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Different types of buttercream

Buttercream is sweet and versatile and perfect for piping, swirling, spreading and eating! There are lots of different types of buttercream so here’s a quick explanation of the the most popular ones:

  • Standard / American buttercream: This is the most popular, common and what most of us know as buttercream.  Made from icing sugar, buttercream (and any flavouring) it’s simple to make, easy to use and perfect for piping, spreading and more.  It forms a slightly crust so you need to work quickly but it’s perfect for stacked cakes as it’s more stable than other buttercreams
  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Perfect for piping delicate flowers and for a glossier finish than standard buttercream this is made from egg whites, sugar and butter.  More labour intensive (you need to make a meringue by cooking the egg whites and then whipping up with butter).  It’s biggest downfall is that it’s not as stable in warmer weather
  • Italian Meringue Buttercream: Similar to swiss meringue but you need to make a ‘soft ball’ sugar syrup with water and sugar which is then poured into egg whites and then butter added to it.  It’s tricker to make and working with hot sugar syrup can be dangerous

Top tips

  • Use the best butter you can afford as this will affect the taste
  • In hot weather substitute your regular icing sugar in american / standard buttercream for royal icing sugar – this will make your buttercream more stable

For more buttercream tips and recipes why not try our Online Baking Bible with 27 pages, recipes, over 15 cake variations and buttercreams, hints, tips and photos for getting perfect cakes and cupcakes time and time again.  You can view and buy here