Quick Swiss Meringue Buttercream


I’ve been eyeing this cake for months, yearning for a reason to make it. Having full cakes lying around the house is just not a good option. A small bridal shower gathering seemed to be the perfect occasion for those beautiful roses. I wasn’t given much direction with this cake, so I was very excited to make it!

Shiny and smooth, Swiss Meringue Buttercream has worked its way into my heart as a possible favorite frosting. The only problem that I have with it is sometimes I don’t have half a dozen eggs, only to use the whites. If I’m not making a custard or sugar cookies, traditional SMB can be quite wasteful.

I don’t know if I trust those egg whites that come in a milk container yet, but I do trust powdered egg whites! If you haven’t already, go buy some meringue powder. Ateco brand is my favorite, but you have to buy it online. My next favorite is Williams Sonoma brand, but again, those stores aren’t exactly all over the place. Wilton brand is very available at craft stores, there are three different sizes sold at Michaels. While it’s flavor is not my favorite for royal icing, it’s fine in SMB because of the added vanilla extract. (This recipe isn’t real SMB, it’s really more like a regular buttercream stabilized with meringue powder but the texture is closer to SMB so I’ll call it a Quick Swiss Meringue Buttercream)

The original recipe uses all butter, and while I’d normally much prefer that to a combo of butter and shortening, these humid summer months make full butter buttercream very droopy and sad looking. I subbed in 1/2 cup of shortening for the butter, which seemed to make it hold up nicely.

Quick Swiss Meringue Buttercream


-1/2 cup water

-3/4 cup granulated sugar

-1/3 cup meringue powder

-1 lb (4 cups) confectioners sugar

-1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

-1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)

-1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring water to a boil, add granulated sugar and stir until dissolved. Let cool at room temp for about fifteen minutes. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add meringue powder. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Add the butter one tablespoonful at a time, once it is smooth add the shortening. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Use immediately. Once a cake is frosted with this, refrigerate.


Author: audrey

I bake photograph smile drink sparkling water eat cucumbers& goldfish wake up at 6:30 dance clean have hair with a personality adore kids

12 thoughts on “Quick Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  1. I can’t believe you made this!!! So impressed!

  2. Hi Audrey! Was wondering if you could help me. I followed all the steps that were required and it was working perfect until I was up to adding the third cup of confectioners sugar, it was like it had too much sugar and started to clump! Any tips? :) thanks

    • Hey Emily! That’s happened to me before, usually for me it means that the butter is almost separating from the sugar and you just have to keep beating it until it comes back together. Usually if you add too much sugar it won’t clump up, it will just get so thick that it’ll get crumbly. If continuing to beat it doesn’t work, you could add a little heavy cream or milk a teaspoon at a time until it comes back together. Hope that helps! xo Audrey

      • Thanks for the reply :) I see what your saying, but I wasn’t up to adding the butter so I’m abit confused as to where I went wrong. I was waiting until it was smooth enough to then add the butter. Should I add the butter anyway and see what happens? Sorry for all the questions Audrey xx

      • Ahhh sorry I’m a little burnt I guess haha, yes if you added the butter it should’ve all worked as planned!

  3. what happends if its not used right away…say tomorrow a.m.

  4. Hi how long does this last at room temp when iced on a cake? And if using all butter would I use 2 cups to replace the shortening? Im a beginner and was a bit daunted by the recipes for SMBC so glad to find a shortcut! Also is it ok to add a gel icing colour to the mix? X

    • Hey Katherine,
      It will last about 5-6 hours, I wouldn’t keep it out of the fridge much longer than that because of the butter in it. And if the room is too warm, the icing will get very soft and possibly melt. Gel icing color is totally fine!! Don’t be daunted, all it takes is practice! Once you get this recipe down you can try real swiss meringue which is so so great. Good luck!

  5. Thanks, so 2 cups of butter instead of shortening? I’m a bit worried about keeping myiced cupcakes in the fridge though as then the cake won’t be as nice! X

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