Aside from a rich and dense ganache, this is the only chocolate frosting you'll ever need - it's light and airy yet rich and full of flavor. A perfectly balanced topping for cakes, cupcakes, and anything else you can dream up (aka by the spoonful and smeared on toast for breakfast if there's extra).
It's been in my toolkit for a while now and I'm finally ready and willing to share it with the world. The secret? I'm a huge believer in the Swiss meringue variety of buttercreams. By starting with a base of whipped egg white and sugar, this frosting is able to maintain an incredible consistency for frosting and piping without being cloyingly sweet like it's cousin the American buttercream.
Egg white based buttercreams may seem picky and troublesome to the uninitiated, but I promise it isn't that hard and once you have it down you'll never go back.
The process starts by dissolving sugar in egg whites using a double boiler, then moving directly to the stand mixer. We whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, make sure they've cooled to room temperature, then slowly mix in the butter and finally some melted chocolate.
This recipe is simple, with few ingredients, so the quality of the ingredients is what really takes this frosting over the top. Am I a broken record yet? It's always the quality of the ingredients that take a recipe to the next level. Spoiler alert -- it always will be!
I recommend using fresh local pastured eggs, grass-fed butter and some seriously amazing chocolate. I've made this recipe with chocolate in the range from 64% to 81% with success every time. My decision is usually based on how I'll be using the frosting (or what I have in the cupboard...).
My go-to for baking is always discs from Conexion Chocolate, a woman-owned Ecuadorian chocolate company that is making some of the best chocolate I've had right in Ecuador using beans from that country. Tasting their line brings you through an incredible array of flavors brought to life from the soils of the farms, the climates of the regions throughout Ecuador and the experts making the chocolate.
This chocolate is available in northern Michigan through the amazing folks at Grocer's Daughter Chocolate, the sweetest little chocolate shop making the most amazing truffles, bars and more in the gorgeous town of Empire.
I hate singing my own praises, but you guys - this frosting is insane.
Every time I make Swiss meringue buttercream at least 3 people tell me they don't like frosting but they love this frosting. Because, of course - it isn't too sweet or too buttery, it's light and fluffy and flavorful.
This last batch? Someone told me it made them weak in the knees.
Just make it. You won't be sorry!
Dreamy Chocolate Swiss Buttercream
Notes: This recipe makes enough to frost a 2 layer 9" cake. Temperature is the most important thing in making this frosting. If the chocolate is added while it's still too warm, chill the mixture a little before the final whip.
7 egg whites
16.5oz butter, softened and cubed
12.5oz chocolate (use a chocolate that is at least 60% cacao)
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or a heat-safe bowl over a pot with a little water in it), set aside.
- In another double boiler (psst: I put my Kitchenaid bowl over a pot for one less dish), whisk together egg whites and sugar. Cook, stirring regularly, until the sugar has dissolved. I like to rub a little between my fingers to feel for sugar granules.
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip egg white mixture until it forms stiff peaks and has cooled to room temperature.
- With the mixer running, slowly add in the butter, one cube at a time. Allow most of the butter to mix in before adding each additional cube.
- When all the butter has been mixed in and the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, slowly pour in the chocolate with the mixer running.
- Whip mixture for a few minutes after the chocolate has been added, until thick and smooth.