I am sorry, but I really am not a fan of American buttercreams.
Too sweet, too difficult to handle and can't last very long in the hot and humid weather here.
So whenever I want to frost cupcakes, I will make swiss meringue buttercream (SMBC). They take more effort to make, but the end results are always worth it. So many readers have written to me to tell me that once they have made a SMBC, they can never go back to American buttercream again.
Today I am sharing a post on how to make an Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I used it to frost a batch of Chocolate Macchiato Nutella Cupcakes.
Here are the pictorial instructions on how to make this buttercream.
To start, combine the Kahlua and espresso powder and stir over low heat until the mixture is warm. Set this aside.
Into a heat-proof bowl set over a ban marie, add egg whites and sugar. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Note:I didn't change to a paddle before doing this because I was testing a theory that a friend had told me. I still feel that the buttercream yields a more even result when the paddle is used, so do change to a paddle before you add the butter!
Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Makes enough to frost a 2 layer 9-inch cake)
Adapted from sugarandsnapshots
¼ cup (60ml) Kahlua
3 tablespoons (15g) instant espresso - I used Illy Ground Espresso Coffee, Dark Roast
5 egg whites
⅔ cup (150g) caster sugar
4 sticks (450g) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla paste (can be replaced with vanilla extract)
1. To start, combine the Kahlua and espresso powder and stir over low heat until the mixture is warm. Set this aside.
2. Cut the butter into cubes and leave it on the kitchen counter. By the time you are ready to add this to the buttercream, the consistency should be just right.
3. Into a heat-proof bowl set over a ban marie, add egg whites and sugar. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved. You can rub the mixture between your thumb and finger. If it no longer feels gritty, it is ready.
4. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. The bowl MUST feel cool to the touch.
5. Add the butter, 4 cubes at a time, all the while still whisking on high speed until all the butter has been added.
6. The mixture will appear to be curdled. Don't panic. Just. Keep. Whisking.
7. Add the vanilla bean paste (use vanilla extract if you do not have bean paste) and the Kahlua/espresso mixture.
8. Once the mixture has come together, the buttercream is done.
Note: The buttercream can be used immediately, or stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. It can also be kept frozen for up to 3 months, but thaw completely in the fridge before using. Once you have placed the buttercream in the fridge/freezer, make sure you whisk it again before use.