Fluffy white icing: a 7-minute solution in less than 5 minutes

How long since you’ve baked cupcakes? THAT long, eh? Isn’t it time to get back into the cupcake habit?

If you’ve ever had kids in the house, you’ve no doubt made cupcakes. Before school systems reacted to allergy issues by becoming super-strict about food brought in from outside, cupcakes were a must-have for class parties. Birthdays, Halloween, whatever the festive occasion, a couple of dozen decorated cupcakes were sure to appear.

And when you were really lucky, the Room Mother (yes, that’s what the mom officially in charge of classroom celebrations was called) would make cupcakes mounded with marshmallow-y 7-minute icing.

To this day, nothing approaches the throwback bliss of 7-minute icing. Soft, gooey (and almost utterly tasteless, beyond its huge hit of sugar), it’s the perfect kids’ icing.

What’s more, it’s yin to chocolate’s yang, the literal “icing on the cake” for fudge cupcakes. A veritable frosting nonpareil. Sometimes with nonpareils, because there’s nothing that calls for a scattering of colorful decorations like a mounded swirl of stark-white 7-minute icing.

Maybe it’s been years since you’ve made cupcakes. And even longer since you topped them with 7-minute icing. Well, times have changed, at least in the icing department. It’s no longer necessary to labor over a simmering double boiler with an electric beater for 7 minutes. Now, you simply have to boil sugar and water, and beat the syrup into a bowl of egg whites; the whole thing whips up in a couple of minutes, max.

So, next time you need dessert for a crowd, bake up a batch of fudge cupcakes. And instead of the usual chocolate ganache or vanilla buttercream, top ‘em with this tasty salute to the past: 7-minute icing—without the wait.


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Let’s start with this incredibly easy fudge cake recipe. No creaming. Just combine the dry ingredients…

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…like this.

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Add whole eggs, yolks, vegetable oil, and vanilla. (Eagle-eyed readers may notice I’m using the metal beater here rather than silicone. I’d neglected to take a photo of this step when originally making the cupcake batter, so made it again and randomly chose the metal beater.)

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The batter will be fairly thick, and look a bit grainy.

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Add water with the mixer going. Take it slow; you want to minimize the splashing here.

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And here’s your thin cake batter.

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Why bother to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once the batter seems smooth? Because this is what you’ll dredge up: a pasty flour/liquid sludge, which needs to be re-deposited into the bowl and mixed into the batter.

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It’s easiest to fill your cupcake cups if you transfer the batter to something with a spout. Like my favorite 8-cup measure.

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Put colorful cupcake papers into two 12-cup muffin or cupcake pans. This recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes. If you have two muffin pans you can bake the whole lot at once. Otherwise, simply set the cake batter aside as you bake the first dozen, then re-line with papers and bake the second dozen.

To preserve the most vibrant colors in the cupcake papers, I like to line the outer colored papers with plain white papers. But this is admittedly a fussy step; skip it if you like.

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Spray cups with EverBake or your favorite non-stick vegetable oil spray. Again, you don’t need to do this if you don’t want to; I just like to make every effort to preserve the structural integrity of my cakes!

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Pour batter into the prepared cups.

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Use a scant 1/4 cup batter in each muffin cup, which should fill it about 3/4 full.

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Here are the first dozen, ready to go into the oven.

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The cupcakes will dome nicely…

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…then settle back a bit as they cool. Bake the second dozen cupcakes, if you didn’t bake them all at once.

While cupcakes cool, make the icing.

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Although this tastes just like a classic 7-minute icing, it’s a lot simpler to make. Icing made using this method is often known as Italian meringue. We’ll start with sugar, water, salt, and cream of tartar in a saucepan.

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Bring to a boil; boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. the boil, undisturbed, for 2 minutes, or until the syrup registers 240°F on a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer.

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While the water/sugar mixture is coming to a boil, place the egg whites (the ones you saved from the eggs used in the cake) into a mixing bowl.

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Whisk till they’re white and foamy, but not stiff.

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This is about right.

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With the mixer on high speed, pour the boiling sugar syrup into the bowl in a thin stream. Be careful; don’t do this with kids or dogs underfoot. The icing will gradually thicken, and increase in volume.

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Look how thick and voluptuous it is! Stir in the vanilla extract.

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Spread the icing atop the cupcakes.

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Immediately add decorations, if you’re so inclined; they’ll stick better while the icing is still warm.

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Go wild!

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Next, color some of the icing, if you like.

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It’s handy and easy to use a tablespoon cookie scoop to dollop the icing atop the cupcakes.

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Plop…

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Done. No sticky fingers.

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Use a spreader or spatula to smooth it out.

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Lift the spreader gently, to leave a peak.

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Like this. Deluxe, huh?

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How about these for a baby shower, sports fans?

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No doubt about it, cupcakes are cute. But if you’re more into birthday cake…

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…go for it, using this same recipe.

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Line your 8” x 2”-deep pan with parchment. Make sure your pans are a full 2” deep; any less, the cake will overflow as it bakes. If you don’t have a pair of 8” x 2” pans, use two 9” round pans. Or a 9” x 13” sheet cake pan.

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To make two layers of the exact same size, weigh the batter

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Then pour half into each pan.

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Like this. A scale certainly makes it easier, and it’s a lot more accurate than simply eyeballing the batter.

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Put the cake pans on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment. If there’s any overflow, it’ll be contained on the parchment. Certainly easier than cleaning the bottom of your oven. Plus, setting the pans on another pan makes them easier to handle; no danger of sticking your oven-mitted thumb into the batter.

Bake the cakes for about 35 minutes, till they test done.

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Once the cakes are baked, let them cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Run a table knife or spreader around the edge, to loosen the sides.

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Turn out onto a rack, and peel off the parchment. It’s wonderful to be assured that the cake won’t stick to the bottom of the pan, isn’t it?

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I decided to cut the two layers in half around the circumference, to make four layers. Then I placed one layer on a serving plate, tore strips of parchment, and set them under the edge of the cake, to protect the plate as I applied frosting.

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So, frost, frost, frost…

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Do the “peak” trick again, to decorate the top and sides.

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Grab the parchment and slide it out…

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…revealing a perfectly clean serving plate.

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Oh, yes… The Web team gave this cake an enthusiastic thumbs-up!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Favorite Fudge Birthday Cupcakes with 7-Minute Icing.

Note: The USFDA advises against consumption of raw eggs in any form. If you’re worried about possible egg contamination and health issues, please be sure to use pasteurized egg whites in the frosting for these cupcakes or cake.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Three Little Birds Bakery, Lebanon, NH: Chocolate Cupcakes with Confectioners’ Sugar Icing, package of 4 cupcakes, 43¢/ounce

Bake at home: Favorite Fudge Birthday Cupcakes with 7-Minute Icing, 11¢/ounce.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Erin in PA

    I love making 7 minute frosting for birthday cupcakes and cakes – I love how white it is and its ability to hold sprinkles is wonderful! I made polka dot cupcakes for Easter with those large circle sprinkles. I will definitely have to try this method – who wants to stand over boiling water in the summer?!?

    Reply
  2. PJM

    Last year for her birthday, my daughter wanted raspberry fluff icing, and it had to be pink. Couldn’t find a recipe, so I made 7-minute icing and ground up freeze-dried raspberries (with seeds sifted out) to stir in at the end. The raspberries actually gave the icing both color and flavor. But all that whisking in the double boiler was painful. I will definitely try it this way this year, because it looks much easier on the forearms!

    Reply
  3. AmyAnne

    Wow. Your photos are inspiring.

    I’ve been delving into the world of frosting. It is nice to get a little lesson. Do you have any suggestion for frosting resources for history, explanation of texture and use? I’m just fascinated by this sugary delight.

    Hi, AmyAnne – Check out foodtimeline.org, for all kinds of fascinating food history… PJH

    Reply
  4. Mike T.

    Mmmm… We have a long standing favorite in our family, we call it the Heavenly Hash cake (in honor of the now defunct Mavrokos Heavenly Hash candy). Similar to Rocky Road, but with marshmallow fluff instead of mini-marshmallows. We make a devils food cake, cover with chocolate icing, top with the marshmallow fluff (Fluffy White icing, not Kraft Fluff), drizzle with melted semi-sweet chocolate and chopped pecans… Mmmmm…. :-)

    The problem is that sometimes I can’t find Fluffy White in the store. Now I can make it myself!!!! Thanks PJ!

    Oooooh, yum! Thanks, Mike- PJH

    Reply
  5. Cyndi

    This frosting looks amaziing. Does this frosting need to be refrigerated or would it be possible to just keep at room temperature in a container? Also, I would love to know if this frosting could this successfully be used as a filling for whoopie pies? Would it stay intact or get really soft (ie., if it does require chilling, how long can it sit out at room temp) If anyone could advise on this, it would be great. Thanks :)

    It’s stable at room temperature, but I wouldn’t keep it on your counter very long – it’ll harden up eventually. Not sure how long it can sit out before it hardens – my cakes and cupcakes have never sat around that long before disappearing! It would do fine as a filling for whoopie pies, I’d imagine – PJH

    Reply
  6. Beth

    Question for PJM re the freeze-dried raspberries – sounds interesting, but I think my brain is freeze-dried. What is that exactly?? I guess you could use some of those flavoring oils too, and I’ve heard of people adding marmalade or preserves into their frosting, but I agree with others: that lovely white frosting especially on a dark chocolate cake or cupcakes is a thing of beauty.
    I have found freeze dried raspberries at my local grocery store. They are dried using a freezing process so all the moisture is removed. They are usually in the fresh produce department. Joan@baker’shotline

    Reply
  7. Sue

    I know it isn’t very ‘adult’ of me, but I like seven minute frosting! My grandma made it and it brings back nice memories. I think she used a boxed concoction for hers, but I’m not sure of that. It always got a little crispy on the outside, which I also liked, but after seeing your comment to Cyndi it makes me think that maybe she made it ahead of time and it dried out a little? I’ve never been able to replicate her frosting, but I’ve made darned good 7 minute frosting. I’ll be sure to try this Italian Meringue version.

    A question about scales. Do you prefer the Salter scale over the Escali?

    Hi Sue – My mom’s 7-minute icing always got crispy around the edges, too, as the days wore on. It would have a soft inside to it, but crisp, shattery-type crust. Not sure how or why that happens… And yes, I like the Salter -I have two on my work station (a luxury!), and use them constantly. The reason I don’t like the Escali is it weighs in .1, .2, .3 increments, instead of 1/8, 1/4, 3/8. I find most recipes are written in fractions, not decimals, and I don’t like doing the quick math conversion from fractions to decimals in my head if I use the Escali. Hope this helps – PJH

    Reply
  8. Tanja

    I’ve never used frosting on cupcakes before. Isn’t it annoying? When you bite into it and your upper lip must get covered in goo.

    Yes, that’s true, Tanja. Then you have the pleasure of licking it off… PJH

    Reply
  9. LicksBowls

    PJ,

    Chocolate frosting recipe are a dime-a-dozen, so thanks for a simple vanilla/white frosting recipe!

    Question on your raspberry frosting: did you add the raspberries as a final step, or in the water/sugar boiling step?

    Cheers,

    kevin

    Hi Kevin – It wasn’t raspberry frosting – just pink food color. Sorry! If I were going to do raspberry, I think I’d add raspberry syrup at the same time as the boiling sugar syrup. PJH

    Reply
  10. Elyse

    Mmm, this Italian meringue frosting looks amazing! I have nothing baking in my oven right now, but I’m still contemplating heading into the kitchen to make it. Looks so darn good! DELISH.

    Reply
  11. MaryAnn

    In the instructions above, you state that you use egg whites leftover from making the cake batter for the frosting. However, the recipe that the blog links to (“Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake”) doesn’t mention separating eggs. Can you please clarify? I’d love to make this cake for a dinner party this evening!

    Hi MaryAnn – Turn to the cupcake recipe, and here’s what you’ll see in the list of ingredients, under “Cake:”

    Batter for Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake*
    Want to use your ingredients more efficiently? Reduce the vegetable oil from 3/4 cup to 2/3 cup; and add 2 egg yolks to the batter along with the 4 whole eggs, reserving the 2 whites for the frosting.

    So follow the fudge cake recipe, adding 2 egg yolks to the batter and reducing the oil, as indicated above. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  12. flourchild

    Hi PJ! This looks gorgeous but I don’t think I could give up my buttercream! At the farmers market, we are not allowed to use meringues…health dept. rules. Ah, I remember PTA bake sales! No one got sick and no one was nervous about eating just about anything. What happened? Recently, they told me buttercream might not be ok to sell, that it depends on my recipe and the pH content. I can, for a “nominal fee,” send my recipe to the health department and they will test it to see if it complies! I was bottling my homemade vanilla extract and can’t do that either, it seems. I argued ‘but alcohol will kill any bacteria’ and ‘what’s the difference since I use my own extract in my cakes and sell those?’ It is almost not worth doing anymore. ah, the good ole days!

    Want to comment on 2 things and ask a question. First, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new colorful cupcake papers! I ordered 2 sets and they are beautiful. But what I like best is that they are so strong and the papers don’t fold in on you while you are adding the batter! Now… if you put a white cupcake paper inside to preserve the brightness of the color, does it not slip out of the outside paper? I tried one recipe my first year of FM and it called for spraying the inside of the paper with oil before adding the batter. I watched people pick up their cupcakes and the papers were all sliding off right in front of me! I like your idea if the papers stay on…and they must…you wouldn’t do it if you had bad results.

    One more thing: the lemon and orange oils. I bow to the genius of KAF! Last year I can’t tell you how many bags of lemons I purchased at Costco. They were so expensive last summer, some of them were rotten when I got to the bottom of the bag, and it took me hours to zest and juice all of them for my fresh lemon cakes. Today is the first time I’m trying out substituting orange oil for zest in my date & nut spice loaves. I’m sure hoping they turn out well. If so, you have just saved me tons of time and money! Since the lemon cake has 3 layers with lemon… the cake, the syrup, and the glaze… I think I’ll just put fresh lemon in the glaze only (where it shows and is obvious) and use the oil for the cake and the syrup. Hopefully, no one will ever know!

    Hi – Hope your lemon cake comes out scrumptious. It’s true, the cupcake papers sometimes separate; I mostly use the double paper method with colored papers for display purposes, like for a birthday party, buffet, etc. With kids, I don’t usually bother – the colors are still pretty, and with anything other than dark chocolate cake, they shine through just fine. PJH

    Reply
  13. Cindy Young

    Hi PJ!
    These are so pretty and I can’t wait to make them. I really appreciate the step by step photos. I always print them and my kids and employees can thumb through my binders and know they are on track with anything they make. They would be a great addition to future KA cookbooks. Thanks for making baking so much fun.

    And thank you, Cindy, for joining in the fun — and for sharing. Bake2Share… PJH

    Reply
  14. Marie

    Does the hot sugar syrup take care of “cooking” the egg whites?

    Yes, Marie, that’s the theory, anyway. I’d still make sure my eggs were in good condition and from a reliable source, just in case. PJH

    Reply
  15. RFS

    These instructions are so detailed and precise, I’m guessing they were written by a Virgo.

    Sorry – Cancer… PJH

    Reply
  16. Charlene S.

    This is the frosting of my childhood: my mom (from Italy!) made this frosting for every occasion possible with chocolate cake of course. My biggest thrill was when I was old enough to handle the “hot stuff” and pour it in. I LOVED how it fluffed up and how you could make a million little spikes and most of all, how it tasted. Thanks for bringing back great memories. (And, yes, I make this with my children too!)

    Reply
  17. Rhoda

    hubby and I are both sick – today is my Birthday – we didn’t even have anything good for dinner AND now I am craving these cupcakes and cake — you are just evil you know that don’t you ;)

    I guess as soon as I am feeling better I will be looking to see what I need to make these .. darn!

    Reply
  18. flourchild

    Thanks for the advice, PJ. I’d figure you for a Cancer, for sure! They are homebodies and the domestic arts are perfect for them! ;) I’ll let you know how the lemon cakes turn out with the lemon oil. I tried the date & nut spice cake with the orange oil and they were perfect! Thanks, PJ!

    So far, so good with the citrus oils, eh? Have to admit I love my home, but “domestic arts” are something else again – my husband does ALL the housecleaning, happily… PJH

    Reply
  19. Tammy

    My grandmother made angel food cake for my birthday each year and frosted it with 7 minute frosting from her “All about home baking” book that she got in home ec in about 1933, from General Foods. I have her copy, and also my own. She said that the slightly dried frosting reminded her of divinity candy that her mother used to make.

    Reply
  20. Bettina

    Hmmm, would this work with peppermint oil added? Fudge cupcakes with mint frosting….. Heaven!

    Absolutely! Go for it, Bettina – PJH

    Reply
  21. Mares

    The cupcakes and icing look great! But I need to ask if there is a recipe for a good tasting frosting made with strawberries? My daughter wants a white or yellow cake, with real strawberry frosting, not just pink colored or with artificial flavoring. She had a cake w/frosting like that several years ago, and loved it. I’ve been googling for the past few days to find a recipe for such a frosting, but can’t be sure any of the ones I’ve seen are any good. I trust the recipes here, and was hoping the bakers might have a recipe to share?

    I’ll ask around the kitchen, Mares – but I’d think you could make this icing, and stir seedless strawberry jam into it? PJH

    Susan Reid, my fellow blogger, offers this advice: “You might be able to hydrate some strawberry jello and beat it into whipped cream, like you’re making a stabilized whipped cream.” And our test kitchen director, Sue Gray, says this: “I have added small amounts of fruit puree to buttercream, but don’t have a “formal” recipe written.”

    Reply
  22. Sue E. Conrad

    Hi, PJ!

    Well, we’re in CT and will be heading for VT on Monday!!! Left FL on Tuesday. Oldest grandchild will be graduating from high school on June 13th!

    Now for the 7-minute icing……..just LOVE it!!! SO-O-O much better (in my opinion) than buttercream which is way too sweet and dense. Whipped cream icing is another favorite because of its fluffy texture and less-sweet taste. This recipe is a definite keeper.

    And here’s a vacation story – we stopped at a welcome center in Virginia where I picked up a pamphlet containing award-winning poundcake recipes, one of which called for either lime oil or lime juice. A comment was made regarding the unavailability of lime oil in grocery stores, and I mentioned to my husband, “If only I could have told them about King Arthur Baker’s Store”!!! I try never to miss an opportunity to sing the praises of KAF, but it was just not to be this time…..boo-hoo!!

    Looking forward to our annual pilgrimage to KAF on June 23rd…and if the weather cooperates, we’ll purchase lunch at the Baker’s Store and sit outside. Again, thanks for the frosting recipe.

    Sue, I’ll order up the Perfect Summer Day for June 23. Stop by the warehouse (1.3 miles down the road from the store) – that’s where we are, in the test kitchen. We’ll give you the 10¢ tour. Till then – safe travels! PJH

    Reply
  23. Carolyn Martin

    I have made “boiled icing” which involved pouring the sugar syrup over the egg whites. My memory is that this icing stayed moist for quite a while. Conversely, “7 minute icing” was made by beating egg whites, water and sugar in the top of a double boiler for “seven minutes” (usually quite a bit less if using an electric mixer).

    The latter was less tricky and did not depend on having brought the sugar syrup to exactly the right temperature, but it did form a crackly shell quite quickly, and the interior of the frosting also soon became dry and sponge-like in appearance.

    The epitome of my cake-baking career was a birthday cake for my mother-in-law. Her favorite was a moist, yellow cake in three layers, filled with lemon custard and frosted with real boiled icing and lots of fluffy coconut. I put the cake on a wide glass platter and surrounded it with perfect blossoms cut from my Mrs. Sam McGonigle (peachy-gold in color) climber rose. Stunning!

    Carolyn, that cake sounds perfectly wonderful; what a lovely daughter-in-law you are! And I think you’re right about the icing – you nailed it, they’re somewhat different as they “age.” Although, I recently made a classic 7-minute icing, and 10 days later it was STILL soft and creamy, not crusty at all… go figure. PJH

    Reply
  24. Barbara Monnig

    Your recipe for 7 minute frosting brought back so many memories as my mother used to make it and I often used it for special occasion cakes when my children were small. Mother also made a frosting called sea foam which I loved on chocolate cake. If I recall it was made in a similar fashion to the seven minute but was more of an ecru color. Brown sugar maybe? Sadly the recipe died with her as far as I know. Are any of the bakers familiar with this icing? Thanks.

    Hi Barbara – this Sea Foam Icing recipe sounds like what you remember – let us know if it meets expectations! PJH

    Reply
  25. Kandis

    This is for Mares…My Mom used to make me Angelfood cake with “Strawberry Fluff” mounded on each serving, for my birthday cake every year. I remember she just made a basic meringue, but added crushed strawberries with sugar added, close to the end of the whipping time. This recipe, being safer than one with raw egg whites, should adapt perfectly, and I’ve been wanting to try making my “Strawberry Fluff” using exactly this method…hopefully it will be as amazing as what I remember from my childhood. I’d say, do a trial run before your daughter’s birthday, just to make sure!

    Plus, you can actually buy Strawberry Fluff – it’s a variation on regular Marshmallow Fluff… PJH

    Reply
  26. Brenda

    Ah, sea foam icing! It went on nice, moist banana cake (made with well-ripened bananas). Good thing it was so delicious, because I got awfully tired of beating it in the double boiler when I was a kid–that and stirring the chocolate pudding FOREVER were probably my two least favorite cooking things, but standing over a hot stove beating/stirring for what felt like all day was still worth it. Never had 7-minute (or sea foam) frosting go hard or crusty on me. ‘Course, in a household with 2-3 adults and 3-4 kids (grandmother and a cousin lived with us summers), how long could it have lasted? Now that Mom’s gone and my daughter’s an 8-hour bus trip away, no longer have to make birthday cakes, so have made exactly two cakes in six years.

    Reply
  27. Al

    Is it unsafe to eat uncooked egg whites?

    Thanks for your concern. Other postings on this blog state that the hot sugar syrup “cooks” the egg whites. PJ also recommends that you use eggs that are in good condition from a reliable source. Irene @ KAF

    And if you’re still worried, please do use pasteurized egg whites. PJH

    Reply
  28. Kristi

    Hi PJ!
    I’m soon to be THAT mom who brings in cupcakes to her kid’s classroom for her birthday noshing. I’m also planning on making either a cake or cupcakes again for her actual party.

    Her party is going to be outside at the end of June. For the past few years my frosting looks great going on but then melts all over the place in about 5 minutes. One of the bakers at KAF suggested to me that in my usual butter cream recipe I add in some vegetable shortening instead of using just butter. I’m going to try that idea but what about this 7/5 minute recipe? When you say it gets “hard” after sitting out for awhile what does that mean exactly….like if I frosted my cupcakes and then brought them out an hour later would they be hard or semi-hard? What about melting? It’s always in the upper 80s/90s on her birthday and this frosting melting thing has been a perennial problem! Help!

    Sorry, Kristi, I haven’t subjected this icing to heat to see what happens. But it stays soft for many days, so no worries about getting hard in an hour. I’d go the shortening/buttercream route, probably. Might be better than an egg-based frosting in heat (as this one is). PJH

    Reply
  29. Margy

    This is an answer for Kristi about her melting buttercream. If you are referring to a confectioner’s suger buttercream, in hot weather I use a ratio of three parts butter to one part shortening in my buttercream to frost and decorate. The shortening has a higher melting point and gives some stability. I usually try to refrigerate any butter-based frosted cake until just before serving, but this combo has worked well for me in the past (just made a cake this past weekend in 80degree weather, and it held up just fine), and still has plenty of buttery flavor. On the egg issue, raw eggs are generally not a problem for healthy adults (as you said, know your source), but can be problematic with the very young, elderly, or immunocompromised (eg, persons on chemotherapy, HIV, chronic steroid therapy, etc). I can get pasteurized eggs at my local market; I use these for any recipes calling for raw eggs (homemade ice cream, for example). I do have a question about the fluffy frosting–is the the same recipe that, with the addition of butter, would be considered an Italian buttercream?

    Hi Margy – Yes, I believe that would indeed be Italian buttercream… And thanks for all the good info. you posted here. PJH

    Reply
  30. Kathy Cline

    Some one asked about making this chocolate cake with melted butter.
    Does that have the same result? I have not tried the cake yet. One more thing, if you did add butter to the 7/5 minute frosting, (Margy’s comment), how much would it need?

    You should be able to make this cake with melted butter – not a problem, and probably tasty. Are you trying to make buttercream frosting? Here’s a recipe – you can proobably figure out how to adjust it to this recipe, if you like, or just make it as is. It’s YUMMY. PJH

    Reply
  31. Martha

    These look so fun. I went to a cooking class with Nick Malgieri this winter we he made a devil’s food cake and icing using this technique from his new book, The Modern Baker. So much easier than classic 7-minute icing.

    Reply
  32. Kimberly D

    I use to work for a “Christmas” store that was opened all year long and we made Christmas cookies and made our own frosting. We would use egg whites by just stirring them into powder sugar with out beating the egg whites and we didn’t add hot sugar syrup either. Just powder sugar, egg whites, white vanilla and a little milk and no customer ever got sick and our county health department knew about it too and never made us stop using that frosting. We even got it from a local resturant with its own bakery that uses it still and so does the place I work for. It don’t get hard or crunchy like the 7 minute frosting, and only time the frosting is refrigerated is when the extra cookies are put in the frig or at night when we close. I use this recipe alot.

    My question is when you cut the cake in half, how do you get it even? When I make Boston Cream cake I can never cut it evenly, I mean its real uneven.

    Hi Kimberly,
    I know what you mean about cutting cakes. Mine used to be like roller coasters, until I took a class here at KAF a few years ago. (Elisabeth, you are a great teacher!). When you are cutting the cake, don’t try to cut straight across all the way through the cake. Instead, cut in about an inch, then rotate the cake around and around, until you have made one complete round. Then cut a little further into the cake, going all the way around again. This way, you have better control and keep the blade more steady. Keep going until you reach the center of the cake, and your layers are divided.
    There are special tools you can buy with handles and wires, but do try this technique. It really does work!~ MaryJane

    Reply
  33. Jackie

    There is a bakery in my town that uses 7-minute frosting on their s’mores cupcakes, and they use a kitchen torch to create a toasted effect on the frosting. It is so delicious.

    Reply
  34. Sandra M. Patterson

    To Tanja: Be a kid and just lick off ALL of the frosting before your eat the cup cake. Or, my favorite method of eating a cup cake is to break off the bottom portion, turn it over, and squash it down onto the frosting. Now you have a large, overly filled chunk of layer cake. Much neater and oh so good.

    Sandy

    Like your style, Sandy… :) PJH

    Reply
  35. Sally

    I just wanted to comment on the post “would be good in the heat” as a child we lived in Singapore as my father was a civil servant and my mother would make the most delicious chocolate cake every year for my and my sisters birthdays covered in this frosting it kept beautifully.My favorite of all the cakes she ever made for us,and now I have to go make some for myself thanks for a great post…

    Reply
  36. Sue Griesser

    Just got a chance to read about the 7-minute icing. I have been making it for many many years. For more than 30 years my daughter has had an angel food cake, sliced and layered with chocolate pudding, and frosted with 7-minute frosting for her birthday. Used to use the boxed frosting if I was in a rush, but made from scratch is best. I discovered your method a couple years ago, but even better is that it is cooked in the microwave and poured over the meringue. I use a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup to cook it; makes it easy to pour over the meringue. Now if you would come up with something that isn’t always chocolate. I get migraines from chocolate and would love to have some alternates to it.

    Reply
  37. Sherry

    I actually made this frosting a few days ago for my (KAF) Vanilla Cake, since I ran out of confectioners sugar for buttercream frosting. The cake was amazing good, the frosting was..not so good. I used your exact recipe – no deviations. It looked beautiful, stiffened up nice, but there was no flavor and way too sweet. The lack of flavor surprised me, I used Vanilla Bean Crush. Sorry, but I won’t be making this again.

    Sorry you didn’t like it, Sherry. I think a meringue frosting is by definition very sweet, which is probably why it does so well with chocolate, where the slight bitterness of the chocolate can be a foil. So, live and learn, eh? 7-minute frosting + vanilla cake = a no-no! :) PJH

    Reply
  38. Sharon

    Aside from Just Whites (the dried egg whites), are there any pasteurized whites that will whip? My few experiences with them have shown that the heating process for pasteurization ruins them for whipping (both the boxed egg whites and those pasteurized in the shell). I’d love to have the option of pasteurized whites that whip when I’m baking for very young children and the elderly.
    Thanks!

    Sharon, your best bet would probably be the dried egg whites, or meringue powder. As you said, pasteurizing the liquid whites disables them, as far as whipping goes. PJH

    Reply
  39. Valrie

    Do you use regular sugar or do you use confectionary sugar? I am curious.

    Just regular granulated sugar, Val – PJH

    Reply
  40. lindsey

    Oh, perfect timing, Stumbleupon! I was baking a birthday cake this evening and am just sick of classic buttercream.

    Reply
  41. Lou

    Your photos are excellent, and the cupcakes look great! Well done.

    Thanks for the compliment, Lou – we aim to please! PJH

    Reply
  42. ROSALIE RUDNICK

    Hi: Who, what where is 3 Little Birds Bakery(???W. Lebanon NH). What do you know about them. Just had their delicious shortcakes with your flour, and baked in 2007!!! Still good, but don’t know where we purchased them. PLEASE/Thanxx

    Sorry, don’t know anything about them. Except I believe they’re a wholesale bakery – no storefront that I’ve ever heard of… no Web site I could find, either. SORRY – PJH

    Reply
  43. Terri

    I’m making this frosting this weekend for my dairy-free six-year old’s birthday party! Thank you!

    How much frosting do you recommend I make for a cake that will be made in a 17 1/2 x 12 x 3 pan?

    A double batch? Or will one batch (for 2 doz) cupcakes be enough?

    Great question. One batch of frosting (a recipe or a frosting mix) will be enough to do a 13 X 9 cake, an 8″ or 9″ layer cake or 24 cupcakes. We hope this helps you make your decision about the amount you need! Irene @ KAF.

    Reply
  44. Kathleen

    Can you cut the frosting recipe in half? i was going to make cupcakes, and freeze half of them for a later date. I want to try this frosting, but i don’t want to waste half of it! 7 minute frosting is a bit trickier than other frostings to halve or double, but it would be worth a try. Mary@ KAF

    Reply
  45. Kathleen

    OK, i am going to give it a whirl with cutting the recipe in 1/2, i’ll keep you posted! Just another quick question. If i frosted the cupcakes at like 9:00 at night, and put them in a plastic cupcake carrier, will they be good for lunch time the next day. I won’t have time to frost them in the morning.
    Ok, so another question. I have meringue powder, and this party is for kids, so how would i substitue the meringue powder for the egg whites?
    thanks!

    Making these up the night before is a great idea. Here is a recipe that is already worked out using meringue powder: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/marshmallow-icing-recipe Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  46. Ciara

    ehm i have a question,
    what are the exact ingredients? im just a tad confused
    like the messurements, etc?
    because im dying to make these and the frosting.
    message me back if you can please.

    Hi Ciara – for future reference, you’ll always find a link to the recipe, with complete measurements, at the end of the blog. Here’s the link: Chocolate Cupcakes with Fluffy White Icing. Enjoy. PJH

    Reply
  47. ardis

    as above

    Click on the link above (or the link at the end of the blog, just before the comments) to see the complete recipe, Ardis. PJH

    Reply
  48. MB

    This recipe looks yummy but I have a question. My daughter is having a bake sale for her soccer team. Would these cupcakes be good? And how about the icing?I would also like

    to know if you could tell me a good vanilla cupcake recipe as well. I want to offer both vanilla and chocolate.

    My son is having his 8th birthday party this weekend, July 17th. I would like to try both for his party before I try to sell.
    Thanks The 7 minute icing should hold up. it get’s a crust on it, then is pretty stable. I like the golden vanilla cake here. Mary@ KAF

    Reply
  49. Jaqui

    I love 7 minute frosting! My Grandma used to make it all the time with chocolate cake and my favorite- carrot cake! It was so yummy! Unfortunately, she passed away and I never got the recipe. I remember when the internet first came on the scene, I would try to find the recipe online, and I wasn’t able to find it. Now I see it is finally on here. I think it is making a comeback.

    Glad we were able to rekindle old memories, Jaqui – enjoy. PJH

    Reply
  50. Paula

    Hello. Lovely frosting. I am baking a cake now and will use this recipe. Did you say how much sugar to boil in the water? I didn’t see the measurements. Thanks for your reply. The pictures were so helpful with the eggwhites. I never know exactly how much to whip them.

    Hello Paula – I believe the recipe calls for the entire cup of sugar to be boiled. Hope your cake turned out well! kelsey@KAF

    Reply
  51. Scott

    I used to make a frosting pretty much identical to this back when I was in high school… But the whole salmonella thing does scare me a bit… I’ve read a posting by the American Egg Board on another site that simply adding the hot sugar syrup doesn’t bring the egg whites up to a high enough temperature required to kill salmonella (160ºF). They reccomend a technique using a double boiler and beating the eggs while cooking untill they reach 160ºF – which of course would mean using a candy thermomter or something… Sounds like alot of headache to me…

    So my question is, has anyone used the pasteurized liquid egg whites for this recipe? – the kind that come in a little milk-carton-like container? – and if so… How did it work out? I’m curious, because of a statement on the carton that says due to the heating process during the pasteurization process, they’re not recommended for meringues or angel food cakes…

    Yes, pasteurized whites work just fine. I used these for years in commercial bakeries. Give them a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  52. Earnest

    Hello. Lovely icing :)

    I’m trying out this devil’s food cake that has boiled icing. I have tried to do an italian meringue frosting 2 times now but for some reason they always end up soupy. The first one was a disaster. But i looked for another recipe very similar to yours. After adding the sugar syrup, the egg whites fluffed up as expected but after I added peppermint oil (1/2 teaspoon) it lost its thickness and became soupy again. How can I correct this? I really want to ice a chocolate cake with all those nice, snowy peaks :)
    Oh, I wish you had called our hotline before you gave up on those batches of buttercream (BTW 1-800-827-6836)! Peppermint oil is the culprit in this case and I do not think we could of helped you with that one, however. I consulted with another baker and he said there is something about peppermint that does not agree with egg whites. Oil or extract for that matter. Elisabeth

    Reply
  53. Janet

    I love this icing!

    I’ve made it several times to top several different cupcake recipes. Can you tell me how to make it chocolate? I am making vanilla toffee cupcakes and thought that this icing in chocolate would really put them over the top. I really didn’t want to use chocolate Italian meringue buttercream because buttercream of any sort can be overpowering.

    Reply
  54. Tara

    Could you tell me how long the Italian meringue will last in an air tight plastic container in the refrigerator?

    I’ve never thought to store it in the fridge and use it later – so no, can’t tell you, sorry. I can tell you that at room temperature, it gradually sinks and loses volume, day by day; by the 4th day or so, it’s pretty flat. PJH

    Reply
  55. Peggy

    Hello, I really want to try this for a party that I will be baking for but I don’t know how long they can sit out. Should I worry that the icing will become runny after awhile? Thanks a lot!
    This icing is fairly stable at room temperature, though I wouldn’t hold it for an extended period of time. It will begin to harden as it gets older rather than get runny. ~Amy

    Reply
  56. Nikki

    I follwed your instructions for the frosting and it was perfect. I mounded it on top of lemon cupcakes filled with lemon curd: Lemon Meringue “Pie” Cupcakes for a little gir’s birthday party. They were a HIT. Thank You!

    QUESTIION: I got a request for a champagne cake from a friend – and dont’ want to do the predictable champange scented buttercream frosting. I’m wondering if replacing the water in this recipe with champange might yeild the same texture. Have you ever tried using a different liquid?
    Hi Nikki,
    No, we haven’t tried it with champagne. I’d suggest a web search of some of the cake forums out there to see if you can find any info, or just dive in and give it a try. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  57. Ryan

    Hi, I am having some trouble with my frosting. No matter what I do it turns out runny. I have tried this recipe and the traditional 7 minute frosting withthe same results on both. Any ideas what I might be doing wrong?

    Ryan, this needs a 1:1 discussion, so we can find out exactly what you’re doing and exactly what ingredients you’re using. Please call our bakers’ hotline, 802-649-3717; I’m sure they can help you get to the bottom of this. PJH

    Reply
  58. George

    Hi I would really like to try this, without having to go out for more ingredients, can I omit the cream of tartar, or substitute anything else? Thanks
    Yes, you may omit the cream of tartar. Or use an equal amount of vinegar or lemon juice in place of the cream of tartar. Elisabeth

    Reply
  59. Kelly

    Hi there! This recipe sounds like just want I’m looking for, but I do have several questions. I would like to use this as a topping for Smores cupcakes, but would like to pipe the tops out, not just plop the icing on. Is there a way to do this, something that can firm it enough for piping without ruining the texture? Also does this even taste like marshmallow? Can I use a kitchen torch just on the tops? I’m taking these cupcakes camping, just want to know if you think they’ll hold up in the cooler, or should I just leave them out in the shade?

    Kelly, if you beat it long enough, and the syrup has been cooked to a high enough temperature, it should pipe nicely. It tastes like marshmallow in that it’s made from the same ingredients – but if what you’re used to is store-bought marshmallow, it won’t have that exact flavor. And yes, they should hold up in a cooler, or in the shade – the more humid it is, the more they’re likely to start to “settle,” so best to keep them as cool and dry as possible. Enjoy! PJH

    Reply
  60. Kelly

    I just want to thank you for responding so quickly. You give precise, short and correct information and the fact that you care enough to respond to your followers is just incredible. Just let me say bravo to this recipe and you!

    :) Thanks, Kelly – our pleasure. PJH

    Reply
  61. Serena

    Did I miss the Measurements for the 7 min icing?…i saw the recipe on other sites but i wanted to compare for the best one. I just googled it after taking my mom to dinner, her dessert had 7 minute icing (so she called it, so i looked it up as i have never heard of it before). Thanks

    I do believe the measurements for this frosting can be found here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/favorite-fudge-birthday-cupcakes-with-7-minute-icing-recipe -Jon

    Reply
  62. Shell-Bell

    Hi,

    How far in advance can I make this frosting? My son’s first birthday is in a week and I’d like to use this recipe…also, would meringue powder work in place of the egg whites?

    You can certainly use meringue powder in place of the egg whites: Use 1/2 cup water and sprinkle 1/4 cup of meringue powder or dried egg whites on top. Whisk them together until the powder is moistened. Then continue on with the recipe!
    Because the frosting is based on egg whites, it will harden eventually, if exposed to air (in a matter of hours, I would say). You could make it the day before and keep covered at room temperature until you’re ready to frost, icing the cake an hour before serving. The frosting might also deflate a bit between the time you mixed it and the time you frost–I would not beat it to try and incorporate air! For a more stable icing, you could do our Quick Buttercream, adding the optional meringue powder–this will keep at room temperature, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days ahead of the party! http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/quick-buttercream-frosting-recipe I hope your son has a wonderful 1st Birthday!! ~Kim@Kaf

    Reply
  63. Pamela

    Can you place an edible frosting sheet on top of this frosting? I’ve only used buttercream and cream cheese frosting when using a frosting sheet. Also, can you store a cake with this icing overnight in the refridgerator and then leave out the next day for approximately 8 hours before serving? I’m making the cake and decorating it the night before taking it to work. Thanks for your input!
    Hi Pamela,
    Unfortunately, I’d have to say no on both counts. This frosting is very fluffy, but also sticky like marshmallow and I think you’d have a hard time getting it flat for the sheet. Also, if you didn’t get the sheet on just right the first try, it will stick too much to pick up and reposition.
    This frosting will be just fine left out, well covered, overnight. Putting in the fridge will introduce moisture, which may cause running.
    Hope this helps.
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  64. mary

    i dont have cream of tartar.can i use a substitution? if so what can i use?? thanks!

    No good substitution, Mary; you could try adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to the egg whites, but you may see frosting that’s not quite as stiff, and doesn’t hold its shape as well over time. Give it a try, though – it’ll definitely still taste good! PJH

    Reply
  65. Aaryn

    Hi, i’m making the frosting, great by the way, and I was just wondering if there was a way to add a little more flavor? I love the frosting the way it is, I love sweet things alas my family does not. Any ways?

    Aure, Aaryn, add any of our Lorann flavors, of your favorite extracts, when the frosting is just about done; can’t tell you an exact amount, since they vary so much in intensity, but just add until it tastes good to you. PJH

    Reply
  66. Rosemary

    I love the traditional 7 minute icing. However..sometimes it never gets hard or thick enough to ice a cake. Could it be the size of the egg whites? Or should I cook it longer than 7 minutes? Should I use less water? Should I beat it continuously after I remove it from heat? Is the quality of the double boiler a factor? What is the important variable?
    Also…when I try doubling the recipe it does not thicken enough.
    Please help. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I would suggest to give our Baker’s Hotline a call, we should be able to answer all of your questions over the phone. Jon@KAF 855 371 2253

  67. Isobel Conradie

    Wonderful – I have filed this recipe on my computer, but when I wanted to make the cake as well as the frosting this morning, I noticed that there are no quantities of ingredients given – can you please supply me with the quantities per my e-mail address, as I am a bit confused about same?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Isobel,

      To be sure we get you the right recipes and information with the least amount of back and forth questions, we would say give our bakers hotline a call and they can locate the recipes you are seeking and email them right to you.
      ~ MJ

  68. Kate Lowe

    Could you please advise the quantities of ingredients for the frosting icing please, I am going to attemp to use it for ‘water’ for a swimming pool birthday cake for myGranddaughter who will be 9 this month, no hurry then…………
    Thank you in advance
    Kate

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Karen,
      If you are using liquid food coloring, it can water down your icing. You may want to look into getting gel or powdered coloring to avoid runny icing. ~ MJ

  69. Lynne Sahlgren

    I made this frosting the other night and frosted a single layer of round cake for my grandson who is allergic to dairy. I put peaks on it, sprinkled it with colored sugar and topped it with candy bug decorations that come in a set at the grocery store. It was lovely. I covered it with a bowl to protect it and left it on the counter overnight. By morning it was a disaster. Most of the frosting had softened and slumped down the sides. The top and sides still had a thin layer but most of it had pooled around the base of the cake. I thought maybe I should have refrigerated it. So I scooped the frosting back on top, swirled it around, and put it in the fridge for about four hours. Alas, the same thing happened. I took it to the party anyway, and it still tasted great. My daughter joked that it looked like it was from a Disney movie about climate change. Anyone have any suggestions about what I did wrong?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The big issue is that this frosting is functionally an Italian meringue. This means that it really needs to be refrigerated as both heat and humidity can cause it to melt. When refrigerated, it should last for 1-2 days. Jon@KAF

  70. Michele

    Would this work for an ice cream cake? I made a version of 7-minute frosting with Marshmallow Fluff in it and that worked really well but I thought I might try something different this time. Also, I need to color half of it. Should I make 2 separate batches or can I split it at some point and add powdered food coloring?

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      HI Michele,

      Yes, it can work for an ice cream cake, but it will have a bit of a coating mouthfeel if the icing is served cold. I like your marshmallow option, it would not feel as “greasy” when served cold. For the coloring, you can split it once you make it, then color each bowl. ~ MJ

  71. J

    Hello KAF! I’m planning to make cupcakes for a kiddie birthday party on Saturday. My plan is to make the cupcakes first on Friday, then add the frosting once they’re all done (probably Friday night). My question is, come Saturday, will the meringue frosting still stay soft? I am not really a fan of buttery-tasting frosting so I chose this as one of my options, and also I like the marshmallow texture/flavor of it. Do you have other frosting recommendations? Thank you very much! :)

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      You might want to try the fudge frosting on this cake. It’s easy, it sets up hard, keeping the cake underneath it fresh, and it’s very, very tasty.

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Aliyah, you won’t know for sure if the syrup is ready without using a thermometer; but make sure that, once it comes to a full, rolling boil, it boils for 2 minutes before you take it off the heat. Hopefully that’ll work, though without knowing the size of your saucepan, it’s uncertain. Candy thermometers are fairly inexpensive; the one we use in the test kitchen retails for $9.95, so you might want to invest in one someday. Good luck – PJH

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