Whipping the light fantastic

Yes, you read that right.

Not an original one today, but I was so irrationally excited by the results of this recipe that I had to share it!

I dearly love a cupcake, but find most buttercream icing/frosting a bit too sweet and rich. So when I saw this alternative on one of my favourite YouTube channels, I had to give it a go. Coffee foam. No fat. No dairy. Obviously coffee doesn’t go with everything, but with chocolate cupcakes? Yum!

I got the recipe from the Emmy Made YouTube channel. I’m a great fan of hers. She tries all kinds of things, makes all kinds of things, tastes all kinds of things and tests all kind of things. She’s lovely, with a calm, friendly, youthful demeanour, and is refreshingly frank about her own fails and bloopers. She calls it Magic Coffee Whip and she herself got this recipe from a source detailed in her own video about it (see the link below), but it basically boils down to three everyday, basic ingredients:

20g/¾ ounce instant coffee granules/crystals* (NOT powdered)
200g/7 ounces caster (superfine) sugar
160ml/5½ ounces icy cold water, the colder the better.

Using either a stand mixer with the balloon whisk fitted, or an electric hand beater on medium/ high, first gently bring together and then whip them until a firm, pale foam is formed, like meringue or whipped cream. It takes about 3-5 minutes, depending on which machine you use (you can of course beat by hand, but it’ll take quite a while. Don’t lose heart, it will happen). That’s it.

The coffee flavour is sweet and strong. The mouthfeel is light and airy, like a very delicate marshmallowy meringue. You can store it, too, without the whole thing breaking down disastrously. A little coffee liquid will form at the bottom (see photo below) and the foam will darken on the surface and become a little more open in texture, but it’s still perfectly usable. As you can see below, it still supports the weight of the knife. I have yet to discover at what point it breaks down past usefulness. I suspect it’ll be eaten long before that happens.

You can top cupcakes or brownies. You can top iced coffee or chocolate. I haven’t yet tried it with hot drinks. I’m told you can even make it without the sugar, but that would be quite bitter and would need to be paired with something pretty sweet to balance. I’m not sure about the science, but it’s apparently about the granules in the coffee bonding with the icy water and forming a stable foam with strong walls. Or something. Emmy explains it better in her video.

Go on, give it a try. It’s like magic! 


*I used Nescafé Blend 43

50 thoughts on “Whipping the light fantastic

  1. manicmumdays says:

    I’m not much of a sweets person but that looks delicious!

    • katechiconi says:

      It has a lot of volume for not a lot of actual content so it doesn’t fill you up, and the coffee gives a nice edge of bitterness. It’d make a perfect chocolate or caramel ‘meringue’ tart. The relatively small amount of ingredients also makes loads, too, so next time I’ll halve the quantities.

  2. Now that’s what I call tempting. Tempting to buy one made by someone else, that is, not tempting to have a go at it myself.

  3. tialys says:

    I had to scroll through quickly as I’ve put on weight since lockdown and am trying to avoid any new temptations. Enjoy though.

  4. kymlucas says:

    What a great idea!

  5. Susan Nixon says:

    It sounds like an interesting combination of textures. I’d have to find something not-coffee to try it out, but a kitchen should be a science lab, don’t you think? =) I’m glad you found something you like.

    • katechiconi says:

      I agree, if you don’t drink coffee, the enjoyment is more theoretical, but still, it’s a lot of fun to watch it happening! Kind of like watching what happens when you add bicarb to sugar syrup!

  6. nanacathy2 says:

    Oh my , OH MY, this I must try.

  7. Marty K says:

    I’m so excited that you’re an Emmymade fan as well! I love her channel! That coffee foam looks really good — I just need some cupcakes to put it on.

  8. Tami Von Zalez says:

    That looks delicious (said in my best Julia Child voice). I love coffee flavored items (ice cream …) so if I tweek it with Splenda it might be my new favoriteist thing.

  9. I’m not a fan of instant coffee, but that does look interesting

    • katechiconi says:

      Nor am I! We keep a jar of instant for the Dowager, who prefers it to the proper stuff, and for the occasional glass of coffee milk. But this is not at all nasty, and if you can access a small jar of granules, is worth it just for the science (and the cake topping afterwards….).

  10. magpiesue says:

    “Coffee foam” – I just love the terminology! I’d prefer something other than coffee flavored, but it does provide an interesting prospect.

    • katechiconi says:

      I do see that if it’s a property exclusive to instant coffee granules the appeal is limited to those who drink coffee, but I love the effect in a science fangirl way. It’s like meringue, or honeycomb, or any of those other things where unlikely ingredient combinations create marvellous effects.The Emmy Made YouTube channel is definitely worth a visit to see what other bizarre things she’s made or tested.

  11. What an interesting idea! Drat I made coffee and walnut cupcakes yesterday and put buttercream on them!

    • katechiconi says:

      That sounds lovely too. It’s just that I sometimes find buttercream a bit too heavy, sweet and fatty. Never mind. The recipe, such as it is, will still be here next time!

  12. Emmely says:

    That looks really interesting to try but I really don’t like coffee. A small whiff in something is still okayish, but I guess since it’s one of the main ingredients the coffee taste won’t be subtle?

  13. Mmmm… I saved this recipe a while back but we never have instant in our house but I must remember to pick up a sachet or two for the purposes of testing.

    • katechiconi says:

      For this particular recipe you’ll need probably 4 tablespoonfuls, but I reckon halve it and you’ll have plenty. I can always mail you some if it takes too long and you get impatient! And as you’re sugar sensitive, halve the sugar again, as it’s not necessary to the foaming process.

  14. Chris S in Canada says:

    I watched the video – it was very entertaining. Reminded me of making my own marshmallows. Watching it happen is at least half the fun.

    Mmm coffee and chocolate. Oh yes – will definitely try this.

    • katechiconi says:

      It is fun, and her surprise and delight are a huge part of the fun. She’s so entertaining. I’m going to be trying her recipe for Hokkaido Milk Bread soon.

  15. Ohhhh this looks super yummy
    I am making brownies this weekend for the elder daughter so will make this as well 😍

  16. cedar51 says:

    This brings back memories of “making creamy coffee” – way back in the 1960s when “instant coffee (not granules)” were the thing. At boarding school and someone tried out some probably because they were waiting in line for the urn.
    The coffee and a tiny bit of cold milk in the base of your cup and then “stir, stir, stir” the longer the better.
    Then slowly pour in the hot water, too bad about the rest in the queue and bingo you had a creamy coffee.
    I think some added more milk but the coffee in the 60s knew how to “cream”

    Looks fun, the uTuber – subscribed – what else can I learn…although at the moment, I’m “off coffee”

  17. I normally avoid food channels as I’m perpetually on a diet. I am like you with the frosting. This sounds amazing and I might have to give it a try; though not right away. I’ve bookmarked Emmy’s channel. Thanks

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