Brown-Sugar-Meringue Buttercream

To decorate a cake with dots or an intricate design, first cover it with a smooth base of brown-sugar buttercream. Be sure to use room-temperature butter in this recipe. If the butter is too cold, the buttercream will appear curdled.

  • Yield: Makes 6 cups

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 1999


  • 1 1/4 cups lightly packed light-brown sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer, combine light-brown sugar and egg whites. Place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water; whisk until mixture becomes hot to the touch, about 5 minutes.

  2. Return bowl to mixer stand. Whip mixture with the whisk attachment until cooled, about 12 minutes. Switch to paddle attachment; add butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in vanilla.

Cook's Notes

If not using immediately, transfer to an airtight container, and store at room temperature up to 8 hours.


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