!