So my journey began to make a dairy-free, refined sugar-free version of Swiss Buttercream. Hopefully, this recipe is just the first of many more like it. I would love to bring you recipes of light whipped healthier goodness!
- Most use the term "buttercream" to mean a variety of frostings- from shorening and powdered confectioners sugar to meringe and butter based frostings.
- For the meringue-based frostings, there are three basic types, in order of stability:
o French, which is egg yolks (not cooked) whipped with a fine sugar into a meringue and then with a sugar syrup that has been heated to at least 235 degrees is slowly added to the full meringue, then butter or shortening is added in. This buttercream is the least stable, and melts at the lowest temps so it is not ideal for wedding cakes and decorating. (this French section has been edited after a reader pointed out and oversight on my part)
o Swiss (this recipe), which is egg whites and sugar cooked over a water bath and then whipped, butter or shortening is added in once cooled.
o Italian, which is pasteurized egg whites and a small amount of sugar whipped to stiff peaks. Then a sugar syrup that has reached at least 235 degrees is slowly added. Then the shortening or butter is added in once the meringue cools. This is the most stable of all buttercream frostings and is ideal for a hot-day wedding!
- If you get any kind of cake that is pre-decorated with frosting from a store (except Whole Foods- I checked), you will be most likely getting shortening with some form of hydrogenation as an ingredient. This means that the melting point of that fat in your store-bought frosting is most likely 100+ degrees F. I'll let that sink in while I remind you that your body's temperature stays at a cool 98.6 degree F. Eww. Not only is it harder on your body to break down something that it cannot even melt, but it coats your tongue and taste-buds so that you can't taste the goodness of what you are eating!
Swiss Buttercream (with Chocolate Variation)Dairy-free and Refined Sugar-free
Yields enough to frost 1 double layer 8" or 9"cake
Ingredients and Materials
- 3 oz. egg whites (about three egg's whites)
- 3 oz of grade B maple syrup (4.5 Tbsp)
- 3 oz sifted coconut sugar (sifted before measuring to get out larger granules, about 1/4 cup)
- 8 oz Spectrum Organics Palm Shortening, room temperature (1 cup)
- (For Chocolate Buttercream) add 1-2 Tbsp melted bittersweet chocolate
- small pot filled 1" full of water
- Digital food thermometer or candy thermometer
- Stand mixer (if you can only use a hand mixer, your arm may get pretty tired- but go for it if you like :)
- Heat the pot full of water over high heat on stove top until simmering and then cut down to low- this will be the base of your water bath.
- In the bowl that goes with your stand mixer (as long as it is stainless steel or glass-most are- if not, use a heat-safe bowl), whisk together the egg whites, maple syrup, and sifted coconut sugar.
- Heat over your water bath, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160F (be careful to not go higher) and the sugar is all dissolved. (yes, you might have to stick your fingers in the gooey egg white and sugar mixture for best results :)
- Place on stand mixer and slowly turn speed to high and whip until stiff peaks are formed like this:
- Keep whipping on medium speed until the mixture is fully cooled.
- Then piece in the shortening by 1 Tbsp at a time while it is whipping on medium speed. The mixture will somewhat curdle and deflate a bit at this point- don't be afraid- keep mixing in the shortening.
- Once all shortening is incorporated, turn mixer back up to high and mix until you get an aerated fluffy mixture.
- Optional: you can add 1-2 Tbsp of melted, but cooled- not too hot, bittersweet chocolate at this point to make it a chocolate frosting.
- Below is a sneak peek for tomorrow's Birthday Cake Challenge Post :)
- Make sure your shortening is right at room temperature- this will help it emulsify better with the meringue.
- If you get any fat at all in your whites- it won't whip. If you don't think you did, but just to be sure, you can add a small amount of cream of tartar to the whites/sugar mixture just before whipping into the meringue.
- Also make sure the coconut sugar completely dissolves when cooking over the water bath. If not, your buttercream will have an undesirable grainy texture.
- This icing does have an interesting maple flavor. If that's not your thing you can try with all coconut sugar; however, I have had mixed results with this. Also more viscous liquid sweeteners like honey and brown rice syrup do not work well because they weigh down the whites preventing a full meringue.
- After you add in the shortening and begin to whip it back up, it takes a while 10-15 minutes. If you feel like it has been too long (which depending on the humidity and temp of your kitchen this can happen), walk away and get a relaxing drink and then come back and check on it :) I sometimes stand over the mixture nervously thinking- maybe this time will be the time it won't whip up. Trust me- it does come to life :) If you feel like it has been way, way too long- try adding another Tbsp or two of shortening.
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar and Gluten Free