the appetizer:

United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State by Warren Brown, includes recipes like Cassata Cake (Ohio); Sweet Potato Cake (Louisiana); Mud Cake (Mississippi); and Italian Meringue.


Italian Meringue

Yield: At least 4 cups


An Italian meringue is made by pouring hot sugar syrup into stiffly beaten egg whites and whipping constantly. Smooth and glossy and very fluffy, it has the taste and consistency of melted marshmallows. Because Italian meringue is made without butter, it holds up better than a buttercream frosting. It's great not only for filling and frosting cakes but also for piping, writing, and other decorative touches.

I like to mix things up a little, so it was fun to pair this frosting, often used for old-fashioned layer cakes, with the modern-day mud cake.

1. Combine 8 ounces of the sugar and the water in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium to high heat and cook until the temperature registers 245 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

2. Meanwhile, whip the egg whites on high speed to stiff peak in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment. Time everything so that the sugar syrup reaches 245 degrees F at about the same time the egg whites form stiff peaks.

3. Just before the sugar syrup is ready, drizzle the remaining 2 ounces sugar into the egg whites and continue to whip on high speed.

4. In a slow and steady stream, pour the sugar syrup between the revolving wire whip and the side of the bowl. Reduce the speed to medium high after 30 seconds and continue to whip for another 3 to 4 minutes.


The White Stuff

This fluffy white icing is well suited to many of the cakes in this book:


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This page created January 2011