HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >



(hum Wall of Confusion)
I have a b'day cake to make. Chocolate with White Frosting.
White is not my flavor, so I am torn in many directions.
I have a cake recipe - Very Good Chocolate Cake from The Gift of Southern Cooking
it's very moist and uses coffee

I wish I could cover it in whip cream, but I have to make it in the afternoon and serve it at a restaurant later that night. So it has to be a stable frosting.
Options are a regular buttercreme, or a southern custard frosting I read about here
or a butter/cream cheese mix like you'd use on Red Velvet Cake
or (and this is a bow to the White part) something made out of non-hydrogenated veg shortening, which I understand to be the fluffy cheap frosting bakery way. That grosses me out a little, but
Midwestern bakery birthday cake is the look I'm going for.
problem is: I don't actually know what that is...

Any thoughts for me before I go grocery shopping tonight?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You could make a stabilized whipped cream. I'm sure there's a recipe online somewhere. It's a matter of adding a small amount of activated gelatin to the cream after you've whipped it. The whipped cream maintains its texture (most of its texture--adding the gelatin just gives it some body, but does not affect the flavor, in my opinion). I use stabilized whipped cream on my chocolate pies because it gives them a lilttle more shelf life in the fridge and it makes them easier to cut.

    1. Chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting is great. It really brings out the flavor of both. The chocolate tastes deeper and the cream cheese tastes very tangy.

      1. There is also a classic boiled white frosting you could use. It is stable, light, fluffy and on the sweet side - sort of a meringue-type frosting. If you google on boiled frosting, there's a myriad of recipes out there. It sounds like a bit of work (making a syrup on the stovetop, and folding in the egg whites), but it is actually pretty easy - I've never had a flop with it. It's best with chocolate cake or angel food cake.

        1. Can you get Fluff where you live?

          3 Replies
          1. re: dukegirl

            I don't know! I had to Google . . .
            are you suggesting that as a frosting on it's own? could totally work...

            I'm also really into the idea of cream cheese frosting on chocolate cake, but the birthday guest has a white cake ideal in mind . . .

            Thanks all for helping me brainstorm this - keep it comin'!

            1. re: pitu

              I don't think you could frost a cake using just Fluff on its own. It's a bit too thick to spread. I've made a frosting with it, mixing it with other stuff. I'll try to find the recipe. Or, and this is something you've also probably never heard of out there, but I was thinking of a whoopie-pie filling type frosting, which is fluff, crisco, confectioners' sugar and some vanilla.

              1. re: pitu

                I also wouldn't recommend using fluff on its own as a frosting. I used it once to frost cupcakes, and the fluff slowly started dripping down the sides of the cupcake and by the next morning, much of it had dripped down to the bottom of the plastic container and it was a big mess.

            2. If you do a classic vanilla buttercream, you could just ask the restaurant to refrigerate it for you.

              Or you could do a white chocolate ganache and pour it over, then let it set in your fridge.

              1. America's Test Kitchen just did an episode for a strawberry cream cake, which had a cream cheese and whipped cream frosting. It was specifically done to make the whipped cream stable enough to hold up, so that might work for you. I think it was a current episode, so you should be able to find the recipe on their site for free.

                1. Could you bring them separately and then frost there? There are a lot of ideas in this thread, too:


                  1. What about a white chocolate fondant? Too labor intensive?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Emme

                      not looking for white chocolate, OR labor intensive!
                      ; )
                      and frosting on site is totally not an option
                      thx for the stabalized whip cream thread link!

                    2. What did you decide to do?

                      Personally, I'd go for a vanilla buttercream. I'm fine with off-white vs. white white. Whipped cream is good, but it's harder to transport too; the buttercream will set up a bit. Btw, if you're taking it to a restaurant, call ahead just to make sure they won't mind you doing that. Oh, and I added a vanilla buttercream recipe to the above thread last night. :)

                      1. I made this Dorie Greenspan cake recipe for a birthday cake yesterday, and it turned out really well:

                        The frosting is bright white, sort of shiny and marshmallowy, and was easy... though it did require a candy thermometer. Still, simple directions, and everyone oohed and aahed over how it looked.

                        1. The "gravy" icing is a winner. It's the only one that ever, ever goes near my Red Velvet Cake.

                          If you want perfect white, fluffy frosting, try Boiled Frostings, Seven-Minute Frostings, Italian or Swiss Meringues. They are all variations on the same thing. Beaten egg whites and sugar, Some with cooked syrup, some cooked and beaten over heat. Easy. Even the ones that sound complicated are simple if you have a candy thermometer. They're not as sweet or heavy as ganaches or buttercreams, no dairy allergies, fat-free, inexpensive, pure white or can be colored, they hold without refrigeration. What's not to love?
                          Why does everyone ignore these classics of European and American baking?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: MakingSense

                            I love boiled frostings, but I must say I'm surprised to hear anyone say they are not as sweet as a ganache or buttercream. I think they are MUCH sweeter. However, I love sweet things, so it's not a problem for me. As you mention, they do not need refrigeration and in fact SHOULD NOT be refrigerated, I find that the icing may "weep" if you fridge it.

                            1. re: danna

                              Maybe I'm confusing sweet and rich. The boiled icings use about the same quantities of sugar as the ganaches and buttercreams, they just don't have the fats so they probably seem lighter to me. Same with the cream cheese frostings. The fat makes them all seem heavy, especailly when it's as hot and humid as it can get in much of the US without air conditioning. Guess now that we live a climate-controlled life, that's not such a consideration as it once was.
                              I think the cost difference may also have played a part in the popularity of boiled icings in rural areas, especially the South. Egg whites and sugar were a lot cheaper than butter and chocolate. Still are.

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                They taste too sweet to me because they don't have fat. Fat-free/low fat sweets, like meringues, angelfood cakes, jelly beans/gummies, lifesavers, don't appeal to me because they're too sweet. I've had a fat free cream cheese frosting that I could not eat.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  Maybe that's why I can't bear the taste of those fat-free salad dressings, cookies and other processed fake foods. They all taste sweet to me - even the savory items. You're on to something, chowser!

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    o absolutely! I have the same reaction to fat-free yogurt.
                                    And when you look on the ingredients, sure enough they've made up for the fat with extra sweetner.

                                    1. re: pitu

                                      Have you tried the fat free yogurt from Stoneyfield? They use a lot less sugar than Dannon, etc. Once I started eating that I could never enjoy the other stuff again. And , really, I am not one to turn down sugar....so if I notice something is too sweet....it's too sweet.

                                      Note: Stoneyfield has a couple of flavors (chocolate and caramel) that have the standard amount of sugar. Compare the calorie content to the fruit and mocha flavors and you'll see.

                          2. The "gravy" or Southern Custard (eggless) is what I went with -- the cake (to my mind) was in the family of red velvet, so it was perfect. I modified with a mix of 8oz cream cheese (neufchatel, the lower fat cream cheese) and a little less than a stick of butter. Smooth, thinner and lighter than cream cheese frosting I'm used to - excellent. I goofed a tiny bit with a couple of lumps from my flour (note to self, put a little milk in the double boiler, and whisk the roux into that...) but it worked out well anyway.

                            It went over *extremely* well with the birthday girl and friends. No leftovers.

                            Love the Very Good Chocolate Cake recipe from The Gift Of Southern Cooking (Lewis/Peacock)
                            Old fashioned, very light . . . 4oz of bitter dark chocolate melted with a cup of strong coffee, peanut oil as the lipid of choice...
                            I used sifted AP flour instead of cake flour, and it was still super light with a nice fine crumb.

                            I wish I took a picture, but we didn't think about it until this morning. THANKS ALL!

                            1. Do you know how to make stabilized whipped cream?

                              I always frost with whipped cream. Stabilized whipped cream incorporates some dissolved gelatin so it stays firm. I have to look up the formula online everytime I make it - just search for stabilized whipped cream. It is FAR less sweet than frosting, but I still decrease the amount of sugar a bit because most forumlas are sweeter than my taste.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Kater

                                Have you done this with non-animal derived gelatin? I couldn't consider it for that reason.
                                There's a good link suggested further upthread about stabilized whip cream btw.

                                1. re: pitu

                                  If you're a vegetarian, gelatin is a no-no, but there are other choices. Dr. Oetker's Whip-It is a commercial product that is a starch that works well. You can also add dry milk or corn syrup to the cream before whipping it. Also try powdered sugar rather than granulated sugar; powdered sugar usually has some cornstarch and that helps.
                                  Give the Italian or Swiss merignues a try. They are widely used in European pastry making and are pretty easy. They look beautiful and hold up better than anything else.

                                  1. re: pitu

                                    I haven't made it with anything but gelatin - BTW I usually read the replies before responding or I wouldn't have duplicated the suggestion! I just find that for me (not being vegetarian) this is the perfect cake icing. But I'm happy to see that you got some suggestions for vegetarian options. And I'll second the suggestion about meringues - beautiful and delicious - and not difficult or I (not a baker at heart) would never make them!

                                2. isn't there a vegetarian gelatin made with seaweed? I know in england they have it. they have veggie everything there, even the cheese is labled veggie or not (it has to do with the rennet!)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: missmasala

                                    Vegetarian substitutes for animal-based gelatin can be found pretty easily. Try a good health food store. Things like agar-agar. Can't remember the others. Work fine. You just have to ask.
                                    The last time I bought rennet, it was veggie-based and I didn't even realize it. Works just the same, maybe a little slower but that's no problem. I use it to make a quark-type fresh cheese.

                                  2. I am looking for a professional white frosting; not the kind made by boiling, corn syrup, mother's recipe, whip cream etc. I can make and know those. If anyone professional or non professional would share the basics of a fantastic, decadent recipe I would appreciate it. Hoping for responses, but don't really any responses, but if you don't ask.... you don't get.
                                    I'm making a lemon chiffon cake(basically Genoise with egg whites whipped), lemon curd, and really want a light white frosting. Will do whipping cream etc( no gelatin use fruit instead) if no replies.Txs in advance.

                                    1. Midwestern Birthday Cake might well mean Seven-Minute Frosting. If you have a double boiler it's very easy as all you do is stand there and hold the electric mixer thing for the seven minutes. On the cake it sets up and is quite stable and does not have to be refrigerated. It is more foolproof and reliable than the similar frosting for which you whip a syrup into the egg whites. I don't much hear of Seven-Minute Frosting any more but forty or fifty years ago it was very standard.