02 March 2024

In Which We Attempt That Baked Icing

I'm not going to lie: the spice cake with the baked icing intrigued me, because "baked icing". I had never heard of such a thing. But I am a person that owns two copies of The Joy of Cooking, 1953 and 1975, so I pulled them out and sure enough, both editions had a baked icing recipe.

The Joy of Cooking, 1953

The Joy of Cooking, 1975

How about that language change around the addition of cocoa? In 1953, cocoa varies the flavor, but in 1975 it provides an exciting new taste!

I made Mrs. Wright's recipe more or less as written, and while it was okay, I don't think I'll do it again - mostly because it's hella sweet. The icing is interesting though - it's essentially a baked meringue topping, spread thinly and baked long enough that it's brittle. Also - it's fragile and a little tricky to get out of the pan - it would probably be best baked in a loose bottomed pan.

If you want to try it, here's a slightly tweaked version of Mrs. Wright's recipe. (I used butter and yogurt in place of shortening and soured milk, added ginger, and left off the nuts.)


  • 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick) 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk 
  • 1 1/2 cups flour 
  • 1/4 t. salt 
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon 
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger 
  • 1/2 t. ground cloves 
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (not greek)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and egg yolk; beat well. In a separate bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg, alternately with the yogurt.

Spread into a greased & floured pan (1 8" square, or two loaf pans). Use a parchment sling, or a loose bottomed pan, if you want to be able to get the cake out of the pan in one piece.

  • 1 egg white 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Beat egg white until it forms stiff peaks. Mix in the salt and brown sugar. Gently spread this meringue on top of the batter. Bake 30-35 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, and then gently move the cake to a serving plate.