Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
I'm not a fan of too much frosting. I would usually take off most of the frosting before I dig into my dessert, but this time was an exception. I couldn't get enough strawberry frosting on my cupcake. I even licked the remaining frosting off my fingers, and the kids enjoyed the frosting by the spoonfuls! It was simply delicious with loads of strawberry flavor.
This strawberry frosting is a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, made from egg whites and butter. They are light and fluffy from the egg whites and rich and creamy from the butter. They are not thick and overly sweet as in American buttercream, which relies heavily on butter/cream cheese and powdered sugar.
For the strawberry flavoring, I used a bit of fresh strawberries to make a thick puree as a thinner, a bit of strawberry extract for that strawberry aroma and freeze-dried strawberries for the most strawberry flavor. The result was a silky smooth frosting with the perfect balance of strawberry flavor. Gosh darn it, it was so tasty. I would have swum in it if I could.
4 ounces (1/2 cup) egg whites
8 ounces (1 cup) granulated sugar
9 ounces (2 1/4 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon strawberry extract or flavoring
6-8 fresh strawberries
1 cup freeze-dried sliced strawberries (ground to powder)
Prepare the strawberry puree. Slowly cook down the fresh strawberries in a small sauce pan. Do not add water and do not cover with lid. Mix occasionally to avoid burning the bottom of the pan. Let the strawberries reduce to a nice thick sauce. Blend in food processor or mixer until smooth. Measure out 1 tablespoon of strawberry puree and set aside.
Mix egg whites and sugar together in a heat-proof bowl.
Place bowl on top of a water bath and whisk until frothy and sugar is completely dissolved. Allow mixture to cool completely before continuing.
Transfer mixture to the stand mixer bowl with a whip attachment. Whip on high until stiff peaks form (about 5-8 minutes).
Add butter, a tablespoon at a time, into the mixture while whipping on high. The frosting will deflate and then eventually look broken. Do not fear. Continue mixing and adding butter a tablespoon slowly until the frosting gets smooth and fluffy.
Add corn syrup (for shine), vanilla extract, strawberry extract/flavoring, strawberry puree (to thin out frosting) and ground freeze-dried strawberries. Mix until just combined. Frost as desired.