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German Chocolate Cake Frosting

By: Pfoinkle

German chocolate cake covered in coconut pecan frosting.

German chocolate cake covered in coconut pecan frosting.

When my sister wants a cake, it’s not about novelty or cool decorations, it’s all about one thing: German Chocolate Cake with German Chocolate Frosting.

For the cake, I use the Duncan Hines German Chocolate Cake box mix. From the listed ingredients, I replace the water with milk and I also throw in a box of chocolate pudding (dry), but those are the only changes I make. The box mix makes a nice cake with little work. I like that.

But canned German Chocolate frosting is… cloying. German Chocolate frosting is pretty easy to make from scratch and well worth the effort. If you’re nervous about making a “cooked” frosting, don’t be — just be ready to do some serious stirring. :D

Frosting Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar (see note below about “Types of Sugar”)
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 oz butter (one “stick”) cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

German Chocolate Frosting Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan (I use a 3.5 quart saucepan)
  2. Cook over medium heat. If this recipe doesn’t start bubbling/thickening at about the 10-14 minute mark, try upping the temperature. If the recipe starts bubbling/thickening much earlier than the 10 minute mark, lower the temperature.
  3. Stir constantly (yep, for the entire cooking time). When the mixture starts bubbling, stir faster — because you really don’t want this concoction sticking to your pan.
  4. Once the mixture starts bubbling (at about the 10-14 minute mark), stir for an additional 3 minutes (it doesn’t have to be exact).
  5. Allow the frosting to “rest” for 30 minutes prior to using. You can speed up this process by moving the frosting to a room temperature bowl and placing it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

This recipe makes enough frosting for the traditional German Chocolate Cake with frosting in the middle and on the top, but not on the sides. If, like my sister, you prefer a completely covered cake, make two batches of this recipe. The recipe can be doubled, but because of the cooking method it is much easier to cook two separate batches and then combine them.

German Chocolate frosting can be made with a variety of sugars.

German Chocolate frosting can be made with a variety of sugars.


Types of Sugar

For German Chocolate Frosting, you can use granulated white sugar or brown sugar (light or dark). The choice of sugar is dependent on your own taste and appearance preferences. In the pictured cake (above), I used dark brown sugar. For a lighter color frosting, use white sugar. Whether you use white or brown sugar, this coconut pecan frosting will be delicious and the cooking instructions are exactly the same.

Troubleshooting German Chocolate Frosting

Be forewarned: German Chocolate Cake frosting is traditionally thinner than most contemporary frostings (and way thinner than canned frostings). Because it was originally designed to be spread on the cake top and middle only, it wasn’t important for the icing to be stiff enough to stick to the cake sides.

However, if you can’t get this recipe to thicken up enough to use as frosting, there are three possible problems:

  1. The cooking temperature is too low. Stovetops vary. Some people recommend cooking German Chocolate frosting on low heat. On my stovetop, “low heat” is about the equivalent of “off” — try upping the temperature.
  2. The saucepan is too small. If you use a small saucpan (even if all the ingredients fit), the mixture might be too “deep” to heat up in the given time.
  3. Not enough cooking time. For this recipe, you really do have to stir the mixture over heat for a minimum of 13 minutes and more likely 15-18 minutes.

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Easy Royal Icing Recipe (Meringue Powder)

By: Pfoinkle

Decorations piped with Royal Icing.

Decorations piped with Royal Icing.

“Royal Icing” is a white icing prized for the fact that it dries to a hard shell. Royal Icing is the most common icing for sugar cookies and gluing gingerbread houses together. Royal Icing can also be used for piping cake decorations to be used on buttercream or fondant covered cake.

Traditionally Royal Icing is made with egg whites, but a perfectly lovely Royal Icing can be made with Meringue Powder (dried egg whites) — eliminating concerns about serving an icing made with raw eggs.

Ingredients for Royal Icing

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder (found in cake supply stores, some craft stores such as Michael’s and some grocery stores)
  • 1 – 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (or experiment with other flavorings, but add them one teaspoon at a time — it’s easy to overpower Royal Icing with too much added flavoring)
  • 8 – 12 tablespoons warm water

Directions for Easy Royal Icing

  1. Place all of the powdered sugar and meringue in your mixing bowl.
  2. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of warm water. Mix thoroughly at low speed.
  3. Add another tablespoon of water. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Repeat step three until all water is added or until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Beat on low to medium speed for another 5 – 7 minutes.

Now, wasn’t that easy? If you’re unsure of what consistency of Royal Icing you need, just experiment. Working with Royal Icing takes practice. For thinner icing, use more water, added one tablespoon at a time. To thicken icing, add powdered sugar, two tablespoons at a time.

Royal icing is perfect for decorating sugar cookies, provides a hard shell for cakes (but is more difficult to smooth than fondant) and is useful for special effects on either cakes or cookies.

The picture shown is of decorations piped onto wax paper (you can also pipe onto parchment). When the decorations dry (drying time can be up to 24 hours), they can be peeled away from the wax paper and placed on the cake. If your decorations are thin, be sure to pipe extras because the thinner the piece, the more likely there will be breakage when removing the piece from the wax paper.

Coloring Royal Icing

Royal icing is simple to color with either liquid food colorings (commonly found in US grocery stores) or gel food colorings (found in cake supply stores, craft stores such as Michael’s, and some grocery stores). However, use caution with liquid food coloring as they can cause the colored Royal Icing to “bleed” into other colors on the cake, particularly if you’re piping onto fondant.

Royal Icing Caution

When exposed to air, royal icing dries/stiffens quickly. When not in use, store in an airtight container and be sure to keep bowl with excess icing covered during the icing process. If the icing gets too stiff, add a teaspoon warm water and mix thorougly.

Feel the Royal Icing Burn

In spite of the preferred directions above, if you don’t have an electric mixer, you can still whip up a batch of Easy Royal Icing by hand. Yes, it provides a good upper arm workout, but it’s also completely doable. ;)

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Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

By: Pix

Create a delicious and functional fondant with this yummy marshmallow fondant recipe.

In the past, I’ve used store bought fondant to make small decorations on buttercream cakes. There was no way, though, that I ever thought I’d use it to fully cover a cake. The stuff tastes like sugared modeling clay, and I never wanted to ruin the entire taste of a cake just for a particular look. I was thrilled, then, when I recently discovered marshmallow fondant. It tastes delicious and is simple and inexpensive to make. It is wonderfully functional and absolutely beautiful on cakes too! Now you can have a cake that’s both yummy and perfectly smooth with this great marshmallow fondant recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounces miniature marshmallows (about a bag and a half)
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • one stick of shortening
  • vanilla
  • water

1.  The first step is to add two tablespoons of vanilla (clear vanilla if you want a pure white fondant) to a microwave-safe bowl filled with 15 ounces of mini marshmallows.

2.  Microwave the mixture for 20-30 seconds, remove, and stir.  Repeat this process until the marshmallows are completely melted.

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

Marshmallows fresh from the Microwave

3. The next step is fun, messy, and very sticky. :) Coat your work surface with powdered sugar and prepare for some fun. This is where the shortening comes in. Coat your hands completely with it and begin kneading a few cups of powdered sugar at a time into your marshmallow and vanilla mix. Be sure that the marshmallows aren’t too hot before you start!

Powdered Sugar Marshmallow Fondant Surface

Powder Sugar Covered Work Space

4. The fondant will get tougher to work with as you add more of the powdered sugar. If it gets too dry, simply add a teaspoon or two of water and put it back into the microwave for 20 seconds, or until it softens when you knead it.  You should end up with a ball the consistency of tough clay.

5. When you have kneaded your ingredients into a ball of fondant, put a thin coat of shortening on it and let it rest for at least an hour before using. This will give it time to harden a bit more since all of the heat from your hands will have made it extra sticky.

Marshmallow Fondant

Marshmallow Fondant Ball Coated in Shortening

6. When you’re ready to roll out your fondant, it may be necessary to add another teaspoon of water and heat (courtesy of the microwave, of course) so that the big hunk of yumminess becomes more pliable. The result is a beautiful and delicious fondant that even the biggest buttercream diehard is sure to love.

Marshmallow Rolled Fondant

Rested Fondant

Yummy Marshmallow Fondant Recipe

Yummy Rolled Marshmallow Fondant

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