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 playdough 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. Enjoy!
Valentine Vanilla Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cloud Frosting
- 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
- 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.
Marshmallow Cloud Frosting Ingredients
- 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)
Marshmallow Cloud Frosting Instructions
- 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.