Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is the frosting I decided to use on the Spiced Chai Latte Cupcakes I made a few days ago.  It has a bunch of steps, but they are relatively simple.  It calls for granulated sugar, rather than powdered.  I have a small problem when using powdered sugar.  A  cloud of powder rises up and envelopes the kitchen as soon as the mixer turns on, no matter how slowly I nudge it past "stir," covering everything that is not covered. So this recipe makes my short list.  But the kicker was how Love & Olive Oil raves about how this recipe was to die for.  Well, if you can't trust a perfect stranger's blog, who can you trust?

Cinnamon  Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Make enough for 12-24 cupcakes, depending upon how thick you slather it on

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Place a large heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Pour sugar and egg whites in said bowl.  I used my dairy serving bowl.  Under it is a too-small-to-be-seen 1 quart saucepan.

Whisk constantly for 3 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and the mixture starts to look like thinned marshmallow cream.  I said the recipe was simple.  I left out the part of it being athletic.  After 3 minutes, you feel muscles you didn't even know you had.

See how the mixture has changed to white and foamy?  Now pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.

Beat on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick and shiny meringue, about 5-6 minutes.

Almost there.

When the mixture starts to holds its shape, it's ready.  Switch to the paddle attachment.  Nuke for 30 seconds the cut-up butter that you forgot to leave out before starting the recipe and is way too rock-hard.  Then beat in said butter, one piece at a time.  Once all the butter is incorporated, increase speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is thick and looks sort of like whipped cream, 6-10 minutes depending upon your mixer.

This is how it looked after 8 minutes.  Add vanilla and cinnamon and whip only another 30 seconds, just to blend them in.

Make it easy on yourself at this point, and grab the nearest butter knife (it's buttercream, after all) and spread the frosting on your cupcakes.  Of course, I'm never easy on myself, so I plopped the frosting into a piping bag, and daintily dotted the cupcakes with frosting stars.


Tomorrow I'll post the chocolate cupcake and frosting recipe.


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