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Meringue Buttercream Frosting


One hallmark of meringue buttercream is that it spreads like a dream. This versatile version is flavored very simply with vanilla. The owl, fish, and dog cakes each require one recipe of the frosting, although you'll have some left over after frosting the owl and fish. Buttercream freezes well, so save it for another day.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 10 1/2 cups

Photography: Johnny Miller

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2012


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 12 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Place sugar, egg whites, and salt in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches 160 degrees.

  2. Transfer egg-white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form and meringue has cooled, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add butter, 1 piece at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Use immediately. Or refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days; bring to room temperature, and beat with a mixer on low speed until smooth before using.

Reviews Add a comment

  • kindie500
    8 MAR, 2015
    don't try to use this the next day! it is beautiful and perfect as soon as its done, but breaks after you refrigerate and try to smooth it out. i am making a second batch this morning, and cursing myself for believing that it could last overnight.
    • jadwinfieldhot
      15 NOV, 2015
      If you keep this butter cream in the fridge overnight, you need to bring the butter cream to room temperature and then whisk it up. It will take a while, but be patient and it will be as brilliant the day you made it. Adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to the cream to get a lemony tang, the cream can separate from the lemon juice when the cream has been refrigerated, but again it will bind together with whisking and patience.
  • LikesCakes13
    6 JUL, 2012
    I've used this recipe on several occasions and always have had phenomenal results, its so creamy, spreadable, and always a crowd pleaser! I would recommend this frosting to anyone that wants to wow a crowd.
  • tupelohoney156
    12 JUN, 2012
    To Mom23: You can't change the recipe that much and expect the results Martha had.
  • Mom23
    9 JUN, 2012
    This truly does spread like a dream. It also tastes mostly like butter. I did make a mistake and use salted butter, so I added some (about 1 cup) of confectioners sugar to help with the saltiness. It still wasn't very sweet and has a very greasy (buttery) mouth feel. It looked great... but most of my guests scraped major portions off and left it on their plates. Will definitely try a different recipe next time.
    • jadwinfieldhot
      15 NOV, 2015
      You can add less or more butter to taste. Adding freshly squeezed lemon juice (again to taste) gives it a lovely tangy taste. Sounds like you may have put too much of the cream to sandwich the cake and to cover it. That was my mistake to begin with - putting too much cream on. I have used a similar recipe and have adapted it to my taste for years. You can add less butter if you prefer the cream sweeter. I use 1 egg white to 2oz caster sugar for the meringue and 6-8oz unsalted butter.