This, my friends, is what you would call a frosting fail.
This edition of Baked Sunday Morning was officially Devil’s Food Cake with Angel Frosting. Except the angel was being a real demon to me. Composed of whipped egg whites and boiled sugar syrup, all whipped together for a magical seven minutes, it just didn’t come together for me. This is a simple seven minute marshmallow frosting. I have made a few different batches of marshmallows in the past few months. I still have a bit of ego pain from this experieince.
Hurdle #1: My plastic mixing bowl must have had some residue on it, so my five egg whites never whipped. I changed to a stainless steel bowl and poured in my last five egg whites. Egg white success! Hurdle #2: The sugar syrup mixture is supposed to boil and reach 235°. The cookbook says very specifically Do NOT let sugar syrup go above the aforementioned temperature. My Taylor thermometer kept touching the bottom of my pan so it was reading hotter than it should. I turned my back for a split second and the syrup seemed to go up to the 240s. So I dumped that batch of syrup and tried again. This time, I think I acted too soon and pulled the syrup off the eye before it properly boiled.
So, when I streamed the syrup into the egg whites, everything turned into a marshmallow-y soup. My poor little hand mixer whipped. And it whipped. And it whipped some more. And then, I got the bright idea to add powdered sugar. In hopes that something like sugar would help it bulk up and whip. So I added some sugar. And then a little more. And maybe a bit more. And oh what the hell, finish off the box.
A pound of powdered sugar later, the frosting still looked like a liquid, not light and fluffy marshmallow frosting.
In my hasty, “Ohmahgawd I am DONE with these” mood, I frosted the cupcakes and took them to brunch. It tasted like goopy, liquified powdered sugar. Even with a sprinkle of smoked salt on top of the cupcake [which was a fabulous choice, by the way!] my frosting failure totally drowned out the delightful, devious cupcake underneath. The Devil’s Food cake was rather perfect, with a hint of coffee in it and a rich cocoa base. In the long run, I can’t, and won’t scrap the entire recipe. But, for people uncomfortable or inexperienced in using thermometers and dealing with mallowy foods, I say tread lightly with the frosting. A tangy vanilla cream cheese would be great with the cake if you want to try it.
Or just go for it and see what comes. If the worst happens, just realize that the day can only get better from there! Check out the recipe for Devil’s Food Cake with Angel Frosting at Baked Sunday Mornings. And don’t forget the success stories in the comments.
so sad your frosting didn’t turn out!!
one thing I’m wondering – have you tested your thermometer for accuracy lately? it’s easy: just boil water and see if it shows 212. maybe it’s hosed.
Ooh, I’ll do that before I need to use it again for sure. But I think I was being a bit of a doofus. I made vanilla bean meyer lemon marshmallows today for Brooklyn Swappers [and partially out of my stubborn nature to show “Dammit, I CAN do this!” and it worked a-okay. Mmm, those marshmallows were fantastic.
I wonder what the humidity was like when you had your frosting fail. Meringues, seafoam candies and all other egg-whitey things have a tendency to flop when there’s a lot of moisture in the air. Vanilla bean meyer lemon marshmallows sound divine though!
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I have had some of the worst and best luck with marshmallows– beating egg whites with hot syrup. The first time I attempted to do so, I was a pastry chef who managed to break the whip attachment for a 30 qt. mixer, and I was covered in head to toe with a goopy, not quite marshmallow-y mixture. The second and third times weren’t much better, but eventually I got the hang of it. Timing is a bitch in these sorts of recipes, but kudos to you for giving it a go!
Love your attitude,this is a delicous frosting but not one that I will do frequently !