Cakes/ Dessert

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream | The Foodwright

Y’ALL. What a weekend it was. I’m pretty sure I got food poisoning last Friday (from what specific food, I have no idea) and I was really, really, really sick all weekend long. It was terrible. Shout out to Brig, though, because he’s the greatest caregiver ever. I love you! I’m glad I get to grow old with you.

But hey, we made the most of it by watching a ridiculous amount of Gilmore Girls in bed. While eating saltine crackers, of course, because they’re the only thing that sounded good and saltines are a total comfort food for me. I LOVE them. However, eating saltine crackers in bed was a very bad idea because there. are. crumbs. EVERYWHERE.

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream | The Foodwright

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream | The Foodwright

But hey! We’re not here to talk about food poisoning today now are we? We are here to talk about the BEST FROM-SCRATCH YELLOW CUPCAKES IN ALL THE LAND + a little lesson on the gloriousness that is SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM.

First. The best from-scratch yellow cupcakes in all the land. I cannot tell you how many batches of yellow cupcakes I have made over the past several months. Oy to the vey. They just never turned out how I wanted them to, over and over and over and over. Some tasted like cornbread, some sunk in the middle, some never baked, and some were a little too delicate. But THESE!!!! These. These are fluffy (yet firm), sweet (but not overly so), buttery, and wonderful. I am so very happy with them. I think you’ll be happy with them, too.

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream | The Foodwright

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream | The Foodwright

Second. Swiss meringue buttercream. There’s more than one kind of buttercream say whaaat?! YES! What most of us are used to is a frosting called American buttercream, which is the ultra-sweet, thick, and decadent combination of powdered sugar and butter. It’s fast, easy, and delicious. Swiss meringue buttercream is the seemingly-complicated-but-really-not-that-difficult-at-all close cousin. Here’s how it’s different:

With swiss meringue buttercream, you start with egg whites, granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt. Over a double boiler, you whisk these guys until the sugar is completely dissolved, then transfer it to a stand mixer where you whip it into submission for around 10 minutes, until it’s thick, glossy, soft-peaky, and so dang beautiful you’ll weep for weeks.

THEN – here’s the part where you’ll want to grab your defibrillator – you slowly add 1 POUND (I know) of soft, unsalted butter and whip it all together real nice until it’s smooth and creamy. As you add the butter, it will start to appear curdled and broken and you’ll freak out and feel like you did something wrong but just keep going. Swiss meringue buttercream is actually quite forgiving. Have faith in the process and keep whipping and you’ll get to the smooth and creamy stage soon. Then, you’ll add in your vanilla and food coloring, if desired, and stuff it all into a piping bag with your favorite tip and frost according to your heart’s content.

This buttercream pipes like a freaking dream. It is so so so dang soft and glossy and luscious and beautiful. Whew. Gives me heart palpitations just thinking about it.

So, what’s the taste comparison? Very buttery, obviously, considering a whole pound goes into the stuff (good heavens.) It is significantly less sugary than its American counterpart and much more smooth. It is absolutely wonderful for layer cakes because the butteriness balances out well with the larger cake surface area, if that makes sense. A good cake-to-frosting ratio.

For these cupcakes, I recommend being light-handed with the buttercream at first, especially if it’s your first time trying it, because it is so much more buttery tasting than traditional buttercream. You can always add more if you want more!

Anyway, I hope that my explanations have helped and that you enjoy trying this recipe! It really is so simple, even though there’s a bit of extra effort and time involved. Best of luck!

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream | The Foodwright

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream | The Foodwright

{Swiss Meringue Buttercream from Martha Stewart}

My Favorite Yellow Cupcakes + Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Serves: about 18 cupcakes
  • 1 c cake flour, spoon & leveled
  • 1½ c all-purpose flour, spoon & leveled
  • 2 t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 1½ c sugar
  • ¾ c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 c sugar + 2 T
  • 1½ t vanilla
  • 1 lb unsalted butter (4 sticks), cut into larger 2-Tablespoon-size chunks
  • gel food coloring, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside,
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together sugar and butter with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and keep beating for another 2 minutes, followed by the vanilla and buttermilk.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and continue mixing with the hand mixer until everything is fully combined, but don't overmix. The batter will be lumpy and that's okay.
  5. Fill each of the liners with batter about ⅔ of the way up (I like to use an ice cream scoop for this, both for ease but also consistency).
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until just light golden brown in color and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. After letting the cupcakes sit in the tin for about 5 minutes, take out of the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. If you are making the cupcakes ahead of time, store them in a couple sealed gallon plastic bags. This helps the cupcakes to retain their moisture.
  8. For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  9. Fill a saucepan with a small amount of water, just enough to come up about an inch or so. Set on medium high heat and bring to a simmer.
  10. Set a small heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan (the bottom of the bowl should not be touching the water).
  11. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the heatproof bowl and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved. The mixture will be lukewarm and when you rub it between your fingers it will feel smooth and sticky, but not grainy. Take off the heat.
  12. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for about 10 minutes, until the meringue is thick, glossy, and at the soft peak stage. The meringue should also no longer be warm.
  13. With the mixer still going, slowly add in all of the butter, one chunk at a time, mixing well after each addition. As you add the butter, the buttercream might appear to be broken or curdled, but just keep mixing. After the butter is fully incorporated, add in the vanilla, and food coloring, if desired. The resulting buttercream should be smooth, shiny, and fluffy.
  14. Scoop the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with your favorite tip and pipe away! Enjoy!

My favorite yellow (from-scratch!!) cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream // The Foodwright

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  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    GORGEOUS! Your frosting is the PRETTIEST shade of pink 🙂 I love these, they totally speak to the girly side of me. I’m inspired to bake more cake now thanks to you!
    And I’m glad you’re feeling better! Food poisoning is the worst. Hope you have the best week!! <3

    • Reply
      March 22, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      Aww thank you, Erica! Your compliments mean the world to me because you are cake queeeeeeeen. xoxo

  • Reply
    March 22, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    I’m so sorry about the food poisoning 🙁 That literally sounds terrible— but I’m so glad your man was there to take care of you! He’s definitely a keeper! And these cupcakes— I saw them on Instagram last night and couldn’t wait to see the recipe! Love that swiss meringue!

    • Reply
      March 22, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      Totally a keeper 🙂 Thanks so much, Liz!!

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