Fluffy White Frosting (Boiled Frosting)

Fluffy boiled frosting on angel food cake

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
169 Calories
0g Fat
42g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 169
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 42mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 42g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 38mg 1%
*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.)

This fluffy boiled frosting—sometimes called white mountain frosting for its mountainous white peaks—is a lighter, less rich frosting than the typical butter and confectioner's sugar icing. The flavor and texture is similar to marshmallow fluff.

To make boiled frosting, a hot sugar syrup is gradually beaten into egg whites. You want the syrup to reach soft ball stage, and it's easiest to reach the optimal temperature with a candy thermometer. Keep a close eye on it once the mixture begins to boil and add it slowly into the beating egg whites. This cooks them just enough without scrambling them, creating a glossy, pillowy frosting with no added fat.

We've always loved this frosting on an angel food cake. It would be wonderful on just about any cake or cupcakes; think of it as a blank slate and add food coloring or different extracts to give it your own spin. This recipe makes enough to frost an angel food cake, two-layer cake, 9x13 cake, or about 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tartar.  Stir to blend.

  3. Place the saucepan over medium heat, cover the pan, and bring the sugar mixture to a full rolling boil.

  4. Remove the lid and continue boiling the syrup (without stirring) to 242 F on a candy thermometer, or until the syrup spins a thread when a small amount is dropped from a spoon back into the boiling mixture.

  5. Remove the syrup from the heat.

  6. Place the egg whites in a clean, grease-free bowl. Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until the egg whites begin to hold soft peaks.

  7. Continue beating the egg whites on medium speed while gradually adding the hot syrup in a thin, steady stream.

  8. Add the vanilla and continue beating at medium-high speed for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the frosting holds stiff peaks.

  9. Frost the cake immediately; the frosting will thicken more as it cools. 

How to Use

To frost a tube angel food cake, scoop some frosting using an off-set spatula and frost the center hole. Add about half of the frosting to the top and spread evenly, letting it slightly overlap the top edge. Use the remaining frosting to coat all sides, smoothing the top edge.

Tips

  • You'll need an electric mixer to make this frosting. A stand mixer with the whisk attachment is best, but a hand mixer will work—just be prepared to stand and mix for around 10 minutes.
  • This frosting has a sticky texture, making it easy to embellish. Top the frosted cake with coconut, chopped nuts, or crushed peppermint candies as soon as you finish frosting the cake. Regular sprinkles are great, and so are small fruits such as berries, or even candied citrus peel.

Recipe Variations

  • Fluffy Orange or Lemon Frosting: Omit the vanilla and substitute 2 to 3 teaspoons of finely grated orange or lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon of orange or lemon extract.
  • Fluffy Peppermint Frosting: Omit the vanilla and add 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Fold 1/4 cup of crushed peppermint candies into the frosting or sprinkle the candies over the frosted cake.
  • Brown Sugar Boiled Frosting: Substitute packed light brown sugar for the granulated sugar and decrease the vanilla to 1 teaspoon.

How to Store

This frosting is best used immediately and served within the first few hours of frosting. It will keep for a day or two in an airtight container in the fridge, but the texture degrades quickly.

Why Is Angel Food Cake Baked in a Tube Pan?

Tube pans have an inner, hollow tube that helps tall cakes like angel food cakes cook through completely without drying out. They also have more surface for the airy cake to grip onto, allowing it to rise better.