Italian meringue (also known as boiled icing) is a fluffy, white frosting for cake and other desserts. It is an incredibly easy 7 minute frosting, The snow white color makes it perfect for wedding cakes and desserts for winter holidays.
If you could see what the piece of paper that this fluffy boiled icing recipe is written on, you will know that it is used often and well-loved. As a result, it is stained and splotched and crumbled.
What’s the difference between Italian meringue and boiled icing?
Italian meringue is one of my absolute favorite icings because it is light, fluffy, and pure white in color. This frosting is old-fashioned. Because of this, you can find it in old cookbooks under any of these names:
- Italian meringue
- boiled icing
- seven minute frosting
- cooked vanilla frosting
It is important to note that this cooked frosting is not the same as cooked milk frosting. The reason for this is, because there is no milk in this recipe.
Oh, and for those of you who may be wondering, “What is difference between icing and frosting?”, the answer is pretty simple. For the most part, frosting is thicker and fluffier than icing. Frosting is typically stable enough to use in between cake layers, whereas icing is too thin.
The thing is, this Italian meringue boiled icing IS thick and fluffy! As a result, you will understand why I call it also call it 7 minute frosting.
Why do you cook 7 minute frosting?
The reason that this frosting is cooked is because there are raw egg whites in it. Cooking them over high heat will remove any risk of illness from the bacteria. Additionally, adding hot sugar syrup to whipped egg whites creates a strong, stable, fluffy frosting!
I love the icing on chocolate cake, yellow cake, or underneath a layer of shredded coconut. Sometimes I get crazy and add some coconut extract to really bring out the coconut flavor. It is the perfect frosting to color because the base is so white. I also love it because it is not buttery. Basically, this is marshmallow, without the gelatin, it is the best fluffy frosting that I have ever put in my mouth.
I need to thank my friend Amanda for introducing me to boiled icing, I think of you every time I make it.
Italian meringue ingredients
The ingredients for this 7 minute boiled icing are simple, basic pantry items. Plus, it’s an old fashioned frosting recipe, so you won’t need any special equipment to make it.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 egg whites
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan combine the sugar and water with a pinch of cream of tartar.
Make sure that when you are cooking the sugar that you do not stir the sugar mixture. It will cause the sugar to crystallize and you don’t want that to happen.
Boil the sugar until it reaches 245 degrees F.
Meanwhile, put the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat until the egg whites are peaked.
Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. I mean slowly, this sugar mixture is 245 degrees, you do not want it to splash.
Beat the Italian meringue on medium-high speed for about 7 minutes (hence the name seven minute frosting) or until the sides of the bowl cool down.
Important note: Do NOT over mix Italian meringue! It is possible to beat the egg whites too much. As a result, the frosting will lose its glossy appearance and then start to thin out.
If you created the perfect 7 minute frosting, it will be light, fluffy, and have a glossy appearance.
Add the vanilla extract and combine on medium speed, just until combined
How do you fix runny Italian meringue boiled icing?
If you notice that your icing isn’t as thick and fluffy as you would like it to be, you may have over beaten the egg whites. You can attempt to stabilize and thicken the boiled icing by mixing in 1/4 teaspoon of meringue powder on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes.
One thing that I also love about this icing is that you can it is recipes that are s’mores inspires. You can use a kitchen torch and burn the outside like a marshmallow to get the s’mores effect. It is absolutely delicious.