Spice Cake with Sea Foam Frosting

I wasn’t sure what to bake today, so I flipped through an old cookbook called America’s Best State Fair Recipes. For some reason, I zeroed in on a recipe called “Perfect Spice Cake with Sea Foam Frosting” which was a winner at the Los Angeles County Fair. I’m not sure what attracted me to this recipe, but I think it was the sea foam frosting. I liked the name.

The cake itself was pretty basic. It was a spice cake with no raisins and no nuts. I figured the sea foam icing was key to making the cake special, so I kept on going with the recipe. Maybe you or your grandmother or your mother use to make Seven Minute Icing, the kind you whip up in a bowl set over a pan of hot water. Well, sea foam icing is like Seven Minute icing, but made with brown sugar. It sounds like a real pain, but if you have the correct size metal bowl and pot on hand, it’s fairly simple. In exactly seven minutes, I had a shinyl, fluffy brown frosting which spread on the cake quite beautifully.

sea foam icing.jpg

The sea foam icing is very sweet and so is the cake itself; at least right after being assembled. I found that letting it sit for a while toned down the sweetness. End result — a blue ribbon worthy cake.

Here’s a slice of the cake. Now remember, I put this cake together very quickly while baking cookies and fixing lunch for small children, so it’s ugly and I’m aware of that. But it’s good! The stuff on top is caramel. If something looks bad, a drizzle of store-bought squeezable caramel sauce does wonders.

spice cake with sea foam icing on plate.jpg

Spice Cake with Sea Foam Frosting

2 1/4 cake flour, sifted before measuring
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each – cloves and ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup butter flavored shortening (Crisco)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
1 cup room temp buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sea Foam Frosting
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two or three 9 inch round (see note) cake pans with flour-added cooking spray. Sift together pre-sifted flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in salt and spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black pepper). Set aside.

In a bowl, using medium speed electric mixer, beat shortening and both sugars until mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each egg. Using a mixing spoon or lowest speed of blender, add flour and buttermilk/vanilla mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.

Divide batter evenly between two cake pans and bake for 28 minutes or until cake tests done with a wooden skewer or pick (moist crumbs/no batter). Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks.

Prepare sea foam frosting. Set a deep metal bowl over a pan (I used a 3 quart saucepan) of boiling water. Reduce heat to a good simmer. Combine egg whites, light brown sugar, and water. Beat over boiling water for 7 minutes or until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and beat until thick enough to spread.

Note: Original recipe called for 3 (9 inch) round layers, but I prefer thicker layers of cake and used 2.

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  1. sandra says

    OK I must admit that when I saw the name of the frosting I thought it was going to be green because the color of the dress that my mother wore to my oldest brother’s wedding (in 1975) was called sea foam green.

  2. sandra says

    OK I must admit that when I saw the name of the frosting I thought it was going to be green because the color of the dress that my mother wore to my oldest brother’s wedding (in 1975) was called sea foam green.

  3. carole says

    The frosting is the same as the topping for the Donnie Cookies. No matter what you call it, it is good.

    In the cookies the topping is baked while the frosting is not.

  4. says

    Carole, it has the same flavor, but it is creamy and light like whipped cream. The other kind is baked and is kind of chewy. My grandmother’s Seven Minute Icing used to harden up over after a day or two, so maybe this will too.

  5. mrsminik says

    Frosting looks really good…do you think that it would go well w/ a chocolate layer cake? Hubby wants me to make the cake that’s on the cover of Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking from My Home to Yours” for his b-day this weekend, but he doesn’t want the featured “marshmallow” icing (though, if you ask me, it sounds delish!)

  6. says

    Hi Meredith,

    That’s a good question. I believe this frosting would be delicious with chocolate cake. However, if your husband is not interested in something marshmallowy, then this one might not be quite his style either. It is rather marshmallow-like, but flavored with brown sugar.

  7. says

    This looks beautiful. When I was a girl our neighbor would make sea foam frosting (and it was always green). She would put a glob on a piece of waxed paper and hand it to us when she had some left over.

  8. says

    This cake was a big hit with my co-workers. It was pretty and tasty. I agree with you, Anna, that it is better the second day. This cake did fall a bit in the center of both layers, but I didn’t try to even the layers out, and the frosting hid everything.

  9. says

    Even if you and your family don’t like pumpkin, a fantastic new dessert, Pumpkin. you will taste the moist cake, with cream icing, and with the traditional pumpkin pie, Pumpkin spice Cake will appear heavenly, yes, heavenly. Trust me!

  10. Heather says

    I found this recipe in a old cook book I got at a flea market a few years ago. It is called ‘Southern Living 1981 Annual Recipes’. I made it last night and oh my goodness…it was sooooo good! I’m glad someone took pictures because I had no idea what it was supposed to look like. I made mine in a bundt pan and I think it turned out quite nicely.

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