I would like to say thank you to everyone who sent in questions for the baking section of this blog. If you are new to this blog, baking recipes are now going to become a regular feature, so if you have been itching to learn more about baking, this will be great for you. Aanu our resident baker from VictoriaGrace Cakes et al will be sending in posts and answering all your baking questions. If you haven’t sent in your questions yet, please do so. Your question may be amongst the first she answers, you never know. Lol. A reader sent in this question – “How do I make buttercream from scratch”. I would have asked this myself, as I have always admired her buttercream. You can almost lick it from the screen. Very silky and pretty. Today she is letting us in on what it takes to make your own Swiss Meringue Buttercream, with helpful tips. Thanks Aanu.
Swiss meringue buttercream is whipped up heaven served on the food of angels. LOL. Okay, okay, it’s some really awesome stuff. It’s silky, fluffy, and less sweet when compared to typical buttercream. Kids have compared it to ice cream on a cake, and grown ups love it for the whipped texture and the fact that it won’t drive you into a sugar coma. Swiss Buttercream is definitely BUTTERY, it’s true BUTTERcream, if you don’t like the taste of butter (gasp) this may not be the buttercream of choice for you. I use this buttercream exclusively and so far all I’ve gotten are rave reviews on this style of buttercream. It’s unusual, it’s gourmet, and it’s just plain good stuff. People love good food.
Swiss meringue buttercream is an emulsion of Swiss Meringue and Butter. The basic formula for Swiss Meringue butter cream is so simple: 1:2:3 by weight, i.e. one part egg whites to two parts sugar to three parts butter. BY WEIGHT meaning you measure with a kitchen scale. Why am I giving you a formula rather than a recipe AND instructing that you weigh ingredients? Because that’s how professionals work, and it ensures that no matter where you are located, you can still have accurate measurements.
For 2 dozen cupcakes, you can plug 5 oz of egg whites into the formula. I’ve known folks who prefer a less buttery taste, You could drop the amount of butter changing the formula to 1:2:2 and you should still be okay.
You will need
150 g eggs – 5 egg whites
450g unsalted Butter
1. First I make the meringue: which is whipped egg whites and sugar.
2. Over a bain marie (double boiler OR One pot over another containing simmering water). The bottom of the top pot does not touch the simmering water).
3. Using a thermometer is VERY important as the eggs need to be cooked to 160F for food safety. Here I have a bit more cooking to do. Baking Tip from Aanu: Even though I stopped stirring with the whisk to take a photo, YOU shouldn’t do this. You want to keep the mixture moving or you might end up with scrambled eggs).
4. Then it’s time to whisk, whisk, whisk till the meringue is cool. This part takes between 12-25 minutes (with a stand mixer) depending on how much buttercream I’m making among other factors. The last time I tried to make a meringue with a hand mixer, I gave up and just switched to the stand mixer. If you have the patience to whisk for half an hour… bless your heart… go for it. And may the odds be ever in your favor LOL!!!
5. Beautiful, silky, Swiss meringue
6. Now it’s time to add the butter… Baking Tip from Aanu: I use European style butter because it tastes better, and the fat content is great for my purposes. Plus I figure since I’m making a European buttercream, I might as well go all the way
Baking Tip from Aanu: You see the butter is soft but still cold enough to hold its shape. The texture of the butter has to be just right. There are two schools of thought on what speed to have the mixer when adding the butter. In school I learned to add it with the whisk while the mixer was on medium-high to high. Online I read all sorts including adding while the mixer is on low/medium low with the PADDLE attachment this time NOT the whisk. Either way, your buttercream will be fine. I’ve tried both.
7. This is the part where novices are guaranteed to freak out. LOL. When the butter is added the meringue deflates, and the mixture takes on a curdled look. Remember you’re mixing water-based ingredients and fat to make an emulsion. Don’t freak out. Just continue mixing till it comes together.
8. The emulsion is coming together. This part can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. One day it took about 30 minutes
9. Voila! Swiss Meringue buttercream flavored with vanilla. Those little specks are vanilla beans
Swiss Meringue buttercream is a lot more involved than American Buttercream (which involves throwing powdered sugar, butter, and flavor in a mixer and letting it rip), it’s more time-consuming, energy-consuming, and patience-consuming LOL but it’s definitely worth the trouble.
don’t you just want to sit down and eat that, even without cake. Lol
Image credit: VictoriaGrace cakes et al. Copyright policy still applies.
Baking Tips from Aanu
I didn’t mention flavoring until now because what you add to your buttercream can make a huge difference. Swiss buttercream handles flavors well. For basic vaniila, please use high quality REAL vanilla extract. The 5 oz egg whites recipe can take up to 2 TABLESPOONS of vanilla extract. The quality of your flavoring makes a difference. Can you imagine adding 2 teaspoons of artificial chemical tasting flavoring to the food of angels? Yeah, no, splurge for the good stuff. LOL.
For other flavors you can add 2-3oz of jam or preserve of your choice (or up to 4 oz if you prefer), or 6-8oz of melted (but ROOM temperature) chocolate.
If you want to make it more indulgent, especially if you are serving or catering to adults. Add fruity liqueurs such as Grand Marnier (orange) or Chambord Raspberry liqueur. Remember to mention it though, so as not to offend people who abstain for religious and other reasons. Talking about Grand Marnier, I will be using it in my recipe for Crepe Suzette, which I will finally be posting this week. OCD to get perfect thin pancakes has caused the delay. On the aisle, Chambord’s Raspberry liqueur sits right by Grand Marnier and it is a pretty penny. I have read about Aanu raving about this liqueur many times. Even though I don’t like raspberry’s, I decided to take a chance and add it to my basket. Let’s just say my tab went up higher than I budgeted for and I let Aanu know about it. Lol. I really can’t wait to use it in one of her cake recipes. I have opened the bottle, and it smells heavenly. Imagining a cupcake and buttercream flavoured with Chambord. Heaven! If you are interested in giving baking another chance, I suggest you start stocking up on a couple of things, so you are good to go once the recipes start rolling in. Thanks again Aanu.
Please remember to visit Aanu’s site www.victoriagracecakes.com to see more of her work. If you are local to Houston, Texas, well I don’t need to tell you to pick up the phone and make an order do I? Lol. If her cakes could cross the Atlantic I would have been fat by now. Lol. Girl can baaaaaaaaake.