I finally, finally, decided to try meringue buttercream. I have no idea why I haven't dared before - it just seemed a little finicky I guess, and the sheer amounts of butter scared me. I thought it would easily turn into a curdled mess.
Then, the afternoon before Dante's birthday party (with 20 toddler-sized guests!), I decided to just go ahead. I found an easy enough recipe, and just went for it. And what do you know? It turned out great. And it was so simple. And super tasty, too. I paired it with Vanilla Bean Cucpcakes, mini-sized, and some fun little sprinkles.
I made 36 mini cupcakes, but I had a lot of buttercream left over - I think it would have easily covered 50. I also think you can flavor this as you wish - I happened to really like it au naturel so I didn't do anything to it. A little vanilla or lemon zest would be an easy way to go.
3 egg whites
250 g sugar
350 g butter, at room temperature
First, you whisk the egg whites and sugar, with a regular hand whisk, over a pan of simmering water. You want the sugar to melt, and it will do so at 65°C. When it has, pour the contents of the pan into the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a handheld mixer) and beat into a meringue. When it's still slightly warm to the touch (but certainly not hot!), add the butter, a little at a time. When it's all incorporated keep beating if it feels warm at all. If you're using any flavorings, this is the time to add them, and gently fold them in .
When cool, you can use it immediately, or chill it for later. I used mine at once, transferring it to a piping bag and making simple roses on top of the cupcakes.
Let the frosted cakes set in the fridge, then serve. (I made mine on the day before the party and they were great.)
Home Unlabelled Meringue Buttercream