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Frosting Dilemma...

I am making a birthday cake for my niece for her party this upcoming Saturday. I'm going to have a hellish week, so tomorrow I'm making the cake layers and freezing them, Friday night I'll make the almond mousse filling, and then Saturday morning before the party I plan on making the frosting.

I don't usually have any problems with baked goods, but last year on her birthday my frosting was a mess. Too firm, then I over beat it and added some milk and it was practically unusable. Thats never happened to me before, it was a total fluke....but now I'm terrified it will happen again.

I don't need the frosting for intricate piping (although some rosettes around the bottom border would be nice) but im mostly decorating with sugar glitter, and alphabet candies that spell out "happy birthday."

I am trying to decide between a cream cheese frosting (2:1 cream cheese butter ratio) or this 7 minute frosting i found on the smitten kitchen blog: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/0...

I have been reading tons of posts here on chowhound, but I'm getting overwhelmed.

Anyone feel confident that they have a foolproof frosting recipe that will work great for a layer cake?

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  1. Here is another cream cheese frosting recipe I found that looks great in the picture: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/1...

    Has anyone tried this before?

    1. I stir whipped cream cheese and marshmallow fluff together, with a splash of vanilla or almond extract. No measuring, just taste as I go. It is light and foolproof.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        I appreciate the tip, but I live in Greece and I'm not sure I can find marshmallow fluff...but I will try that next time I'm in the States!

      2. I recently made a large layer wedding cake (gluten free), froze the layers separately as the wedding took place when we were out of the country, frosted with different buttercreams, stuck them back in the freezer before they had time to start thawing, made lots of extra buttercream to fill in cracks, etc. Buttercream freezes very well.

        I've also made 7 minute frosting often (including the one you mention) - it is delicious and delicious. An excellent option in my opinion.

        2 Replies
        1. re: chefathome

          Thanks! Does the 7 minute frosting hold up well for layer cakes? Is it OK to sit out of the fridge for an hour or so?

          1. re: eviemichael

            It worked for mine but I would not advise making it much in advance as it can slip and slide. You may do this already but I like to place a skewer (cut to measure, of course) in the centre to sort of hold the cakes together better.

        2. This is the perfect frosting. Everyone who has ever tried it has raved about it.
          Flour Frosting

          1/4 cup flour
          1 cup sugar
          1 cup milk (or coconut milk for coconut cake)
          1 cup butter cut in cubes (My butter was cool and firm, but I could still leave an indent when I pressed my finger into it)
          1 tsp vanilla
          pinch of salt

          1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt together. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally (I had to whisk constantly or else it started to stick and clump at the bottom) until the mixture has thickened into a paste and slightly bubbly at edges (You probably don't want it boiling because we all know how boiled milk tastes..)

          2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly: then beat again until it is the proper consistency.

          3. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined.

          7 Replies
          1. re: roxlet

            That is a good recipe-very old school. My husband's grandmother uses that icing on a strawberry cake which I'm pretty sure is just a Duncan Hines mix. But dang that is a good cake.

            I have been a decorator for over 15 years and believe me I have tried my fair share of recipes. For something lighter I would go with the flour frosting. For something a bit heavier (like for most of my party and wedding cakes) I use a classic butter/confectioner's sugar icing, but I tweak it so it's not obnoxiously sweet.

            For something that's both light and incredibly rich, give Italian meringue buttercream a try. It's super easy to make. Look up Warren Brown's Italian meringue buttercream recipe on YouTube. I do exactly what he does, but I add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar to the meringue, and another 1/4 cup to the syrup in the pot.

            Make sure you use unsalted butter and be generous with the vanilla or whatever you use to flavor the buttercream.

            1. re: roxlet

              How have I never heard of this? I just googled it and it gets a lot of raves. Thanks roxlet.

              1. re: roxlet

                Roxlet sorry, a few questions: in your recipe, will this frosting make enough for a tall layer cake?

                Also, will it definitely hold up well on the sides of the layer cake, outside the fridge for a few hours?

                1. re: eviemichael

                  I would say that it will make enough for an average sized layer cake. When I am making a large cake -- say three 9" layers, I double the recipe. You could probably do 11/2 recipes because I always have some left when I'm done. It is really quite delicious, and it is the only frosting that my husband will eat. He hates the heavy, overly buttery taste of buttercream, and although this has a significant amount of butter in it, it is somehow much lighter and more airy.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Thanks a lot! I think this is the one I'm going with. I am making 2 of three 9" layer cakes.
                    If I double the recipe, would that include filling the layers? Or just covering the outside of both cakes?

                    1. re: eviemichael

                      A double recipe would cover filling the layers quite generously. As I mentioned, doubling it makes quite a lot. It's a great frosting, and if you're like me, it will become your default cake frosting!

                      1. re: roxlet

                        I so appreciate your (and everyone else's) help! :) I will report back and let you know how it all went.

                        The chocolate cake layers came out great, and are in the freezer. Phew!

              2. Sorry guys, one more question: Does it matter if I can't find the paddle attachment to my mixer? Can I just use the regular kind on my hand mixer for the icing?
                (For the flour frosting given to me by roxlet)

                2 Replies
                1. re: eviemichael

                  I have made a cooked-flour frosting (pioneer woman's) successfully using a hand mixer.

                2. Well, the cake was a huge success! Thanks to everyone, especially Roxlet!
                  The chocolate cake was moist and the flour frosting was very easy and it spread well. I also used it to fill the layers.
                  There were 40 guests at the birthday party and they all went NUTS over the cake.

                  I still want to try different frosting recipes to keep comparing, but I was so grateful to have it go so smoothly since I had to prepare everything pretty last minute.

                  For two triple layer cakes, I tripled Roxlet's recipe and it was the perfect amount.

                  Horray!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: eviemichael

                    I'm so glad that it went so well! It's a pretty foolproof recipe, and the best that I've found. Congratulations on your success.