I am going to be deeply sad when Valentines Day is over and I no longer have an everyday excuse to make all things pink. These cupcakes were as fun to photograph as they were to decorate. Using a simple white cake recipe from our favorite in geekery baking, we whipped up some simple sweetness for a
day week of delightful treats.
My typically impulsive desire to bake (and decorate) usually doesn’t sync up with what is in the pantry. I often find myself in the midst of an imaginary episode of Iron Chef; making do with the special ingredients that I got. An online search for frosting made from marshmallows (since I had plenty of those) led me to make this recipe for marshmallow cloud frosting.
Cloud frosting isn’t something I had made or even heard of before but I happened to have all the necessary ingredients including meringue powder, water, sugar, cream of tartar (which I keep on hand for spontaneous play-dough making), marshmallows, and a dash of salt. It was a serendipitous find for sure.
This frosting may not be your cup of tea if you’re a super fan of that sink-your-teeth-in buttercream frosting, but it’s definitely worth a try to try something new. Cloud frosting is light and creamy and easy to adjust to your personal level of sweetness. Another difference between cloud frosting and a traditional buttercream is the added heating element with a formal or makeshift double boiler. Despite the extra step, this frosting is still pretty easy to make. It looks extremely pretty on top of a cupcake as well.
Apparently the original recipe for cloud frosting has been attributed to the original sweetheart of pretty as well: one Miss Martha Stewart. Her original recipe for “7-minute frosting” can be found here. Rosanna Pansino’s white cake recipe can be found in her new cookbook as well as a base in many of her how-to YouTube videos. The original cake recipe calls for whole milk, however, any fat milk will do. Skim milk may lead to a drier cake which can be remedied (if desired) by adding 1/4 cup of mayonnaise. Yes, mayonnaise. I love you. Enjoy!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 5 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 6 egg whites OR 1/4 cup meringue powder + 3/4 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 water
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- dash of salt
- 1/2 cup marshmallows
- pink food coloring (optional)
- pink and white nonpareils (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 24 cups of 2 cupcake tins with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and shortening until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Add in the egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each one is added.
- On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
- Fill each cupcake liner 2/3rds full (about 2 Tbs + 2 tsp of batter for a standard cupcake). Tap the bottom of each cupcake tin on the countertop to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake at 350° F until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 18-20 minutes).
- Let cool for one minute in the tin, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cool before decorating. You can pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes to speed things up.
- Combine egg whites, sugar, water, salt, and cream of tartar in a metal or glass bowl. Whisk until foamy. Add in the marshmallows and stir.
- Set bowl over a saucepan with 1- 2 inches of water inside. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar and marshmallows are completely dissolved (about 5-8 minutes).
- Transfer ingredients to a mixing bowl or stand mixer. Using a whisk attachment, beat on high speed until stiff peaks form (about 12-16 minutes). Mix in food coloring (if using). Add vanilla until combined.
- Fill a decorating bag fitted with an 809 frosting tip. Alternatively, you can use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off to frost. Evenly cover each cupcake with frosting. Finish with the pink and white nonpareils or decoration of your choosing.
- Share with some special lovelies.