• Swiss meringue buttercream (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson

This buttercream is a joy to use. Glossy, smooth and easy to shape it is perfect for both piping and spreading with a palette knife or the back of a spoon. 




Skill level

Average: 3.2 (277 votes)

This recipe will make quite a large quantity so if your stand mixer bowl is small it is a good idea to halve the recipe and make it in two separate batches. I've used it to decorate my confetti layer cake.


  • 6 eggwhites, at room temperature
  • 330 g (1½ cups) caster sugar
  • 375 g unsalted butter, cut into 12 equal portions, at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
  • food colourings of your choice

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Makes: about 4½ cups

1. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl of an electric stand mixer and place over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir with a whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches 55°C on a sugar thermometer.

2. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and whisk on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment for 10-15 minutes or until very thick and glossy and the mixture has cooled completely to room temperature.

3. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle beater. Beat on medium-high speed for about 10 minutes, adding a portion of butter one at a time and beating well after each addition until completely incorporated and smooth before adding the next portion of butter. If the mixture becomes lumpy or looks slightly curdled increase the speed to high and beat until smooth again.

4. Reduce the speed to medium-low and beat for 3-4 minutes or until all the excess air has been beaten out and the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla and then tint with your colour of choice if desired.


Baker’s tip

• This buttercream will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Before using, bring to room temperature then beat with the paddle attachment on low speed for 4-5 minutes or until smooth again.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O'Brien. Food preparation by Kerrie Ray. Creative concept by Belinda So.


This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: We're celebrating our 50th column!. Read  her tips on how to cut and decorate celebration cakes.


View previous Bakeproof columns and recipes here.


Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,TwitterInstagram and Pinterest.