Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Well folks, this is now my all-time favorite frosting! I’ve been intrigued by swiss meringue buttercream for quite a while, but without a stand mixer in my kitchen, I was somewhat intimidated by it. Now that I have my lovely empire red KitchenAid, I knew it was time to give this frosting a try.* It is silky, soft, buttery and exactly how I dreamed about it. By making a meringue with egg whites and sugar first, it turns out might lighter than traditional buttercream. It can be somewhat temperamental, so if it starts to curdle on you – don’t worry. Just keep whipping it until it comes back together.

*It is best made with a stand mixer, although some people have had success with a hand mixer. It is just an awful lot of mixing for a hand mixer!

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Yields: About 5 cups
(enough for appox. 24 cupcakes)

Ingredients:
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Over the heat, whisk the mixture frequently until it reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Decrease the speed to medium and slowly add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until each chunk of butter is incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (it will come together, I promise!) Stir in the vanilla extract and mix just until incorporated.  

Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart as seen on Annie’s Eats

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