The Icing on the Cake

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Once you’ve made the perfect cake, top it off with the perfect icing

When the holidays arrive, so will company. A frosted cake is a great way to sweeten up a crowd. Whether you call it frosting or icing, cupcakes and cakes benefit from a layer of whipped sweetness. More than just the pretty face of your dessert, frosting seals in moisture and helps keep those goodies fresh. It’s truly the icing on the cake!

There is one exceptional confection in our recipes this month. The Whisper Creek Bundt Cake keeps improving after it is made, so it’s a terrific “do-ahead” dessert. Created by Corrine Beckwith of Franklin, it was the 2017 winner of the Pick Tennessee Products “Bake History” contest. This top treat won among entries from across the state and will win at your table as well.

Happy Holidays!

Fluffy White Frosting

4 egg whites
1⅓ cups sugar
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar until blended. Place over simmering water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, heat the mixture until a candy thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove from the heat and add the extract. With the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, around 7 minutes. Use immediately. Store frosted cake in the refrigerator.

7-Minute Frosting

1½ cups sugar
2 egg whites
1½ teaspoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine the sugar, egg whites, corn syrup, cream of tartar and 5 tablespoons of water. Cook, beating constantly with a hand mixer, for 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the extract. Continue beating for 2 minutes longer until the frosting is thick enough to spread.

Butter Chocolate Frosting

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3¾ cups powdered sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon butter or pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar at medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate, milk, extract and salt. Continue mixing until well combined and the frosting is thick enough to spread.

Caramel Frosting

4 cups sugar
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the sugar, butter and milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring gently and constantly until the candy thermometer reaches 222 then stir vigorously until thermometer reaches 234 degrees. This will take about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, but do not stir. Cool 10 minutes.

Beat with a handheld mixer on medium speed for 9-10 minutes or until spreading consistency has been reached.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in the extract and use immediately.

Citrus Buttercream Frosting

1¼ cups unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon or orange juice
3 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, zest and juice at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until creamy and smooth.

Sour Cream Frosting

cup unsalted butter, softened
⅓ cup sour cream
Pinch of salt
4⅓ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sour cream and salt at low speed until well combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until smooth and creamy. Stir in the extract and use immediately.

Basic White Cake

¾ cup shortening
1½ cups sugar
21⁄4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract 5 egg whites

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the shortening at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating well.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the shortening mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix at low speed after each addition until blended. Stir in the extract.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the batter and pour evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire racks. Frost as desired.

Apple Raisin Cake

Yield: 12 servings
6 large apples, cored and sliced
¾ cup chopped pecans
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
Powdered sugar for garnish
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Place the apples, pecans and raisins in the baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Place the condensed milk, flour, butter, eggs and baking powder in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth.

Pour over the apple mixture and do not stir. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest 10 minutes before serving warm with a garnish of powdered sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Whisper Creek Cake

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature and softened
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup whole cream
4 large eggs
½ cup cream liqueur — Whisper Creek
Tennessee Mocha Sipping Cream
2 teaspoons Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract
1 ( 2.75-ounce) bar Mexican-style chocolate, coarsely ground, divided

Soaking Syrup

8 tablespoons (½ cup) unsalted butter
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cream liqueur — Whisper Creek
Tennessee Mocha Sipping Cream
½ teaspoon Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract


3 cups whole cream
9 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan.

Place all the cake’s dry ingredients and room-temperature butter in a large bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the bowl after one minute.

In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, whole cream, eggs, liqueur and vanilla extract. Mix wet ingredients together for about a minute on medium speed. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat at low-medium speed for another two minutes.

Spritz inside of the Bundt pan with cooking spray. Then sprinkle ⅓ cup of flour inside the bundt pan and turn the pan to coat evenly. Set aside. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and spread level with a spatula or butter knife. Sprinkle 1.75 ounces of the coarsely ground chocolate bar over the batter in the Bundt pan. (Note: reserve 1 ounce ground chocolate bar to top the cake after frosted.) Pour the remaining batter into the Bundt pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the deepest part of the cake comes out clean.

Leave the cake in the pan to cool slightly while you make the Soaking Syrup:

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine all syrup ingredients, except vanilla. Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 to 8 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Use a long skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour about ¼ cup of the syrup over the cake (still in the pan). Allow the syrup to soak in, then repeat again and again until all the syrup is used.

Cover the pan loosely with a clean cotton dish cloth and allow the cake to sit for about an hour or to room temperature to cool completely. This allows the syrup to soak in. When ready to serve, loosen the edges of the cake with a butter knife and invert onto a serving plate. If the cake won’t release, place it in the oven, turn it on to 350 degrees and warm the cake for 5 to 10 minutes to soften the syrup; remove from the oven, and tip the cake onto the serving plate.

Make the Frosting: Combine all Frosting ingredients, then beat on medium speed until the cream holds soft, firm peaks.

Once the cake has cooled, frost with the whipped cream frosting. Once cake is frosted, lightly dust the top of the cake with the remaining ounce of coarsely ground chocolate bar.

Serve with hot coffee or tea. The cake is very moist, fragrant and potent.

Note: You can wrap the unfrosted cake securely or place under a cake cover and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage, up to 1 month.

Watch Bake History winner Corinne Beckwith demonstrate how to make her Pick Tennessee recipe on the latest episode of “Live Green, Tennessee!” The episode will reair on Monday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. Central and again on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 2:30 p.m. Central. “Live Green, Tennessee!” is the weekly original series produced by WCTE-TV/ PBS airing every Monday.


About Author

Tammy Algood

Originally from Starkville, Miss., Tammy Algood is a viticulture and wholesale produce specialist for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture's Market Development Division. She has a Bachelor’s of Science from Mississippi State University and a Master’s from Middle Tennessee State University. She writes about food for The Tennessean and monthly for The Tennessee Magazine. As the spokesperson for the statewide “Pick Tennessee Products” campaign, Tammy also develops recipes for their website at Broadcast appearances include Nashville’s local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates as well as statewide on PBS. Tammy can also be seen nationally on the HGTV and DIY networks.

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