Cooked Frosting: frosting that will beat any boring buttercream’s butt, total KO with one bite! Frankly this is the only frosting I knew or made growing up, and every time I make it people rave about it. All my mom knew is that she got it from a roommate in college, and it was called Cooked Frosting. I have looked everywhere for this recipe online and cannot find it. I am pretty sure it has a proper name unbeknownst to me. Just like a rose called by any other name, I really don’t give a flying flip what it is called because it is the BOMB when it comes to frosting, and if you have never tried it, dive down that rabbit hole and give it a go! I promise, you will come back to it for cookies, cakes…hey, even a stale graham cracker can taste like the most exquisite cookie with this frosting. I have used my fruit cake fillings to stripe this or mix it in to add another depth and dimension of flavor. The standard of vanilla and almond extract is delightful. I also love adding coconut extract in addition…or Creme Bouquet or lemon…it truly is a magnificent canvas to frosting masterpiece to flourish with any flavor you love.
Pictured above you see this frosting on my Valentine’s Cookies 2/5/2019 where the frosting by itself, striped with my mixed berry cake fruit filling, and the fruit filling fully mixed in all with sprinkles. SOOOO delicious! You also see it colored with green and yellow food coloring to get a light chartreuse color with one of Wilton’s Christmas sprinkles. You also see it in the first Valentine’s Day I celebrated with my now husband who I was dating. Truth be told, that weekend we went exclusive and my husband has since confessed that is when he knew he loved me…or did he love the frosting? Wink wink. It’s all good, and the rest is history as we say. The cupcakes with the frosting almost neon bright colored was celebrating my 33rd birthday…I think…you know you hit 42 and you think you’d never forget things and all of a sudden you find yourself forgetting EVERYTHING….ya, I wish I wrote more things down…but I digress. I LOVE SweetTarts so that is what I put on the cupcakes to pump up the volume and the inspiration to the color theme for that party. These were a hit! This frosting on a rich almost fudge cake is one of my weaknesses. Hence the heart cupcakes for the hub’s and my first Valentine’s together. Whether that move was to impress my man or to indulge myself, my lips are sealed…with a mouthful of this frosting! Ha!
This is the recipe my mom hand wrote and oddly I don’t remember if she gave to me or if it came with me after I was on my own. BUT, that is neither her nor there and I will go with the first option. You can see her hand writing versus mine at the wee bottom so I could glue the backside down in my recipe binder. Of course the minimal directions are easy for me to follow because I have made this so many times I could do it in my sleep. Oh, that’s exaggerating a tad, but let’s just say this is how I prefer my recipes and all my well loved ones are just like this. Minimal, and mostly in my head.
So on to decoding this recipe and give explicit directions. No, no, not THAT explicit…the explicit that is CLEAR, understandable, ya know what I mean? Before we go there, a couple things always stood out when I was learning to make Cooked Frosting which I feel helps in making this particular frosting because it is very different to what most may envision or expect when making frosting. My mom always said to use the cheapest shortening you can get. I generally go with the white store brand version of shortening. You end up making the frosting in 3 parts: an egg white mix, a powder sugar/lard mix, and the pastry dough part. I always have the egg white part in my stand mixer, the power sugar in a large bowl, and the pastry part in a pan on the stove. My mom always said the powder sugar part looks all crumbly and dry, you add add the powder sugar mix and the pastry dough mix in thirds to the egg white mix and whip it up on high in between each added third. She also said if it looks weird and like it will not actually be fluffy frosting, just keep mixing on high and it will fluff up almost magically. I have only felt that way a couple times, and my impressions are that those times were when I first started making it in my early teen, and after college when I had not made it for a number of years while going to college.
This is what the pastry part of the frosting looks like before you add it in thirds with the sugar mix to the egg white mix. I’m pretty sure the “cooked” part of the name comes from this element, and I never really thought about it until now. The cooked part is like a pate a choux used to make eclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches…basically a light pastry. It doesn’t take long and I have always started by melting the butter and adding the milk to heat up, and sprinkling the flour on top and mushing it around with a silicone spatula on med heat until it all comes together like the picture.
I will use a dough blender and cutter to start mixing the powder sugar, salt, and shortening. I end up using my hand to mix it until it is evenly fine and will stick together in my fist like fine wet sand. This is when I know I am done.
It whips up beautifully white and delicious! It is soft and easy to frost right away, and when chilled it stiffens quite a bit. I keep it in an air tight container in the refrigerator in between uses. It does make a lot, but I have never measured the amount because it doesn’t last very long. If you want to frost a cake or cookies and it is fully chilled, I set it out until it softens to almost room temperature. Also, on a side note, if I want to use part of the batch using a different flavoring, I will just add it to the amount I need and add other flavoring to taste. I find this gives me the flexibility I want so the main batch is more of my blank canvas and I modify as needed, as the wind blows, or according to my mood. However, the basic recipe with the vanilla and almond extract is delightful on its own.
This is frosting is unlike any buttercream you may be used to; it is fluffier, feels lighter, and full of flavor without the sickening sweetness other frosting recipes offer, or the bakery type buttercreams that leave a shortening film in your mouth. It is simply amazing on its own, or kick it up with flavoring with fruit fillings or flavorings to add complexity and different flavor notes. It is fantastic on cookie cut outs, cupcakes, and cakes alike. It is initially made in 3 parts, which are combined for this lovely, fluffy, snow white frosting. Enjoy!
the sugar mix:
1 1/2 c. shortening
6 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
the pastry mix:
3 T. butter
6 T. flour
6 T. milk
the egg white mix:
3 egg whites
6 tsp. vanilla
3 capfuls almond extract
1) For the sugar mix: mix all the ingredients in this section together until it is evenly incorporated in even crumbles.
2) For the pastry mix: in a pan on medium heat, melt the butter, add the milk, and sprinkle on the flour. Use a silicone spatula to mix until the dough forms and comes clean from the pan all together.
3) For the egg white mix: in a stand mixer, add the egg whites and extracts and beat on high until fluffy, but no peaks forming (Tip: use this time to use your hand to evenly mix the sugar mix while the mixer runs).
4) Add a third of the sugar mix and a third of the pastry mix to the egg mix, and beat on high until all combined. Repeat 2 more time to use up the remaining 2 thirds of the sugar and pastry mixes.
5) Mix the frosting on high until white and fluffy. If it doesn’t not look fluffy at all, just turn up the mixer speed and mix until fluffy.
6) Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container. Let soften to room temperature when you want to spread on cookies or cakes.