If you’ve never had this icing, I’d like to apologize. I am so sorry that you’ve missed out all these years. This is a fluffy, light tasting icing reminiscent of marshmallow cream, only better. It’s commonly found atop coconut cakes or other holiday cake treasures but goes just as easily with a plain yellow or chocolate cake, too.
Unlike most 7 minute frosting recipes, this one is not dependent on the weather or you crossing your pinky toes and perfectly reciting the magic word with five extra large marshmallows in your mouth. No siree, this one comes out perfect every time. Just like Grandmama’s always did. It’s no wonder, too, because we found this written in her own hand in her cookbook after she passed away. Here Mama had been fussing with making 7 minute frosting during the ideal weather conditions and Grandmama’s turned out perfect every time. It never occured to Mama that Grandmama might be using a different recipe – and it never occurred to Grandmama that Mama might not have her recipe, either!
To make this, you’ll need: Sugar, 2 Eggs (for the whites only), Cream of Tartar, Salt, and Vanilla.
What can you do if you don’t have cream of tartar? Go buy some cream of tartar. This is that kind of recipe 🙂
Place all ingredients into a thick bottomed sauce pot.
You just want to use a good stainless steel pot for this, definitely not one with a nonstick coating because we are going to beat it for several minutes and all that mess would flake off and get in your icing – so don’t do that 🙂
Hint: When separating your eggs for this, it is a good idea to do so in a separate bowl rather than the pot you are going to combine all ingredients in. The reason for this is that you need only the egg whites and if you get any of the yolk mixed in, your icing won’t turn out. By separating them beforehand, you can throw out anything that gets a yolk in it (or dig out the yolk if you can without combining it with the white) rather than having to throw out your entire pot of ingredients.
Place this over medium low heat (in between low and medium, so about a four on my stove) and turn that mixer on. Beat this constantly for about 5-7 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. More about that in a minute…
If you happen to sling some of it around while whisking away because you got distracted having a conversation with your dog, wipe it away immediately because this mess is like tar once it dries. Don’t worry, it stays all nice and fluffified on a cake :).
Now listen, right about now you’re going to be thinking “Christy is crazy. This is never going to form stiff peaks. I’m sure this is as good as it will get. I might as well give up and just ice the cake.” Trust me and keep beating it. It will be a totally different creature in a few minutes.
Note about following this recipe: The pattern on “the internets” these days seems to be taking a recipe, making fifty thousand substitutions and alterations to it, and then getting your tinsel in a tizzy when it doesn’t turn out exactly like the original recipe said it would. I’m not saying you would ever do that, mind you, but I do want to issue a word of caution that this is one of those recipes which really must be followed to the letter. If you go rogue, you get rogue results. Maybe those will be good, maybe those will be bad, but they won’t be on me either way.
Look! We have stiffness! You can see how the icing is maintaining the trail left by the beaters rather than sliding back into a glop. This is what we want. Now add in your vanilla….
Note: Really try not to forget the vanilla. Having said that, I almost always forget the vanilla. But that isn’t the worst mistake you could make. Last time I made this I accidentally doubled the salt (talking to the dog again). You know what I did? Played it off like it was supposed to be that way. You better believe it! Salted everything is all the rage these days anyway, plus it was just 1/4 teaspoon – and its not like my family has ever once looked at this recipe so for all they knew it was supposed to be that way.
And here are our “stiff peaks” with vanilla all beat in. You see how you can see a perfect trail of where my beaters were rather than any of the icing sliding back down to smooth? This is what you want. Remove this from the heat and have a little taste of it – pure Heaven.
Now whenever Mama and I make this, there are tiny sugar granules mixed amid the fluffy velvet cream – and it’s just perfection, like my Grandmama’s icing, so don’t think you did anything wrong. Just dip your spoon in again and pop it in your mouth, close your eyes, and enjoy the smoothness of this marshmallow cream-like icing as it melts in your mouth.
Ice your cake and you’re good to go. This icing is very stable and keeps well for up to a week on an ice cake stored in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a stainless steel heavy bottomed sauce pan. Place over medium low heat and beat with an electric hand mixer constantly for 5-7 minutes, or until icing is fluffy and stiff peaks form when beaters are removed. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Ice cake. It takes two recipes of this to ice a layer cake.
This recipe doubles beautifully, no need to make two separate batches, just double it and make it all at once.
“Peoples s’posed to be nice. That’s just the way you do things.”