Creamy Vanilla Frosting

Published May 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

  • Shopping list
  • Print

Why this recipe works:

For a refined vanilla frosting recipe to complement our chocolate cupcakes, we opted for a cooked buttercream frosting of the Swiss meringue variety, where egg whites and granulated sugar are heated over a double boiler, then whipped with knobs of softened butter. This gave us a creamy vanilla… read more

For a refined vanilla frosting recipe to complement our chocolate cupcakes, we opted for a cooked buttercream frosting of the Swiss meringue variety, where egg whites and granulated sugar are heated over a double boiler, then whipped with knobs of softened butter. This gave us a creamy vanilla frosting recipe that crowned our chocolate cupcakes perfectly.

less

Makes about 2 1/4 cups

The frosting can be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. When ready to frost, place frosting in a microwave-safe container and warm briefly on high power until just slightly softened, 5 to 10 seconds. Once warmed, stir until creamy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pinch table salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. 1. Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer; place bowl over pan of simmering water. Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.

    2. Place bowl in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat mixture on medium speed until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter.) Once all butter is added, add vanilla; mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds, scraping beater and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary.

    3. If final frosting seems too thick, warm mixer bowl briefly over pan of simmering water. Place bowl back on mixer and beat on medium-high speed until creamy.

Step-by-Step

Keys to Meringue-Style Buttercream

Whereas uncooked frostings tend to be greasy and grainy, our Swiss meringue buttercream gets its satiny-smooth texture from whisking the egg whites and sugar in a double boiler, then whipping the mixture with softened butter.

1. Whisk egg white mixture until foamy and registers 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer

2. Beat mixture in stand mixer until slightly cooled, then slowly add softened butter.

3. Add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla, then whip until light and fluffy.

In My Favorites
Please Wait…
Remove Favorite
Add to custom collection