Meringue is great atop cakes as well as the more traditional lemon meringue pie.
A friend from Cuba told me that as a kid all his birthday cakes were iced with meringue, and friends from Mexico have said the same. I make Italian meringue for this. And for extra deliciousness, sometimes I caramelize the meringue peaks a bit with a torch or run the cake VERY briefly under a broiler. Meringue icing is particularly good on Devil’s Food Cake. —Gail Monaghan
enough frosting to fill and ice 1 10-inch layer cake
Place cream of tartar, salt and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Beat —starting on low and slowly raising the speed-- until soft peaks form.
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring mixture frequently, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 238°.
Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, while beating at high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract if using.