Flour Child Bakery opens in Virginia Beach!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Face Your SMBC Fears!

I've heard many stories about people saying they tried to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream and it looked too wet or goopy. I cringe when I hear people say, "It just ended up looking like soup so I threw it away." Noooo! All that delicious, perfectly good frosting wasted! Well, have no fear! The "QUEEN OF SMBC" is here! SMBC is my favorite frosting, and it's so easy to make. I made this video to assure people that it does look soupy at first, but if you're patient it will turn into the silkiest, creamiest, dreamiest frosting your tongue ever tasted!

Here are some things to remember:
  1. Use a thermometer and make sure you're cooking the egg whites to around 160F.
  2. Use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer (stand mixers are very important, I've never made this frosting with a hand mixer) to beat the egg whites.
  3. When you beat the egg whites and sugar, make sure they are cooled to room temperature before adding the butter. Touch them with the back of your finger to test.
  4. Next switch to the paddle attachment.
  5. Add the butter about 2 tablespoons at a time on medium-high speed. Make sure the butter is soft, but still cool. Wait about 10 seconds before adding the next piece of butter.
  6. Make sure you're adding enough butter, and don't use margarine. All of my recipes use the minimum amount of butter needed to form an emulsion (2 oz. per egg white). If you like it really buttery, (*ahem* I'm talking to you, Paula Deen), feel free to double it to 4 oz. per egg white.
  7. Once all the butter has been added, turn the speed up to HIGH and let it go. It can take up to 5 minutes if it's too warm.




For a more in depth video about making SMBC from start to finish, watch this video. I'll be making my own more detailed video soon. :)

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes about 4 cups (enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes)

Ingredients
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions
Put egg whites and sugar into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (about 160 degrees).
Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 7 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low, add butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add vanilla extract and continue beating 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles.


For Chocolate SMBC: Reduce vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. Add 1/2 cup melted and cooled semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder while beating on low speed.


If you have additional questions, feel free to e-mail me at howtoeatacupcake{at}yahoo{dot}com!

73 comments:

shannie cakes said...

smb was my favorite too... i should figure out how to make it vegan.

good idea with the video though, people seem to give up riiiight before it starts looking edible!

Sicilian Mama said...

Great video!! I haven't attempted SMBC yet, but I really want to for my next group of cupcakes I make!

CB said...

ok! I'll face my fear! ::taking a deep breath:: teehee. Great video! You are so uber cute. :)
-Clara

Marq said...

I can't seem to get buttercream right yet, lol. I do plan to give SMBC a try eventually, tho.

P.S. Cute song!

losslustlove said...

Ah that is my favorite song of the moment :D

Sarah said...

In the beginning of the video, when the frosting is runny, at what stage is the frosting in? I assume it is at the end of the whole process (egg whites heated with sugar, the egg whites beaten and butter/vanilla added)? Do you just turn it on high for one minute after you've made the frosting? One time I did that and it curdled.

Claire S. said...

Awesome video, thank you so much for the tip about the "slapping"...will be making Neopolitans and MCC cupcakes today and making lots of batches of SMBC!! So glad I found your blog and this recipe! It is truly the bestest frosting EVER!!!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Claire S., MCC? Which ones are they?

Stephanie Ganger said...

Oh thank you so much! I can have this frosting recipe and WOW is it good! I think I have a new favorite frosting and everyone else liked it as well.

Anonymous said...

I would guess MCC is mint chocolate chip. We made them and they were tasty but a bit dry. Not sure why.... :(

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Anonymous, if you make them again, check them a few minute before the timer goes off. A toothpick should come out clean (moist crumbs are okay). If you are using a dark pan or foil liners, you should reduce your oven temp by 25 degrees.

Hope that helps! :)

amanda said...

is there a point if you keep going that will ruin the smbc?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Amanda, I've never over-beaten or over-whipped my SMBC. I have continued mixing it well after it was ready and it's never gotten ruined. Have you had a problem with it?

kiki said...

You've made me conquer my SMBC frosting fears. I made your strawberry SMBC and it was divine!

Ang said...

I just made the frosting- and it looks sort of curdled...should I keep beating it? I was just going to throw it out and try again tomorrow morning...

Anonymous said...

Ang- It usually does look curdled for a little bit. Just keep mixing it and it will come together again and be a pipeable frosting. Don't give up! :)

Dion said...

i tryed and it's still not rite :(.
i dont know what im doing. it wasnt as souppy but still not thickable to pipe.

i'm sad.. HELP please. i beated for along time.

Jen said...

Had my first attempt at SMBC this morning and WOW! SOOO worth the effort and stress. Light, fluffy, and amazing!!! Thanks for all the tips!

Mary said...

Those beaters look sooooo delicious!!!!! I just found your blog and all your recipes,surely I will try a lot of them!!! They all look delicious.

Cherie said...

Just made SMBC... it is GORGEOUS!!!
I'm taking two dozen cupcakes to a picnic, but now I hardly want to share them, lol.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

joanna said...

i tried to make smbc this morning..the egg whites/sugar thing was good..but after i added the butter..it all went downhill from there :( i had it going for a while and it was still soupy..i dunno if its cuz my mixer sucks or if i did something wrong. ::sigh:: i'll try again sometime.

Helen said...

I just love your recipes, but I have always wondered what you do with the egg yolks that should be left over when making SMBC? Do you throw them away or what happens? Here in Sweden you can buy egg yolks on tetra and I suppose that it wouldn't be impossible if there where egg whites on tetra too, if you look for it. (if you don't know what a tetra is you can find a good explanation on wikipedia, too long for me to explain now =)just search tetrapak)
Thanks for many delicious recipes!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Helen, that Tetra thing sounds so convenient! I wish we had it here in the States.

I save my egg yolks in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If I haven't found any use for them by then, I throw them away. There are tons of recipes that require egg yolks, for instance custard, pastry cream, key lime pie, ice cream, pudding, creme brulee, etc...

I hope that was helpful!

Cat said...

Does this crust well or does it remain sticky to the touch when frosted onto a cake? Your recipe didn't add salt and it has more sugar than Dyann's. Was her's not as sweet? Do you think a frozen buttercream transfer would work on top of this type of iced cake? A buttercream tranfer image is when you find a design and lay it on the counter, then tape plastic wrap over it, then pipe the design with outlines, fill in the outline with other colors, freeze, then lay the image on top of the cake, smooth, then lift off the plastic wrap to leave the image ontop of the cake. You may already know about this or you can google it too. :-)

Valerie said...

Your website is awesome and so inspiring (I browse through and get inspired to make cupcakes! haha) and I think you are terrific! I have made your Brown Sugar SMBC and it was out of this world!! I actually tried Martha's SWMB recently and while it was good, I liked your version better! Anyway, my question is this: I want to make a 9" 2 layer chocolate cake with Vanilla SMBC.. is the recipe you have enough or do you think I will need to make 2 batches? thanks!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Valerie, YOU MADE ME BLUSH!! :D
I think the frosting will be enough to cover that cake... but just to be sure you might want to times it by 1.5. Here's a website I use all the time to adjust the scale of recipes: http://www.fruitfromwashington.com/Recipes/scale/recipeconversions.php

I hope everything works out!

kim said...

I would love to try to make this frosting. Wondering if it would work well for decorating a child's b-day cake. I am making a clown cake for my son's first brithday ...just wondering how it would hold up to being in a bag...thanks for any help!
Kim

Q said...

What difference would using salted butter make?

Anonymous said...

Hi I love your blog! I attempted the SMBC this evening and after I cooked the eggs and sugar, I started beating it(with a hand beater) I beat it for 25 mins + and it was still goopy looking. I thought I'd just add the butter and see what happens. After beating for a long time I ended up with a pipeable, but soft icing. Very tasty though. Should I have done something different? Is that normal for the egg whites and sugar to be goopy or should I have kept beating??

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Anonymous, the egg whites and sugar should become very thick, just like marshmallow fluff. Did you use pasteurized egg whites from a carton? Did you make sure your bowls were clean of all grease and no yolk got into the egg whites? Those two things could be reasons why the egg whites didn't fluff up... I hope that helps! :D

Q said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi,I am using egg whites (I watched the Dyann Bakes video on how to seperate eggs, that worked well). I tried it again tonight and again did not puff up like marshmellow fluff! I am using a hand mixer, so maybe that is the problem, I am going to attempt it on the weekend with my sister's kitchen-aid mixer with the proper attachment, I hope that works! I do love the flavor and really want it to turn out. I am only yielding about 2 cups of icing, so the fluffyness of the whites must bring that up to 4 cups.

HannaBanana4511 said...

I attempted to make this yesterday and added in some white chocolate, I suppose I stopped mixing too soon but it seemed to just keep getting runnier the longer I ran my mixer!!! Still tasted amazing though... no worries about throwing it out because of how it looked

Katherine said...

SOOOOO yummy! My neice Zoe and I made Chocolate cupcakes with filling and a strawberry tucked inside each one. We used your recipe and instructions for the SMBC frosting as filling and top. Worked exactly as you said...I had made the recipe at 1 and a 1/2 yours thinking that would give me enough for filling and top but I think I got a bit to High Flalutin on the top frosting because the last two are well...for the bakers! LOL.

Thank you so much for your directions and video. Your website is now on the top of my go to regularly bookmark!

Katherine said...

I do have a question, would the recipe work with a bit less sugar? And also I noticed that when we put the cupcakes in the fridge the buttercream really solidified and was not as light feeling. But still delicious. But definately seemed more like butter.

Zack said...

I tried making both SMBC and IMBC; both consist of the same ingredients but with different method of preparing.Cooking the sugar in IMBC is a little bit time consuming, so SMBC is probably the easier way. I can't tell much difference in texture between the two but I can sure say that they taste good. I prefer eating cuppies frosted with SMBC/IMBC not straight from the fridge;I let them sit in room temp for a while.

You're right about the mixture-turning-soupy part.Gotta be patient with that.

Thanks for your tips on making this great frosting btw. It helped me a lot! :)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Katherine, you can definitely reduce the sugar. I usually use 1/4 cup of sugar for each egg white, but you could try a little less. Oh yeah, the frosting definitely hardens in the fridge because of all the butter. I usually don't use this type of frosting on cupcakes/cakes that need to be refrigerated. It usually lasts about 2-3 days out of the fridge.

Katherine said...

I am completely obsessed with this frosting...just perfection!

I did reduce the sugar. I made it with 8 egg whites, 2 cups of sugar and 4 sticks of butter, and vanilla beans. And it was wonderful!

I am making your lemon cupcake recipe today. And I am going to use all those left behind egg yolks and make lemon curd to fill the cupcakes.

dorothy said...

First I want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog! About SMBC-- I absolutely LOVE this type of frosting, but haven't made it often because I don't like to waste egg yolks. Have you ever made SMBC using a carton of "Just Whites"? Or what do YOU do with the yolks?

Darlene said...

I tried this for the first time last weekend, everyone loved it. It tastes like a homemade red velvet icing recipe that my grandmother had given me, but the ingredients are totally different.Does it have to be refrigerated or is it stable enough to do a wedding cake. I have a customer who wants a buttery tasting icing but doesn't like powedered sugar.How could I make it white? Could you sustitute the butter for shotening and use extra butter flavoring?Do you have another sugestion for a icing I could use?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Darlene, I've never used shortening in this recipe, and I'm not sure it would work. This frosting relies on creating an emulsion, and since butter and shortening are quite different, I don't think it would work properly. You could look for ivory food coloring. They sell it at cake supply stores. It helps to make buttercream white.

I hope that helps!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Oh I forgot to answer your question about refrigerating. I leave cakes and cupcakes frosted with SMBC out of the fridge for up to 5 days!

daniel said...

=[
sugar wouldn't dissolve and it kept sticking to the boiler =[

i am not making this again
=[

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Daniel, a little rim of sugar usually sticks to the bowl of my double boiler too. Don't worry about dissolving that. And don't scrape it into the mixing bowl. You'll need to heat the mixture for about 5 minutes to get the egg whites hot enough to melt all the sugar. You should definitely try the recipe again. It makes delicious frosting!

Daniel said...

oh okay :]
i was just annoyed at the time
i think i might try it again when i pluck up the courage =]

or said...

how many grams of butter?

Jay Jay Stroup said...

First off, I have to say how much I love your site! It's very dangerous, looking at all these yummy cupcake recipes because I want to make them all. :)

My question about the SMBC is this - I made this frosting yesterday, and I had borrowed a friend's paddle attachment because ours is lost. However, I didn't realize until I had it attached that it was too big for the kitchen aid mixer stand I have. I had to use the whisk attachment for the second step of the recipe, when you add the butter and vanilla extract. I think the frosting came out okay (we ate it, and it tasted pretty delicious!) but I'm not sure how the whisk attachment affected the outcome. Is it possible to make SMBC with just the whisk attachment and have it come out the same as with the paddle? I also have a handheld kitchen aid mixer but alas, it does not come with a paddle-like attachment. Any help and/or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Jay Jay Stroup said...

Hi, just wanted to say that I borrowed a paddle that fit my mixer from another friend (and ordered a new paddle for myself) and the SMBC turned out perfectly! I put it on the Amy Sedaris vanilla cupcakes and they were super delicious. Thanks Cassie for answering my earlier question too. :)

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the videos & recipe! I tried your SMBC but had a few troubleshooting questions - I'd really appreciate it if you could answer them quickly.

My problems are that: (1) the recipe didn't yield 4 cups, and (2) when piped using a large open star tip, i couldn't end the swirl in the center of my cupcake nicely by easing off the pressure. The frosting just broke off the tip and left me with an ugly truncated shape.

I used a handmixer with a whisk attachment (how I wish i had a KA...), didn't have goopy stuff at any point, and didn't see signs of curdling. The frosting tastes good but if my yield is low the 'real' frosting should be lighter and fluffier, right?

What am i doing wrong?

Thanks!

Stephanie said...

Okay, i tried the SMBC again and had pretty much the same results: I only got about 3-3.5cups and the frosting was smooth but stiff. Since I read on a website that a possible solution is to gently heat the mixing bowl and warm up the frosting a bit, I tried this out. The good news: i have the right piping consistency now! No more ugly broken ends =)

Perhaps my apartment is too cold, but i just wanted to share with others that there's an easy fix!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I honestly have no idea how much the frosting yields. The original recipe I based mine off of said 4 cups. I guess I should've lowered the yield, considering my recipe uses a lot less butter. My bad. It sounds like you did everything right though! I hope you enjoyed it! :D

Levi said...

Hi, is the butter 1 cup or 1 pound? I reckon 2 sticks of butter equals about 1 pound?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

1 stick = 1/2 cup... 2 sticks = 1 cup... 4 sticks = 1 pound

:D

Mellietastic said...

The first time that I made this frosting it came out wonderful, the second time (When I was in more of a time crunch) it came out like total soup.

I was SO GLAD for your tutorial though, and the assurance that the soup would turn into frosting after some more whipping. I probably would have been like all of those other people and just tossed the "soup" out.

Your tutorial was a lifesaver, thanks!!

missda said...

so... i just tried smbc and though it tasted fabulous, it never stiffened up enough that it would not slowly ooze off the sides of my cupcakes. i used this recipe:

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/vanilla-french-buttercream?autonomy_kw=french%20buttercream&rsc=header_3

i halved the recipe from what's on the ms website, using 4 large egg whites instead of 7 extra large, and halving all the other ingredients.

the egg whites whipped up fine, but once i added the butter it got soupy and i could not get it to go stiff no matter what. i put it in the fridge, i switched to the paddle attachment from the whip attachment on my kitchenaid, but after a while it seemed like the more i would mix it, the soupier it would get. so frustrating because it tasted great and took sooo long to make! i didn't throw it out, still have it sitting in the fridge, so any guidance would be appreciated.

PW said...

Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed tutorial! This was my first attempt and it turned out great...and I would have totally given up had I not been reassured by the video:)What a delicious frosting!

The butter tip was especially important...having forgotten to set out the butter in advance, I softened mine in the microwave which was, as usual, a mistake. It wasn't warm exactly, but it did soup up the mixture a bit--chillng the bowl seemed to fix it, but now I have an excuse to try it again the right way and compare the results;) Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

thank you sooooo much!!!!! i never thought i could make such goooooooood buttercream!!!!! youve helped me alot and i thank you soooooooo much for this recipe..ive tried soooo many different ones but this one yet is the best one i ever made!!!! THANK thank thank you sooooooo much!!!!! looking forward to your recipes!!!

Lauren said...

Just found your site and am really enjoying reading - just one question...has ANYONE, in the history of the world, ever made this SMB sucessfully with a handheld mixer? I don't have a stand mixer and am desperate to try this recipe for a large celebration cake that I'm planning to make tonight. If there's no hope without a stand mixer then I think I'll have to go with my homemade guess-the-quantities-and-hope-for-the-best cream cheese frosting mixture. Any help gratefully received!

CandysSweets said...

everytime i make smbc in 2x or 3x batches it always comes out soupy.... i have ruined 12 eggs and 6 sticks of butter :O(
i dont know what to do to make larger batches. I always make sure the fluff is cooled off by sticking the bowl inside a iced bath before I mix in the butter.

CandysSweets said...

I actually figured it out..... I take out some of the mixure, about half, and mix half at one time, then half at another.... this allows more air to get in to make it thicker! So just do it in batches :o) so happy i saved it!

Swati said...

Hi.. any way I can make this without egg.. so many people have turned vegetarian or vegan these days.. and I have quite a few around me.. can I substitute something like No Egg etc for the egg whites.. it's silly, but dont want to subtract SMBC from my life :)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Swati, I really don't know the answer to this as I have never tried it. Sorry :(

Lauren said...

Let me start by saying I just took a cupcake class at a culinary school in NYC. In class we learned how to make SMB. It was amazing. Then I came home and tried it in my kitchen....

No luck! It came out like soup every single time. We never had to use the paddle in class. Maybe they had magic eggs, I don't know. Either way... it never worked. So I threw out about 4 batches.

Then I came across this... and within 3 minutes... BUTTERCREAM!

I can't thank you enough for the video!!!! You saved my life! LOL

On a side note... I add 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and only 3/4 cup sugar. Not sure if it makes much of a difference. But the taste is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say a BIG BIG thank you for the SMBC frosting recipe and the instructions!!! For the first time this Christmas the frosting on my cupcakes looked like I wanted it to look (beautifully piped in gorgeous swirls, not like gooey runny mess). Thank you ever so much!!!!!!

cat said...

Have you ever made white chocolate Swiss meringue?

Ruby said...

Hello - glad I came across your site. I have made Italian Meringue Buttercream and Swiss as well, but most recipes call for a whole pound of butter (2 cups), which I always cut down to 1.75 cups. Your recipe calls for only 1 cup which is great. Did you cut down on the butter and found it worked?

With thanks,
Ruby

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Ruby, I use the following ratio... 1 egg white : 1/4 cup of butter. So for every egg white I use, I add 1/2 stick of butter. For 4 egg whites, I use 2 sticks of butter, and it always works. :)

Ellemay said...

This frosting was amazing!!!

I've just invested in my very own kitchen aid mixer and knew that the first frosting had to be this one. So simple, so easy!

Only difference was 5 egg whites as 1/2 cup of butter for me is a little more then you.

sharon said...

i was afraid to try this as i only have a crappy hand mixer, but the normal buttercream recipes are always gritty so i turned to this. boy am i glad i did! the mixture did look soupy for a long time after i added the butter, but i continued beating, and voila! i got buttercream! thank you so much!

Payal said...

I have tried this recipe three times and failed..after reading the comments i realised that maybe i dont beat the eggs and sugar enough. What type of sugar do we have to use..should it be granulated, castor or superfine?
I once used granulated sugar and it didnt dissolve completely even after heating for a long time. Next time i used superfine sugar..i wonder if that made a difference to fluffing up of eggs.

Payal said...

I have tried this recipe three times and failed..after reading the comments i realised that maybe i dont beat the eggs and sugar enough. What type of sugar do we have to use..should it be granulated, castor or superfine?
I once used granulated sugar and it didnt dissolve completely even after heating for a long time. Next time i used superfine sugar..i wonder if that made a difference to fluffing up of eggs.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

You should be using granulated sugar. Is your thermometer calibrated? If you are bringing your mixture to 160 degrees, your sugar should definitely be melting.

goodbyegluten said...

I successfully made Chocolate SMBC a few days ago. It was delicious! Unfortunately, due to lack of air in my car, they melted like crazy when transporting them! I think that this would make an amazingly tasty filling! I'm going to try using it that way next time.

Thanks!

PS: I'm a new follower and am happy for you and your mom (in your bakery endeavors). I'm hoping to own my own Gluten Free bakery/cafe in Madison, WI. Please contact me if you'd be willing to chat and give me pointers. It'd be appreciated :)