Boiled Icing

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Wednesday was a foggy, humid Nova Scotia midsummer day. The wild roses tumbling over everything, thistles sending up their spikes, blueberries just hinting at ripeness – the thick air scented like fruit and flowers. This is the weather that stretches memories all the way back to the idyllic summers of childhood.

Eleanor and I spent this particular afternoon in our dear neighbour’s kitchen. I requested that she make a traditional Nova Scotia dessert with me and she kindly obliged. She is such a good sport that way. I wanted to see how boiled icing is made. Having seen this mysterious, glistening topping at several community suppers recently, I was curious. It turns out that it is very simple, which is why it has been a mainstay in rural Nova Scotia since the turn of the century.

I raided my hens’ nest boxes for fresh eggs and off we went. We threw together a one bowl chocolate cake – two layers, because layered cakes are pretty. We compared recipes and went with the handwritten one below. The directions are dead simple. You will need a thermometer, a double boiler, a retro mixmaster (or a stand mixer), an espresso to keep you going, and a toddler for stirring.

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The blank canvas of this cake begged for decoration. We sprinkled on some borage flowers and calendula petals because we are drowning in beautiful edible flowers around here. Help!

I learned a great tip for icing cakes: slide waxed paper sheets between your cake and your plate when icing and pull them out when you are done for clean presentation.

I have never had much of sweet tooth, but lately I can’t stop thinking about cakes. They are just so fun and gorgeous. How about this one? It is pretty much the most famous cake on the internet right now.

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Please come over and help me eat this cake. I sent half home with my cousin today but I still have a few incredibly sweet slices left.

 

I would so love to hear some words from readers. Please click on the orange circle to the right below to leave a comment and your contact info. Thank you for reading!

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6 thoughts on “Boiled Icing

  1. I think I can safely say that, of all the boiled icing cakes I’ve had at community suppers in my day, this is the most beautiful of all. Edible flowers on a boiled icing cake? A first? A must!

  2. what a joy to share old traditions – boiled icing – and make new ones – calendula petal topping – with new friends. Thanks.

  3. I love your blog! It is always a reminder of the sweet an simple parts of life. I was wondering: where did you get Eleanor’s little apron? Did you make it?

  4. Kate, that is a dress or pinafore by O Sweet Madeline – you can find her at the Kentville Farmer’s Market and online. Her stuff is gorgeous!

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