Snowy white, light and fluffy. This frosting tastes like marshmallow cream and melts in your mouth with every bite.
Seven-Minute Frosting (also known as divinity frosting or boiled icing) is an old American recipe, dating back to at least the 1900s. It results in signature glossy, fluffy swirls. The “seven-minute” in the name refers to the time needed to beat the frosting, although it may take slightly longer. Like many older recipes, there are many versions of this frosting - with variation in the ingredients, cooking times and temperatures - as baking used to be more about intuition than method.
This frosting is made of simple ingredients and is quick to make, but preparation and attention to detail are key. When making this recipe, keep the factors detailed below in mind to ensure success. The ingredients are cooked over a water bath and then whipped into a glossy meringue. The corn syrup reduces the chance of a grainy frosting, and the cream of tartar helps stabilize the egg whites. The addition of water and the lack of butter distinguishes this frosting from a Swiss meringue buttercream. Without any butter, Seven-Minute Frosting is fat-free.
Preparation time 10 minutes Cook time 7 minutes Makes enough frosting for a 23cm/9in two-layer cake
60 grams (about 2) egg whites, at room temperature
300 grams (1½ cup) sugar
75 milliliters (5 tablespoons) cold water
14 grams (2 teaspoons) light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Measure the ingredients.
Mix the first six ingredients together in a large, stainless-steel bowl and then beat with a handheld electric mixer, for about 30 seconds.
Set the bowl in a wide, deep pan filled with gently simmering water or a bain maire. The water level should be as high as the depth of the mixture in the bowl to ensure that the sugar dissolves.
Beat the whites first on low speed, increasing to high speed. Continue beating at high speed for about 7 minutes, or until the mixture is stiff, glossy and registers 72C/161F on a digital thermometer. The bowl must remain in the pan and you must beat the mixture continuously. Ask someone to help you keep an eye on thermometer and to hold it place while continuing to beat.
Once the mixture reached the desired temperature, remove the bowl from the pan, add the vanilla, and beat for another 2 minutes on high speed to cool.
Immediately after making your frosting decorate your cake or cupcakes as it will set quickly. Soon after decorating, serve as the frosting will deflate and dry out/harden in some areas over time.
Factors to keep in mind
Seven-Minute Frosting requires precision to make so keep these common pitfalls in mind when making this recipe:
The beaters/bowl must be completely clean or the result will not be a glossy, fluffy frosting.
The sugar dissolves with the beating and heat. If there are undissolved sugar crystals in the mixture or on the sides of the bowl, the frosting will be gritty and crystallize. Make sure that the mixture is well blended in step 2 and that there are no sugar crystals on the side of the bowl. Ensure that the water level is as high as the depth of the mixture in the bowl in step 3 to ensure that the sugar dissolves.
Timing and temperature matter. Extended cooking times will affect the frosting, as the warmth will reduce the moisture via evaporation, resulting in a dry, gritty consistency and a reduced amount of frosting. Too little cooking time or not the right temperature also can affect the frosting, with the end result being too runny or grainy. Make sure to stick your thermometer deep into the center of the egg white mixture when registering the temperature.
Humidity and rain matter. Moisture in the air will keep the frosting from becoming fluffy. A cool, dry day is best.