For months, I’ve been mulling over the idea of making a sugar free Swiss meringue buttercream, but every time it would cross my mind I would worry that the xylitol wouldn’t work in the meringue and that the whole thing would be a flop.
However, an interesting thing happened. I noticed that, in recipes I made which required the sugar (xylitol, in my case) to be whipped together with whole eggs until they were at the ribbon stage, the xylitol performed as well or better than regular sugar. These experiences gave me enough evidence that I finally decided to attempt a sugar free meringue buttercream.
Oh, my goodness. I don’t normally describe food as gorgeous, but this buttercream is truly a thing of beauty. Again, I find myself wondering what took me so long to try a recipe idea. Honestly, I cannot tell that this is sugar free, as it tastes almost identical to a buttercream made with cane sugar. And the texture, well, it’s silky, smooth, and … drool. I can’t express how excited I am that this worked out, because having a base recipe for something so versatile will finally allow me to get away from the sub par “quickie” buttercreams that I’ve tried using sugar free confectioners’ sugar recipes. They never did taste quite right.
Swiss meringue buttercream is all about the technique, but it’s actually not difficult at all once you get the hang of it. Your mixer does most of the work. The key is to make sure that the meringue is completely cooled before you start adding the butter. If you do that, then you should be good to go!
Notes: If you aren’t sugar free, then you can replace the xylitol 1 for 1 with cane sugar.
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup xylitol (or sugar)
10 ounces (2 ½ sticks) of butter, cubed and at room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1. Add egg whites and xylitol to the bowl of your mixer and place over a pan of boiling water. Lightly whisk the mixture constantly (no need to whip yet) until the xylitol is completely dissolved, about 7-10 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and move the bowl to your stand mixer (you can use also use a hand mixer). Using the whip attachment, whip the eggs and xylitol on medium until a stiff peaked meringue is formed and the mixture is completely cool. Your mixing bowl should be completely cool to the touch before you go to the next step.
3. Switch out the mixer’s whisk attachment with the beater attachment, and start to beat on low speed. Slowly add the softened butter, one piece at a time, and wait until the current piece is completely incorporated before adding the next piece. At some point in the process, the buttercream may start to appear somewhat curdled, but it will eventually come back together, so please don’t fret and think that you have to start over. Just keep adding that butter!
4. Add the vanilla (or your flavoring of choice) and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost cakes, cupcakes, etc. immediately, or store in the refrigerator to use at a later time. If you chill the buttercream, be sure to allow enough time for it to come to room temperature before you use it to frost anything.