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adapted from The Cake Bible

This is my favorite frosting for cakes. I like to flavor mine with espresso powder dissolved in a tiny bit of water. It's delicious on a chocolate cake!

It takes practice to make this, but don't give up


  • 2 c unsalted butter, softened but cool (65F)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2+1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 oz fruit syrup (strawberry, raspberry, mango) or 2 tsp. flavoring (vanilla extract, almond extract)


  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy and put to a cool place. Have ready a heatproof glass measure near the range.
  • In a small nonstick saucepan, heat 3/4 c sugar and 1/4 c water, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Stop stirring and reduce the heat to low.
  • In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy.
  • Add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised.
  • Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 c sugar until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.
  • Increase the heat and boil the syrup until a thermometer registers 248 to 250F.
  • Immediately transfer the syrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking.
  • Beat the syrup into the whites in a steady stream.
  • At the end, use a scraper to remove the syrup clinging to the glass measure.
  • Lower speed to medium and continue beating until the mixture is cool. (This took me several minutes.)
  • Beat in the butter at medium speed 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • If at any time, the mixture looks slightly curdled, increase the speed slightly and beat until smooth before continuing to add more butter.
  • Lower the speed slightly and drizzle fruit syrup or flavorings.
  • Store in airtight bowl.
  • Rebeat from time to time to restore texture.
  • This buttercream will keep for 2 days at room temperature, 10 days refrigerated and 8 months frozen.
  • Allow to come to room temperature before rebeating or it will break down irretrievably

Categories: Dessert  Frosting 
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