Swiss Meringue Lavender Buttercream

  • Serves: Makes 1 1/4 quarts
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Variations: Swiss Meringue Buttercream or SMBC and Variations

Cupcakes and photo by Anita © Sarah Phillips, Recipe used with the Meyer Lemon Lavender Cupcakes Recipe

This classic buttercream icing is light, delicious, and buttery and goes on smoothly. It does not require a cooked sugar syrup, but as with all meringue-based buttercream recipes, this one takes time. It's not the best icing to choose in warm weather if you use butter (it will hold up fine unless the temperature gets over 80 degrees F), but you can use hi-ratio shortening, instead for warmer weather. It can also be used when piping decorations and can be tinted. The recipe is adapted from Toba Garrett.


For this recipe, flavor the frosting with lavender flavoring oil! (It can be found from LorAnn Oils) 

6 oz egg whites (5 large egg whites or about 3/4 cups) 
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature 
1/4 teaspoon lavender oil or 1 teaspoon lemon extract

1. Lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 140 degrees F.

2. Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip with a wire whip until double in volume on MEDIUM to MEDIUM-HIGH speed. When the mixer stops, the meringue should not move around in the bowl. Meanwhile cut up butter into 2-inch pieces. (The butter should be slightly moist on the outside but cold inside.) 

3. On your mixer, remove the whip and attach the paddle. Add half the butter into the bowl immediately and pulsate the mixer several times until the meringue has covered the butter completely. To pulsate the mixer, turn it on and off in a jerky motion. This forces the butter on the top to the bottom of the bowl. Add the balance of the butter and pulsate mixer several times. Slowly increase the mixer's speed, starting with the lowest speed and increase the speed every 10 seconds until you reach a MEDIUM to MEDIUM-HIGH speed. NOTE: Add the butter VERY SLOWLY.

4. Continue beating until the mixture begins to look light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Reduce speed to LOW. 

Add the flavoring and continue to beat on LOW speed for 45 seconds. Then beat on MEDIUM to MEDIUM-HIGH speed for an additional 45 to 60 seconds. NOTE: It can take up to 8 - 12 minutes for the buttercream to come together and thicken.

Leftover buttercream can be placed in an airtight container for a week in the refrigerator or kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost completely (several hours) and rewhip before using. 

Frosted cupcakes need to be refrigerated. They will keep for a few days.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream or SMBC

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