A wonderful alternative to standard buttercream, swiss buttercream is light and silky and can be used to decorate cakes and cupcakes. You could even experiment with different coloured icing by adding a few drops of food colouring to the mix.
This was even the buttercream of choice for Harry and Meghan's Royal Wedding Cake.
To make the buttercream, tip the egg whites into a bowl and add the sugar and salt. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water) and stir until the sugar dissolves completely, when you put your fingers in the mixture you should not feel any grains of sugar.
Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk with an electric whisk until it becomes a thick meringue that forms stiff peaks and the sides of the bowl no longer feels warm and whisk in the vanilla extract.
Add the butter, it must be really soft, if too hard it will curdle, if melted the icing will not set, the butter should be the consistency of soft margarine.
Whisk it in a tablespoon at a time at full speed and it will combine together to give a fluffy buttercream which can be piped easily. Add food colourings as desired.
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