Vintage Snow Frosting and Birthday Cake with My Mom

birthday cake

Raise your hand if you’re a February baby. And if you live in the Midwest, raise your other hand if you’ve ever had a blizzard on your birthday. Both my hands, and my husband’s, are high in the air. But a blizzard will never stop us from eating birthday cake with snow frosting.

My husband’s birthday is the day after mine, so he is older than me 364 days of the year. This year, we are celebrating on the beach of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Yes, we ate cake by the ocean on February 20 and February 21 while our families were battling the grocery store lines in preparation of a massive Midwest snow storm.

Before we left, I sat down with my mom, Linda Moe, in South Dakota and we talked all things birthday—birthday cake, my all-time favorite snow frosting, also known as 7-minute frosting, and barbecues for episode 12 of Funeral Potatoes & Wool Mittens.

She surprised us by making us our very own birthday cake! A classic, 9×13 chocolate with snow frosting, sprinkles and candy letters.

9x13 cocoa fudge birthday cake with letters that say happy birthday Staci and Jason

In the podcast, linked below, we walk through the steps to making vintage, sticky snow frosting which tastes somewhat like marshmallow frosting. I learned that my mom actually got the recipe from her mom, my grandma Janet Moe. Same with the cocoa fudge cake. And it was never a birthday party without my mom’s barbecue meat on white buns.

Grandma Janet with birthday cake in 1928
My mom with her birthday cake in 1952

My mom explains when it’s best to use the cocoa fudge cake recipe and how humidity affects the outcome of your snow frosting. If you’re making a regular 9×13 cake and you like a more moist cake, I recommend making crazy cake or heavenly chocolate birthday cake (both recipes are at the end of this blog post).

My Grandma Janet used to make the cocoa fudge cake and snow frosting for my mom. We found a picture of mom with one of the cakes on her seventeenth birthday.

mom with birthday cake
My mom on her 17th birthday.

And those vintage hand beaters Grandma used to make the frosting when when my mom and uncle Norrill were kids? Mom still has them.

vintage hand beaters

Over the years, my mom also made cakes for her grandpa Hulsebus, Grandma Janet’s dad.

If you ever feel nostalgic about birthdays, you’re not alone. I wrote this post about wishing I’d saved one birthday candle from each of my kids’ birthday cakes.

I wonder what memories my kids will have of their birthday cakes?

Grandma Janet and my mom on my mom’s birthday a long time ago

So I asked our moms to find a few bygone birthday photos of Jason and me.

My mom recommends using a clear vanilla extract when making snow or 7-minute frosting so that it stays nice and white. Watkins is our preferred brand.

Sweet birthday wishes to you this year,


Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes with Snow Frosting

Staci at Random Sweets
Snow frosting, also known as 7-minute frosting, has been a birthday tradition in my family since I was a little girl. Now I top my moist heavenly chocolate cupcakes with it. Double the recipe for a layer cake.
4.34 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24
Calories 124 kcal



  • 15.25 oz chocolate cake mix
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing

Snow Frosting

  • 1 egg white , room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract



  • Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 24 muffin cups or line with cupcake papers.
  • Combine all cupcake ingredients. Beat on medium speed until blended.
  • Pour into cupcake pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Snow Frosting

  • In a small double boiler stir together egg white, sugar, salt, water and syrup before setting it over the heat.
  • Cook over soft boiling water (you don't want it to splash), beating with an electric hand mixer 7 minutes, or until frosting will stand in stiff peaks. Remove from heat.
  • Beat in vanilla.
  • Frost cake or cupcakes. Store in airtight container at room temperature.


For 9×13 pan: Pour into greased 13×9 inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.
This recipe makes one 13×9 inch cake, two 9-inch round cakes or 24 cupcakes.
Double the snow frosting recipe for a layer cake or for more than 24 cupcakes. Can also substitute almond extract or another flavoring for the vanilla.


Calories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.002gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 244mgPotassium: 102mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 38IUCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg
Keyword 9×13 cake, birthday, Bundt cake, cake mix, chocolate, cupcakes, frosting

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

Cocoa Fudge Cake

Staci at Random Sweets
This is a nice, firm cake good for making layer cakes. It's a little more on the dry side for people who like it that way. It's my Grandma Janet's recipe.
No ratings yet


  • ¾ cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons soda (baking soda)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • cups ice cold water


  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat shortening, sugar, vanilla and beaten eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. (cocoa, flour, soda, salt)
  • Alternately combine the dry ingredients (cocoa mixture) into the wet ingredients (egg mixture), by alternating with the ice water. Start by adding a little of the dry cocoa mixture to the egg mixture, then add some of the ice water. Then add more of the dry cocoa mixture and then more of the ice water and do that until it is all combined into one batter.
  • Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured 9×13 pan. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

Crazy Cake

Staci at Random Sweets
Also known as wacky or depression cake, crazy cake is moist, rich, chocolatey and surprisingly not too sweet. The top has a glossy, tackiness that makes it finger-licking good.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 servings
Calories 186 kcal


  • 9×13 pan


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar for sprinkling on top
  • berries for serving, optional


  • Heat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grab a 9×13-inch pan. Do NOT grease.
  • Put the flour, baking soda, salt, unsweetened cocoa and sugar in the pan and whisk them around with a fork to combine. Make three separate wells in the dry ingredients – a large one and two small ones.
  • In the large well, pour vegetable oil. In the second well, pour in vinegar. In the last well, pour in vanilla.
  • Pour the 2 cups cold water over all of it and mix with a fork.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with berries if desired. Store in airtight container.


Calories: 186kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 190mgPotassium: 36mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gCalcium: 5mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cheesecake, chocolate, chocolate cake, dairy-free, egg-free

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

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