Chocolate frosting emergency!
November 21, 2013 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I am making a birthday cake to serve to a bunch of kids, and I just did the first stage of the frosting recipe: I melted 125 grams of chocolate with 75 grams of unsalted butter. Then I realized the next step involves raw eggs, which I'd rather not use in a recipe for young children. (Especially because it will probably sit out for a while before serving.) But I hate to waste the chocolate and butter. Without using raw eggs, what can I do to transform this melted butter/chocolate mixture into a delicious chocolate frosting?

(In case anybody is curious, the recipe I was following is from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess. The next step would be to beat in 2 large eggs, 500grams icing sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon rum. I was already planning on leaving out the rum -- but I assume I can't just leave out the eggs without ruining the texture.)
posted by yankeefog to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can make a decent basic icing with just icing sugar and a liquid element, so you'll be making a nice icing, just a different one. imo.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:09 AM on November 21, 2013

Best answer: You could try to sub in sour cream (maybe + a little milk?) for the eggs. No guarantees, but it might help the texture.
posted by coppermoss at 9:10 AM on November 21, 2013

Honestly, dude, if you just cool it in the fridge until it's SLIGHTLY firmer, then whiz it with a standing or hand mixer with some more softened butter, a generous pinch of salt and some vanilla, then a LOT of confectioner's sugar, it will transform into a perfectly-acceptable frosting.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:10 AM on November 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Just add the icing sugar and use it. Maybe add a bit more butter to losen the mixture. Check the taste then put it on the cake.
posted by Ranting Prophet of DOOM! at 9:11 AM on November 21, 2013

buy pasteurized egg whites.
posted by royalsong at 9:11 AM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would add whipping cream -- six tablespoons will be the same amount of liquid as two large eggs.

If you are leaving out the tbsp of rum because: alcohol, you would also want to leave out the vanilla extract, which is quite boozy. But of course people don't worry about kids having vanilla extract. Certainly fine to leave the rum in if you like.
posted by kmennie at 9:12 AM on November 21, 2013

Yeah, really all you need to do here is blend in some powdered sugar until it hits a frosting-y consistency. That should do you just fine.

You are dealing with butter and chocolate here. No matter what it looks like, it's still going to end up tasting like butter and chocolate. There is almost no way to fuck this up.
posted by phunniemee at 9:24 AM on November 21, 2013 [14 favorites]

Best answer: Joy of Cooking has a recipe for whipped ganache frosting that involves melting chocolate and whipping cream to make a ganache, then whipping it with a hand mixer until it gets lighter in color and using it as frosting. I've used this several times.

So, I'd say maybe melt in a little cream to loosen up your stuff a bit, if necessary, then whip it to incorporate some air, and then you should be good to go.

It may not be totally as beautiful as the original recipe would be, but sprinkles cover a multitude of sins and are a big kid favorite. So, sprinkles.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:29 AM on November 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Whip w/ the sugar w/ 250g unmelted butter and the vanilla; pour in the chocolate mix. This is American Buttercream frosting; it's delicious. You need to whip it on high for at least 3 minutes. You can keep adding sugar/butter to get the desired consistency and sweetness.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:30 AM on November 21, 2013

MORE butter, plus icing (confectioner's) sugar and a dash of vanilla, as above.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 9:43 AM on November 21, 2013

The delicious frosting I make is just melted butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and enough moisture (milk or cream) to make it spreadable (depending on the size of your batch, this would be a few TBS - 1/3 cup, maybe - not much). Taste as you go, and if you're using unsalted butter & the frosting is tasting too cloying, add a dash of salt.
posted by peep at 9:50 AM on November 21, 2013

Best answer: Add almond extract. It will make it yummy.

Depending on how soft it is at room temperature, I might remove some of the current mixture before adding the powdered sugar, so you'll need less sugar. You can incorporate your soft buttery chocolate stuff into brownies or something later.

Also - in addition to confectioners' sugar, you can add cocoa powder, if you want to make the frosting more chocolatey/less sweet.

Be careful of the texture. The whole thing will be a bit stiffer once the butter cools down. Of course you know that already, but I know it and I still end up making fudge accidentally.
posted by amtho at 9:53 AM on November 21, 2013

I would just throw in a tablespoon or two of milk, and add the icing sugar gradually. You might need a little bit less (or a little bit more?) icing sugar to reach a good consistency. I usually make frosting by continuing to add icing sugar until it "seems right".
posted by snorkmaiden at 9:56 AM on November 21, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! All your answer were really helpful, and gave me the confidence to forge on ahead.

I took the consensus advice and added more butter and some liquid -- I had some buttermilk on hand, so I used a tablespoon of that. With hindsight, I probably should have added two or three tablespoons, because the frosting was a little thick. (Also, I should have probably reheated it a little-- it cooled down while I was posting the question, and that made it a little fudgy. I'm sorry I didn't see amtho's post before I went back to the kitchen!)

This cake is not exactly going to win the Great British Bake Off... but it is perfectly servicable, and I think its intended audience of three-year-olds will be very happy with it. Especially when I take leahwrenn's advice and add sprinkles.

Oh, and kmennie, good call on the vanilla. At least one of the grownups in attendance will be Muslim, and I'd feel lousy if I inadvertently caused her to break the prohibition against alcohol. I'm so used to using vanilla extract in my cooking that its alcohol content wouldn't have even occurred to me if you hadn't pointed it out. Thanks for catching that!
posted by yankeefog at 9:59 AM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

FYI, it is possible to buy non-alcoholic vanilla (and perhaps other extracts). I tried some, and it was glycerin-based.
posted by amtho at 12:01 PM on November 21, 2013

Response by poster: Good to know, amtho-- I will keep that in mind for next time.
posted by yankeefog at 12:05 PM on November 21, 2013

In the future, look up "American Buttercream". That's essentially what you just made. It's butter, confectioner's sugar, a little milk or cream, and whatever flavoring you prefer.
posted by Anonymous at 1:10 PM on November 21, 2013

In the Cake Bible, one of my favorite frostings is melted chocolate and butter whipped together and nothing else. It makes a lovely bomb-proof shell that travels well and tastes out of this world.
posted by Foam Pants at 4:38 PM on November 21, 2013

Response by poster: Final update, in case anybody is following the story: after frosting the cake as described above, I gave the kids some squeezy bottles of colored icing and let them add their own decorations, adding greatly to the cake's shambolic charm. Then I served it, and not a single complaint was heard.

Thanks again, all.
posted by yankeefog at 1:19 AM on November 23, 2013

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