for Naked Cakes only: FROSTING – Meringue

I’d like to start by saying that naked and semi-naked cakes are in trend, however there is a longer tradition for covering, frosting and dressing cakes. There is an infinity of Frosting recipes for a cake, cupcake, vegan cake, etc.

This Series is about 4 Classic types of FROSTING :


In this post we focus on MERINGUE, If you want to see more about Frosting:

Buttercream and Cream Cheese
Fudges and Ganaches
Glazes Almost there!

MERINGUE, what’s about it?
Meringue is an emulsion, specifically a Foam, created when air bubbles are beaten into a liquid, in this case the egg whites. It can stabilized using Cream of Tartar, Lemon Juice or Vinegar, which help form the peaks while you’re beating. I confess I never used an acidic element to stabilize meringue, I don’t think is really necessary but if you’re starting to experiment or just feel like trying it out, use cream of tartar on Swiss and Italian Meringues

There are 3 classic kinds of meringues:
French (Simplest, just beating and adding Sugar)
Swiss (Medium Difficulty, over simmering water)
Italian (Most difficult, adding Syrup)

TRICKS about Meringue/

Use meringue immediately once is ready

Don’t over beat the foam once is formed (You’ll notice a weird broken consistency if you over beat the meringue, like a grainy separated textured)

Bake meringues always at a very low temperature

Dry days with low humidity are better to make meringue

Baked meringues can be frozen for up to 1 month, avoid unfreeze them in a very humid day

Bake meringue immediately after is ready


French Meringue (Simplest to make and less stable from all)
3 Egg whites (Cold from the fridge)
1 Dash Salt
Granulated Sugar

-Using a Hand Mixer/Stand Mixer/ just by hand Start beating the egg whites with the dash of salt (this helps to stabilize it)
-When a stable foam is formed start adding 1 Tablespoon of Sugar at a time and keep beating
-Keep adding until the meringue is glossy and even more stable that it was, soft glossy peaks
-Use immediately

French Meringue in a dessert

Swiss Meringue (Medium stability, easy to make)
2 Egg Whites
1 1/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
Dash of Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

-In a metal bowl, combine all ingredients and beat with a hand mixer
-Place the bowl on top of a pot filled with an inch of simmering water
-Over low heat, beat the egg mixture until it’s thick and fluffy, about 7 minutes
-Mix in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-Use immediately, or the meringue will firm up and become impossible to use (never store meringue frosting in the refrigerator; the humidity will make it bead and weep)

Swiss meringue over simmering bowl

Italian Meringue (most stable, ideal for buttercream)
3 Egg Whites (cold from the fridge)
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Rind of Lemon Peel
1 Dash Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

-Add salt to the egg whites, start beating using a stand mixer in medium speed
-In the meanwhile, humidify the Sugar and place on the stove over a low fire, add the lemon peel
-Check on the simmering Sugar while becomes a syrup, this might take 5 mins or more
-Using a metal spoon, test the consistency of the syrup, when a fine thread forms between your fingers, take away from the fire
-Start pouring from high, consistently, over your beating foam, crank up the speed of the mixer to high
-After adding all the syrup let the machine run for a while until the bowl has become cold and the meringue is completely stable, this might take 10+ mins
-Don’t over beat beyond that point, or meringue might loose its shape
-Use immediately or store for couple hours (this is the most stable of meringues and can be used as the base for buttercream)

Italian Meringue Cookies, image by ThermoBlog

*Lastly there’s a NEW kind of meringue called Bali Meringue or Balinese Meringue, by American Pastry Chef Will Goldfarb . Created as a substitute for classical meringues, found to be too sweet, this meringue is more stable, can be stored without loosing its properties and it’s healthier and less sweet, it uses Palm sugar instead of Cane sugar. You can find recipe and story here

Balinese Meringue

General TIPS about FROSTING

-A Cake should be flattened on the top before being FROSTED

-When using a Double Boiler, your bowl should never touch the boiling water and should not let the steam scape, always prevent water from getting into melted chocolate

-A Cake should be Room Temp before being FROSTED

-FROSTING should not be hot in the moment of the action, room temp is optimal

-You can loosen up your frosting with a bit of Cream/Milk/Water if is too solid before FROSTING

-A pedestal for cakes or rotating turntable is ideal to place your cake for FROSTING

-A serrated long knife is ideal to cut cake in even layers, if you’re planning to use frosting in between (9 ‘’ long minimum)

-Use an offset Spatula if possible to FROST, better than any knife or  other kind of spatula

-Place a cardboard or plate under your cake before FROSTING and DECORATING, it should be 1 ‘’ wider than your cake, so you can easily transport it from there

-Transport your cake in a high enough cake carrier, so the top isn’t ruined


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