Three Divas Frosting

Welcome to our regular recipe column from teacher and stand-up comedian Sarah Whitmore.


Photo credit: Sarah Whitmore

Um, is it time for dessert yet? Have you been holding your breath, crossing your fingers, waiting for confirmation that it’s safe? Stop. It will never be safe. It’s time to celebrate.

Blow up a balloon, follow a lengthy makeup tutorial involving a LOT of metallic eye-shadow and let’s get this party started—but cautiously because there’s maybe a 7th surge coming and apparently the variants are unpredictable, highly volatile, moody.

For the past 16 months I have been chugging green juice, mud juice, root juice and gulping handfuls of every supplement known to humanity: Vitamins D, C, L, G, B, T, Q, R, S, V and P. I have abstained from sugar—all in an effort to POWER BOOST my immune system. Honestly, my immune system is over it. What my immune system needs is less powdered mushroom clotting at the back of my throat and MORE SWEET JOY!


Photo credit: Sarah Whitmore

When I crave sweets, I like to showcase hunky, potent flavors. Call me a heavy-handed hedonist, but I’d rather not hint about what I’m after. I add cups rather than pinches. Chocolate is black. My lemon bars contain enough citrus to make you squint, eyes watering. And no vanilla vanilla, thank you.

I want the vanilla in a thing to make me feel like I’ve been napping, sunburned, with only my cowboy boots on, in the wood-paneled Captain’s quarters of a Tahitian yacht. No weak-sauce. If we’re not picking chunks of vanilla husk out of our teeth, WAS there any vanilla?

This is the Best Vanilla Frosting In My World. To make it we must consult The Glorious Cream Trinity, aka The Three Divas: Her Royal Highness, Mascarpone; Her Majesty, Butter; and Her Grace, Cream Cheese.

We will use the entirety of the vanilla beans, shell and all. It is a doofus waste to discard the highly flavorful pod. Don’t be afraid of the little chunks of husk. They are delicious and offer a chewy, nibbly texture—like dark vanilla chips.

Photo credit: Sarah Whitmore


Yields: enough for 12-16 lavishly topped cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Chill time: 15-30 minutes


10 ounces Mascarpone cheese

½ cup butter (I suggest the best, lightly salted, grass-fed, highest fat/European style)

4 ounces cream cheese

2 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted

2-3 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 whole vanilla beans

Photo credit: Sarah Whitmore


  • ONE DAY BEFORE: Trim the woody tips off 2 vanilla beans. Cut up vanilla beans and place them at the bottom of a small jar. Cover to submerge with 2-3 tablespoons of vanilla extract. (Side note: I keep a few vanilla beans soaking in a jar of vanilla extract at all times. Just in case The Divas call to me.)
  • A FEW HOURS BEFORE: Set out 4 ounces cream cheese, 10 ounces Mascarpone cheese to warm to room temperature. Be sure they’re in a room warm enough to soften cheeses.
  • Warm 1/2 cup butter to JUST softened. I used the microwave, 15 seconds.
  • Place the butter, trimmed and soaked vanilla beans, Mascarpone cheese and cream cheese into a food processor or powerful blender.
  • Sift 1 ½ cups powdered sugar over the ingredients in the food processor.
  • Blend to obliterate the bean pods, 2-3 minutes.
  • Sift 1 more cup powdered sugar into the food processor. Blend 2-3 more minutes. Pulse occasionally. Scrape down the sides of the food processor, occasionally, through the processing. If consistency is too soft after chilling, add a bit more sifted powdered sugar.
  • There will be little vanilla husk chunks in the frosting. These are delicious and delicately chewy.
  • Serve with local strawberries, over chocolate or vanilla cupcakes, or eat with spoon out of bowl. Just in time for Mother’s Day!


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