Gretchen's World's Best Swiss Buttercream Frosting

This is a delicious, addictive frosting that I use on many of the special cakes I make.  Because it's a Swiss Buttercream, it isn't overly sweet as an American Buttercream and can be eaten by the spoonful without any feelings of guilt.  The guilt comes later when stepping on the bathroom scale!  This is different from any other Swiss Buttercream Frosting I've ever made, seen or read about as it incorporates powdered icing sugar into the mix along with the granulated white sugar.  Traditional Swiss Buttercreams do not contain icing sugar or at least I haven't found any that do except for this recipe.  I think the addition of the icing sugar adds more stability and structure to the mix and makes it a versatile icing for frosting, filling and decorating a cake.  

I'd like to give the credit for this recipe to Gretchen Price of the Gretchen's Bakery Blog and the Gretchen's Bakery YouTube Channel.  Gretchen is a fully trained pastry chef who has been sharing her expertise on YouTube for several years.  She also blogs all her recipes and teaching tips for easy access when attempting to duplicate her creations.  Her detailed instructions given with a warm humour brings the world of bakery quality products into the home kitchen.  I'd like to thank Gretchen for graciously giving me permission to use her recipe on my blog.  Please visit her blog and YouTube channel for detailed instructions on the World's Best Swiss Buttercream recipe. 

World's Best Swiss Buttercream Recipe
6 large fresh egg whites or the equivalent in pasteurized egg whites, room temperature
1½ cups white sugar
2 cups icing sugar
¾ cup vegetable shortening like Crisco, room temperature
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste or your favourite flavouring

Place the egg whites and white sugar in the top of a double boiler or in a heat proof bowl sitting over a pan of boiling water.  Whisk or stir constantly until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches 140 degrees on a thermometer.  If you are using pasteurized eggs 115 degrees is adequate.  Immediately remove from heat and place in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until the egg whites have become thick, firm and glossy and holds a stiff peak.  This may take as long as 10 minutes or more. 

While the egg whites are whipping, measure and sift the icing sugar; measure the shortening and butter.  (2 cups of butter is a one pound block or 4 sticks).  Make sure the shortening and butter are soft at room temperature. 

When the egg whites are whipped, add the sifted icing sugar and whip in, starting on low speed and increasing to medium high until all the sugar has been thoroughly mixed in.  

Once the icing sugar has been mixed in add the room temperature shortening and butter.  I like to add the shortening first and then the butter as they don’t always have the same consistency.  I find I get a better mix if I don’t put both in the bowl at the same time.   Add the shortening and the butter in several large additions.  Now add the vanilla and beat in until incorporated.
Switch to the paddle attachment and continue mixing on low to medium speed until smooth.

The buttercream can be stored 4 days at room temperature, 2 weeks refrigerated or 2 months in the freezer.  Store in a covered container. 

Makes 6 Cups: Enough to ice 30 cupcakes or fill and generously ice one 8 or 9-inch cake.

Any questions regarding this recipe are answered at
Gretchen's Bakery Blog.

Stirring or whisking constantly, heat the sugar and egg whites to 140 degrees.  The sugar should be completely dissolved.  Remove from the heat immediately and place in the bowl of a stand mixer.  You can see my makeshift double boiler.  A pot of water with a heat proof bowl set on top.

Whip the egg whites until they're thick, glossy and hold a stiff peak.  This will take about 10 minutes or more.

Sift the icing sugar into the egg whites.  Start the mixer on low speed or you'll have a sugar shower.  Once the sugar is mixed in, increase the speed to completely combine.

Once the icing sugar has been mixed in add the room temperature shortening and butter.  I like to add the shortening first.

Soft room temperature butter will be no trouble blending into the egg whites.
Beat in the butter.  You are then supposed to change to the paddle attachment and mix until smooth but you can see that I didn't.  I will remix it with the paddle when I use it.  This lot has been made for a wedding cake.  It will stored for 2 days in a cool room at room temperature. 

Here it is--The World's Best Swiss Buttercream Frosting.  
Creamy, smooth sweetness, waiting to be slathered on a cake.  
(Or you could just eat it with a spoon!)


  1. When do you add the vanilla essence?

    1. Sorry I forgot to put that in the directions. I've fixed it, thanks. You add the vanilla after you mix in the shortening and butter.

  2. Tried one batch going for another

  3. I'm so glad i found this recipe Gretchen has gotten rid of her original blog and is all vegan now. I'm not vegan

    1. Glad I could be of help to you with this recipe.

    2. I love this recipe and was happy to find it. I'm also looking for her original recipe for gingersnap cookies if anyone has it. Really miss her recipes.

    3. Glad you found this recipe but sadly I don't have the gingersnap recipe.

    4. I am upset about the website too!!! I'm sorry, but I could never go vegan. Her old recipes were golden :'( I give this recipe to anyone who is looking to make swiss buttercream so I was trying to print off copies from her website for a class. Thank you for sharing this!

    5. I agree, I have been looking for this for so long. Thanks heaps

  4. Hi ..can you please share Gretchen's bakery vanilla cake oil based one. Unfortunately I have not saved the recipe card and I greatly miss it now.

  5. Gretchen needs to bring her recipes back!

  6. Hey all.. I've made this recipe a ton but never with Crisco golden flavor shortening, anyone have any experience with that? Also has anyone tried to make this without the icing sugar and just use regular sugar?

    1. The golden shortening should work but you would have a more yellow colour. The granulated sugar would probably leave the frosting very gritty. If you try it let us know.

    2. I made the frosting twice. I first tried to put all the 3 1/2 cups sugar in the egg but for some reason it didn't whip up properly after (I was whipping by hand so that could be a factor). I made it again as normal and with a mixer. I added granulated sugar in place of icing sugar, before the shortening and butter, and it turned out good. It does become grainy if sugar is added after the butter and shorting.

    3. I thought that the granulated sugar was added to egg whites and then the butter n shortening added to that after it cools then.the powdered sugar is added per taste. If you only want to add a little or add it all depending on how sweet you want it. This is a favorite recipe of mine.


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