The amazing thing about this frosting is that while it looks like a standard seven-minute frosting it behaves much, much differently. Whereas seven-minute frosting hardens to a stiff meringue-like consistency almost immediately after it’s made and applied, this stays smooth and spreadable — even after several days in the refrigerator. That makes it somewhat dangerous since leftover frosting is wicked good on a vanilla wafer, or two, or three…
This was my grandmother’s secret weapon frosting. It’s very similar to a seven-minute frosting save for the fact that it doesn’t harden. It stays supple under a thin crust. It’s a great combo with her gold cake. How could I resist posting this? This recipe makes enough for one two-layer cake.
16 ounces (2 1/4 cups) sugar
4 ounces (1/2 cup) water
2.12 ounces (3 tablespoons) corn or glucose syrup
3 egg whites
0.6 ounces (1/3 cup) powdered sugar
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.
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
I had a great time making this icing today. On the one hand there was the caramel, which I get all worked up about. Something about turning simple, one-dimensional ingredients like water, sugar and milk into a deep, dark, aromatic brew…it excites me. On the other there was the browning which the geek in me loved, created as it is by both caramelization and Maillard reactions. Put it all together and my little brain was lighting up like a Christmas tree.
This recipe is from Nathalie Dupree’s Southern Memories. The reason I like it is that it combines actual caramel with the highly unusual boiled-milk-and-soda technique that you find in the really old versions of the cake. This makes enough for a 3-layer cake. Cut it down if you aspire to a less grandiose confection. You’ll need:
2 lbs. 10 ounces (6 cups) sugar
2.5 ounces (1/3cup) water
3 ounces (1/4 cup) light corn syrup
18 ounces (2 1/4 cups) milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream for thinning (if needed)
Sure, there are plenty of purists out there who don’t believe cream should be polluted with stabilizers. I’m with them…some of the time. The rest of the time I’m worried about my whipped cream holding up for long periods, on warm days or in the freezer. Then I’m looking for a little somethin’-somethin’ to help get me by.
That something is gelatin. Just a little will do wonders you whipped cream’s stability, and honestly, it barely impacts the taste or texture. Start by melting a little gelatin. For 2 cups of cream you’ll start with a 1/2 teaspoon of powdered gelatin and a little ice water. Yes, these are my little silicone Trudeau bowls again. I love them, that’s why I plug them. They’re wonderful:
Here’s another buttercream alternative that’s extremely easy. It’s standard ganache, a 50-50 combination of chocolate and heavy cream by weight — only whipped! You start by making the ganache, any quantity you wish, you can use either standard or white chocolate.
Did I forget to mention it’s also called “mock buttercream”? This is something that a handful of readers have asked me about lately. It was little Jo’s turn to submit a cake for the cake wheel at last Friday’s fish fry, so it seemed like a good time to make it.
I’ve had quite a lot of requests for a “classic” American-style frosting the last few months. And because there’s nothing I won’t do to satisfy my readers, I finally decided to make some. Actually, a standard cake frosting recipe can be a useful thing to have around. My girls, for example, don’t like the richness of real buttercream. Instead they prefer the sweetness of a frosting. Kids. But they’re young yet. The recipe is quite simple. You’ll need: