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How to Make Lemon Cupcake Frosting

Learn how to make lemon cupcake frosting in this Howcast food video with expert Liz Sutton.


Hi, my name is Elizabeth Button, I am one of the head decorators here at Amanda Oakleaf cakes. I really enjoy, uh, working here and being a cake decorator, and more specifically a cupcake decorator. You can come visit us at our storefront, it's at 1 Pauline Street in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and you can also visit our website at, and today I'm going to be talking to you about cupcake decorating. To start the frosting, the first thing you're going to want to do is make a vanilla Italian meringue butter cream base. We are going to take a quarter cup of water and pour it into the boiler, along with one and one-fourths cup sugar. It seems like a lot of sugar but believe me, it's enough. So, to measure the temperature of the sugar water we're going to use a candy thermometer, and we want that to get up to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Just watch it, it takes a little while. When the sugar starts to bubble and get thick, that's probably a good time to check it, because it should be about 250 at that point. Now while that's going on you want to pour 8 large egg whites and it comes out to about a cup into your sand mixer, along with one teaspoon of cream of tartar. The cream of tartar helps to stabilize the egg whites, helps them whip up really nice. So you want to let that go until soft peaks form. Now that soft peaks have formed in the egg whites we're going to add a third cup of sugar. I usually keep it separate, next to the bowl, so that I don't forget, because it's really easy to forget to add it. It sweetens the meringue, so it makes it, you know, it tastes a lot better. While that's going on you want to check your syrup. So now that our syrup has reached 250 Fahrenheit, we're going to turn our sand mixer down to very slow, because you don't want this to splash up at you, and you're going to pour it in, making careful not to hit the bowl or the whisk, or else the sugar will harden instantly, and then you will get lumps of sugar syrup in your frosting. You want to let everything mix in and then turn back up, to medium-high level. Okay, so the bowl feels about room temperature, it's been about 7 minutes, and now it's time to add the butter, so you want to turn it back up to a low speed. For this, we're going to be using six sticks, or a pound and a half of butter. And you want to add the butter in slow increments, about two tablespoons at a time. You want the butter to be soft but not melted. So once you've added all the butter, you want to turn the meringue back up to a pretty high speed. You want to let everything incorporate, about two minutes. Alright, so when your mixture looks light and fluffy, you want to take the last step, which will be to add a tablespoon of vanilla extract. We use the real stuff, I wouldn't recommend using imitation vanilla extract, unless it's a necessity. And then you're going to turn it back on to incorporate. So, now that we have our Italian meringue base, we are going to be flavoring it with lemon curd to make lemon Italian meringue butter cream. So this requires a quarter cup plus two tablespoons of the lemon curd. You can just drop it right into the mixing bowl. You just want to turn it up to medium-high. So now that we've added the lemon curd, uh, one more optional step is you add a bit of lemon-yellow food gel, and this gives it a nice light yellow color, you can add as much or as little as you want. Turn it back on, mix it to incorporate. Once it's all incorporated, you have a nice light yellow lemon butter cream.

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