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Under 30 Minutes

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Use this recipe for our Number-Themed Mini Birthday Cupcakes, "Who's Counting?" Birthday Cake, or Pastel Layer Cake.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: About 10 cups (enough for 7 dozen Number-Themed Mini Birthday Cupcakes, 1 "Who's Counting?" Birthday Cake, or 1 Pastel Layer Cake)
Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2011


  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 10 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Gel-paste food coloring (optional)


  1. Heat sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pan of simmering water, whisking, until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.

  2. Return bowl to mixer, and whisk, gradually increasing speed from low to medium-high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Switch to a paddle attachment. Beat until air bubbles are gone, 2 to 3 minutes more.

  3. Beat in food coloring, 1 drop at a time, until desired color is achieved. (If making more than 1 color, divide buttercream and work in batches.)

Cook's Note

Buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using, and beat on low speed until smooth.

Reviews (3)

  • nyree_searle 20 Feb, 2014

    I love this recipe although I don't use it as often as I'd like because if the quantity it makes. Tonight I also added melted chocolate to it and it was delicious.

  • aps223 13 Feb, 2011

    The first time I made this it turned out perfectly. I have tried to make it twice since then, and both times it starts to appear curdled once all the butter has been added. Please let me know what I'm doing wrong!!

  • Dragonness 6 Feb, 2011

    It took me about 30 minutes to get the stiff glossy peaks, instead of the 10 indicated. The frosting was very good for smoothing onto cake, although not especially moist and tasty. I added blueberries to the cake to improve the moistness but it was insufficient. I won't be making this frosting again.

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