Cream Cheese Frosting! How many of you are like me? I surfed countless recipes, tried many times and tasted plenty, in the search for a tasty one that can hold swirls. The cream-cheese-butter-icing sugar recipes usually turned out pretty good for frosting and are able to hold with lots of icing sugar incorporated but are way too sweet for my liking. From various feedback, I gathered that Swiss Meringue Buttercream is well-liked for it's lightness and satiny mouth-feel.
I've done it twice before, it's indeed tasty but was a little slippery to work with. I find it easy to frost cakes with it but they are not stiff enough to hold shape. Today, I whipped up yet another batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream Cheese (SMBC), however I made a big booboo. I did not let the cream cheese soften and didn't whip the cheese sufficiently before I added the buttercream. The end result was a frosting that had little icky bits of cream cheese. Eui, not nice on the palate. Darn, I had 300g of cream cheese and 600g of SMB in it! All wasted. So I went to Mr. Google on "how to save a lumpy cream cheese frosting" and that's how I knew I made the 2 big mistakes. Most remedies call for microwaving the SMBC for 10s then rewhipping. I tried, microwaved, whipped, chill, didn't work. I tried again, microwaved longer, whipped, chill, turned into ab absolute goopy mess. Thats when I concluded that I tried but failed. Tough work. 900g of frosting went into the trash.
But, the blessing in disguise came! While waiting for my 2nd batch of cream cheese to soften at room temperature, I left my SMB in the fridge to chill. As I later whipped the cream cheese till the cows came home, scrapping down and whipping repeatedly till it's smooth, I added the cold SMB bit by bit till the CC and SMB are just incorporated together. That's when I realised to my pleasant surprise that the peaks held. Wow, I think the cold SMB could be one of the key factors. The other factor could be that lower proportion of cream cheese to SMB. In my previous attempts, I used 70 to 80% ratio of CC to SMB, this time I used only 50%. The cream cheese taste is still pretty significant, enhanced further by a tablespoon of lemon juice. So 2 factors that changed my frosting from a creamy but slightly droopy frosting to a light and stiff buttercream that can be piped, were the cold buttercream and the lower proportion of cream cheese. I may try 60% CC to SMB next time, just to see if there's any significant difference in taste and texture.
Meanwhile, go make yourself a cake that needs that Swiss Meringue Buttercream Cheese!
SMBC: (Makes around 750g SMB)
5 large egg whites
250g granulated sugar
340g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or essence
pinch of salt
375g cream cheese, cubed and at room temperature
1. Place egg whites and sugar in a clean and dry metal mixer bowl, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
2. Using the whisk attachment of mixer, immediately start whipping until the meringue is thick and glossy. The mixture should be at room temperature by now (It may take around 10 minutes)
3. Switch over to paddle attachment and on low speed, start to add butter cubes gradually, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture. Add vanilla and salt. Continue to beat on low speed until well combined.
4. Move the SMB to another bowl and keep that in the fridge.
5. In the mixer bowl, paddle-whip the soft cream cheese till it's light and smooth. Took around 15 minutes of high speed paddling and lots of scrapping down the bowl.
6. Add bits of the cold buttercream to the whipped cream cheese on med-low speed until it's just incorporated. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice, paddle-whip at med-high speed for a short while to let it come together. TaDa! It's now ready to be used.