For those who don't know already, essentially, there are three types of buttercreams. We have the normal buttercream, the Swiss meringue buttercream, and the Italian meringue buttercream. Personally, I prefer the good old ways with buttercream and am not a real fan of the Swiss or Italian buttercream. Of course I have my reasons.
(Before we proceed, here's a little 101 on the different types of buttercream. The difference between normal buttercream and Swiss/ Italian, is that it does not start with a meringue base. It's simply butter, icing sugar and milk beaten up till it's light and fluffy, and then viola, you have buttercream. As for Swiss and Italian buttercream, you take the extra step of making a meringue before adding the butter. The consistency is very different, normal buttercream can dry hard and if not beaten long enough can give off a grainy taste (due to the icing sugar). On the other hand, you get a silky, smooth consistency with Swiss and Italian, almost like whipped cream.)
Firstly, I find buttercreams with a meringue base have an eggy taste. Maybe it's just the recipe I use, but I find that every time I make it, it gives off an pungent egg smell. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I wouldn't like to have an egg party happening on in my mouth as I'm eating a cupcake. I mean really, who would?
The other thing is, it uses a lot of butter. And I mean a lot! It screams 'heart block'.
The recipe that I've been using, I think, is really good. My tips is to let the mixture beat for a long time, at least for 5-10 minutes. The longer you beat the buttercream, the lighter and fluffier the texture.
250g Icing Sugar, sifted (I'm usually too slack to sift, but if you place the icing sugar in the electric mixer and let it beat on a slow speed, it will take out the lumps)
80g Unsalted butter, room temperature
25ml (5 teaspoons) Whole Milk
Vanilla Extract, to taste
(*This recipe is enough to frost 12 cupcakes)
1. Beat icing sugar and butter in an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment on a slow speed.
2. Then combine in the milk and vanilla, and gradually increase mixer to a higher speed.
3. Let the butter mixture beat until it is light and fluffy (I would give it a good 10 minutes- remember the longer you beat the buttercream, the lighter its texture).