Vanilla swiss meringue buttercream

Vanilla swiss meringue buttercream
  • Serves icon Makes roughly 1.6kg
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min

Learn how to make light and fluffy vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, then adapt it to whip up – literally – these raspberry and passion fruit versions.

Watch how to learn the correct technique needed for our basic meringue here.


  • 490g free-range egg whites (from 13 large eggs; or use Two Chicks brand pasteurised egg white)
  • 690g caster sugar
  • 1.1kg unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste

For the raspberry buttercream

  • 200g fresh raspberries

For the passion fruit buttercream

  • 350g passion fruit purée (use a good brand: we like Léonce Blanc, £12.95 from amazon)

You’ll also need

  • Digital probe thermometer; stand mixer


  1. Heat 4cm water in a saucepan over a low-medium heat to a gentle simmer. Put the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Rest the bowl over the simmering water and, using a flexible spatula, mix constantly for about 10 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature reaches 72°C on the digital probe thermometer. Be sure to keep the water just at a simmer or you risk scrambling the eggs and will have to start again.
  2. Once the mixture reaches 72°C, quickly remove from the heat and put the bowl back in your stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, then reduce the speed to medium for 6-8 minutes until the outside of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch.
  3. Swap the whisk for the paddle and, on a low speed, begin adding the butter in 25g chunks until the mixture is smooth and fluffy (5-10 minutes; see tips). Stir in the vanilla. Set aside 650g buttercream for the limoncello and poppy seed cake.
  4. To make the raspberry buttercream, put 300g vanilla buttercream in a mixing bowl. Push the raspberries through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon to make a purée and discard any seeds. Squeeze out as much liquid from the pulp as possible until you have about 100g purée (discard the pulp). Heat the purée in a small pan over a medium heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon and has reduced to about 30-40g. Cool completely, then mix the raspberry purée into the buttercream.
  5. To make the passion fruit buttercream, put 850g of the buttercream in a large mixing bowl. Heat the passion fruit purée over a low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until very thick. Strain through a fine sieve and cool completely. You should have about 100-115g. Stir about 60-75g purée into the buttercream to taste, adding more as needed. You’ll have buttercream left over; keep this for crumb coating the rosé champagne cake later.

delicious. tips

  1. If the butter is too soft or the meringue is warm when you start adding the butter, the mixture may be runny. This isn’t a big problem – just put the bowl in the fridge, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent the butter hardening on the sides of the bowl. This could take 20-30 minutes. Once the mixture has firmed up, resume beating in the stand mixer.

    When adding the butter (step 3), the mixture may appear curdled. Just keep adding the butter, beating on low speed and it will come together.

    Leftover purée is great for cocktails.

  2. The buttercream and fruit purées can be made up to a month ahead and frozen (separately). Defrost overnight in the fridge, then beat the icing in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle to bring back its fluffy, silky texture before adding the fruit purée (as in the recipe).


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