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Jun 14, 2011 06:51 PM

Alternative to buttercream and 7 minute frosting?

I've been working on this recipe for lemon meringue cupcakes. I immediately went to 7 minute frosting based on Martha's recommendation, but I'm not a fan of it, nor are my husband and coworkers. I think that a buttercream, even a mousseline buttercream would be just too heavy for these (a dense cake with a filling of a very tart lemon curd), so I'm not sure where to go from here. Any suggestions?


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  1. Try the cooked flour frosting someone posted a while back. You basically cook flour and milk into a paste and cool it. Beat butter and sugar (granulated) and then add the cooled paste and flavoring (lemon, vanilla, whatever) and beat the crap out of it for like 10 minutes. It makes a super light and delicious frosting that's not too heavy at all. It's my go-to for summer cakes!

    1. well, it's not going to be lemon MERINGUE unless you use 7 minute frosting or something similar. What is it you don't like about it? I would apply it in swoops to the cupcakes and then torch it with a kitchen torch. That might give you a bit more depth of flavor...other than the flavor of sugar ;-) You could also amend the frosting w/ some lemon zest, or maybe sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs to continue w/ the lemon meringue pie theme.

      1. I agree with Danna that in order for it to be lemon meringue, you need a meringue based frosting.

        That said, I think that a mousseline buttercream would work. I think that you might like Rose Levy Berenbaum's "Creamy Dream White Chocolate Frosting" or something along those lines, which is a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. But, it might also be too heavy for your cake.

        1. I agree w/ danna about the 7 minute frosting--what don't they like about it? I like Dorie Greenspan's version with her deviled food white out cake.

          A good frosting with lemon cake (not sure what type of cupcakes you're making) is this one with mascarpone and whipped cream, mixed with lemon curd. It's much lighter than buttercream:

          2 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            damn. that frosting sounds awesome. It's hard to say which of those three items (whipped cream, mascarpone and whipped cream) are the most delicious.

            1. re: danna

              The challenging part is getting it on the cake w/out eating most of it first. It's like a lemon mousse. I've done it w/ key limes and with meyer lemons, too. Both very good.

          2. I did a 7 minute frosting and torched it. It really was very pretty, but there was still not much to taste but sugar. Caramelized or otherwise. And the spongy texture was offputting to me. I will try the flour frosting. I've heard great things about it and will give it a shot this weekend.

            My go-to frosting is RLB's Mousseline buttercream, but as I already posted, I believe it will be too buttery for this particular cake.

            It doesn't HAVE to be lemon meringue. If I use a different frosting, they will simply be lemon cupcakes. :)

            How well does the mascarpone frosting hold up to heat/time? These cupcakes will be out in a hot house for several hours and I'd feel terrible if they melted down into nothing.

            10 Replies
            1. re: LaureltQ

              Here's a photo of the cupcake test batch from last weekend.

              1. re: LaureltQ

                those are truly beautiful. I'm so sorry you don't enjoy them! I adore 7 minute frosting...i can't beleive my good fortune that my fave frrosting is fat free ;-) Did you pipe the frosting?

                And not to belabor the point, but did you make 7 minute frosting on the stove over a water bath ala Martha Stewart? I've never found that to be spongey, but if you just make a straight meringue by whipping egg whites w/ sugar...then yes...i find that spongey too.

                1. re: danna

                  I made it a-la Martha. It was a "whip the egg whites and stream the sugar syrup in" method.

                  1. re: LaureltQ

                    Hummm...i haven't made that in so long I can't recall the texture perfectly. However, i was refering to Martha's stovetop method, which I find preferable by a long shot. Not only a bit tastier to me, but SO much easier, more foolproof (although not completely foolproof in humid weather) and very, very stable. It's hard to find it online for some reason. If you're interested, I'll try to find it for you....but you sound like you're pretty well done with meringue, so I won't try to force you ;-)

                    1. re: LaureltQ

                      That's how I make it (Dorie Greenspan's version) and I find it spongy, too, a little like marshmallow. I haven't tried the version where you heat everything in a double boiler and whip in the bowl. I wonder if that might be less spongy.

                      1. re: chowser

                        "my" version is more like divinity than marshmallow, does that make sense?

                        1. re: danna

                          The Dorie Greenspan version is with the sugar simple syrup poured over whipped egg whites. Is that like divinity? I've never made divinity (I actually can't remember having it) but googled it. It seems similar.

                          I'm really not a big frosting person, mousseline buttercream or any others. I prefer non-traditional ones like the mascarpone one, chocolate ganache, sour cream fudge.

                          1. re: chowser

                   I said above, I have not made the simple sugar version since I discovered the double boiler method MANY years ago (probably 15). I can't remember that texture perfectly.

                            The double boiler method produces something that is rather dense. If you beat it too long, it can actually be so sticky that it's hard to frost without pulling chunks off the cake. But done right, it's perfect and holds up. one thing I remember about the simple syrup version is that after a few days, the frosting would "disappear"...not sure where it went...but it would start to go away. OR, sometimes it would weep a bit. The double boiler method stays were you put it. I suppose because you cook out more of the water while whipping. Highly recommended.

                2. re: LaureltQ

                  I wouldn't try the mascarpone whipped cream one if it's sitting out for hours. I would try the cooked flour one and see if you like it. It's a southern frosting and meant to stand up to heat/humidity.


                  1. re: chowser

                    I'm definitely gonna give this a try!