Making Seven Minute Frosting

Seven minute frosting’s main virtue is that it’s fast to make and gives you, for ten minutes of effort, a silky and luxurious frosting that’s light and fluffy and sweet rather than rich (for those who can’t deal with the heaviness of a buttercream). You whip it up while your guests are finishing their meal, throw your cake together and serve it. Sure it’ll hold for longer than that, but not terribly much longer. The frosting begins to firm and crystallize as soon as it cools. It gets slightly gummy after an hour, has a crust on it after two hours, and is often hard as baked meringue a day later. So it’s an ephemeral treat, but well worth doing for a truly homespun layer cake experience.


Seven Minute Frosting Recipe

They call it “seven minute” frosting because that’s how long you’re supposed to beat it with a hand mixer over boiling water. It’s amazing how right on that figure is. Seven minutes does it every time. Assemble:

10 ounces (1 1/2 cups) sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2.65 ounces (1/3 cup) water
2 ounces (2) egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract