Italian meringue frosting is an easy meringue icing which is a nice, light alternative to ganache or buttercream (although there is a buttercream version which is deliciously sinful). It seems to have an unlimited amount of names: Italian meringue icing/Italian meringue frosting/7 minute frosting… but it all amounts to the same thing. It’s slightly similar to Italian Meringue in that the egg whites are ‘cooked’, and it forms a nice, stable easily-piped, fluffy icing which keeps its shape well and is beautifully white (which also means it holds paste colours well and keeps true, should you wish to colour your icing).
If you use brown sugar (as I’ve done to top these dark chocolate fairy cakes, topped with fudge pieces), it imparts a gentle, toffee flavour into the icing. You can also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, or other flavourings, but wait until the end and briefly beat it in (I think rose would be lovely, with a delicate pink colouring paste). Be careful of adding too much liquid, as this will mess with your quantities.
You will need:
2 large free range egg whites
225g caster sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar
So basically just pop all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl, place the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water (as always with a bain marie, don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl) and whip the bejaysus out of it for, suprise surprise, seven minutes. A word of warning, though, if at the seven minute mark, your icing isn’t really thick, glossy and standing up in stiff peaks, keep going. Also, be careful to get the whisk right to the bottom of the bowl and around the edges, otherwise you can get lumpy bits.
Once the icing has reached this stage, take it straight off the hot water and pop it straight into the icing bag (or spread onto your cake). As it cools it will set a little, so use it straight away.