Swiss American Buttercream

Buttercream is Life

Buttercream always makes my day a bit sweeter. I love the mouthfeel, the sweetness and the way it always complements a cake. (Oh how I love cake!) This buttercream, in particular, is my favorite. It’s my go to recipe for every cake occasion. It gets its fluffiness from the meringue and the sweetness from the powdered sugar. It’s a perfect marriage of Swiss buttercream and American buttercream. Not too fluffy, but not too heavy at the same time.

Sure, you can stop after you’ve added the butter, but this results in a slightly sweet butter to me. Which is fabulous in itself, you can go ahead a use it just like this, but I like it a bit more dense and a lot more sweet, so I’ve added the shortening and powdered sugar. I initially did this for wedding cakes. The shortening kept the outdoor cakes from melting too fast and gives it a bit more structure.

Decorating cakes is a huge passion of mine and this icing is perfect every time. All my clients love it and it’s absolutely amazing to work with. It doesn’t crust super fast, so fondant sticks to it nicely. It’s light and fluffy, so icing a cake is a piece of cake! It’s even very easy to put on an ice cream cake.

How to Make

It starts out with the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler. Don’t panic if you don’t have one. Just fill a sauce pot with some water and fit either a glass or metal bowl over it. Dissolve the sugar and bring it up to 173F to pasteurize the eggs. Next, whip it into a fluffy meringue.  Add a high quality butter (this makes sure for an even more delicious buttercream) and beat till fluffy and silky. Add the shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla last and mix until smooth. Now it’s go time! Ice your sweet confections…or just snack on it!

Give it a try and tell me what you think. It’s a little bit of work, but totally worth it!


Home is where the cake is

Swiss American Buttercream

Silky, sweet and smooth, this icing is perfect for any cake, cupcake, cookie or sweet dessert. 

Course Icing
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 cup Egg Whites
  • 1 pound Granulated Sugar
  • 2 pounds Unsalted Butter Room Temperature
  • 1/2 pound Shortening
  • 2 pounds Powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla


  1. 1. In a double boiler, add the egg whites and the granulated sugar. Mix together and bring to 173F (this pasteurizes the eggs) and until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally so the eggs don't cook.

    2. Meanwhile, with a stand mixer, attach the bowl with the whisk attachment. Pour the egg and sugar mixture into the bowl after reaching temp, and mix on the highest speed for about 10 - 15 minutes. 

    3. While the eggs and sugar are making a fluffy meringue, dice your butter into small cubes. 

    4. When the meringue mixture is cool, slow the speed of the mixture to the slowest speed on your mixer and add the butter a little at a time, making sure it is fully incorporating after each addition. After all the butter is in the bowl, crank up the speed slowly. Mix for about another 5 minutes till its fluffy and smooth with no visible butter. 

    5. Add the shortening and mix till smooth on medium speed for 3 - 5 minutes.

    6. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and slowly mix until fully incorporated. Mix the icing till its smooth and fluffy for about 3 minutes on medium speed.

    7. Ice your cake, cupcakes or cookies and color it as desired.


    8. Store in an airtight container at room temp for a few hours. If using another day, refrigerate. Make sure to whip before use for best results.

Recipe Notes

*If you do not have a double boiler, you can use a sauce pot, fill it with water half way, and add a bowl that fits over the top. 

*Bringing the egg whites to 173F pasteurizes them and makes them safe to eat.

The single best buttercream recipe you’ll ever need! It’s fluffy, creamy, and perfectly sweet! Made with a meringue and whipped butter.

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7 Replies to “Swiss American Buttercream”

  1. This looks amazing! I didn’t know there were different types of buttercream…I’m going to try this for my kids’ birthday cakes this year. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! I want to make that! I don’t think I ever realized how “easy” making buttercream is? I say that… watch me burn the sugar or something. :X I always seem to buy frosting in a can/jar (I know!) but I usually make something sweet, etc. on a whim. Do you think this would be good on a pumpkin cake?!

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