Basic meringue buttercream

This light and smooth Swiss-meringue buttercream gives a creamier cupcake frosting than traditional icing. Use it to make these butterfly cupcakes
Makes: 12
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Skill level: Easy peasy
Costs:Cheap as chips




    • 3 large egg whites


    • 250g caster sugar


    • Pinch of salt


    • Few drops of vanilla extract


    • 300g unsalted butter, softened






    1. Tip the egg whites into a bowl and add the sugar and salt. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.


    1. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the mixture, preferably using a table-top mixer, until it becomes a thick meringue and whisk in the vanilla extract.


    1. Cut the butter into chunks and whisk it in – the mixture may collapse and go runny, but keep whisking it at full speed and it will combine together to give a fluffy buttercream.


    1. Use this buttercream to frost Woman’s Weekly’s butterfly buns.

To freeze: The buttercream can be frozen, in a sealed container, for up to 1 month. Allow it to defrost and come to room temperature, then re-beat it before using.


Nutritional information per portion



fat 21.0g saturates 13.0g calories 271(kcal)


This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.