Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Ice Man Cometh and Snowball Cake

Last night the ice arrived here in the Northeast.

I don't know which is worse; epic amounts of snow or an inch of ice coating everything.

I spent the weekend painting my daughter's room. When she was a little girl TBHITW and her painted her ceiling blue with fluffy white clouds. Then they painstakingly glued glow in the dark stars in the field of blue. No longer a little girl and off to college it was time to redecorate. I pried the stars off the ceiling and with frustration the patience of a saint sanded the now cement like glue off.

Three coats of paint later I had a pristine white ceiling. Next I painted the walls a lovely linen color. Last, I set about painting the trim. When I got to the closet I remembered that TBHITW always measured the kids on the door jam. There were all her height measurements - from the time she was six years old up until she turned eighteen. The paint brush froze in my hand and I thought "a family once lived here".

No matter how many coats of paint I applied the dates and measurements kept bleeding through. I guess this old house isn't ready to give up its memories. I checked again this morning and they are still there. Yes, a family once lived here - the memories, like the ice outside my window - all frozen in time.

Speaking of memories, I posted my grandmother's chocolate cake recipe sometime ago here. It is the easiest, moistest cake you will ever make.

My girlfriend Judi took this cake one step further and turned it into a snowball cake. I think this is the perfect cake to bake on a snowy, icy day.

Nanny's Moist Chocolate Cake: makes a 2 layer cake

Preheat oven to 350. Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Butter and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put everything (starting with the dry ingredients) in a large mixing bowl. Plug in your mixer. Beat on low speed (trust me on this one) until well combined. The batter is very thin.
Pour into prepared pans and bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 35 minutes.
Cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks and cool completely before frosting.

Here comes the snowball part:

Marshmallow Frosting:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/4 salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bag sweetened coconut flakes

Put all the ingredients except the vanilla and coconut into the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Stir until the sugar is melted. Using a hand mixer beat the mixture for seven minutes or until light and fluffy. Remove from heat and fold in the vanilla. 
Working quickly frost the cake. Press the coconut into the frosting. 
Voila - snowball cake. 

Judi told me the cake tastes just like those hostess snowballs, only better because it is homemade. 
Why not make some memories of your own today with this recipe? 


  1. Lovely cake and I am sure it is so good. Printed it off for later. Hope you don't loose power with all that ice.

  2. When I was a teenage I painted my bedroom walls dark blue and the ceiling black with gold stars... to this day I feel guilty about how much effort it took my dad to redecorate!!

  3. Oh, I love this story. Memories tend to be persistent. In this case, I think it's so lovely that the measurements are stubborn.
    And that cake looks luscious!

  4. We were supposed to get two feet of snow...all we got was about 3 or 4 inches of sleet.

  5. Hmm...when it came time to choose the color for my new room I was sick so my dad chose the color he wanted. It was actually a cheery yellow, appropriate since the room was bathed in natural light. Besides, it's hard to complain when I skated out of all the work. Though sometimes physically demanding work that requires absolutely no mental capacity can sometimes be a blessing.

    We have had our cooking fun for the day; the toddler and I made applesauce for the first time. I do have a food related question: my baby turns 1 soon and I am planning on making him a cake of his own. Can I just admit now that I am not a baker? I figure he won't criticize. Still, is there a trick to icing a cake because people keep laughing at my efforts. This also applies to cupcakes. If it doesn't improve I may get a complex. Thanks!

  6. Odie,I would much rather eat it than print it out.

    Bacon, what we don't do for our kids!

    Jayne, whoever buys this house when the time comes to sell it will know that there was love here.

    Rebecca - I think I would prefer snow!

    Whitney - buy yourself an offset spatula. Having the right tools is always the trick! So far as cupcakes are concerned I always use a pastry bag and pipe the frosting on. But whatever you use I'll bet your Connor is going to love it!

  7. We raised our first grandson until he was almost 12. When he was 10 he wanted to move into the bedroom in the basement that was vacated by our son. He wanted a special room and already had Coca Cola sheets and ceiling fan. So I painted the room brown and used joint compound to create the foam at the top of the "coke". The furnace room door became a red and white striped straw. He loved living inside a glass of coke, but when it came time to sell and I had to paint the room I really hated my imagination and willingness to make it happen!! I do love the memory of his face when he saw what I had done.

  8. What a beautiful post! It reminds me of a book someone gave me called Markings on a Windowsill: A book about Grief that is really about Hope by Ronald Greer. Have you heard of it?

    The cake looks amazing. Take care.

  9. I seriously want a big piece of that cake right now! It just would not be safe in my house, not even for a little while.

    I've been thinking about you with this recent storm. Glad to know you are occupying yourself in a very creative and fun way. Also glad the measurements kept leaking through. I miss having those on my pantry where we kept track of those milestones - including the animals. :-)

  10. That cake looks absolutely scrumptious! Chocolate and coconut is a great combo and I will be trying this recipe very soon! Very pretty, too.

    You could always take a photo of the measurements, as a keepsake. We're having an ice storm today, too! Can you believe that? Stay warm!

  11. Some memories aren't meant to ever go away.

  12. That cake really does look perfect for that weather! And your icicles are seriously impressive.

    I don't think I would try too hard to paint over the marks - she might like to see them now and again when she's older.

  13. We here in frozen Texas really don't need snowball cakes.

    Splints, however, we could use. Or at least my teenager could, thanks to the ice.

  14. oh Good GOD I could eat that in one sitting. (zip me your email address. I tried to reply but it was returned - the comcast one.)


  15. Way cool. And I don't mean that as a pun. I used to love 'Snowballs' and the idea of homemade ones is tempting.

  16. Thanks for this recipe--I turned it into cupcakes for the girls and they loved them. I blogged about you on my spot--again!! We really must cook together sometime soon....Thinking of you with lots of love, C.


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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