Seven-Minute Frosting

Author Notes: This fluffy, sugary frosting capped off every birthday cake I had growing up. My mother still frosts most of her layer cakes with it: With just egg whites and sugar, it's far less decadent and heavy than a buttercream but has an ethereal quality that makes it much more worthy of a celebration cake in my opinion!Posie (Harwood) Brien

Makes: enough for an 8-inch three-layer cake


  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
In This Recipe


  1. Combine all the ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Beat with an electric mixer set at low speed for 30 seconds, then set the pan over rapidly boiling water.
  2. Using a handheld mixer, beat the frosting for exactly 7 minutes.
  3. Remove the frosting from the heat, and beat for 1 minute more. If the frosting is too liquid-y and doesn't hold a soft-to-stiff peak, let it cool at room temperature for 10 minutes (or in the fridge for a few minutes), and then beat it on high speed for a few minutes until the texture is thick enough.

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