This is a two-part recipe. Last week  we introduced Buried Treasure Cupcakes, this week we are topping them with Swiss Meringue Buttercream!

Once you have gotten thus far in the process it is wise to refrigerate the cupcakes or let them cool for awhile – especially if you have used warm caramel – so that they can set up and be ready to frost. Upon cooling it is time to frost!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1 lb. unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large egg whites, (1/2 cup) at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

12 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled (Use the same amount of white chocolate such as Tobler Narcisse for a white chocolate buttercream.)

Chop the chocolate and melt in a bowl over simmering water until smooth. Let cool.

Mix the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. Remove the bowl from the mixer and heat the bowl over simmering water until the egg whites mixture is warm to the touch, about five minutes. (Whisk lightly while heating just to prevent the edges from cooking too much.) Re-attach bowl to mixer and whisk egg white and sugar mixture on high speed for 5 minutes, or until the meringue forms stiff peaks and is cool to the touch.

Add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, while beating on medium speed.

Scrape down the bowl and add the cooled chocolate and vanilla, and mix until the chocolate is completely blended in.

At this point, the butter cream starts off looking thin and lumpy, but about three-quarters of the way through the beating process, it starts to emulsify into a thick, luxurious buttercream. *If the butter is too soft, or you are working on a hot summer day, what should be a satiny smooth buttercream breaks down into a grainy puddle. Put the whole bowl into the refrigerator to cool for ten minutes, then finish beating. If it looks curdly at any point, raise the speed a little and beat until smooth before adding more butter.

We then piped it on with a piping bag and large star tip, being careful to cover the surprise center. The kids thought of the caramel popcorn topper, which we loved, as it gave a nod to the surprise caramel center of our cupcake.

Interior of Chocolate Buried Treasure Cupcake

After the cupcakes were completed, we took the leftover frosting and piped it into some extra chocolate cups, topped it with a fresh raspberry and Voila! Another easy treat!