I recently posted about a great yellow cake and said it went so very well with whipped cream.
Well, I did find the whipped cream, infused with herbal scents, thoroughly sophisticated. But the truth is, brian generally likes his cakes frosted. Icing is fine, that thin layer of sugar + something that just coats the cake. But I really crave a deep, thick, rich frosting that smoothers the cake in sugar, flavor color, and texture. Frosting begs to be eaten.
And while chocolate and vanilla frostings will always please, what about something decadently different? This recipe from the book Country Living Great Cakes is just what Brian craves: a subtle flavor, rich, satisfying, and gooey. It’s a diabetic’s dream.
The source of this recipe, Country Living Great Cakes, is a thin gem filled with cake and frosting recipes that will just delight you. I’m on my third summer of just randomly picking a recipe and enjoying the results. When I skim a cookbook, I try to find the nuggets, those special recipes that just stand out. This frosting is one of those. It will work on not just on yellow cake, but devil’s food, vanilla, chocolate, … It would be a treat if used to fill and then coat a roulade.
So, force yourself to make a cake. And then adorn it with this finishing jewel.
Espresso Buttercream Frosting
Makes 4 cups [enough for 24 cupcakes]
- 2 teaspoons boiling water
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 8 large egg whites
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks) softened
Mix the boiling water and the espresso powder in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine the egg whites and sugar in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Set over, but not touching , a sauce pan of simmering water. Whisk by hand until the sugar melts and mixture reaches 120°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and beat with the mixer set on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and salt and continue to beat until the mixture is at room temperature. Beat in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Beat in the espresso mixture.
Source: Country Living Great Cakes
Can you imagine cake without frosting? A dusting of powdered sugar does not please me. Okay, for gingerbread a heavy coating of whipped cream works. But typically I want frosting.
There are bookloads of frosting recipes. Yet of all those, a handful of frostings have always been at the pinnacle. One of those has had the name Seven Minute Frosting, a fluffy, candy-like frosting that you may remember from your youth. It is the ultimate vanilla frosting, but the labor involved has always been a detriment: using a hand mixer over a double boiler for 7 minutes was never easy. Accidents do happen. Sometimes nearby walls and windows became frosted.
So we all owe a debt of gratitude to Nick Malgieri, baking maestro and a magnificent cookbook author. First in his book Perfect Cakes and now is the beautiful The Modern Baker, Nick has included a recipe for Fluffy White Frosting. In his description, Nick notes that with modern mixers and this technique, you can have the 7 minute frosting with a much easier process. The recipe calls for 5 minutes of beating on your stand mixer and that’s a key factor. Don’t overbeat or the frosting will become difficult to spread.
If you want to see what the frosting looks like on its natural mate — a dark chocolate cake — take a peek at the cookbooks on the left side of this blog. The Modern Baker cover shows a deep, thick, rich white frosting. You have the recipe. All you need to do is go bake a cake.
Fluffy White Frosting
Yield: Covers one double layer cake
Values here are from Perfect Cakes with optional values from The Modern Baker. The optional values will give extra frosting for a better cake or finger licking.
3  egg whites
1 cup sugar
⅓ [½] cup corn syrup
Fill a 2-quart saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Adjust the heat so that the water simmers.
Use a hand whisk to combine the egg whites, sugar, salt, and corn syrup in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and gently whisk until the ingredients are hot [about 130°] and the sugar has dissolved.
Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip the icing with the whisk attachment on medium speed until cooled, about 5 minutes. Touch the outside of the bowl; it should feel cool.
Source: Perfect Cakes and The Modern Baker by Nick Mangier