Martha’s Meringue

June 14, 2011

You didn’t think my healthy chocolate cake was done, did you?

Oh no, it’s time to ice it with a homemade Swiss Meringue Buttercream ala Martha Stewart.

Now, some might think that 1 lb of butter is excessive for a cake icing…. but I would rather eat 1 lb of real, delicious unsalted butter (a REAL food) than 1 tablespoon of the canned frosting you can get in the store.

Here is a list of ingredients in a popular canned vanilla icing:
(compare this with the ingredients in the Swiss Meringue Buttercream below)

Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Water, Wheat Starch, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Contain 1% or Less of Salt, Distilled Monoglycerides, Colored with Artificial Color, Yellows 5 & 6, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Nonfat Milk, Freshness Preserved by Potassium Sorbate

You can check out research on partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil and high maltose corn syrup and artificial food colorings all over the internet… or in some high fal-lootin journals and places like Harvard School of Public Health. and Mayo Clinic.  Make up your own mind.

A huge thanks to Carrie at bitesizedbycarrie for teaching me  how to make this delicious frosting.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  2. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  3. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day.
  4. (Optional) To tint buttercream (or royal icing), reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (or use the toothpick or skewer to add food color a dab at a time) to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use a paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too soon, as the hue will intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.

Cook’s Note

Chocolate variation: Using a flexible spatula, fold 4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled, into buttercream mixture in step 3, along with the vanilla extract.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: