This amazing Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream is definitely one of my most requested cake filling flavors and a personal favorite as well. If you've never made Swiss Meringue, it may seem a little complicated, but I promise it is easier than it appears and totally worth the effort!! The complete recipe is at the end of this post and is adapted from the fabulously talented Sweetapolita's recipe!
The first step is to make the caramel by boiling the sugar and water together. I set my stove to just above medium, but each stove is different so you may need to adjust your settings. Stir the mixture occasionally until it begins to gently boil.
Once it begins to boil, stop stirring and instead gently swirl the pan from time to time. You want to boil your sugar until it turns amber colored. For me it takes about 14 minutes. It is super important not to walk away because once the sugar starts to caramelize, it's fast and can burn quickly. A burnt caramel cannot be saved...so keep an eye on your pot! When it's amber colored...pull it off the stove.
Next, whisk your heavy cream in. It will sputter and spit at you so be careful because that sugar is hot! Add your salt and whisk until smooth.
Now put aside that beautiful caramel to cool while you make your buttercream. The first step to making Swiss Meringue is too heat your egg whites with the remaining sugar. You don't have to own a double boiler to do this. As as you can see, I just fill a pot with an inch or so of water and get the water simmering (not boiling). Then I put my mixing bowl right on top.
A candy thermometer is a must...mine is a little too short, but it does the job. Your goal here is to heat the eggs until they reach 160 F...NOT to scramble them. Whisk them every now and then while they heat up.
Once they reach 160, take your mixing bowl off the pot (wipe it dry) and attach it to your mixer with the whisk attachment on. You are going to whip the egg whites on a medium speed for about 5 minutes. Then increase your speed to medium high for 5 more minutes until you have stiff glossy peaks. Maybe I'm just a kitchen dork, but I think it is so COOL to watch egg whites go from watery goo...
To fluffy, delicious meringue!!
Once the bottom of your mixer bowl is no longer warm to the touch, you can begin adding your butter...a little at a time.
Don't be alarmed if the mixture begins to look a bit curdled like this...it's perfectly normal. It will come back together smoothly!
Add your vanilla and continue whipping until your frosting is fluffy and smooth. Now it's time to add in the caramel. Switch your mixture to the paddle attachment and pour in the caramel.
Beat mixture on low to medium for about 3-5 minutes until the caramel is fully incorporated. You have just made one of the most DELICIOUS silky smooth frostings there is!
This frosting goes on so smoothly and will melt in your mouth! I find the salt in the recipe to be just the right amount and gives just a hint of salty. But if you prefer a tad more salt, you can sprinkle a little on top of the frosting between your cake layers.
Chocolate cake and salted caramel buttercream is my favorite combination!
Here is the recipe in it's entirety! Enjoy!!
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
adapted from Sweetapolita
Yield: 4 cups
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp sea salt (additional for sprinkling is optional)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks cut into pats)
4 large egg whites
1 tsp pure vanilla extracct
First, make the caramel as follows:
Place 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Brush down the sides of the pan w/ a damp pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming (or a damp paper towel will work as well).
Stir the sugar and water together. Stir occasionally until water begins to boil.
Continue boiling sugar, gently swirling in the pan from time to time, until it reaches a dark amber color.
Remove from heat and slowly add cream, whisking until smooth.
Whisk in sea salt and set aside to cool.
Next, make the buttercream:
Wipe the bowl of your mixer clean with lemon juice. This helps remove any residual grease or fat that may be on your bowl, which if present will keep your egg whites from whipping up!
Place egg whites and remaining sugar in the bowl and whisk together.
Place bowl over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water.
Using a candy thermometer, heat eggs and sugar until the temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (whisking occasionally).
Remove bowl from heat and place onto mixer with the whisk attachment on. Whisk eggs on medium speed for 5 minutes.
Increase speed to medium high and whisk for 5 more minutes or until stiff glossy peaks form.
Once the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch, add butter a little at a time.
Add vanilla and continue to whip for a few minutes or until frosting is smooth.
Finally, switch to the paddle attachment and add in the caramel. Mix until fully combined, scraping the sides and bottom of bowl. Frosting can be stored tightly covered for several days at room temperature. If you refrigerate, be sure to let it come to room temperature and re-whip before using.
I know you'll enjoy eating this delicious frosting and I hope you enjoy making it as well!