Mom loved to bake cakes, and one of my favourites that she made for birthdays and other special occasions was her Cocoa Chocolate Cake that she frosted with Fluffy Boiled Icing.
I remember watching mom make the icing, and I was fascinated by the way the boiling candy mixture drizzled off a spoon held high above the saucepan, forming a long clear thread that meant the candy was ready to use. Mom always knew just when to remove the candy from the stove and pour it slowly into the beaten egg whites.
Her boiled icing was white and fluffy and so tasty that as children we often argued over whose turn it was to lick the beaters clean and whose turn it was to scrape the last smidgens of frosting from the glass bowl once the cake was completely iced. I remember hoping that maybe mom made more frosting than she needed for a particular cake but that never happened—she thought that a chocolate cake could NEVER have too much boiled icing covering it, and as usual, she was right.
When the main meal was over and it was time for dessert, when mom placed the chocolate cake mounded with sky-high boiled icing on the table, we knew we were in for a treat. Add a glass of ice-cold milk or a hot cup of coffee or tea to the occasion, take a mouthful of sweet chocolate cake and sticky boiled icing, sit back and enjoy. Life was good.
By the time we finished our cake and licked the last bit of icing from between the fork tines, we were sticky, happy children, who didn’t even mind having our hands and faces scrubbed in an effort to remove any remnants of icing that would otherwise make its way to our hair or our pillowcases that night.
The weekend is coming up—isn’t it about time to make a delicious chocolate cake and cover it with boiled icing? Just be careful with the hot candy mixture—it can burn fingers and needs to be watched closely so it doesn’t overcook and caramelize in the saucepan. I know this from experience—the first time I made this icing recipe, as a teenager eager to impress a new boyfriend, I left it too long on the heat, and ended up having to throw out not only the candy mess but the saucepan and spatula too! I don’t remember anyone being impressed by that!
Cocoa Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
1 ¾ cups white sugar
¾ cup cocoa
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup shortening
¾ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup milk
3 eggs (unbeaten)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 9” round pans. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, baking powder. Add shortening, ¾ cup milk and vanilla. Add ½ cup milk and eggs. Beat 2 ½ minutes. Pour into pans. Bake 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans. Ice cake with boiled icing for an absolutely delicious dessert.
Fluffy Boiled Icing
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
Combine above ingredients in a saucepan. Stir until well blended. Boil until a a little will spin a long thread when dropped from a spoon held high above the pan.
Crack 2 egg whites into large bowl. Beat egg whites until stiff but still moist. Pour hot syrup over egg whites while beating. Continue beating until mixture is very fluffy and holds its shape. Add 1 tsp. vanilla. Beat until blended. Spread onto chocolate cake.