Meringue Buttercream for Butter Cakes

10 cups

Use this recipe when making our Butter Cake I and Butter Cake II. Practice makes perfect. Pick your colors, whip up a bunch of frosting, and unleash your flower power.


  • 3 cups granulated sugar

  • 12 large egg whites

  • 2 pounds (8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoon-size pieces

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Whisk sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Fit an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, and beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks and mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes.

  3. Reduce speed to medium-low, and add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added). Add vanilla, beat until frosting comes together, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat on the lowest speed until air bubbles diminish, about 2 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.

Cook's Notes

Have plenty of frosting on hand to practice. To blend colors, first tint a small amount of buttercream a dab at a time. Blend after each addition until the color is darker than you would like. (You can use a single color or experiment with mixing.) Gradually mix the tinted frosting into more buttercream until you get the right shade. Pipe flowers onto parchment or waxed paper until you're ready to try them on the actual cake.

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