This tart and tangy cream cheese buttercream whips up wonderfully fluffy but, unlike other cream cheese frostings out there, maintains enough structure to be piped thanks to sturdy meringue. Pomegranate molasses is a common condiment used widely in Middle Eastern cooking and lends a pleasant fruity flavor and compliments most cake recipes. Some delicious flavor combinations include dark chocolate coffee cupcakes, a lemon-poppyseed loaf, fragrant cinnamon-spiked jam buns, or your favorite gluten-free cake mixes. I like to add a small amount of red natural food coloring to enhance the color, as the pomegranate molasses tends to lend a dull shade.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be a little finicky, but trust the process and follow the steps as written. The most important things to remember when making this kind of buttercream is that your egg whites should have absolutely no streaks of yolks in them, your mixing bowl should be squeaky clean before you start whipping the hot meringue mixture, and that temperature of ingredients should be at room temperature (about 70F degrees).
- 5 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/ 4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/ 4 cup Pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Red food coloring, optional
Bring a small pot of water to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Set a heatproof bowl over the pot and add egg whites and sugar, stirring slowly but constantly, until a thermometer reaches about 140-150F degrees.
Transfer egg white mixture to the clean bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand mixer), and whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks are formed. Add softened butter 2 tablespoons at a time until incorporated, then continue with another piece until all the butter is used up. It’s okay if mixture appears to curdle when you are nearing the end- just continue whipping until it emulsifies and becomes light and fluffy.
Stir cream cheese, vanilla extract, and pomegranate molasses in a small bowl until no lumps remain, then add to buttercream. Beat on high speed for about 10 seconds to incorporate the cream cheese mixture. Add a few drops of red food coloring, if using, and stir to combine. Use immediately to frost cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, or loaf cakes. Buttercream can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, just bring to room temperature and vigorously stir with a wooden spoon until smooth and reconstituted.