A silky smooth vanilla buttercream with a hint of spicy licorice.
In an electric mixer bowl, hand whisk together egg whites and sugar until well combined.
Place bowl over a medium saucepan with 1 inch of boiling water.
Whisk lightly for a moment until well combined, then leave for about 5 minutes or until the syrup is smooth and not grainy. I find the best way to check this is to lift a whisk out of the mixture and rub the syrup between two fingers to check there are no sugar grains left. It is hot, but won't burn. Just be careful.
Turn heat off and place your mixer bowl into the electric stand mixer.
Using the whisk attachment, whisk syrup on high speed until a stiff meringue forms, about ten minutes.
Change to paddle attachment and turn mixer onto the lowest speed. Gradually add the chopped butter, one piece at a time, then leave to mix on low for about 5 minutes, or until silky smooth.
Note: The buttercream will look soupy at first, then like scrambled eggs. This is all normal. Just make sure you keep the mixer on the lowest speed. It will eventually come together and look smooth.
Add vanilla bean paste.
Add remaining 1/4 cup of infused milk and keep mixing on low until it is well combined and smooth.
Your Swiss Meringue Buttercream is now ready to use.