- 2 cups softened unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 t cream of tarter
- 2 t flavoring or liqueur
- candy thermometer
Beat the butter until smooth and set aside. In a small saucepan, add the water and 3/4 cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly heat the mixture while constantly stirring until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat to low and insert a candy thermometer. Do not stir the sugar anymore.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tarter and beat at high speed until peaks form. Gradually add the 1/4 cups sugar until stiff peaks form.
Meanwhile, boil the sugar mixture until it reaches 250°F on the candy thermometer. When this temperature is reached, turn off the heat and pour the contents into a glass measuring cup to stop the sugar from cooking. Slowly pour the sugar mixture onto the egg whites, beating on low until all of the sugar is added. The beat at medium speed until the mixture is cool.
Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, to the egg white mixture, continually beating until all of the butter is added. Beat until smooth, then add the flavoring. This icing will keep at room temperature for two days or refrigerated for ten days. This is enough icing to fill and cover an two-layer 9-inch cake.
Yield 4 1/2 cups
Gray: Katie made this wonderful buttercream frosting. I am so excited because this tastes like my favorite buttercream frosting from Apple Annie’s Bake Shop in Wilmington, NC. This was always my favorite icing growing up, and Katie had tried different things, but nothing ever came close. One day I was reminiscing, and I started to research different types of buttercream, and found that there are several varieties which are quite different, but all called “buttercream.” Katie had been wanting to try this one anyway, so when she did, I was amazed that it was what I had been longing for! It is creamy and perfectly smooth. It is rich without being cloyingly sweet. It went great with the snow white cake, but what I really want is to try it with the chocolate cake from this book.
Katie: When I was growing up, we almost always had buttercream icing on cakes. This buttercream was made with butter, crisco, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. It was a very rich buttercream that was on the heavy side. The icing is like that on a lot of bakery cakes that you might get at a grocery store. I hadn’t really known any other kind of icing except cream cheese icing, which tastes quite a bit different. I made Gray a cake at some point after I had known him awhile, and my buttercream icing was just not what he had grown up with. He told me over and over again that what he liked was a lighter icing and was usually kept refrigerated, but I just didn’t know what he meant. All the recipes that I had come across were either similar to mine, or seemed very difficult and I had never attempted them. I tried several different versions, with no success.
The day came when I attended a baby shower for my sister, and a cake was served. The icing was so good! I came home and told Gray that I now knew what icing he was talking about. I was still daunted by recipes like this one, in which you have to cook sugar to a certain temperature. I tried a different recipe for a buttercream that seemed easier to me, but it ended up tasting like whipped butter, and was not what we were looking for at all.
I eventually decided I was going to bite the bullet and try this one. I burned the sugar on the first go round – what a mess! I wouldn’t recommend that. I managed to get it right on the second try, and continued on with my icing. The finished product was very smooth, light, and airy. We tasted it and didn’t think this was THE ICING, although it was good. I iced the cake anyway, and stored it in the fridge. We tried it later, and Gray informed me that this was, indeed, THE ICING. I am now tasked with making this icing for his birthday and he has requested it on the chocolate cake for next year. It really is delicious! Don’t go so stingy on the icing layer between the cakes!