Recently I got a call from my friend Genevieve asking for a dozen cupcakes for a photo shoot she was doing the following weekend. “Just make what you want,” she said.
Of course I waited until the last minute. Then I made one batch of cupcakes and while the cupcakes were fine, they looked like a 7-year old had made them the marshmallow icing sort of drooped. It didn’t weep but they looked stupid. Scrapped those and made another batch. I left out the baking powder on the 2nd batch. Yep, hurry and you get it wrong every time.
John came down and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was amazed that I could fill every square inch with mess.
“Don’t start!” I said.
“I wasn’t going to say anything,” he mumbled. “Do you need any help?”
“I have just enough eggs to make one more batch and if they don’t work, will you go to the bakery?”
Third time’s the charm. They came out just the way I wanted and the blowtorch gave just enough singe to look toasted.
I’ll confess that after Gen’s husband came to pick them up I took one of the leftovers and ate it icing first – right down the throat. I was exhausted and then had to clean up the marshmallow I’d flung around the kitchen.
Please don’t think that this is a difficult recipe because it’s not. I’m the difficult one.
- 4 egg whites (I used large)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the good stuff)
- food colouring
- 12 cupcakes (I used chocolate)
- You need a stand mixer (or a strong hand mixer) and a kitchen blowtorch for this recipe.
- In a heatproof bowl place the egg whites, sugar and cream of tarter and place the bowl over slowly simmering water (you don’t want to cook the egg whites, only dissolve the sugar.
- Whisk constantly for 3-4 minutes until sugar is dissolved.
- Put the bowl into the stand mixer with a whisk attachment and begin whisking at low speed.
- Gradually increase the speed until stiff, shiny peaks appear. It will take about 7 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
- Place the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and ice the cupcakes.
- Gently singe the edges of the icing with a kitchen blowtorch. (These will burn like a toasted marshmallow so gently does it.)