HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What have you made lately? Share your food adventure

Frosting Help for my Daughter!

OkieLora Jul 6, 2012 03:01 PM

My 11 year old daughter is obsessed with making cupcakes. The problem is we cannot seem to master an icing. I'm not a skilled baker, I can read a recipe but when things go wrong I have no idea why.

We tried a 7 minute Frosting recipe from Martha Stewart Cupcakes cookbook (linked recipe below). We followed everything to a t and it looked great till we started to combine the syrup with the egg whites. All we got was soup. We beat it and beat it and nothing. Any ideas what went wrong?

This is not our first frosting disaster and now we have a dozen cinnamon snickerdoodle inspired cupcakes without a frosting. Please help my daughter frost these puppies.

Here is a link to the recipe in respect of copyright stuff.


Thanks, Lora

  1. visciole Jul 7, 2012 11:55 AM

    Whip chilled heavy cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters until soft peaks form, add some sugar and a bit of vanilla to taste, and whip a little bit more. It's not the most shelf stable frosting but you can't beat the taste and it's easy.

    1. elfcook Jul 7, 2012 10:18 AM

      My 11 yr old daughter loves to bake & has an easy frosting recipe - 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 cup butter, milk & tsp vanilla. Whip the butter, add sugar a little at a time, add about 1/4 c milk & rest of the sugar & the vanilla. Use as much or as little milk to reach desired consistency. For chocolate, sub 1/2 cup cocoa for 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. Super easy & tasty enough for her & her brothers to wolf down.

      1. iluvcookies Jul 7, 2012 09:47 AM

        OK... here is Aunt Cookies No-Fail, everyone at the bake sale loves it Frosting Recipe:

        1 stick real butter, softened

        8oz real, full fat cream cheese, softened

        1/2 cup Crisco--Yes, I said it Crisco!

        put these in bowl of stand mixer and beat until combined

        add 1tsp total of flavoring (I usually use 3/4 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp almond) and 1/4 tsp kosher salt, mix a bit more.

        Slowly add powdered sugar a half cup at a time for a total of 3 1/2 to 4 cups. You kind of have to look at it and see how thick it is and make the call on that last half cup.

        Drizzle in a little milk (no more that 2 Tbsp) if it's a little thick.

        You can add a few drops of food coloring if you wish.

        This pipes well out of a large tip. Makes enough for 24-36 cupcakes, depending on how much you pipe on each one.

        1. k
          KSlink Jul 7, 2012 01:01 AM

          There's too much water for that amount of sugar. This is my formula, straight out of my pastry textbook--

          1 lb. sugar
          2 oz. corn syrup
          4 oz. water
          8 oz. egg whites

          1. j
            janniecooks Jul 7, 2012 12:33 AM

            Lora, it is possible that the sugar syrup wasn't cooked to a high enough temperature; my old reliable 1950's Betty Crocker cookbook's recipe for White Mountain Frosting (the Martha Stewart recipe is actually for a White Mountain Frosting, it is not Seven-Minute frosting) directs you to cook the sugar/water/corn syrup mixture to a temp of 242 degrees, which makes me suspect MS's recipe directions to heat to 230 degrees. Also, you may have poured the hot syrup into the whipped egg whites too fast. Pour the syrup very slowly in a thin stream into the beaten egg whites, and beat until frosting holds peaks.

            Or you can make a real 7-minute frosting by using the recipe at the link. What I like about 7-minute is it's really easy, almost foolproof, and you can use cream of tartar, no need for corn syrup. And it's the icing I always had on my birthday cake as a kid. I love the crisp shell that develops on the outside of the frosting! Here's the recipe on Food Network, which is identical to the recipe my mother used from her 1950's Betty Crocker Cookbook:


            1. s
              sandylc Jul 6, 2012 09:19 PM

              I can't recommend using margarine or shortening in frosting - not the right flavor or mouthfeel....

              1. e
                egging Jul 6, 2012 07:31 PM

                In case you need a second cream cheese frosting recipe, here's a link to a simple one that we love:
                It's basically softened butter and cream cheese mixed together, then powdered sugar and vanilla added. Super good stuff, and no complicated boiling or whipping. Good luck and have fun baking with your daughter!

                1. chowser Jul 6, 2012 03:40 PM

                  I wonder if the whites weren't stiff enough and/or you added the syrup too quickly? That recipe looks more like an Italian Meringue frosting than 7 minute frosting. As todao said, 7 minute is usually made over a double boiler.

                  1. todao Jul 6, 2012 03:10 PM

                    Frosting disasters are more common than you might think. If you're looking for a frosting that will taste good and is probably easier for an 11 year old to master, try a cream cheese frosting. There are countless recipes for those on the Internet (Google - Cream Cheese Frosting)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: todao
                      OkieLora Jul 6, 2012 03:18 PM

                      Thanks. Can you use margarine instead of butter? I don't have any real butter on hand. Still like to know what went wrong with our above recipe.

                      1. re: OkieLora
                        todao Jul 6, 2012 03:25 PM

                        Yes, you could use "stick" margarine in place of butter. Just avoid that stuff that comes in a tub.
                        The only thing I can do is guess at the issue you had with the 7 minute frosting. Temperature control and beating (whipping) technique are key to success with that type of frosting and I know an awful lot of people who had used it for decades with various levels of success and just stopped torturing themselves trying to get it right 100% of the time.
                        Martha Stewart's recipe (per your post) doesn't specify using a double boiler which, IMO, is essential in maintaining good control of the heat. Also, the typical kitchen digital/analog thermometer doesn't work well for this kind of cooking; a good candy thermometer is var superior.

                        1. re: todao
                          OkieLora Jul 6, 2012 03:35 PM

                          Thank you for your reply. Can you also use the stick margarine in a butter cream icing recipe? We have tried several times to imitate the birthday cake icing that bakeries use with little success there either. I wasn't kidding when I said we have had many failed frosting attempts.

                          I did take your advice and found a cream cheese frosting with a whipped cream base. We will try that one and hope it turns out well enough to use tonight. Thank you again for your time.

                          1. re: OkieLora
                            todao Jul 6, 2012 03:51 PM

                            "Butter Cream Frosting" really needs butter to have the right flavor but, if you have to, you could use stick margarine in place of butter. I'd expect it to be heavier with margarine but can't see why it wouldn't work I might mix half and half margarine/shortening rather than simply using margarine by itself but inasmuch as I haven't actually tried that I can't unequivocally recommend it.

                    Show Hidden Posts