What is the difference between Swiss meringue buttercream and Italian? That’s the question that perplexes newbie cake decorators the most.
In a nutshell, the difference is in the method: Swiss meringue buttercream is made by beating egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water whereas Italian meringue buttercream is made by adding a hot sugar syrup to whipped egg whites.
Swiss meringue buttercream is a little easier to make than Italian but tastes not quite as light (but the difference is barely noticeable all the same.)
Makes 4 cups approx.
(See our chart here on Quantities of Frosting to Fill & Cover Different Size Cakes)
Swiss Meringue Butterceam: Recipe
- 1 cup of sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Method
- Place a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water and add the egg whites and sugar.
- Whisk the egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reads 140°F on a thermometer.
- Transfer the mixture to your stand mixer and whisk on medium high for at least 10 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form and the mixture is cooled.
- Reduce the speed to medium low and add the butter one tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Finally, whisk in the vanilla.
- The buttercream can be stored in a refrigerator for one week. Just bring to room temperature again before using and beat on low speed for two to three minutes to bring back the fluffiness!