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Snowball cake

TODAY Show: Christina Lane makes Valentine's Day "Dessert for Two" in Studio 1A -- February 12, 2015.
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY


For the cake
  • Butter, for pan
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon warm water or brewed coffee
For the fluffy marshmallow frosting
  • 1 large egg white, cold
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • "1.5-2" is not a number. cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3-5 drops red food coloring



To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line the bottom of a 6-inch round cake pan with 3-inch sides with parchment paper, and then butter the sides of the pan, too.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside. 

In a medium-size bowl, stir the oil and sugar together, using a wooden spoon. Add the sour cream, and stir until well blended. Next, add the egg and vanilla.Stir until combined.

Sprinkle half of the flour mixture on the sugar mixture. Stir until blended. Stir in the water, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Blend until no streaks of flour remain. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only moist crumbs — if you under bake, the cake will sink as it cools. Be sure to test the toothpick through the entire cake.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan. The cake should have shrunk away from the edges of the pan, and it should be very easy to remove. Tilt the cake pan on top of a cooling rack, and gently let the cake fall out. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: In a medium-size bowl,using an electric mixer on low speed, beat together the egg white, powdered sugar, salt, and cream of tartar for 1 minute. Meanwhile, heat the water to a boil. (I usually heat a full cup of water and then scoop out what I need for this recipe — small amounts of water tend to explode in the microwave!) 

While beating on low speed, slowly stream in the boiling water. Continue to beat for a full 5 minutes on low speed. The mixture will be thick and glossy,like marshmallow cream. Finally, beat in the vanilla. 

Frost the cake with the marshmallow frosting. Stir the coconut and red food coloring together. Decorate the cake with it and serve.