Yield: Frosting for two- or three-layer cake with lots of fluff on top
4 egg whites (1/2 cup)
3 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
Whisk together egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and water in the top of a double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, use a stainless steel bowl placed on top of a saucepan of simmering water.) Before placing egg white mixture over simmering water, use an electric mixer (a hand-held mixer is essential here) beat on high speed 1 – 1 1/2 minutes.
Place over simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bottom of pan with egg white mixture). Beat on high speed for 7 minutes, while water simmers. This will cook the egg whites and thicken the icing.
Remove pan from heat and add vanilla. Beat 2 more minutes on high speed (off the simmering water). This will thicken and cool icing.
Use an 8-inch metal, offset spatula to fill and thickly frost cake. Pile remaining frosting on top of cake. Yes! All of it!