I received plenty of hate mail as of late, all to do with having dropped recipes from the blog in favour of talking about my nearly dying dog or illiterate writers. To make it up to those of you who have patiently waded through the crap waiting for better posting days to come, I decided to write about the very best cupcake frosting I've ever made. Look at this:
I am a sucker for cupcakes in general. When in New York, I trail entire neighborhoods hoping to come across some dinky, undiscovered place that whips out Alice In Wonderland-like cupcakes. I am not one to snort at one pound of buttercream plonked on top of my cupcake (hello Magnolia Bakery), neither am I watching it when teeth-shattering sugar is concerned (hello Cupcake Café). Today, as I was trailing Harvey Nichols after my dentist appointment (I look like Barbie now, with the exception of the body, the hair, the fame and the bank account), I stood enchanted at their cupcakes and thought that £ 1.50 each seemed sort of really good value. I once calculated that my own chocolate-covered cupcakes should retail at £ 4.00 each to make me break even; that's what you get for using Valrhona chocolate.
Anyhow, the frosting, yes. You can all probably pull off a decent enough sugary/buttery frosting, but do you know how to produce home-made Mr Whippy-like frosting? I do not recall where or when I managed to pull this off and I badly wish that I recorded my culinary exploits as they happen so that I would not have to rack my brains every time I want to crystallise knowledge into words (see below). So, who knows how I came to this Mr Frosty... but why should you care? All you need is:
4 tbsp Golden Syrup
2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk all of your ingredients in a double-boiler over a medium heat. You want these to grow gleaming white, very thick and soft while holding some amazing peaks (see above!). You achieve this by being very patient and possibly by wearing a set of earplugs. I don't know about you but I often start hearing things when my beaters have been whizzing for a while. With this Mr Frosty you'll probably end up hearing bagpipes, phone ringing and children laughing because it does take a good while to go really thick. But go for it anyway. Once the mixture is very meringue-like, remove it from the heat and keep on whisking some more; you want to let it cool while you continue.
whisk whisk whisk whisk
whrrrrr whrrrrr whrrrrr
Now that the mixture has cooled down, either spoon it into an icing bag and get to work on your cakes or drop it in spoonfuls as I do. You need to work quickly with this stuff because it does set remarkably fast which, in my book, is a great advantage since I hate to clock-watch over runny icing. If you are using sprinklers or the like, put them on after you drop the icing on each little cake. Oh and obviously, if you want a pinky tinge like the one I am showing here, add some liquid colouring just before you've finished whipping.
It is not at all too sweet, looks awesome, sets in no time and gives the cakes that fake look which I am all for. You know how it goes, sometimes you want stuff to look almost... unreal.