Twenty-eight years ago today, my first son was born. It is sometimes incomprehensible to look at this adult man and place him with the same, tiny newborn I held in my arms all of those years ago. Both he and his brother are the lights of my life, and have made their dad and me very proud parents. Here's looking at you, Eeej.....we'll stick the candles in this cake later.
This recipe makes more than enough to fill and frost a two-layer cake. I like to use my stand mixer along with the hand-held that you'll need in the first part of this recipe; I place the ingredients in the stand-mixer's bowl, so that the transition is easier, and use my whisk attachment.
I love the old-fashioned, free-formed look to this frosting. Once frosted, this cake just screams, "Cut this cake!" And.....I guarantee, it'll be difficult to keep your fingers out of it.
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large egg whites
6 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a heatproof metal bowl, add the sugar, egg whites, water, and cream of tartar. Set this pan over simmering water, and mix on high speed using a handheld mixer; beating until mixture holds stiff peaks; about 5 to 7 minutes. (The weather can influence egg whites--if there's a lot of moisture in the air, you might have trouble getting this to beat correctly).
If continuing to use a hand-held mixer; remove mixing bowl from over heat, and place on kitchen towel to prevent bowl from slipping. Continue to beat the mixture until it's completely cool--about 2-4 minutes more. Beat in vanilla.
This frosting is best made the same day you plan to serve it, as it does weep.
Note: The cake used here is my recipe for "Grandma's Chocolate Cake." I spread 2 tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam on the layer before adding the frosting. Any flavor jam works nicely.