Working at The Nest is tough. About a month ago (in the name of accurate research, of course) I baked a huge batch of Magnolia Bakery's Red Velvet Cupcakes along with three different kinds of vanilla frosting to accompany them for a road test. Some were delicious, some were not, and some were just flat-out to-die-for. The whole staff at The Nest got to test and rate three mini cupcakes, each topped with a different, unlabeled frosting. Which was voted the best?
3 egg whites
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 Tbl. light corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In the top pan of a double boiler, combine the first five ingredients and place over rapidly boiling water. On the high speed of an electric hand-mixer, beat constantly for 6 to 8 minutes or until icing stands up in soft peaks. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract, and beat about 1 minute more or until the desired spreading consistency is reached. Use immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Editor's Note: This is not seven-minute icing, it's more like 25-minute icing. Also, making this experiment just a little more fun, the recipe requires an electric hand-mixer and I only had a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I did, however, have an old-fashioned hand-crank mixer, so I used that...yes, for 25 minutes. My arms were terribly sore the next day. See if it was worth it on the next page...
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb. (2 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar, and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network and Paula Deen
Editor's Note: Very simple to make, and the admitted favorite coming into the taste test.
2 egg whites
1 Tbl. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 Tbl. unsalted butter at room temperature
4-6 cups confectioners' sugar
Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. On the high speed of an electric hand-mixer, beat until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar one cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached (I like to use all 6 cups).
Recipe courtesy of Nest Caitlin
Editor's Note: This is my go-to, homemade recipe, so I'm partial to it. But none of The Nest staffers knew it was mine, so there was no nepotism.
Find out which recipe won...
Photo: Antonis Achilleos