Sunday, March 21, 2021

Swiss meringue buttercream and the soccer cake

The cake began and ended in a total of 6 hours, a minimal allotment, for something of this size, on any cake maker's timeline. Btw, strategically placing a baked item bigger than your face, onto another one is not an easy task. Although, logistical planning (which I abundantly lack), prep work and having all things ready to execute, make it quite doable. 

Granted, when working with something of this magnitude in such a short frame, you kind of anticipate a fair amount of drama. 

My hefty project was for the Second Child's 17th birthday. Soccer themed because he's played the sport since his feet have been walking, and big enough to feed a battalion of boys. Additionally, it's not the first time, I've played ball on cake.

Generally speaking, these undertakings require large amounts of frosting, to gild, structure and flavor what befits true homemade cake. The icing is the vehicle to hold adornments in place and remain in, its exposed appearance, as slick as ice. Thus, really, the medium you use for such sizable molding must hold its way in weight( figuratively and literally).

What would liquid velvet taste like? It's the key question and I think I've found the answer. Consequently, the need is dire that I share the information with you.

Swiss meringue buttercream is in the higher echelon of European style creams. One where the whites of eggs transform to a stilled meringue; butter, cut in, yields S.M's characteristic satin finish. It's pleasing to tongue's touch and a dream for the home baker who, in turn, realizes that you don't need to frost in perpetuum and wait for kingdom come in order to achieve flawless sides.

Here, eggs and sugar have a mutual understanding. Eggs assist sugar by dissolving granules in a stable atmosphere. Similarly, sugar keeps egg whites in a comfortably liquid state. However, it's a bit of an enterprise( read-tough work) to achieve this favorable end, i.e., 100% grain free syrup.

The sugared whites further beat into an ethereally smooth gloss. You almost want to kiss your stand mixer for doing the labor while you glimpse several at your Netflix in cue. A hand mixer can be used instead, though, in fair warning, you might need an arm prop to finish up the process.

Needless to say, I've had previous issues regarding this particular form of buttercream. First and foremost, the sugar melting process that everyone so easily tosses into instructions is really not that easy. You stand and stir for eons until you get the desired emulsion. The chemical process of dissolving solids in liquids made me want to cry. You see, I majored in Arts.

As opposed to American buttercream, Swiss M bears a much lighter texture and is a tad lower in sweetness, the latter  part might slightly be my only other quibble. Then again, some may call it fussing over the world's most cooperative frosting.

In effect, two things helped in creating a meringue suited to my workflow and catering to my ideal flavor balance. First,  I had the microwave do all the syrup making. Second, I lessened the butter by about half a cup. This, I believe still gives you the ample gloss and other icing prospects that swiss meringue is best known for.

Tying in to what I said previously about butter, may I take a second to harp on its glories ?!  Not only is it  on point in doing the emulsification work, it contributes greatly to the aforementioned liquid velvet conclusion.

No doubt, Swiss meringue is one of the best additions to my decorating repertoire.
I'm certain it will help you too, in creating structures sleek and pretty enough they'd be welcome in a museum exhibit.

Tall cakes are all the vibe. Plus, I needed to sit the kiddo's silhouette against a high backdrop.

I frosted the bottom cake frosted with the s. meringue. For the soccer ball, I needed a firmer undercoat for fondant, so white chocolate ganache was used.

My method of microwaving may not be for you. It saves me a pool of time and consistently melts my sugar without cooking the eggs in half the time it would take a double boiler/bain marie to do the job. Be sure to stir and mix at 30 second intervals. Even a single undissolved rebel sugar crystal can recrystallize the batch, and you'll be stirring it till no end!
  • egg whites from 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ⅛ tsp pinch salt
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, and cut into tbsp size pieces (you could use up to 2 cups butter)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Whisk egg whites, sugar, salt  together in a microwave-safe bowl until thoroughly combined so the sugar can protect the eggs from cooking. 
  • Heat the mixture in the microwave for 2-4 minutes on high at 30 second intervals whisking well after each 30 second heating. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture reaches 160ᵒ. (Alternatively you can double boil mixture over simmering water). 
  • Immediately place mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium- high using the whisk attachment until frosting has become thick and glossy, forming a stiff peaks. Continue to whip frosting until the bowl feels room temperature to the touch, a total of about 10 minutes.
  • Once bowl is no longer warm to the touch, switch out whisk attachment for paddle attachment. Turn mixer to medium speed and add butter one tablespoon at a time, allowing the previous butter to  incorporate into the meringue. 
  • Switch speed to medium-low, and beat until buttercream is smooth.
  • Mix in vanilla extract.
  • Your Swiss meringue frosting should be thick, creamy, easily spreadable and ready to to use

Notes~You can store s.m. buttercream at room temperature for 2 days, in the refrigerator tightly sealed for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months.
From top to bottom: almond, vanilla, chocolate.

Take a peek: my weekend trip to the Grand Canyon. 
"As I sing Your praise
Let worry fade and
All my hopes restored
Let my memories
Remind me of
What You did before"
- Keep on Coming Through/Jonathan Traylor

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday." Psalm 37:5-6


  1. What a stunning cake! I am really impressed.

  2. the soccer ball looks so real and professionally done, happy to see the inner pics of cake too..beautiful dear !!

  3. Well done, very professional looking indeed.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!