Swiss Meringue Buttercream vs American Buttercream

Swiss Meringue Buttercream vs American Buttercream

One of the most important decisions to make when baking is what to cover your cake or cupcakes with. While you can do lots of different techniques with sugarpaste, many people don’t enjoy eating it.

I love to work with and eat buttercream but what do you prefer? Swiss Meringue Buttercream or American Buttercream? I grew up eating cake with American buttercream, mostly chocolate in flavour as that is always my Dad’s preference. While I still love chocolate American buttercream, I have learnt the dream, that is Swiss meringue buttercream too. I still make both as sometimes you just need a super sweet American buttercream topped cupcake



Below are both the recipes that I use, the quantities are enough to cover a 3 layer 6″ cake or 18 cupcakes with a bit left over. Below that you will find some flavour combination ideas but the world really is your oyster here.

American Buttercream

350g  softened butter (salted/unsalted I don’t mind)

700g icing sugar (aka powdered sugar)

2tsp vanilla extract (my favourite is vanilla bean paste with the little black dots)


Beat the butter for 5 mins until paler in colour.

Sieve icing sugar into mixer.

Start mixing slowly, once combined turn the speed up to medium/high and beat for about 10mins.

Scrape down the side and add your colouring and flavouring if you choose. Mix until combined.

You can make more or less as required just keep the ratio of double icing sugar to butter.


Swiss Meringue Buttercream

(You will require a candy thermometer for this)

buttercream_ingreds150g egg whites (room temperature) about 4 large eggs

250g caster sugar

340g softened butter

2tsp vanilla extract

1/4tsp salt

Wipe the mixer bowl and separate heat proof bowl, if required, with lemon juice or vinegar to remove any traces of grease.

Make a double boiler by placing simmering water below but without touching the mixing bowl or another heat proof bowl.


Add egg whites and caster sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently until the temp reaches 60°C or until the sugar has completely dissolved and egg whites are hot.

Attach bowl to mixer or pour into mixer bowl and use the whisk attachment. Whip until the meringue is glossy and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm. About 7-10mins.


Switch to a mixer attachment and on a low speed add cubes of butter one at a time until all mixed in. Continue mixing until silky smooth.


Add vanilla and salt and continue mixing until well combined.

Scrape down the side and add your colouring and flavouring if you choose. Mix until combined.


If the buttercream curdles, keep mixing on a low speed and it will become smooth again. If the buttercream is too runny, refrigerate for about 15mins before continuing mixing.


There are a multitude of different flavour extracts that you can buy in tiny bottles. I love bubblegum, coconut, peppermint, lavender and rose water but you can also add additional ingredients to the buttercream for flavour.

Zest of 2 lemons or limes with 3 tbs of the juice

Peanut butter 3/4 cup (one of my all time favourites)

Chocolate 2/3 cup cooled melted chocolate (white, milk & dark all work)

Strawberry puree 2/3 cup with a pinch of black pepper


Lets not forget colouring, I use a gel food colour which does not affect the buttercream consistency while still giving you great vibrancy and you can find every colour in the rainbow.


Enjoy your baking and let me know what you prefer.






9 thoughts on “Swiss Meringue Buttercream vs American Buttercream

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