Italy's version of cream cheese, mascarpone, makes a rich, unctuous frosting for a variety of cakes, including carrot cake, chocolate cupcakes and buttermilk-spice cake. Depending on the recipe, the ingredients in a mascarpone frosting can be just the cheese and sugar beaten together; in other recipes, heavy whipping cream may also be included. When making this type of frosting, watch for potential problems, such as curdling or high temperatures, and make adjustments to the frosting as needed.
Avoid potential curdling of the mascarpone frosting by omitting acidic ingredients. Mascarpone-frosting recipes that call for the use of orange juice or other acidic flavourings may cause the frosting to separate into water and cheesy lumps. Leave out the orange juice and flavour instead with orange extract. If adding whipped cream to a mascarpone frosting, do not overbeat the cream, as that can also curdle the product.
Add yoghurt to lighten the frosting. If you find that the mascarpone cheese frosting is too dense and fatty, combine it with a small amount of plain whole-milk yoghurt to make it lighter. For a 340gr. tub of mascarpone cheese used in a frosting recipe, add about 1/2 cup of yoghurt, which will relieve some of the heaviness while giving the frosting another dimension of tanginess. Flavour with honey to balance out the flavours and sweeten.
Make a frosting dam if you are using the mascarpone frosting in conjunction with other ingredients that need to be "contained," such as any curd fillings. When placing the filling on the layers of cake, leave about a 1/2-inch border around the edges of the layers and apply stiff mascarpone frosting to form a guard against filling leakage. Make a separate "damming" mascarpone frosting, if necessary, with a stiffer consistency than the mascarpone frosting used for the other parts of the cake.
Chill the mascarpone frosting to stiffen to accommodate for long travel times. Reserve portions of mascarpone and/or cake filling on ice if you are taking the cake on a long trip or if the weather is warm. Touch up the cake with the extra frosting once you arrive at your destination.
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