Marshmallow Fluff Is The Unexpected Hack For Easier Buttercream Frosting

Many bakers love Italian buttercream, but it is a labor of love. This frosting begins with a creation of sugar syrup, so you've got to get this combination of sugar and water to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the syrup has become pliable enough to work into balls. Then you need to let it cool for a bit and combine with whipped egg whites, creating a meringue. The meringue forms the base of the buttercream.

What if there's a way to get some of this great meringue flavor and texture in your frosting without all of the hassle? This shortcut comes in the form of a much beloved pantry classic — marshmallow fluff. If you think about it, marshmallows feature some similar ingredients to a meringue. They both start out with a sugar syrup, and some marshmallow recipes call for whipped egg whites to be combined with the syrup. To transform them into marshmallows, gelatin is added to firm the mixture up, as well as vanilla and sugar.

Tasty frosting made faster

Marshmallow fluff, also known as marshmallow creme, is the spreadable version of traditional marshmallows. It contains a mixture of corn syrup, sugar, egg whites, and flavoring, and it makes an amazing base for a frosting. One jar of this ingredient can be used to create enough frosting for an 8-inch cake with two layers.

Working with this notoriously sticky stuff can be a bit of a challenge, so coat your spoon or spatula with cooking spray before trying to remove the marshmallow fluff from the jar. The fluff is then combined with either softened butter or a mixture of butter and vegetable shortening depending on your personal preference. A stand mixer, or a handheld one, will help whip the ingredients together. While fluff is already sweet, you'll still want to add powdered sugar to the mix as well. You'll probably want between two to four cups in total, but taste it as you go to get the ideal level of sweetness for you. Adding a dash of vanilla extract could help boost the existing flavor of the fluff.

A very versatile frosting

Marshmallow frosting works well with a variety of cakes. There's always the perfect pairing of marshmallow and chocolate, of course. And it makes an excellent addition to a s'mores-style cake, too. You could make a graham cracker cake for one layer and use chocolate for another layer, and then frost and fill it with the marshmallow frosting. It would be good for a lemon cake, serving as a sweet contrast to the sharpness of the citrus, and maybe paired with a lemon curd for the filling.

You can also play with the flavor of the frosting itself. Combine it with your favorite peanut butter and make yourself a fluffernutter cake. Adding flavored extracts is another way to alter the frosting's taste. Try almond extract to bring some nuttiness to your dessert, or coconut for a more tropical flair. Incorporating orange extract could give your cake a bit of a creamsicle vibe.