Author Notes: Swiss meringue buttercream has been my favorite frosting since the first time I tasted it. Of course, my own attempts at making SMB were initially… horrible. With my little hand mixer, I could never quite get that volume of egg whites beaten to the required meringue state. Since getting a stand mixer, however, meringues are a snap. SMB takes some patience, but it’s very forgiving – I almost always think I’ve messed it up when suddenly it comes together beautifully. It’s also incredibly versatile; there are so many good flavor combinations to throw into this frosting, but booze is probably my very favorite way to spice up a batch of SMB. Here is a bourbon vanilla version that is just to die for (paired here with a regular old chocolate cupcake), but I’ve done variations with irish cream, rum, and even tequila. I always like having bourbon when fall rolls around, and paired with vanilla it makes for a lovely, warming frosting that’s sure to be a treat on whatever cupcake or cake you like! —smarshtastic
Makes: enough for about 12 cupcakes
egg whites, room temperature (preferably a day or two old)
cup granulated sugar
cup butter (about one and a half sticks, room temperature)
vanilla beans, split and ‘caviar’ harvested
- Add the eggs and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk gently to combine. Set over a pot of gently simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and no longer grainy – the sugar will completely dissolve. This takes about 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the sugar and egg white mixture and set it back onto your stand mixer. Whip with the whisk attachment on medium-high until the mixture is cool to the touch and resembles a fluffy meringue – this takes another 6-8 minutes.
- Once your egg white mixture comes together, reduce mixer speed to low and start adding chunks of butter one at a time, allowing each one to incorporate before you add the next one. Your meringue will deflate, but don’t worry! It’ll whip back together in no time.
- Once all the butter is incorporated (about 4-5 minutes), go ahead and add your vanilla bean ‘caviar’ and bourbon to the bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until the frosting is light and smooth.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag with your tip of choice and frost your cupcakes/cake/pastry of choice. Make sure you lick the whisk!!
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