I first posted this recipe back in 2011 when the blog was in its early days. I’ve made this recipe so many times since then that I thought it deserved a better photo and a bit of a refresh.
I was immediately hooked on Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMB) when I first tried it. I usually find the standard American buttercream recipes to be to sweet and it’s so easy for the flavor to be overwhelmed by powdered sugar. That’s not the case at all with SMB though! SMB frosting is made by heating egg whites and sugar in a bowl set over a pot of boiling water. Once the egg whites are cooked and the sugar has dissolved the egg whites are beaten until light and fluffy. Some (okay, a lot) of butter is mixed in, then you can add nearly any flavor you desire. Chocolate and vanilla are obvious ones. Coffee? Delicious. Caramel? Most definitely. Strawberry? A little trickier with the fruit, but yes Every flavor I’ve tried so far has been a success. I love the creamy texture and that the sweetness isn’t overpowering.
If you spend much time on Google you can definitely find some horror stories about SMB frosting that curdled and turned to soup. If that happens to you- resist the urge to panic. Turn the mixer on high, go fold some laundry or wash some dishes, and come back in 5 or 10 minutes and the frosting will have come together and it’ll be nice and smooth. Sometimes it can take a while, so don’t give up. If you’re really convinced it’ll never come together try sticking it in the fridge for a few minutes to make sure the butter isn’t too soft, then mix away.
- 2 tbl. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 large egg whites
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp and cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. Stir in the cocoa powder and set aside to cool.
- In a double boiler, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat and use an electric mixer to beat the eggs until they are fluffy and hold stiff peaks, about 6 minutes.
- On a medium-low speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time followed by the salt and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the chocolate mixture and mix until combined. If at any point the mixture starts to look curdled or soupy, continue to mix. It will come together.