What will set your holiday baking apart could be the frosting that is on top.
Emmy Bradley shares three frostings that can be better than butter cream.
Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
In a double boiler, or using a heat proof safe bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water, whisk together the egg whites and sugar over medium heat until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has completely dissolved. Anywhere from 4-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Mix on high speed until stiff, shiny peaks are formed. If piping frosting, transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large, round tip. Pipe as desired. To toast the marshmallow meringue, use a kitchen torch to lightly toast.
Perfect frosting for hot chocolate cupcakes, smore’s cupcakes. or lemon meringue cupcakes
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean pod
1/4 tsp fine kosher salt
4 T Cornstarch
1/2 c + 1 T granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 T unsalted butter
Have a medium bowl ready for cooling the pastry creme with fine mesh sieve resting on top.
Pour the milk in a heavy bottom saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the pod into the milk. Add the kosher salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Slowly ladle about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the hot milk and continue whisking over medium heat until the custard is as thick as lightly whipped cream, about 2 minutes. In order for the cornstarch to cook and fully thicken, the mixture must come to just before the boiling point. You’ll want to see few slow bubbles. If the mixture boils too much, it will curdle. Remove from the heat and pour through the mesh sieve into the bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the butter into 1 Tablespoon pieces. Add the butter to the pastry cream 1 Tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth.
Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly on top of the cream. This prevents a skin from forming on the surface. Refrigerate overnight in order to use as a topping for creme brule cupcakes. To frost, scoop a small amount of frosting onto cupcakes and use a small offset spatula to smooth the frosting over the entire cupcake. Top with fine granulated sugar and torch to create creme brulee.
Recommended for Creme Brulee cupcakes
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 4 oz. stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of kosher salt
3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
zest of one small lemon
1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, mix butter, cream cheese, zest and kosher salt on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add confectioners sugar about 1 cup at a time until thoroughly blended. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until smooth.
Add frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.