Ultimate Cream Cheese Frosting
The icing on the cake indeed.
Not for nothing is this a much used idiom. Soft billowy pillows of frosting lying on beds of moist sponge – this is the partnership that makes great cakes. This frosting works so wonderfully with (in the order as pictured) chocolate zucchini, chocolate & red wine, coffee, potato & walnut, carrot cake that its pretty much become my go-to frosting.
I was always frustrated with cream cheese frostings splitting and misbehaving on me and I find a classic frosting a little heavy. So I experimented and came up with this which is a meringue with cream cheese and mascarpone. The meringue locks in the cheeses thus preventing any weeping – and lets face it the less weeping in the kitchen the better – and addas a degree of airiness and lightness too. For those concerned with egg safety an Italian meringue should be used ie one made with a hot sugar syrup that knocks out any bacterial nasties.
Gadgets & Gizmo
An electric whisk unless you are possessed of biceps worthy of an Olympic shot putter.
200g sugar or 125g fructose
4 egg whites
1 tea spoon of vinegar or lemon juice (wipe the bowl and the whisk to be squeaky clean and grease free – dont skip this even if you don’t like the smell of vinegar…un puffed meringues are much worse)
1 250g tup of mascarpone
1 x 200-250g tub of cream cheese
1tsp of good vanilla essence
First make the meringue. I know that you should add the sugar in stages but I don’t. I sling it into the Kenwood with the egg whites after Ive done my vinegar cleaning thing and turn it on to max. Then I wait until the meringue turns shiny. That’s it. Be bold!
Loosely mix the mascarpone and cream cheese together so that there are no lumps and bumps. Sometimes I use a little hand whisk for this. add in the vanilla essence.
The key now is to not knock out any air. So we employ a little trick a la making a genoise…
Take some of the meringue (a generous couple of spoonfuls) and mix this gently with the cheese mixture thus creating a halfway house frosting. Because if you were to dollop in the cheese directly into the meringue the two would never amalgamate properly.
Now take the half way house frosting and tip that into the meringue and gently fold in, using a figure of eight motion, taking care not to knock out any air.
Now your frosting is ready to use…slather over cakes…sandwich between sponges…dip fruit into…freeze for the easiest ice cream ever.
Ideas & Improvs
Takes readily to a good quality coffee powder and becomes coffee frosting. Some lemon or lime zest is magical too.