Friday, March 13, 2015

Devil's Food Cake | Boiled Icing Recipe

Back in early High School, my dad would regularly bring home a slice of Devil's Food Cake. We'll open that styro lunch pack and eat the slice together while sharing some random stories.  Sometimes when we go grocery shopping on Sundays, we'll pass through a kiosk selling cakes, and we'll buy a slice of - you guessed it - Devil's Food Cake. For some reason, he's in love with this cake. It came to the point where I asked "dad, why devil's food cake? Why not angel's food cake? The icing is white anyway"*.

With all these good memories with Devil's Food Cake, I decided it's the perfect cake for my dad's birthday. But not just any Devil's Food Cake - I want to recreate the one he used to buy (in terms of taste; not the entire design). As I searched for a recipe, I realized that not all Devil's Food Cake is composed of chocolate cake + white icing. Some use chocolate buttercream and make it a triple chocolate cake, while some transform it into a sophisticated cake by using chocolate ganache.

But for my dad's favorite version, it is paired with white boiled icing. It's actually a light bulb moment when I realized what that icing is! You see, back then, I had no idea with baking; so, I don't know the difference between buttercream, boiled, ganache, etc. All I knew was that it's icing!

The frosting in the cake he used to buy was very light and tasted like marshmallows - not creamy like a buttercream, or rich like a ganache. At first, I thought it might be marshmallow fluff or maybe even melted marshmallows, but it wasn't that sticky. I know I pledged in this blog that I want to share recipes that can be done without electric mixers, but I purposely borrowed one just to make this cake authentic. I don't have strong arms to constantly mix for 7 minutes!

Boiled Icing or 7-Minute Frosting
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Add together sugar, cream of tartar, salt, water, and egg whites in a metal bowl, or the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. 
  2. Place bowl or pan over boiling water. Make sure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top bowl or pan.
  3. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. 
  4. Beat in vanilla.
Frosts one 2-layers 9" cake, plus more for decorating.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

The only problem I encountered with this frosting (or maybe the recipe) is that it hardens after a while, to the point that the frosting cracks when you pierce a candle on the cake or slice through it. Nevertheless, my dad was happy to taste this cake again after a long time!

*Oh, and just in case you're also wondering why it's called Devil's Food Cake, refer to the photo above. Notice how the chocolate cake has a red tint to it? ;)

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