Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Photo: Maura McEvoy
5 cups

This intensely rich, silken frosting works well on spice, carrot, or pound cakes. Try it on our Caramelized-Apple Spice Cake.


  • 5 large egg whites

  • 1 ⅔ cups packed dark-brown sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature


  1. Put egg whites, sugar, and salt into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until mixture registers 160 degrees, about 4 minutes.

  2. Beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low. Add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added). Beat until frosting is smooth and glossy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Cook's Notes

Buttercream can be refrigerated airtight for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature, and beat before using.

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