This chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC) has to be my favourite chocolate frosting of all time! It’s creamy, silky smooth, and has the most dreamy chocolate flavour!
What is Swiss meringue buttercream?
Swiss meringue buttercream is what we call a meringue based buttercream. It’s made by whipping cooked egg whites and caster sugar together into a stiff meringue, followed by your butter and flavourings. It is less sweeter than American buttercream and is one of the easiest meringue based buttercreams to make. This makes it a popular option for many bakers!
My top tips for success!
SMBC is a little harder than making a traditional American buttercream, BUT it’s totally achievable! Below are a list of my top tips to get your SMBC right the first time around 🙂
– Make sure there are no fats/oils on your bowls or spoons. Any fat residue can prevent your meringue from whipping up properly. Ensure all bowls and utensils used in this recipe are washed properly. You can also wipe your bowl down with a touch of lemon juice or vinegar to ensure there are no fats left behind from a previous bake 🙂
– Make sure your butter is at the right consistency. Your butter should be soft enough that you can make an indent in it with your fingers, but should still hold it’s shape. Check out the recipe video below for a visual on this.
– Cook your egg whites and sugar over a bain maree on a very low heat. If the heat is too high, you’re going to overcook your egg whites and have scrambled egg buttercream!
– Whip your meringue to stiff peaks. If your meringue is too soft, it’s not going to be as stable and hold it’s shape as well.
– Let your meringue cool before adding in your butter. When you whip your meringue it should take about 15 minutes to reach the stiff peak stage. By this point it should be cool enough to add in your butter. If it still feels warm, then pop your bowl into the fridge for 10 minutes or so and then move add in your butter. If your meringue is too hot, it’s going to melt your butter and you’re going to end up with soupy SMBC! But not too worry, if this happens you can totally fix it! Check out the troubleshooting tips below.
Help! What’s wrong with my Swiss meringue buttercream?!
– Why is my buttercream soupy?! – If your buttercream is soupy it’s most likely because your meringue was too hot when adding in your butter. You can easily fix this by popping your soupy SMBC into the fridge for about 30 minutes, and then rewhip it.
– Why is my SMBC curdling? – Don’t panic, this is TOTALLY NORMAL! When adding your butter to your meringue, you need to give it time to incorporate into the meringue. It may look like it’s curdling, but just let it do it’s thing and it will eventually come together. You want to let it whip for at least a few minutes after the butter is added in.
– Why does my SMBC taste like butter? – SMBC does taste more buttery than American buttercream, but it shouldn’t taste like you’re eating butter! Firstly, check the quantities you have used carefully. Secondly, make sure you’re whipping your SMBC long enough after adding in the butter. If you don’t whip it long enough, it won’t lighten up the frosting and you’re more likely to have that intense buttery taste.
– Why is my SMBC grainy? – This would be because your sugar wasn’t completely dissolved into your egg whites. Check that you can’t feel any sugar granules between your fingers before whipping up your egg white/sugar mixture.
The method of making this chocolate SMBC is exactly the same as a regular SMBC, except you’re going to fold in melted chocolate right at the end. You can use any chocolate you like, white, milk or dark! But I would recommend using dark chocolate if you want a deep chocolate flavour to your frosting.
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 1⅔ cups (400 g) unsalted butter - room temp
- 5 large (150 g) egg whites - see note 5
- 1½ cups (320 g) castor sugar - regular white sugar okay - see note 4
- 1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
- 1¼ cups (225 g) dark chocolate - I use 50% dark
- If this is your first time making SMBC, I would recommend watching the demonstration video below to understand how things should look at certain stages so you know you're on the right track 🙂
- Begin by separating your egg whites from your egg yolks (if using fresh eggs). Do this carefully as there must not be any yolks in the whites, otherwise this will prevent the whites from whipping up properly when we make our meringue.
- In a heat proof bowl, whisk together the egg whites and caster sugar, and gently heat the mixture over a double boiler. Keep gently mixing the mixture so it heats evenly. The goal is to get a smooth texture without over-cooking the egg whites. After a few minutes, check the mixture by rubbing it in between your fingers. If you can't feel any sugar granules then it is done. If you're not using pasteurised egg whites, then ensure the mixture has reached 75 °C so that it is safe to eat.
- Transfer the mixture into a stand mixer (see note 1), and using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and sugar on medium-high speed (speed 8 on KitchenAid) for 10-15 minutes until the mixture is cool and stiff peaks have formed. The final product is what we call a meringue.
- While your meringue is whipping up, melt your dark chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (see note 2). Set aside to cool.
- Turn down your mixer to a medium speed (speed 6 on KitchenAid) and slowly add in the unsalted butter, about a tablespoon at a time (see note 6). It is important to ensure that the butter is at room temperature (soft enough to make an indent with your finger, but not melted or losing it's shape). See note 3
- Once all the butter is mixed in, add in your vanilla and continue to mix your buttercream until it is smooth in consistency. At some stage it may look like the buttercream is curdling, but this is totally normal! Just let your mixer do it's thing and it will come together 🙂
- Lastly, slowly pour your chocolate into your buttercream while your mixer is on a medium speed until the chocolate is well incorporated. Your buttercream is now ready to use, but if you find it's a little soft after adding in the chocolate, let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and then rewhip it and it'll be good to go!
Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.
I like the looks of it and am sure it tastes smashing but due to space constraints I do not have a stand mixer. I guess I’ll skip gym that day because 20 minutes or so of beating with a hand mixer should be workout enough.
Haha would definitely be enough of a workout! 😀 To make it easier for you try using a smaller bowl this should help the meringue whip up faster 🙂
Hello! I absolutely love your recipes and sharing of your tricks of the trade! I will be making chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream for a cake soon and coloring it black. I was wondering if your trick of deepening color with the use of the microwave would work for this even with the chocolate included. Candy can be temperamental in recipes. I was wondering if you had tried this yet? Thank you!
Hi Kimberly! So happy to hear you’ve been enjoying the content 😀 I haven’t tried that technique with my chocolate SMBC but I imagine if you don’t overheat it it should be okay 🙂 just keep in mind that method can change the texture ever so slightly. Alternatively I have a black buttercream frosting recipe if you wanted to check that out, here is the link: https://cakesbymk.com/recipe/black-buttercream-that-doesnt-stain/
Love the chocolate SMBC 🙂
I was wondering if the left over SMBC can be frozen?
So happy to hear that Nicola! 🙂 And yes totally, just make sure to let it come to room temperature and rewhip it once you’re ready to use it again 🙂
Could you use cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate?
Hi Alysha! Yes that should work fine, just the taste will be slightly different 🙂
Fab turnout and tastes Delish. Thanks
Awesome! Glad you enjoyed them 😀
Made both vanilla and chocolate – both incredible and easy – I love the lightness to it as well as the incredible flavour and texture – my definate go to thanks MK
Yay! Happy to hear you enjoyed both versions 🙂
All the love mk
A feast to the eyes . Yes only that . Cuz when i made it .my little sister ate it all .
Haha love it! So glad your sister enjoyed it 😀