Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing

20 Aug

A few months ago I got hooked on a cake site, www.cakecentral.com. I started spending lots of time browsing through all of the galleries, being inspired by the absolutely amazing works of art in the form of cakes. After I’d browsed through a few thousand mouth-watering pictures I started reading through some of the forums. I found that there were lots acronyms that I didn’t quite understand, and sometimes felt like I was reading another language. I wondered why people kept talking RVs, because I had no idea what a Recreational Vehicle had to do with cakes??? But pretty soon I started catching on and I realized that on this site, RV stands for something else……red velvet. 🙂 At this point the posts started to make a LOT more sense. 🙂 There were some acronyms that I just couldn’t figure out, though. Being an elementaryschool teacher, I tried to use my reading comprehension and context clues skills, but still couldn’t crack the code. So I reverted to google. 🙂 One of the mysteries was something called SMBC. Turns out, it stands for Swiss Meringue Butter Cream. Armed with this new insight,I decided to re-read a few of the SMBC articles, and they made much more sense now that I knew for sure that they were discussing icing. 🙂

From what I could tell, this icing was supposed to be absolutely delicious. Problem was, some people also said it was very difficult to work with because they couldn’t get the right texture. Some said they followed the recipe exactly, and ended up with a goopy mess that couldn’t be piped onto a cupcake. I decided to give it a try, and found a recipe on www.howtoeatacupcake.net. This site even includes an SMBC video/tutorial, and after watching it I felt I could make a successful batch of icing. I said a quick prayer that I wouldn’t end up with a bowl full of sugary, soupy mess like some of the posters on cakecentral had……and went to work!

The first step is to cook egg whites and sugar on top of a double boiler. My mom gave me a nifty little egg separator from Pampered Chef, so it was easy for me to separate the egg whites from the yolks. Here it is in action. I just had to crack the egg into the top of the contraption, let the egg white pass through the wires, and the yolk stayed in the top. Kind of like a little egg strainer. There is probably a more sophisticated name for it, but I like “egg strainer” just fine. It’s simple and to the point. 🙂

I don’t have a “real” double boiler, like the kind my Granny uses for making chocolate pies……so I just used a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Worked just fine. The egg white/sugar mixture has to cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm. The recipe says to cook it to 160 degrees, but I didn’t have a thermometer to use so I just guessed. I probably shouldn’t do too much guesswork the first time I try a recipe, but in this case it turned out ok.

Once it was warm enough, this mixture went into the mixer (with the whisk attachment) on medium for 7 minutes. This whipped air into the mixture and caused it to form peaks (along with cooling it off).

Next you have to lower the speed and switch to the paddle attachment to add the butter, a little at a time. This was the first time I’d actually used the paddle attachment on my new Kitchen Aid mixture. I’m not going to lie, I was a little giddy. Or maybe more than a little…

Almost done! Bump up the speed again and mix for 3 minutes, allowing the icing to thicken up. Then turn it to low one more time to add the vanilla. Let it mix at low for 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles. And it’s finished!

This icing takes some time to make, and from what I’ve read you shouldn’t skimp on the mixing times, because that’s where you can cause problems with the consistency. But if you’re patient enough to make a batch of this stuff……WOW, you won’t regret it. 🙂 As soon as I’d finished making this batch I tried a small spoonful and wondered why I hadn’t made it even sooner. It’s so light and fluffy, and the flavor kind of reminds me of vanilla ice cream. 🙂 It’s much different from the American Buttercream that I usually make, which is more rich and dense. I really can’t say that I like one better than the other, because some cakes taste great with a very rich icing. But then again, some would go really well with this fluffy-as-a-cloud type. The best way I could describe the texture would be whipped cream, but that really doesn’t do the icing justice at all. I’m kind of at a loss for words when it comes to this icing, so I guess you’ll just have to try it for yourself and see what I mean. 🙂

Random Thought For The Day: Several weeks ago my husband took a section of the CPA exam, and he just found out that he passed. I’m so proud of him. 😀 God is good.

The End.

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4 Responses to “Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing”

  1. Laura August 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Wow, this icing sounds amazing, I will definitely have to try it sometime soon!

  2. Eric August 20, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    This stuff was pretty darn delicious!
    You are so sweet babe 🙂

  3. Jessica August 21, 2010 at 2:59 am #

    Icing that tastes like vanilla ice cream? Sign me up!

  4. Mom August 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    Looks like the red mixer is working out good! That sounds and looks like some really good icing.

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