Cocoa Mountain Frosting

cocoa mountain frosting
Growing up, birthday cakes were always a big deal in our house.  Or they were to me.  Because baking, heh.  Well ok that and eating the baking.

In my stubborn world view, a birthday is not a birthday, a birthday is not complete unless there’s cake involved.  Cake.  Has to be cake.  Have to have cake.  Cake cake cake.

I know, there are lovely folks out there like Mike who prefer birthday pie or birthday anything other than cake which is ok, ya know, that’s fine, sure.  Ok, ok.  Terribly confusing to me and it breaks my brain but hey, everyone is different.  And different is good!

Four times a year were the celebrations in my household.  Three my mom baked and one was typically a combo effort between me and my dad plus my brother on occasion.  Baking wasn’t his jam but no worries.

One of my favorites was a chocolate cake with what my mom called “marshmallow frosting.”  It was a box cake mix and this ethereally light, sticky, gooey, fluffy, vanilla-y frosting, much like a melted marshmallow swirled atop.

whisked 7 minute frosting peak
Sluuuurrrrpppp!  Loooookie at that seriously lovely frosting peak!
Soooo delicious.

I never asked too many questions about it as I didn’t want to ruin the mystery, to be a cheeseball.  I quietly enjoyed not knowing the magic of this frosting concoction, a birthday enigma, a true gift, my mom’s need-to-know-basis, classified info.  

Plus it’s her favorite so I weirdly imagined her guarding it.  But not really, I knew she’d share.

I know.  Sometimes I’m very strange and my amok imagination is something to behold.

Right, anyway.

Years and years and *cough* years passed and like a dork, I still didn’t ask.  Until this year.  
She dug up the old recipe and sent me a photo of it.  

Yep, you guessed it, it’s a version of a seven minute type called White Mountain Frosting.  It’s from the Betty Crocker New Picture Cook Book, the old one in the binder.*

I’d never made any version of seven minute, probably leery of potentially ruining the secret for myself, kinda like unmasking the Easter bunny or Santa Claus, ya know?  Heh, again with the wacky imagination goin’ on here.  Yes, I am feeling ok, thanks.

I can’t remember why I asked for it.  Maybe I felt like it was finally time to know.  Or finally admitting to myself I’m no longer eleven years old or so.  Yeesch that sounds sad!

Actually, it’s probably a load less convoluted in that I wanted to add it to my non-tooth-shatteringly-sweet frosting repertoire.  Seeing as I’m still on the prowl for perfect, not American-buttercream-chock-full-of-multiple-pounds-of-powdered-sugar kinds, Betty’s, or my mom’s as I prefer it, fits the bill very nicely.

Boy, I am all about the hyphens today.


So the recipe is now in my hot little hands.  To carry on and share with you.  I’ll admit, I feel kinda weird having it but I’m glad I do.  

But then for some reason I decided to kick it up a notch, turning it into Cocoa Mountain Frosting.

cake covered in cocoa mountain frosting
Oh yum.  Just yum.  Gimme a huge slice a’ that one, please.  Yes I know, it’s lopsided.  Ah well, so be it.
See, I whipped this up quite a bit ago and am now having trouble recalling the scenario.  Ahem, that part about not being eleven or so anymore…..

Ah.  Right.  Ok, photos help.  I had made yet another yellow cake recipe as part of my other long-standing quest to find the perfect one (Hot Milk Cake is darn close).  So many quests.  

But I thought it’d be fun, a cocoa version and dammit, I was right.  It tastes exactly like a lightly chocolatey homemade marshmallow or like a hot chocolate and for heaven’s sake, what the flippin’ heck is wrong with that?!  Nothin’, I tell ya, noth.-thing.

Now, I personally am not the biggest fan of using processed items like corn syrup, but this frosting is a treat.  Both versions, white and cocoa.  

And considering how kinda little sugar there is in this recipe overall, to me, comparatively speaking to oodles of other recipes out in the world, this is better than four hundred cups of powdered sugar and twelve sticks of butter as “frosting.”

And bonus?  It’s dairy-free and gluten-free for dairy/gluten free folks!  Winner winner Cocoa Mountain Frosting dinn….uh dessert!  That doesn’t work as well, yeahhhh.

My mom shot off a few warnings and tips, (she flies by the seat of her pants and doesn’t use a thermometer*), seemed a bit nervous that I was going to make my first attempt, but she also said it’s not difficult, that it should be no problem.  And it’s not, so don’t freak out.

This is going to be a bit of a photo fail, sooo, apologies.  I’m short on process ones.  And I totally didn’t play up the floofiness of the frosting.  Where was my head?  Doh.

Start by heating up the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a saucepan and toss those room temp egg whites into your mixer bowl.

Cover the saucepan and let that get to a helluva boil after which you can:  check for 242° F (117° C); drip a drop into cool water and see if it holds a ball shape; check if it gives you a silken strand of six to eight inches long by dipping a wood spoon in and pulling it up; or, as I did, a lame sorta combo effort but mostly winged it.

About halfway through this boiling, start whipping up the egg whites and stop once they get to just stiff peaks.

Carefully, and I mean carefully because that sugar stuff is HOT, lightly stream the liquid into the mixer while it’s running on about medium-low.  If it’s splashy, lower the speed.

adding boiled sugar water to egg whites in mixer
Every photo prior to this step was blurry.  So here’s after the heated sugar is blended into the egg whites, before the vanilla and cocoa.  My mixer speed was probably too high, hence the splashy.
Once it’s all in, add the vanilla and cocoa, mix then pop the speed back up to whip everything into mountainous, fluffy peaks.  Voila!  You did it!

cocoa mountain frosting on cake
I know, lots of steps skipped photo-wise.  And nowhere near as swoopy as I should have done it.  But voila, Cocoa Mountain Frosting, beauteous!
Note that this frosting does deflate after a few days but I discovered that if you have a cake cover,* it actually lasts a few extra days beyond the few days.

Happy swirling!

Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

Cocoa Mountain Frosting

Cocoa Mountain Frosting

12 servings
Prep time
10 Min
Cook time
10 Min
Total time
20 Min
A dreamy, billowy, dairy free cocoa-y marshmallow-y frosting that garnishes a cake in the most dramatically swirly way.


  • 1/2 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) light corn syrup
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) vanilla
  • 1/4 cup (21 g) cocoa powder, sifted


  1. In a small saucepan, stir the sugar, water, and corn syrup together, cover with a lid, then heat to a boil.
  2. After several minutes, remove the lid and either check for 242° F (117° C) on a candy thermometer, drip a drop into a bowl of cool water to see if it holds a ball shape, or check for a 6" to 8” thread.
  3. About halfway through boiling, whip the room temperature egg whites just until stiff peaks start forming. Turn the mixer off and set aside.
  4. When the sugar liquid is ready, resume the mixer to about medium-low speed then slowly and lightly stream the hot liquid into the egg whites very carefully.
  5. Once combined, add the vanilla and cocoa powder then increase the mixer speed to whip the frosting into big billowy peaks.
  6. Spread over a two layer 8”, two layer 9”, or a 9x13 cake. Store under a cake cover to prolong the time before frosting deflation.


Adapted from Betty Crocker.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)


Please see the "info" section for nutrition details and information about gram weights.

chocolate, frosting, cake

*The Betty Crocker New Picture Cook Book, instant read thermometers, and cake covers are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

Share your thoughts :

  1. Aww the taste of my childhood too-thx also my mom made a strawberry version for me w/a compote instead of cocoa-deliciousness. Thanks again

    1. Great memories, right?! Wow, a strawberry version! I bet that was fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Followed the recipe exactly and it was a disappointing abomination. Looked like chocolate syrup when I was done. What went wrong?

    1. Oh gosh, I am so sorry! It could be a few things: if it was humid by you, that could cause this issue. Too, if it wasn't heated enough, it could turn runny. Also, if it wasn't whisked enough, the structure it needs might not form causing it to run. I hope you'll give it another whirl, it's very worth it! Thanks for your great question!

    2. I forgot to mention too, any tiny speck of yolk or fat/grease in the bowl or on the whisk might throw it off. As well, key is to slowly stream the hot sugar liquid in. Hope you nail it next time!


Spam is not good for baking. Please don't leave any, thanks.

Follow @thebakedept on Instagram