Death to the Swiss Meringue Buttercream!!!

I think I’ve had it.  I’ve tried so many batches and they have all resulted in FAILURE (except for that inexplicable first batch, which turned out perfectly).  You know what I’m talking about.  That Swiss meringue buttercream.  The tantalizing pictures on other people’s blogs.  The beautiful meringue you get, only to become a chunky, grayish mess a few minutes later when you add the butter.  Yesterday, I brought sad-looking, frosting-less cupcakes to my friend’s for dessert.  FAIL.

The sad thing is that each step of the recipe bolstered my optimism for the next.  See here Exhibit A, stiff white peaks from the meringue stage:

I’m tempted to just frost with the meringue and skip the butter.  The butter is a troublemaker.  The meringue is delicious, fluffy like marshmallows probably because if I added gelatin it would be a marshmallow.  hahaha.  Sorry, my imac pic is not very good at showing that beauteous thing that is fluffy meringue.  But it’s just not as satisfying as the buttercream!

Sigh.  Ok, I will stop whining now.  I probably won’t give up on the buttercream.  Deep down inside I still hold out hope…I keep thinking that next time, it’ll work for sure.  Have you ever felt like that?  That if you try it enough times, you should get it?  Yes, I think that was called “physics” in high school.  Well, I can tell you what I think I’ll do.  Maybe it’s the scientist in me, but I intend to go about this very methodically.  Here are the variables I plan to test one by one:

  1. vigor in whisking during heating phase
  2. temperature of heating phase
  3. stiffness of meringue
  4. temperature of butter
  5. size of butter pieces
  6. paddle or whisk?

Maybe I will produce some data.  Or maybe I will continue to make these cupcakes with a dollop of ganache punched down the center.  yum.