Happy birthday, sweet girl!!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream(adapted from The Domestic Goddess)
5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp. chocolate extract, 1/4 tsp. almond extract, and a splash of orange flower water
1-2 cups confectioners’ sugar (optional for sweeter version, taste as you go)
Mix the egg whites, sugar and salt in a double boiler set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture is hot to the touch – about 3 minutes and the sugar has dissolved (until you can't feel sugar-grit in the whites).
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. The frosting might get to a point where it looks curdled, just beat on low speed until thick again, about 5 minutes more (be sure not to overbeat it) . Add extracts and mix until combined. Taste the frosting – if the taste is sweet enough for you – you’re done. If you like it sweeter, add up to 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar to sweeten. Tint with gel icing color as desired (not liquid coloring).
If using frosting within several hours, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature in a cool environment. Or transfer to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator, up to 3 days. Before using, bring frosting to room temperature, and beat on the lowest speed with the paddle attachment until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Yield: about 5 cups