“Why make simple buttercream more complicated?” I hear you ask? Because sometimes your cake or cupcakes need an extra special touch. And this is it. The texture of this heavenly frosting is something that cannot quite be described. It’s almost mousse-like. Its creamy, its frothy, its light but its oh-so-rich! I think my favourite thing about this buttercream is that its just sweet enough to be satisfying but not as sickly sweet as traditional buttercream (which is generally 2 parts sugar to 1 part butter, let that sink in for a minute!).
Let me warn you upfront that halfway through you will be convinced its a flop, because it inevitably curdles at some point in the mixing process. But don’t despair, this is to be expected and if you keep going it will all come together perfectly.
This recipe (from Sweetapolita) is for a vanilla version, but it works great with other flavours and colours too, just add them at the end of the mixing process.
5 large, fresh egg whites (150 g)
340g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
- Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and a little lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease.
- Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 60°C or if you don’t have a sugar thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
- Remove from heat and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). Don’t begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
- Now with the mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if it curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together.
- Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
- I find this buttercream is best eaten on the day its made, as refrigerating does dry it out a little.