Meringue Base Buttercream Versus American Buttercream

Buttercream is a staple in bakeries across the globe, but did you know there are different kinds? Some bakeries might have a super sweet buttercream, while others may be substantially less sweet. Some buttercream is light and fluffy, while others are dense and stiff, yet still very tasty.


To keep it simple we will talk about 2 common types of buttercream you will come across: meringue base buttercream and American buttercream.  However, there are other variations of buttercream as well.


American Buttercream


American buttercream is the easiest form of buttercream to make. Most commonly it includes creaming together butter, a whole lot of confectioners sugar, maybe some cream, as well as flavorings of the bakers choice. Some bakers may also use shortening in place of some of the butter, as it is more cost effective and as long as there is a good ratio, you won’t miss out on any of the flavor butter adds.


Common characteristics of American buttercream include: very sweet, somewhat dense (especially compared to meringue based), forms a thin crust on the outside


Meringue Base Buttercream

Meringue base buttercream is definitely more of process to make versus American buttercream. At Apple Annie’s Bake Shop we make a meringue base buttercream. We start by whipping egg whites. While they whip, we boil sugar which is then slowly streamed into the egg whites to make our meringue base. Once it is mixed to right consistency, we allow the mixture to cool before we add lots and lots of butter. After the butter is incorporated into the cooled meringue, we add 3 different flavors to get the signature taste of our classic buttercream!


Common characteristics of meringue based buttercream include: a silky smooth consistency, mildly sweet, light & fluffy texture


How to Enjoy Buttercream – No Matter the Kind

Regardless of the kind, buttercream has a high fat content. This means that at cold temperatures all buttercream will be solid. It is best to have your buttercream at room temperature for both eating and decorating. If you try to eat it when it’s too cold, it won’t have the delightful texture and it may leave a greasy film in your mouth.


Now you know why some places have vastly different icings that are both called buttercream!