Monday, June 14, 2010

Basic Cake Frosting

Here's my basic recipe for cake icing. It holds its shape well, and the almond extract adds an unusual touch you won't find in store or bakery frosting.

Cake Icing

1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract*
1/2 teaspoon almond extract**
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (e.g. Crisco)
1/2 cup margarine
1 tablespoon meringue powder***
4 cups powdered sugar

In a mixer, cream vanilla extract, almond extract, shortening, margarine, and water. Gradually add meringue powder and powdered sugar. Mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly blended. Keep mixing until smooth and creamy.

*You might be wondering, "What's up with the the clear vanilla extract?" Clear vanilla extract won't affect the color. Regular vanilla extract may result in your "white" icing being a bit off-white. If this doesn't matter to you, use the regular stuff. If you want to keep your color "pure," pick up some clear extract at your local craft store.

**If any cake eaters have nut allergies, skip the almond extract. Instead, use 1 full teaspoon of vanilla extract (in place of the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla + 1/2 teaspoon almond).

***Meringue powder acts as a stabilizer. It helps the icing keep its shape and consistency. Warning: meringue powder contains a small amount of egg whites, so don't use if someone has an egg allergy. (I learned this one the hard way!) You can skip the meringue powder if necessary. However, if you are making flowers with your icing, you might want to include it. Like clear vanilla extract, you can find meringue powder at a craft store.

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