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Boiled, 7-Minute or Sea Foam Frosting
From the Old Recipe Detective Blog

2 eggs whites, brought to room temperature

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 tbsp of white corn syrup

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup very hot water

(large bowl filled 1/4 full of hot water to sit the bowl of mixture in, in final phase of beating frosting)


Put 1 cup sugar in saucepan.  Add tbsp of corn syrup.  Add 1/4 cup hot water.  Cook over low to medium heat, allowing mixture to boil until it is clear and strings from spoon.

Meanwhile, separate 2 eggs.  Place the whites in medium sized mixing bowl and discard yolks.  Beat with electric mixer until whites form very stiff peaks. While still beating, slowly add all of the boiling frosting mix directly from the burner.

Quickly place mixing bowl in large bowl with hot water, being very careful not to allow water to enter frosting mix!

Beat for about 7 minutes or until frosting forms stiff peaks and is shiny. 

Quickly add 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar.  Beat until mixed in well. 

Immediately, frost cake.  Frosting should be the consistency of melted marshmallows.


This recipe has also been called Sea Foam Frosting.  It will look like sea foam with a couple drops of green food coloring in place of the vanilla. 

Visitor Comment:

  • "I just stumbled across your site and read the posts about boiled frosting. It brought back a funny memory of my mom, who as a young bride in the ‘40s decided to surprise my father with a homemade red velvet Valentine’s Day cake. Apparently, she was using a recipe for boiled frosting, because she recalled that the recipe said to cook the frosting, “until it spun a nine-inch thread.” Not having any idea what that meant (but being an avid seamstress!), she obediently cut a piece of thread nine inches long and held it over the pot while the frosting cooked, waiting for the thread to spin. A good while later, when it was clear the thread was never going to spin, she decided it must be long enough, took the pot off the heat and frosted the cake. The cake was a thing of beauty to look at, my father said, but when it came time for dessert and he tried to cut it, the knife wouldn’t penetrate the frosting. Finally, using both hands and all of his considerable strength, he did succeed in getting the knife through the frosting. Unfortunately, when he lifted the knife to make a second cut, the frosting came off in one rock-solid piece – sort of like a cake helmet. I don’t believe my mother ever attempted boiled frosting again! My mother’s been gone for over five years now, but I have many wonderful memories of her. This piece of family lore is one of my favorites."

  • "I was just online looking at recipes and found the posting on your site about Boiled Frosting.  In my family we often made the Boiled Frosting but another variation we used was seafoam frosting.  Our version of Seafoam frosting substituted brown sugar for the sugar in the recipe and left out the corn syrup because of the molasses in the brown sugar.  The procedure is basically the same, we boiled it in a double boiler for 7 minutes over simmering water.  The tell tale sign of it being ready is that it loses some of it's shine when perfect to spread.  I remember my mother making this every year for my birthday and putting it on a devil's food cake.  The recipes she used were from a Swan's Down recipe booklet that was often included in the flour sack or box up until the 50's.  I am in my 40's now and I make the cakes for her.  We still love the recipes and recall my grandmother who started us both on this path so many years ago." from Lanelle


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