Monday, August 22, 2005

In Search of Boiled Frosting

We recently had a request for a boiled frosting recipe…. "Boiled Frosting was a recipe of my grandmother's. I know she frosted cakes with it for my mom around the 1930s and 1940s but exactly how old the recipe is I haven't the foggiest! I remember my mom saying it had to be cooked in a double boiler and you had to stir/whip it forever. Thanks for any help.”

I found several recipes for boiled frosting in a number of old cookbooks – the recipes are similar but have variations depending on who published the recipe. I also discovered that it is sometimes called White Mountain Frosting. If anyone knows more about the history of boiled frosting, please let me know. The final recipe gives the most guidance and it sounds like you do have to stir and stir and stir!

From the Dr. Price Cookbook, published by the Price Baking Powder Factory, 1929

Boiled Frosting
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ tsp. Dr. Price’s Baking Powder
White of 1 egg
½ tsp. flavoring extract
Boil sugar and water until syrup starts to spins a thread at 238 degrees. Pour very slowly into stiffly beaten white of egg and beat until smooth; add baking powder and flavoring and mix well. Allow to stand about ten minutes and spread on cake.

From “Reliable Recipes,” no publication date but booklet looks like it is from the 1920s.

Boiled Frosting
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 T. corn syrup
2 egg whites
Boil sugar and water until syrup starts to spins a thread . Pour very slowly into stiffly beaten egg whites. Add flavoring and beat until smooth enough to spread.

And finally here is a recipe from the “Five Flours Cookbook”, 1938.

Boiled Frosting
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
Cook sugar, corn syrup and water until syrup will spin a long thread when dropped from the tines of a silver fork. Remove from fire. Have ready the stiffly whipped egg-whites. Pour hot syrup slowly onto the egg-whites, while beating constantly. Add vanilla and beat until mixture until mixture is almost cold, is creamy to taste and will hold its shape when spread on the cake.
Grated lemon or orange rind or almond flavoring may be used instead of vanilla; chopped nuts, chopped dried fruits or cocoanut may be added.

If you have a lost-recipe you would like me to search for, please post your message here or email And feel free to visit

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