The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Swiss meringue buttercream: not stiffening before adding butter

AksarBhai's picture

Swiss meringue buttercream: not stiffening before adding butter

I personally prefer Swiss meringue buttercream over American buttercream because it's less sweet and has a better texture. I've been making it for years but recently (after moving to a new city) my buttercream has been failing (4 times now).

The problem is after I heat up the egg whites and sugar, when I try to whip it into a stiff meringue, it doesn't stiffen. It turns glossy but remains liquidy. I've tried many advice suggested like wiping everything down with vinegar, adding cream of tar tar. I even tried whipping the egg whites into medium peaks, then adding the granulated sugar tsp by tsp while whisking. I've tried adding more sugar but nothing works. :( I just want to ice my cake, please help

berryblondeboys's picture

I'm with you in the American buttercream. I've never tried swiss, but I've had great success with Italian meringue buttercream.

julie99nl's picture

I assume your egg source has changed since you've moved to a different city. Are you eggs perhaps very very freshly collected in your new location? Have you tried to age your eggs and/or egg whites for a day or two and see if that helps? Are you perhaps using egg whites from a carton?

ds99303's picture

Usually when a recipe fails after having always been successful it's because you're forgetting a minor but significant step.  Get out your recipe, if it's written down, and follow it to the letter as if you had never made it before.  Better yet, give it to somebody else and let them try to make it.  If it fails for them too, then you know it's not just you.  One thing I did think of, is the new city you moved to more humid and rainy?  I know anything made with a sugar syrup or dissolved sugar like meringues or candy does not turn out on a rainy day.

barrysingh101's picture

I would make this recipe again but with much less butter. I used the "1-2-3" recipe at first (1 part egg whites-2 parts sugar-3 parts butter. With this recipe, the ingredients would be 8 egg whites-2 cups sugar-3 cups (6 sticks) butter. That much butter is too rich for my family's preference, so I reduce the butter to 2 1/2 cups. Perfect! I blanche at the thought of separating so many eggs; plus, what can I do with all of those egg yolks? When I researched this issue online, I found out that powdered egg whites are the perfect solution. Those chilled pasteurized egg whites do not whip, but the powdered egg whites not only whip, but they also are completely safe. I buy Deb-El dried egg white powder on in 8 oz cans. I use very warm water to reconstitute the egg whites, and that gives me warm egg whites that I can whip immediately. I blend the sugar in a small food processor to make the crystals finer and easier to dissolve, and add a little lemon juice, white vinegar or cream of tartar (acidic ingredients) to help the egg whites whip up fluffier. It;s very important to whip the hot meringue until it is COMPLETELY cooled, PLUS the bottom of the mixer bowl must be at room temperature. Swiss meringue buttercream has never failed me and there are so many ways to flavor it: flavored extracts, fruit curds, chocolate, liqueurs, fruit puree. I just love its versatility and how easy (and inexpensive) it is to make with dried egg white powder.