Angel Food Cake with 7-Minute Frosting Recipe from Grandma’s Cookbook

by Amber on January 20, 2011

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It’s my birthday! And that means cake. So, what kind of cake will hold this food writer’s candles? There are so many endlessly delicious combinations of the spongy, sweet stuff. How can I pick a favorite?This year’s winner is: Angel Food Cake with 7-Minute Frosting.

Angel Food Cake with 7-Minute Frosting Recipe from Grandma’s Cookbook

 

7-Minute Frosting alone wins top honors from me in the category of cake-topping. Gooey, melty, and mounded like a poof of sweet air, this frosting makes me giddy. In fact, making this with angel food cake reminds me of playing with clouds. Both batters rise higher and higher as the whisk blades purr, threatening to ooze from the bowl and flood the room. I imagine swimming through the thick, vanilla-laden clouds, licking my fingers as I go.
Grandma’s Cookbook
This spring I returned to Illinois to visit family. When I’m with Mom and Grandma, we always bake. We had a hankering for this cake, so Grandma pulled out the cookbook she received when she was married— a book that was the backbone of most of our family meals growing up. In fact, when it came time to purchase my first cookbook, I selected a newer version of this very book: Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book—the one with the red and white checkered cover that looks like a picnic blanket.
My grandma’s cookbook from the 1940s.

 

In can only imagine the memories that cookbook holds!—birthdays, anniversaries, grandkids’ births, get-well dishes, sympathy casseroles, and everyday suppers. There are surely cottage cheese-based dishes that my Grandma loved (and my Grandpa hated). There are recipes torn from newspapers shoved between the pages for safe keeping. There are hand-written notes and recipes passed along from friends. If that cookbook could talk!
Three generations of women (me, my mom, and Grandma) piled into my mom’s kitchen this spring to share in the joy of baking this lovely cake together. We noted that this old recipe called for the eggs by volume (1 ¾ cups) rather than quantity (1 dozen) as most contemporary angel food cake recipes. Grandma pointed out that there’s a lot more water in today’s eggs and that “back in the day” the yolks were much larger and the whites smaller, so you might have used more than a dozen.
Folding sifted flour into beaten egg whites–like playing with clouds!

 

Grandma guided, Mom measured ingredients, and I mixed. We laughed. We took pictures. We talked about the evening’s meal. When the fluffy batter was ready, we scooped it into Mom’s angel food cake pan (which surprisingly, she had to purchase that day having misplaced her old one after not making this cake for years). Into the oven it went.
We set the timer, but Grandma’s nose was more exact. She smelled the finished cake several minutes before the timer was set to ring. Good ol’ Grandma!
Tips for the Best Angel Food Cake
To cool an angel food cake, you’re supposed to set the cake pan upside down over a wine bottle. This prevents the cake from flattening as all those tiny air bubbles cool. Problem is: modern day angel food cake pans aren’t designed with this wisdom in mind. Further, many modern angel cake pans are made with a slippery nonstick coating. This prevents the cake from doing what it loves to do best—slink and stretch its way up the sides of the pan, gripping as it grows. So the modern pan yields a slightly flatter cake.
Angel food cake recipe from Grandma’s old cookbook

 

How to solve this problem? Head to your local thrift store and purchase a traditional aluminum angel cake pan—free of the nonstick coating. I found one recently for only $1!
Tips for the Best 7-Minute Frosting
If you thought finding a proper angel cake pan was a challenge, try finding a double broiler for the 7-minute frosting. Apparently these are tools of yore. My mom used to own a double broiler (I think they were once as standard in every kitchen as Kitchen Aid mixers are today), but over the years her recipes moved away from this piece of equipment, and it’s long gone.
7-Minute Frosting Recipe from Grandma’s Old Cookbook

 

Thankfully, it’s easy to replicate a double broiler. Simply find a metal bowl that will rest stably on top of a pot of barely bubbling hot water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. The steam will provide the heat for the frosting.
Frosting the cake once it has cooled completely

 

You need to use the 7-minute frosting right away after you’ve made it, so wait until your cake is cooled and ready for frosting. Also, this frosting will get hard and crunchy on the outside if left exposed to the air. If you can’t serve it immediately, cover the frosted cake to keep it moist and melt-in-your mouth amazing.
Delicious, gooey 7-Minute Frosting as good by the spoonfuls as it is on the cake!

 

And if it’s your birthday, too: Happy Birthday!
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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Alice Ferris January 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Happy birthday Amber! Wow, I need cake.

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rowdychowgirl.com January 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Happy Birthday! Love the picture of that cookbook. My first cookbook was the paperback version of that one too, complete with the picnic blanket cover.

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acornsandapples January 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LADY!
i hope you had a splendid day.

i should note that i think a birthday girl should never do her own baking, but i suppose when the finished result looks as gorgeous as this one, i can make an exception. :)

you know i love the theme of this post. there is nothing more interesting or exciting to me than a passed-down recipe! i also get a lot of my aluminum pans at thrift stores…and for angel food cake in particular, keep an extra eye out for the pans with "feet" attached for when it is inverted and cooling. believe it or not, sometimes i don't have a wine bottle (gin bottle necks are not slender) so the feet can come in handy.

i hope you dig into that bad girl (cookbooks are girls) again soon!

xo aimee

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Lisa@ButteryBooks January 22, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Happy Birthday! Great cake!

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Mikaela Cowles July 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

What a wonderful, inexpensive way to make the recipe work! Happy Birthday indeed ;-)

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admin July 18, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks, Mikaela! :) I’m glad you like the idea. Thanks for visiting my site.

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Cyndi January 29, 2012 at 5:51 am

I will be 55 tomorrow January 30th, yippie? As
a young girl I shared a birthday with a good friend
Babby, she is no longer with us! But can’t
Help thinking about her as she would be 55
also, Babby’s mother use to make us an
Angel food cake with a yummy white sticky
icing!

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admin January 29, 2012 at 8:05 am

Cyndi, Happy birthday! I’m glad this cake could bring back some memories of your friend and her mother’s cakes. I hope you get a wonderful cake for your own birthday!

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James Hooper April 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for posting this article. We were searching for articles on how to get the texture in an angel food cake right — thinking of the cakes grandma used to make. Thanks for the good advice.

Also, wanted to mention that your article talks about a “double broiler” with an “r”. It is actually, a double “boiler”.

Thanks,
Jim H.

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admin April 9, 2012 at 8:51 am

Thanks, Jim! Glad you found the article helpful. This is such a great time of year for angel food cake. Good luck baking yours!

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Jeanne Culligan May 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm

My great aunt would always serve an angel food cake with pink fluffy icing when we visited. I asked my mom several years ago what icing my aunt used and she said that it was probably be a 7 minute icing. I was in Montana recently and had a spice cake but no store bought icing and since I actually had a double boiler at our fishing cabin, I decided to try it. It turned out great and my husband really liked it. He said it was a keeper! And now I know that was the receipe for that great angel food cake I enjoyed as a child.

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admin May 24, 2012 at 7:31 am

Jeanne, what a fantastic story! I’m glad you were reunited with this frosting. I agree with your husband: it’s a keeper!

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Jennifer Leighty June 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I would like to thank whoever posted this, my grandma passed away about a week ago, and i have been trying to find her recepie books, and I’m pretty sure i just did. I can’t wait to see how this frosting turns out :D

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admin June 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Jennifer, how touching! I certainly cherish my grandmother’s recipes and cooking with her. I’m grateful she’s still able to show me all her recipe secrets. I’m so glad you came across this, and I hope the frosting turns out as you remembered making it with her!

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Marcy October 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

Thanks so much for posting this! My great aunt makes a sunshine cake with 7 min frosting and she refuses to share the recipe! Of course that’s because it’s a family “must-have” at reunions :) Every year I can’t wait to spot that tall cake with fluffy white frosting and coloful sprinkles all over, so simple yet it’s the tastiest cake there. I’m going to try it today with your frosting recipe and a batter recipe I found online, I hope I do it justice! Hope you spend many more days enjoying cooking with your grandma, soaking up her cooking wisdom. Sadly it’s becoming a lost art, be sure to pass it on down to the next generation!

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Amber October 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Thanks, Marcy! I hope this recipe stands up to your aunt’s. We definitely want these tasty recipes to live on for others to enjoy. Best of luck! Keep on baking!

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Susie October 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Hey Amber~

Thanks for sharing! I love it! This is my Grandma’s favorite bithday cake that she made for me for many years. I used to bake and cook with my Grandma and she was a dear lady who was also a wonderful baker. I wish I would have gotten more of her recipes like this one. It was so fun to see this and I appreciate that you took the time to post it for us!

Thanks again!
Susie :)

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Amber October 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

Susue, I’m glad this brings back happy memories for you. That’s one of my favorite things about cooking family recipes!

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Heather @ My Kansas Life January 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm

That frosting is super yummy! Thanks for sharing the pictures — I would not have tried making it without photos :-)

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Ruth May 10, 2013 at 6:29 am

What a beautiful and precious piece of history you have there! how wonderful it will be for you to pass down the line in the family. Thank you for sharing your memories with us and YES, old fashioned, homemade, non “instant” cooking is almost always better!

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Elisabeth June 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm

It’s double boiler–one R, not two
Glad you showed how much icing the recipe makes. Most recipes say “enough for one layer cake.” Is that one (2) layer cake or a one-layer cake. Big difference. Thanks for the recipe and memories.

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Kitty August 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Exactly what I wanted….Thanks Sooo Munch..um much. Meow

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jennifer August 18, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Thank You so much I lost my Mammaws copy of this in Katrina and had not been abke to find it. I see this cake and icing in my near future… thank you

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