Boiled Frosting

Boiled Frosting
Shana Novak/Photodisc/Getty Images
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Icing for 2 cakes (16 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
76 Calories
0g Fat
19g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Icing for 2 cakes (16 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 76
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 2mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although grabbing a tub of frosting from the baking aisle is quick and easy, making your own cake icing lets you control the ingredients and ensures that your frosting is fresh. Boiled frosting is a fluffy white cake frosting that is made by gradually pouring a hot sugar syrup over stiffly beaten egg whites. The eggs are beaten constantly until the mixture is smooth and satiny, similar to the way an Italian meringue is made. 

This boiled frosting recipe makes enough icing to cover the tops and sides of two 9-inch layer cakes. The frosting is best when it is used freshly after it is made, but it can be refrigerated for a day if you need to store your cake.


  • 2 egg whites (stiffly beaten)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan.

  2. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, stirring it only until the sugar is completely dissolved. Boil it rapidly, without stirring it, until it reaches the soft ball stage, meaning a small amount of the syrup forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water, or spins a long thread when dropped from tip of a spoon (You can also use a cooking thermometer; it should read about 240 F.)

  3. Slowly pour the syrup mixture (in a fine stream) over the egg whites while beating them constantly.

  4. Add the vanilla.

  5. Continue beating the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the frosting is cool and is the right consistency to spread easily. If the frosting becomes too stiff for the beater, use a wooden spoon to mix.

Storage Tips

After spreading the boiled frosting on the cake or cupcakes, you can store them at room temperature. In general, refrigeration will keep the frosting fluffy and soft longer. If you cover the cake, do it with a domed cake server that does not touch the frosting. 

If you are storing the frosting, be sure to cover it tightly before it goes into the refrigerator. Do not freeze the boiled frosting.

What Exactly Is the Soft Ball Stage?

When making candy, there are seven stages in which the boiling sugar-water mixture go through; the soft ball stage is the second stage. As the water temperature increases, the sugar becomes more concentrated, going from a thread-like form to a hard solid that will break (called hard crack stage). Using a candy thermometer is your best bet when making candy or recipes such as boiled icing, but if you don't have one you can do the cold water method, which calls for dropping a spoonful of the syrup into cold water to check how it reacts.