SO many buttercream recipes but which one to pick?
Choosing the best buttercream recipe for you and your cake projects can be daunting for some people while others will say “I only use this recipe. Period.”
For me I have always used three recipes and will go back and forth between those three depending on what I am making and for who I am making it for.
When I owned my bakery it was always determined by what the customer wanted for special order cakes, but when it came to making the cakes for the retail end of my store it was a well thought out process.
Here you can check out each of my individual recipes to see the process for yourself and decide which you like best as the taste, well rather the sweetness and textures will differ slightly.
First there is my famous Swiss Meringue Buttercream which is the recipe that literally put me on the youtube map.
When I started making videos over 6 years ago this recipe hit like none other and it is still one of my top ranking videos.
People talk about this recipe all over social media and at one point it was ranking higher in a Google search than Food Network and Martha Stewart’s Buttercream recipes!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a silky smooth, very adult style buttercream.
It is made from whipping egg whites and sugar over a double boiler to dissolve the sugar and then the butter and shortening are added with an addition of confectioner’s sugar as well.
Many people have asked me “why the confectioner’s sugar?”
I like the addition of powdered sugar as it adds more sweetness to what could otherwise be a very buttery blend as well as stabilization for piping and decorating your cakes.
For the most part this recipe is the #1 winner for the majority but some have said they think it is too sweet so to omit that confectioner’s sugar would be the solution there.
Others have actually said it is not sweet enough!
So here is a perfect example of how taste and the question “does it taste good?” is subjective since “good” is a unique experience to each and every person.
What’s good to me, may not be good to you, but I think this recipe speaks for itself in the hundreds of thousands of shares and likes it has gotten over the years.
The recipe is versatile enough to allow you to adjust the amount of sugar or omit it altogether.
Additionally some people are against using shortening in their buttercream and I totally get that.
You can of course use all butter in place of the shortening but be aware that shortening gives stability and strength to the recipe and will also allow it to keep it’s integrity much longer in hotter climates than straight up all butter recipes.
Just as some people have said it is too sweet or not sweet enough, I have had others say “it is just too buttery!”
I think that is because those people have never had real deal buttercream before.
Most people are used to grocery store buttercream or even old fashioned bakery style buttercream; so when they taste a classically prepares buttercream recipe made with real butter, they are just not used to it.
That same phenomenon occurs when eating a scratch made cake for the first time, as most people have been raised on box mixes, when they taste a classic genoise or a sponge cake they are just not ready for it.
Click here for my blog post about What is Cake? To give you an idea of all the different cakes there are similar to the different styles of buttercream.
Get to know each and your cake making life will become much easier (and more lucrative!)
So for me the Swiss Buttercream recipe is the winner as it is a perfect combination of sweetness, stability and ease of preparation (once you do it a couple times you will be able to make this in your sleep.)
If you click the link for the recipe for Swiss Buttercream above you will see I have included Chocolate and Mocha varieties, but you can also create your own buttercream flavors for any of the recipes listed here simply by checking out this blog post to advise how
All that being said, the next recipe that I use most often lately is the American Style Buttercream
I hate to say it but this is the lazy man’s recipe.
It is so easy to mix but the quality is not compromised by it’s ease of preparation.
Many people love it because it is the closest to my bakery buttercream recipe that was used on the cupcakes and most kids cakes.
That right there will indicate it’s higher level of sweetness which many who are not used to the Swiss Buttercream or Italian versions will love the most.
It is light and fluffy and a dream to work with.
It pipes stiff borders and makes the best buttercream roses
It takes on gel paste colors better than any recipe, but most of all it is the most stable.
Again I use shortening in all my buttercream recipes and for those who do not you can simply substitute in more butter for the shortening amount.
Italian style meringue is quite possibly the most sophisticated of all the buttercream recipes.
It requires cooking sugar and water to 270°F to make a syrup that is then drizzled slowly into the whipping egg whites to make what is known as the Italian style meringue.
The addition of butter (and yes I use shortening too, but again you can sub in all butter) turns this fluffy billowy meringue into a luscious buttercream that is so silky smooth you will think you are eating clouds.
While this recipe is probably the most difficult of the three (but only until you get the hang of it, and you definitely need an instant read thermometer to be sure you are at 270°F) it is the best option for those who seem to get sugar granules in their buttercream when relying on the Swiss or American style.
The cooking of the sugar ensures that all the grains will dissolve since they cannot withstand the high temperature of hte sugar syrup.
Again I use an addition of confectioner’s sugar here, but that is also optional and can be left out completely.
Perhaps here in America we are just used to eating our sweets sweeter than folks in other countries. Actually not perhaps, this is a fact as I have been told my many of my friends across the pond that this is indeed true.
Ok I know I said I only use three recipes but once I transitioned my channel, blog and recipes to vegan at GretchensVeganBakery.com within the last year I have been making Vegan Aquafaba Swiss Meringue Buttercream too!