This time of year is always a little bit difficult for me. Not only is it Mother’s Day, but it is also my mom’s birthday. She would have been 69 this year. Every year I fool myself into thinking that after almost 8 years I won’t get emotional, but the truth is….I miss her terribly. She was a good person to the core, a kind, thoughtful, and supportive mom, and always-always there for me without being judgmental. OH! and did I mention, a great cook? So, this year, right when I was feeling a little too blue, a co-worker suggested that I should bake a birthday cake in my mom’s honor, to celebrate her, instead of feeling sad. I thought that was a very good idea, so I did it. Happily, Mother’s Day also happens to be my sweet and clever nephew’s 6th birthday, so let’s get down to cake making, people!
This recipe was given to my mom by my Aunt Janie (one of my dad’s sisters). After doing a quick search online…I see that this recipe was a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner in 1964! All I know is that I don’t remember actually eating this cake, but I am still very familiar with the name, because my cousins always seemed so excited to have it made for them on their birthdays. (Chime in Becky, Chris, and Marie). I always felt a little jealous that I never got this cake made in my honor, though I must say, one of my very favorite things about visiting my Aunt and Uncle’s house was the fact that in the summertime they had both pink AND yellow lemonade. Heaven! So, I consider us square.
Start out with the crumble. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Put a few graham crackers in a zipped plastic baggie and smack the crap out of it with a mallet. It’s good for your soul. Measure out 1/2 c. of the crumbs and mix with the butter, once cooled. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. I happened to use mini-chips because that’s what I had on-hand. I think they looked adorable in there. Set aside.
Grease and flour two 8″ pans, because you will be needing them later. Turn on the oven to 375 degrees , so it is piping hot and ready for the filled pans in a few minutes.
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs. I just want you to know that I did not doctor this picture at all. I am using right-from-the-chicken eggs, from a local farmer and those yolks are YELLOW….and delicious. They make excellent scrambled eggs.
Once creamed, add melted 1/3 c. chocolate chips. I like to turn the mixer on low and add the chocolate slowly. I don’t want scrambled eggs in my cake! (just on a plate…with sourdough toast…and bacon. You know how it is.) Add vanilla.
The dry ingredients: I like to take my sifter, dump in the cups of flour, and the salt and soda and then sift it onto a sheet of waxed paper. That way, it is all sifted and kind of mixed together and since it is on the waxed paper, it is easy to pour into the bowl with no clean up! Start with the dry….scoop in 1/3 of the flour mixture into the bowl and mix, then pour in half of the buttermilk, 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk and end with the last of the flour. It will look all pillowy and chocolaty and soft.
Pour the batter equally into each of the greased and floured pans. Smack the pans against the counter to release any air bubbles and flatten it out. Take the graham crumble mixture and sprinkle over the top of both battered pans. Place in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.
Once a toothpick comes out clean, remove pans to cooling racks. This cake must be completely cooled before frosted. It is coated in whipped cream and it would slide right off if the cake was still giving off heat.
Before whipping the cream, place your bowl and whisk in the freezer for 20 minutes. This gets them nice and chilly which encourages the cream to make stiff peaks while being whipped. Pour 1 pint of heavy whipping cream, 3 tbsp. of sugar, and 1 tbsp. vanilla in the chilled bowl. Commence whipping!
At just the moment you achieve stiff peaks, stop whipping. With the crumb sides up, frost your cake. I hold the theory that the more frosting you pile on, the better it gets. Plus, it helps to keep the crumbs from spreading all around if you don’t have to try and spread the frosting thin. Quick tip: Keep your plate and the edge of your cake from getting messy by sliding squares of waxed paper just under the bottom edge of your cake….all the way around. Once done with the decorating, gently pull the paper away and voila! it looks like Martha Stewart frosted your cake!
Place cake in the fridge for about 3 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated until consumed. So, you know, for 3 hours and 5 minutes.
This cake isn’t as sweet as I expected. It’s actually quite lovely with its bits of chocolate and nuts and creamy, soft whisper of frosting. Slicing into it, you can definitely see its tan lines.
Happy Birthday Mom! Happy Birthday Levi! You’re both the cat’s pajamas. xo
Miami Beach Birthday Cake
- Crumb Mixture:
- 6 oz. chocolate chips
- 1/3 c. melted butter
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
- 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
- 2 c. sifted flour
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups. whipping cream
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla
- Combine crumbs and melted butter; cool.
- Stir in walnuts and 2/3 c. chocolate chips; set aside.
- Cake: Cream butter. Gradually add all sugar.
- Add eggs. Cream well.
- Melt 1/3 c. chocolate chips. Blend chips into cream mixture and add vanilla.
- At low speed, add dry ingredients alternatively with buttermilk. (Beginning and ending with dry ingredients.)
- Turn into greased and floured pans. (8″ or 9″).
- Sprinkle crumb mixture on top of batter.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
- Frost with whipped cream (1-2 cups). Be sure that cake is very cool before frosting.
- Refrigerate entire cake at least 3 hours. Preferable overnight.