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Swiss Meringue Buttercream Flowers

Carefully mix in the gel-paste food coloring one drop at a time for desired colors.

  • yield: Makes 3 cups


  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • violet, deep pink, sky blue, royal blue, cornflower blue, and egg yellow shades of gel-paste food coloring


  1. Step 1

    Whisk sugar and egg whites in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until whites are warm and sugar is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. (Test by rubbing mixture between your fingers.) Transfer bowl to a mixer and whisk on medium-high speed until fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes; continue beating until stiff peaks form.

  2. Step 2

    Add butter, a few pieces at a time, beating on medium-low speed until smooth and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze for 1 month. Bring to room temperature and beat on low for 3 minutes before using.

  3. Step 3

    Divide buttercream among 6 small bowls. Add gel-paste food colorings to the bowls to tint the buttercream according to the list below. Fit pastry bags with flower piping tips. Using a flower nail, pipe one flower at a time onto parchment. Refrigerate or freeze piped flowers until firm, about 10 minutes, before use.

  4. Step 4

    Food coloring combinations for flowers:
    YELLOW: egg yellow (make only 1/4 cup)
    PALE LAVENDER: violet and deep pink
    LAVENDER: violet and sky blue
    BLUE LAVENDER: sky blue and violet
    DARK LAVENDER: deep pink and violet
    BLUE: royal blue and cornflower blue

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2008