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What would a birthday be without a cake?  Cakes can be made low fat or fat free (for instance, angel food cake), or at the very least with canola or other healthier oil.  But the frosting is frequently a heavy, artery-clogging butter-based paste.  Here's a better choice.  It's an old Betty Crocker recipe; light, fluffy, delicious, moistens the cake, and is fat free!  See some ideas for decorating and flavoring variations at the bottom of the page.

White Mountain Icing

1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup white corn syrup
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 cup egg white (Note #1)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Note #2)

Beat egg whites until stiff.

Mix sugar, syrup and water together in a saucepan.  Boil over medium high heat until syrup spins a 6" to 8" thread when you dip a spoon into it.   Do not leave unattended; it will burn easily. 

With beater running, pour syrup into the eggs in a very thin stream.  Don't rush; beat it steadily to stiff, glossy peaks.   Add vanilla extract or other flavorings or colors.

Frost cakes, cupcakes, use as filling for "jelly" rolls, or use in place of meringue.

Note #1:   Don't allow any egg yolk to get into the whites.  Use a clean glass or steel bowl, not plastic under any circumstances, and be sure the beaters are clean.  Anything greasy will keep the egg whites from beating up stiffly.

Note # 2:  Variations: 

  • For cherry frosting, add a little maraschino cherry juice or red food coloring plus either 1 teaspoon cherry flavor or almond extract.  Decorate with halved Bing cherries or maraschino cherries.  
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon orange extract.  Tint light orange, and decorate with drained Mandarin orange slices and a little orange zest.
  • For Easter, cut a sheet cake into a rabbit shape; frost with white icing flavored with an added 1/2 teaspoon of coconut flavor and fuzz with shredded coconut for fur.   
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon pecan flavor or black walnut flavor; decorate with finely chopped nuts.
  • Add 1 teaspoon peach flavor and decorate with well-drained peach slices.
  • Leave a tablespoon of syrup in the pan and continue to cook until golden.  Add to hot icing, beating constantly, for a caramel flavor.  Sprinkle with a little toasted coconut flakes.
  • Tint pale pink and decorate with real roses and leaves.
  • Add 1 teaspoon mint flavor and tint light green.  Decorate with shaved bittersweet chocolate.
  • Add 1 teaspoon lemon extract, tint light yellow and dust with a little fine lemon zest.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 3/4 teaspoon chocolate flavor.  After icing the cake, make a few swirls with chocolate syrup and dust with shaved bittersweet chocolate, chocolate sprinkles, or stud with chocolate bits.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and decorate with a red-hot cinnamon candies.
  • Tint yellow, flavor with 1/2 teaspoon pineapple extract and decorate with candy corn for Halloween.
  • Tint pale lavender and decorate with colored sprinkles.  Add a ring of animal crackers for a circus cake.
  • Add 1 tsp. rum flavor and top cake generously with chopped pecans and a light sprinkling of sieved brown sugar.

The Sneaky Kitchen
Web Site by Bess W. Metcalf   Copyrightę April 1999 - 201

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