Strawberry Cake with Never Fail Icing

It is birthday season. Blane Sr. last week and Blane Jr. this week. I made this strawberry wonder for my son after he asked me to surprise him with a special cake.

I started with three layers of white box cake mix. Between the layers I put a layer of strawberry preserves and some fresh sliced strawberries.

strawberry layer

The icing is the magical part. It is a meringue type icing, not something you can buy in a tub or box but something you have to actually crank up the stove to make. It is worth the entire seven minutes of your time. That is one of the popular names for it, Seven Minute Icing. But it takes a little longer than that to make. It is also known as Never Fail Icing, but I’ve had it fail on me before. Those failures have much to do with the humidity. If it is rainy outside, it won’t sugar properly and will be sticky.

So, besides sunshine, here is what you need for the icing:

2 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup of sugar (granulated, not powdered)

3 tablespoons of water

1 teaspoon of vanilla

You’ll need to make it in a double boiler. Don’t panic if you don’t have one, I ghetto mine with a bowl and a stock pot. Just make sure the boiling water in the lower pot does not touch the bowl.

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar and water in a bowl and mix for one minute before putting the bowl or upper pot over the boiling water. (hold off on the vanilla for now)


See below, my aluminum bowl fits perfectly over my stock pot with the boiling water.

double boiler

While the water in the lower pot boils on med heat, use an electric mixer to whip the mixture until stiff peaks form (yes you are doing this over the stove, don’t burn the cord for your mixer).


Like this in the above photo. This takes about seven minutes. Then you take it off the pot of boiling water and add the vanilla. Whip some more until the sides begin to sugar, about a couple more minutes and not over the stove.

Now you need to work fast and you had better have that cake ready because the icing needs to go on now!

sides first

Ice the sides first, then the top.

deco cake

I added some special toys on top while the icing was still wet. What will happen over the next half hour is the outside of the icing will become crunchy and yummy and…

That cake did not last 12 hours in this house.

While the strawberries on the outside are really pretty, I do not recommend you put them on the icing as they cause the icing to run due to the moisture in the berries. (now I know)

Another variation is the banana cake. Blane’s grandmother gave me this recipe years ago, so it is a family favorite.  Bake a yellow cake instead of the white, and for the layers between, make a small box of Jello brand instant pudding (small box and only use 1 1/3 cup of milk in the directions). Spread a layer of pudding then a layer of sliced banana between each layer. Frost with the Never Fail Icing and call yourself The Boss.



18 thoughts on “Strawberry Cake with Never Fail Icing

  1. Two things:

    1. That looks delicious. Amazingly delicious.

    2. Have you found the perfect homemade chocolate frosting recipe? Because so far, the best chocolate frosting I’ve found is Betty Crocker in a can.

  2. Rassles, Betty Crocker chocolate frosting straight out the can, yeah!

    The Never Fail is the only icing I make from scratch. What is so very different about it is no one really even notices is there is no fat in it.

  3. Hey! My birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks.

    Do you do international deliveries?? C’mon!! Or, maybe I could sweet-talk my wife into making one. Hmmm….

    That strawberry cake looks absolutely delicious.

  4. Melanie, you won’t regret it. It is divine.

    Norm, you have the recipe now, you can make it.

    Silverstar, this cake totally deserves to be on cakewrecks. See all those toys on there? The weight of them made the top of the cake want to topple over.

    Long gone, Michele. And I swear I didn’t hide a piece in the back of the fridge.

  5. Ew, I just knew I would get busted on that one.

    I’m comfortable in the kitchen with putting a complete meal together… all except desserts and especially baking. (Fear of the unknown perhaps – never ventured there and so…..)

    Having just looked over the recipe again it looks do-able so if I have a go at it I’ll let you know how it turns out. How’s that sound?

  6. I’ve copied the recipe and just need a couple of the things listed and some berries.

    Do you use those round spring pans to bake the cake mix in?

  7. I used three round cake pans for one box of cake mix. You can use two if that is all you have, but the more layers, the better (and prettier).
    Make sure you grease and flour those pans before you pour in the batter so the cake doesn’t stick to the pan.

    I’m looking forward to your cake experiment story.

  8. Good luck with your cake, Norm. It will be delicious.

    Yes, Jule, that is a turtle on top. It looks like a tiny plastic turtle Blane had as a child. It was really funny to us.

  9. That is one awesome looking, structural and artistic masterpiece of a cake there lady! The nature of the icing reminded me instantly of how my mom used to make little meringues on brown paper bags on cookie trays in the oven and serve them with cream whipped with marron and booze (rum?) at dinner parties… Yum…

    It also made me think I totally need to up my game in decorating cakes. The kidlet’s cake this year was impressive mostly in size. Clearly – from now on – all cakes should have a turtle… And spiralling candles… Really… Wow… I must “free my mind” and learn from the maestro (huge grin).

    I’m sure I’ve said it before but your kids and hubby are killer lucky to have you.

  10. The next Julia Childs!

    Beautiful, Kitty! My mother always put pudding between her layers of cake. This used to annoy me when I was a kid because no one else’s mother did it and my mother is a weirdo. What a relief to find another cake weirdo out there!

    Yay! {{{chuckles}}} Actually, my mother was a damn good cook, and a talented little cake maker. She took courses in decorating, flower arrangement, and even knew how to sew. Your blog reminds me of what my mother might write if she wasn’t on the dark side!

  11. Pingback: Falling Behind « Unmerited Gifts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s