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wedding cake: the frosting

September 10, 2011

Now, normally I’m a strictly-buttercream girl. But I knew my mom was a fan of frostings that *don’t* give you an instant sugar-high, so I was already on the hunt for something a little less sweet when I read Deb’s wedding cake installment on frosting. When she said swiss buttercream was both not-too-sweet and stable at (hot, sticky) room temperature, I was sold.

The process is a little bit more elaborate than I’m used to for frosting, but it was kind of fun to watch the egg whites turn into something that, as Deb said, remarkably resembles mayonnaise. Also, if you refrigerate something frosted with swiss buttercream, it turns into a pretty solid armor that instantly dissolves when you eat it. Funky! And for that reason, I would not recommend making the frosting in advance and refrigerating it. Just don’t do it. It won’t be pretty.

Swiss Buttercream
Ingredients: [Note that this makes an obscene amount of frosting, so if you’re making a more normal, sane-sized cake, you might want to check out Deb’s suggestions for scaling.]
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large egg whites
39 [yes, 39] tablespoons butter, softened (4 sticks plus 7 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Whisk egg whites and sugar together in a big metal bowl [I just used the KitchenAid bowl] over a pot of simmering water. Whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers. [I also stuck an instant-read thermometer in there and made sure it reached 160 degrees, not wanting to be responsible for 30 people getting salmonellowned.]
2. Wipe the condensation off the bottom of the bowl. Transfer mixture into the mixer and whip until it turns white and about doubles in size.
3. Add the vanilla. Add the butter a stick at a time and whip. It may take up to 15 minutes to come together and not look like a butter-sugar slushy.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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