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Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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  • Prep 45 min
  • Total 55 min
  • Servings 12
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There’s buttercream, and then there’s Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Satiny smooth, rich and deeply chocolaty, this frosting will take your cake and cupcakes to a whole new level. For these spectacular results though, some time and effort is required—but no guesswork! The Betty Crocker Kitchens have laid out precise instructions and tips, so you’ll know exactly what to expect—even in the case of the unexpected, check out our Expert Tips for more. Before you dig in, here’s what to keep in mind. This frosting is called Swiss meringue buttercream, because you make Swiss meringue first, which means cooking egg whites and sugar over a pan of simmering water in a double boiler (to avoid burning) until mixture reaches 160°F (for food safety reasons), and then whipping egg white-sugar mixture into stiff, glossy peaks. With your Swiss meringue made, the next step is to begin adding softened butter, one piece at a time. Adding the butter slowly is key, because you are blending two mixtures that wouldn’t normally mix. To pull it off successfully, have patience. Your frosting will simply look like soupy meringue until nearly the last piece of butter is blended, so keep the faith, follow the directions and keep beating. Once you’ve incorporated the butter with the meringue, it’s easy to stir in the cooled, melted chocolate.
Updated Nov 26, 2019


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 oz semisweet or bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped (from 4-oz bar)


  • 1
    In medium glass or metal bowl, beat egg whites and sugar with whisk until blended. Set over pan of simmering water, beating occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and egg mixture reaches 160°F on candy thermometer, 16 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 2
    Pour into bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on high speed 2 to 3 minutes or until glossy peaks form and bowl has cooled to feel slightly warm. Still on high speed, slowly add 1 1/2 cups softened butter, one piece at a time, scraping side of bowl occasionally, until mixture is smooth, thick and shiny, 12 to 14 minutes. Beat in vanilla. If mixture separates, beat until smooth.
  • 3
    In small microwavable bowl, microwave chopped chocolate uncovered on High 60 seconds, stirring halfway through microwave time. Continue to microwave in 10-second increments, until chocolate can be stirred smooth. Let stand 10 minutes. Beat cooled melted chocolate into frosting until smooth.
  • 4
    Fill and frost 1 (8-inch) three-layer cake.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    Our Betty Crocker Kitchens expert used an electric stand mixer when developing this recipe. You can still make this recipe with an electric hand mixer, but it might take a bit longer. When using an electric hand mixer, start on a lower speed and gradually increase speed to ensure the mixer’s motor can handle it—this is a thick frosting!
  • tip 2
    It’s essential to use softened or room temperature butter in this recipe. If the butter is too cold, it will not integrate into the meringue. To soften butter, cut it into small pieces, and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes. If you’ve forgotten to soften your butter, here’s a shortcut: Microwave butter in 5-second increments on Medium (50%), turning the butter frequently, so it softens but doesn’t melt. Remember, only add one piece of softened butter at a time. Wait until butter has incorporated before adding the next piece.
  • tip 3
    If your frosting won’t come together or seems runny or soupy—don’t panic. Place the bowl in the refrigerator, and leave it there for 15 to 20 minutes or until frosting is slightly thickened. Then, begin beating again on high speed. It should smooth out and become thick and spreadable.
  • tip 4
    Cool layer cakes in their pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. If you try to remove them from their pans sooner, they’ll be too warm and tender and might break apart. Then, flip cakes out of pans and on to cooling rack. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
  • tip 5
    You’ll need half of a 4-oz bar of baking chocolate for this recipe. Chopped baking chocolate melts better than chips and gives a richer, more premium flavor to the frosting. This recipe tastes delicious made with a semisweet or bittersweet baking bar—we tested to be sure! Remember to let the melted chocolate cool for 10 minutes before adding to the frosting.
  • tip 6
    This recipe makes enough frosting to fill and frost 1 (8-inch) three-layer cake or 20 cupcakes.
  • tip 7
    Try using a turntable when decorating your cake. These nifty rotating cake stands are available at large craft stores and allow you to assemble your cake on a flat surface and turn the cake as you frost.
  • tip 8
    When frosting your cake directly on the serving plate, place strips of waxed paper around the edge of the plate, putting the cake on top. The waxed paper will catch drips, and you can slide them out from under the cake afterward for a neat and clean presentation.
  • tip 9
    To pipe on cupcakes: spoon frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe frosting in a decorative swirl on top of each cupcake.
  • tip 10
    For easy clean up, use the stand mixer metal mixing bowl to heat the egg whites and sugar over the pan of simmering water. When egg white mixture has reached 160°F just transfer bowl to the stand mixer and beat.


340 Calories, 24g Total Fat, 2g Protein, 28g Total Carbohydrate, 28g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 5 Tablespoons
Calories from Fat
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 4 1/2 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • There’s more than one way to make buttercream. If you want to start with “simple buttercream,” sometimes called American buttercream—we recommend our Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe. Decorator’s buttercream is similar, except it’s made with shortening instead of butter. The shortening makes the frosting stiffer, which allows for piped decorations, like the buttercream roses you might find on a bakery cake. French buttercream includes egg yolks, sugar syrup and butter. Italian is nearly the same, except egg whites are used in place of egg yolks. Swiss meringue, as you now know, includes cooked egg whites, sugar and lots of butter! No matter which type of buttercream you choose, we think you’ll be pleased with the results.
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