Many people are seeking to find a gluten free buttercream frosting recipe that is silky smooth. True buttercream frosting (homemade at least) is usually naturally gluten free. The recipe below is made in a professional manner, versus the quick type we tend to make with only butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla/flavoring. This meringue buttercream frosting recipe (see below) does not use powdered sugar, making it corn-free. However, you can find corn-free powdered sugar (Trader Joe’s Organic), I find that meringue buttercream is not only silky, but it lacks that powdery taste that traditional buttercream creates.
I explain how you can flavor the frosting besides using extracts. Fruit purees are wonderful in buttercream frosting. They not only provide flavor but natural coloring, as well. What do you like to add to yours?
Don’t miss the video How to Add Butter to Italian Buttercream.
Gluten Free Buttercream Frosting
A gluten free buttercream frosting made from stiff egg whites, a sugar syrup, butter and the flavoring of your choice. Add fruit puree, extract or melted chocolate.
- For the Syrup:
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
For the Meringue:
- 4 large fresh egg whites (not carton egg whites)
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
For the Frosting:
- 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter (or more to taste and texture*), at room temperature, each tablespoon cut into four pieces
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract - not imitation (or almond extract, 10 oz. melted and cooled gluten-free chocolate, coconut flavoring, espresso powder added to syrup, or 6 tablespoons fruit puree)
- Food coloring (optional)
To Make the Syrup:
- Add sugar to a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the water slowly into the pan, avoiding splashing any sugar on the sides. If you do, wipe it clean immediately, as it may cause the syrup to crystalize.
- Stir gently a couple of times, just enough to moisten sugar.
- Cook until it reaches 250°F, not over (not caramelized). The larger the pan the shorter the time this step will take, between 5 - 8 minutes. Once it nears 250°F you may hear popping sounds. This is normal. Set it aside.
To Make the Meringue:
- Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the large bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on high speed until foamy and just prior to soft peaks forming.
- Keep the mixer running on low speed, and slowly pour the sugar syrup towards the sides of the mixing bowl, but on the meringue, not actually on the bowl. Just avoid the whip attachment. Run the mixer until the temperature of the mixture cools to 80°F, several minutes, 10 or 15, if that's what it takes. (The mixture should be close to stiff egg white texture.)
- Add the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and whip until creamy.
- Sprinkle in the sugar a little at a time until soft peaks are reached.
- Add the flavoring of your choosing (including melted chocolate, also added to towards the sides of the bowl); add food coloring, if desired (tiny drops at a time); blend well.
- Leave at room temperature while frosting cake or cupcakes.
If your frosting is too runny, allow it rest 20 minutes or so over an ice bath (ice and water), or refrigerate it and whip it again until it becomes stiffer. When the frosting is complete, you may refrigerate it if you need a thicker consistency. However, watch it closely before it sets too much.
If the frosting appears to be curdled (you see pieces of butter separate from some liquid), the buttercream is too cold. You butter may have been too cold or you allowed the syrup to cool too much. In this case, just allow the mixing bowl to rest in hot water in the sink or over a pot of simmering water (if your bowl is heatproof) for 4 - 5 minutes. You'll notice the sides of the frosting melt. That's good. Then, beat on high speed until smooth. If you need to add more butter because you never finished adding it all in the bowl, do so and repeat the above if it looks curdled again. If you melt the buttercream too much, just refrigerate it until it comes to about 73 degrees F.
Gluten-free food color brands include AmeriColor gel paste and McCormick liquid.
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