Ethereal Lemon Frosting

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 egg whites
pinch salt
zest one lemon

yellow food coloring, if desired

In a medium saucepan, bring sugar, zest and lemon juice to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to boil until it reaches soft ball stage (when a drop of the syrup forms a soft ball when dropped in cool water) while continuing to stir occasionally. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and salt to soft peaks. Keep the mixer running (you need a stand mixer or a friend to complete this next step) while you strain a continuous stream of the molten syrup into the egg whites. Add the food dye. Beat for about 5 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy, glossy and cool. Frost cooled cake.

My thoughts:

I love this frosting! Citrus is at its peak during the winter and I love taking advantage of that and making some really citrus packed recipes. This frosting is light and fluffy-almost marshmallowy- but has a strong, true lemon flavor. Sort of like a lemon meringue pie in frosting form. It is perfect on lemon cupcakes or even plain vanilla.


  1. The Old White Barn

    This sounds so perfect. For some reason I always think of lemon as a summer thing, but this really is the time of year to get them at their best, isn't it? Thanks for reminding me! Love your blog – thanks for sharing.

  2. Lovely lemon Italian meringue! I often flavor my Italian meringue w/lime.

    Either way, what a nice and light frosting for, well, just about anything:)

  3. I'm definitely making cupcakes with lemon frosting this weekend! Thank you!

  4. These frosting sounds SO lovely!

  5. Hi Rachel,

    This is the first recipe I've tired off your site. And it is
    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Simply delicious!
    I had to use SR flour as I was out of plain, and I toasted the frosting on a few just to try the flavour.

    These are a winner! I'm looking forward to trying many more of your recipes.

  6. Very yummy and fluffy.

  7. I am intrigued by this frosting recipe, but I can't quite figure out what it will taste like. Is it like a 7-minute frosting, kind of marshmallowy, but with a lemon flavor? Does it set up very quickly, or would I have time to pipe it onto the cupcakes?

  8. Jami-
    It tastes like lemon. The texture is sort of marshmallow-meringue, similar to 7 minute frostings but lighter textured. If you work quickly it can be piped but it does set up fairly quickly.

  9. Wow, I am from the UK and this is the first American frosting I have made. It is amazing. I frosted a coconut and lime cake with it and it really looks great. I am a convert and will use this frosting again and again. Much lighter and nicer than the tradition English Buttercream. Thanks

  10. Wow… I am from the UK and this is the frist time I had made American Frosting. I needed something special and this really hit the spot. It is amazing and I am convert and will be using this and other frosting recipes in the future. Much lighter and nicer than the traditional English Buttercream. I used it on a sponge this morning, but will make some cupcakes for our coffee morning next week – cant wait to hear the comments…

  11. How long will the frosting sit at room temperature (a day or 2)?


  12. It is best freshly made but if it isn't hot or very humid, it is okay the next day.

  13. Just made this icing to top butter lemon cupcake. It was delightful. I left the lemon zest in the recipe but would leave out next time. My kids did not like the texture of the zest in the icing.