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This recipe is classed as advanced

Rating 3.21 / 5 (63 votes)

Prep time:
10 min
Cook time:
25 min
makes 600ml

Rachel Allen shows you how to get this popular frosting right every time


1. Ensure your cake is ready before you start, as this icing begins to set very quickly. Bring to the boil a saucepan of water large enough to hold a heatproof bowl.

2. Put the egg whites in the bowl and whisk with a hand-held electric beater until very stiff.

3. In a separate saucepan over a medium–high heat, dissolve the sugar in the water and boil for 5-10 minutes until the liquid is thick and syrupy and has reached the ‘thread’ stage, that is, when the last few drops that fall from a metal spoon dipped into the syrup come off in one long, quite thick and syrupy thread.

4. Pour the boiling syrup over the stiffly beaten egg whites, whisking all the time with the hand-held beater. Put the bowl in the saucepan of simmering water. Continue to whisk over the water for 10-15 minutes until the icing is snow white, very thick and meringue-like.

5. Spread quickly over the cake with a palette knife, regularly dipping the knife into a jug of boiling water. The icing sets very quickly at this stage, so speed is essential.


  • 2 egg whites
  • 425 g caster or granulated sugar
  • 100 ml water

Tips and suggestions

This delicious soft icing is a little tricky to make, so follow the instructions exactly. Quick and accurate decisions are necessary in judging when the icing is ready and then it must be applied to the cake immediately. If the icing is not cooked enough, it will still taste good, but will not dry out properly on the outside. If cooked too much, it will be difficult to spread over the cake.

Adapted from Rachel Allen, Bake (Collins)

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Latest Comment


Sorry but I use Betty Crocker's icing. This is not a typical American icing.

dmF64437 dmF64437  Posted 04 Jul 2011 5:46 AM

fantastic , did not find it hard to do,one to do again.

jennie25 jennie25  Posted 28 Sep 2009 11:36 AM

Because the recipe contains egg white, is there a time period in which it should be consumed by?

NatalieC79510 NatalieC79510  Posted 11 May 2009 8:56 PM