For chocolate butter-cream, add four ounces of melted chocolate to this recipe at the end. It's excellent with milk chocolate.
INGREDIENTS | YIELDS enough to frost 1 (9-inch) cake
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 large eggs plus 4 egg yolks
- 1 pound unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Boil the sugar and water together without stirring until slightly thick and between 234 and 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (this is called the “soft ball” stage — a thin ribbon should fall with the last drops off a spoon).
Whisk together eggs and yolks in a double boiler or steel bowl atop a pot of simmering water. Gradually whisk in the hot sugar syrup; heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is hot to the touch, thick, and ribbony. Remove bowl from heat, and continue whisking until cool, about 5 minutes more.
In a mixer or bowl, beat the butter until it is fluffy and light. Gradually beat the whipped butter into the egg mixture, adding it in tablespoonfuls.
Add the vanilla, and whisk to incorporate. If desired, flavor by adding melted chocolate, fruit liqueur, or espresso.
Cool over an ice water bath until it reaches a comfortable consistency for spreading. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Use a swivel vegetable peeler to make attractive shavings and curls from a block of chocolate. Just start with a large flat surface of chocolate, like the edge of a bar or the side of a hunk, and shave away from yourself, letting the curls fall onto whatever food you're garnishing. Don't try to pick them up with your fingers, though, because they melt faster than butter.