Airy Strawberries and Cream Frosting
This sugar-free frosting is bursting with flavor of real strawberries. Unlike creamy and buttery frostings, this dreamy meringue-like frosting is airy and fluffy, not heavy. Real strawberries guarantee the authentic strawberry taste without anything artificial. Using freeze-dried strawberries makes also sure that the frosting doesn’t turn out watery, like it would with fresh strawberries.
This frosting is perfect for cakes and cupcakes. You can also make gelatin dessert — just spoon the mixture into dessert bowls and let set in the fridge for an hour or two. A perfect way to finish any tasty summer meal!
Airy Strawberries and Cream Frosting
1/3 cup = 80 ml Confectioner’s Style Swerve OR powdered Zsweet sweetener (or powdered erythritol)
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
1/4 cup = 60 ml heavy cream
1/2 cup = 120 ml organic freeze-dried strawberries
4 egg whites from organic extra large eggs
- Combine the sweetener, gelatin and the heavy cream in a small saucepan.
- Crush the strawberries into powder and put in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites in a deep and narrow bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Heat slowly the gelatin mixture in the saucepan over medium heat. Mix constantly along the bottom.
- Heat until the sweetener and the gelatin are well dissolved. The mixture can boil a bit, but don’t let the mixture get any color or burn to the bottom of the saucepan.
- Drizzle as slowly as you can the hot mixture into the egg whites while constantly beating vigorously with an electric mixer. Be careful not to burn yourself, the mixture is scalding hot!
- Add the crushed strawberries to the egg white mixture and mix until well mixed.
- Use as frosting or spoon into serving glasses to serve as gelatin dessert.
- Chill for an hour or two before serving.
- Store frosted goods or gelatin dessert in the fridge and consume within a day.
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Tips for making the frosting
The first step is to soften the gelatin in the saucepan with the cream and the sweetener. This frosting is not extremely sweet, so please feel free to add more Swerve or Zsweet, or maybe some liquid stevia. Vanilla stevia would also give a delicious hint of vanilla. Again, if you cannot get Zsweet elsewhere, please send me mail via contact form and I’ll tell you where to get it. (I won’t get any profit from that.)
If the freeze-dried strawberries are crunchy — like they should be — it’s easy to powder the strawberries by clean and dry fingers. You can also use a pestle and mortar for powdering the strawberries. If the strawberries are not crunchy, they are not stored correctly and you shouldn’t use them here.
Next, it’s time to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. A deep and narrow bowl works best.
After that the soaked gelatin with the other stuff is heated in the saucepan. The scalding hot mixture is poured extremely slowly into the egg whites, beating vigorously all the time.
The final step is to mix the powdered strawberries to the frosting. I noticed that organic freeze-dried strawberries have more intense color, more intense taste and they are sweeter than non-organic ones, so try to get some organic strawberries.
This frosting is foamy and spreadable, not pipeable. You can also spoon the frosting into serving bowls or glasses to serve it as gelatin dessert and let the dessert set in the fridge for an hour or two.
The egg whites should keep their form, but if the peaks disappear while you are pouring the hot mixture and the whole thing gets flat, don’t despair. There is still a way to try to save the frosting: Put the flat mixture in the fridge while you beat 2 egg whites in a clean bowl with clean beaters. Beat until stiff peaks form. Take the flat mixture from the fridge and fold gently the beaten egg whites into the mixture. Take a hand-held mixer and beat the mixture until smooth using the lowest speed.
NB. This recipe contains raw eggs. Even when the hot mixture is poured into the egg whites, I cannot say if the egg whites get pasteurized. If you want to be absolutely sure about the safety, please use pasteurized egg whites for this frosting.
About developing the recipe
My first purpose was to make a meringue-type frosting with strawberries. Since syrup — which is an essential ingredient in conventional meringue frosting — was out of question, I had to think of something else.
Since the syrup is usually made by cooking sugar and water into syrupy consistency, I also wanted to try combining water and sweetener, but add also gelatin to help thicken the consistency. With only water and sweetener you won’t get syrupy consistency no matter how long you boil the mixture.
In my first experiment I combined water, Zsweet and gelatin in a saucepan and put the mixture aside so that the gelatin can soak for a while. Then I crushed some freeze-dried strawberries one by one until I had got some nice strawberry powder. It was clear from the very beginning that I will use freeze-dried berries. First of all, they don’t make the consistency of the frosting watery. Secondly, I always wanted to experiment with freeze-dried berries in cooking or baking, but didn’t somehow manage to do that. Now was finally the time.
After crushing the strawberries I beat 2 egg whites until they were stiff. Now it was time to heat the mixture in the saucepan until everything was dissolved.
Very slowly I poured the scalding hot mixture into the egg whites while beating vigorously all the time. The consistency was very fluffy, the egg whites didn’t get flat after pouring the hot mixture.
Finally, I added the strawberry powder. The result was really airy, actually too spongy. The texture was really loose and the air bubbles were too big. I poured the mixture into a plastic box, covered it tightly with lid and put in the fridge for an hour.
After an hour I checked how the frosting looked like. Well, it looked like spongy marshmallow. Quite okay, but I wanted creamier and firmer stuff.
Talking about cream, I thought I’ll replace the water with heavy cream. I was a bit afraid how the fluffy texture of the beaten egg whites will survive after pouring the hot cream into them. Cream contains fat which is a well-known flat-maker for egg whites. Well, I simply had to try out how the cream will work.
The stiff peaks flopped and the result was firm and heavy foam. I poured the mixture again into a plastic box — this time into a much smaller one because the yield was remarkably less than in my first experiment. I thought maybe the frosting works better as gelatin dessert than frosting.
Again after an hour I checked how the output (well, frosting or gelatin…) looks like. Texture was very firm and the frosting was easy to pop out of the plastic box. It also tasted heavenly. My family scarfed down the gelatin before I managed to say anything, so I didn’t have any chance to take a photo…
I was wondering if I could make the texture still fluffier. Maybe adding another egg white would help? Now there seemed to be too much heavy cream compared to the amount of egg whites.
Using altogether 4 egg whites helped, the consistency was fluffy but creamy. However, I still wasn’t satisfied with the frosting since now I had used too much sweetener.
The next batch was finally perfect. I used the frosting for cupcakes. I had made some red velvet cupcake experiments and the frosting tasted surprisingly good with those.
Sorry, now I have to digress a bit, but when making some red velvet cupcake experiments I noticed that my results deviated from what Wikipedia and all the cookbooks I know were saying. Yes. They say that when making red velvet cake or cupcakes in old-fashioned way using raw cacao powder, it’s the acid in the buttermilk which makes the cacao turn red while baking.
For me it was just the opposite. Raw cacao powder needed alkali to get the red color. It was the baking soda — a well-known alkali — which made the cocoa powder to turn red in my red velvet cupcakes. Well, of course not that red what you get with artificial food colorings, but certainly with some reddish hue. Well, you see the color in the photo below. I still have to experiment to see if my observations were really correct. In any case I baked many batches and saw the red color appear without buttermilk and with baking soda, not with baking powder. Maybe the almond flour had something to do with it as well?
Tips for variation
Please feel free to experiment with other freeze-dried berries and fruits. If you are counting carbs, you already know that usually fruits have more carbs than berries. Well, the carb count for all the dried stuff anyway high, but the tiny amount needed here makes the overall carb count low.
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