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chocolate cupcakes with boiled icing piped into ghosts with candy eyes
5 from 2 votes

Chocolate Cake

Moist chocolate cake with old-fashion boiled icing similar to a Italian meringue 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 18 cupcakes
Calories 241 kcal


  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oil I used light flavored olive oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Boiling Icing:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Chocolate Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together. Set mixture aside.   

  2. In a large mixing bowl beat sugar and eggs until light yellow. With mixer running slowly drizzle in oil. Mix until smooth.

  3. Add buttermilk alternately with flour mixture. Slowly add 1 cup boiling water until batter is smooth. Mix in vanilla.

  4. Bake in preheated oven. For a 9 x 13 or 9-inch rounds bake 25-30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cupcakes bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes 24 cupcakes OR one 9 x 13-inch cake OR two 9-inch round.

Boiling Icing:

  1. Remove the eggs from the refrigerator so they will be room temperature when ready to use.
  2. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Stir the mixture to combine evenly; add the water.
  3. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stir continuously until it is clear. Allow the mixture to boil until it reaches the soft ball stage or 240°F on a candy thermometer.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow it to set while beating the egg whites.
  5. Beat the egg whites in a large, wide bowl until they form soft peaks. Be sure to use a wide bowl so that you have enough room to beat the frosting while you are adding in the sugar mixture without pouring it into the beaters.
  6. Once the eggs are at a soft peak, begin to slowly pour the boiled sugar mixture into the egg whites Pour the mixture along the side of the bowl while beating the two together.
  7. Make sure to pour the sugar mixture in a slow steady stream off to one side and continue to beat the frosting the entire time. Do not pour the sugar mixture into the beaters. To incorporate it into the egg whites, move the beaters back and forth into the area where the sugar mixture has been added.
  8. Once all of the sugar mixture has been added, pour in the vanilla extract. Beat until the frosting is thick enough to form stiff peaks.

Recipe Notes

Cake Notes:

  • High altitude adjustments: Reduce sugar by 2 tablespoons then add 2 tablespoons more flour

Icing Notes:

  • This fluffy white frosting is best when used as soon as it is made, but if necessary it can be stored for a day.
  • When storing the frosting, be sure to cover it tightly; and then refrigerate. If it is not stored airtight it will begin to set.
  • Once the boiled frosting has been spread on the cake, it can be stored at room temperature, but refrigerating it will help keep the frosting soft and fluffy longer.
  • Cover the cake with a domed cake server or a large container that is deep and wide enough to not disturb the frosting when placed over the cake.
  • Freezing the boiled frosting is not recommended.
Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 cupcake)
Calories 241 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 18mg6%
Sodium 267mg11%
Potassium 76mg2%
Carbohydrates 53g18%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 39g43%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 25IU1%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.