Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Birthday Cake to Remember Mom


Today would have been my mother's 93rd birthday; she passed away in 1987 at the early age of 67 to a brain tumor.  I decided to bake the yellow cake she had made so many times, but with the twist I put on it when she came out to California for a visit in 1983. We celebrated with my great Aunt Dorothy...her father's younger sister, whom she shared her birthday with and lived just an hour from us in San Bernadino. I shared many times that my mother's two favorite flavors were chocolate and lemon--and this cake delivers both.  The only difference is that I've come across a quick microwave version of lemon curd and the frosting I make now is a Chocolate Buttercream.

My mother was born in 1920 in Washington, D.C., but with her father in the Marine Corps, she traveled to Hawaii and Bremerton, Washington with his assignments.  It was after his tour in Washington that my mother, uncle and grandmother took a boat back to Maryland through the Panama Canal when my grandfather's next duty station was the Philippines; an experience she told us all about.  She married her high school sweetheart, whom she met in the 5th grade when he stole a kiss in the cloakroom!  She raised 8 children, and as my dad would have said, pretty much on her own during his career in the U.S. Navy. 

In the late 70s, I asked her to come with me to a watercolor class I was taking to update my skills in design and she fell in love with art.  She went on to take classes in acrylic paints, but ultimately went back to watercolors and I have several of her paintings that remind me everyday how talented she was in anything she attempted.

As much as Kelly is responsible for bringing me into the blogging world, it was the inspiration of my mother that had me fall in love with baking.  Now, in my 4th year with this blog, being in the kitchen with my mom is still the most vivid memory I have growing up.  I miss her everyday.

Mom's Birthday Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Brush 2-8 inch round pans with melted butter, line the bottom with parchment and brush with additional butter.  Dust with flour.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix once more.

Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the batter alternating with the buttermilk--beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown and a wooden skewer in the center comes out cleanly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes, then, invert on a rack and cool completely

Meanwhile make up the Lemon Curd.  You will need one cup of fresh lemon juice--4 lemons will yield that much at room temperature or microwave for 20 seconds to get the most juice.

Place lemon curd in the refrigerator to set.

Chocolate Buttercream

Make up the Chocolate Buttercream and refrigerate to set.

To assemble-

Slice the bottom layer in half and remove.
Spread some of the Chocolate Buttercream on this quarter and then, set the cut half on top.  Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge to act as a "dam" for the lemon curd.

Slice the second layer in half and place on top of the lemon curd.  Spread more buttercream and top with the sliced layer.  Continue to frost the cake with the buttercream.
Happy Birthday, Mom...thank you for being the best mother, teacher, mentor, and best friend.  Enjoy!

44 comments:

  1. So many layers! Looks delicious!

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    1. I only baked two layers, then split them in half. My mom loved my version of one her favorite cakes to bake. XOXO

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  2. What a beautiful cake, and beautiful thoughts of your mom!

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    1. Thank you Nancy--the day is always difficult and keeping busy in the kitchen helps.

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    1. Annmarie, thank you. You remind me a lot of my mother in that you know that being a mother is the most important job we have, XOXO

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  4. I LOVE lemon curd, I just made some on Sunday! Your cake looks fantastic, I'll have to try the chocolate lemon combo. Have a wonderful night!

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    1. I've made that recipe for lemon curd several times and have to stop myself from eating spoonfuls...it's that good!

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  5. Happy 93rd Birthday, Mom. I also baked a special treat today in your honor----Molten Lava Cakes, complete with caramel, ice cream and chocolate shell topping. I am grateful for all the things I learned from you and I miss you very much.
    Thanks Sis, for a beautiful post.

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    1. We're lucky to have had such a wonderful mom and I know this day is hard for you too. Love you, XOXO

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  6. Happy Birthday to your mom...sounds like she was a great mom and you miss her so much...The cake recipe looks great, I can see why it was one of your moms favorites....I am a new follower of yours and I look forward to coming to visit you again...

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    1. Thank you for stopping by--I love meeting new followers and you are now entered for this month's apron give-away! XOXO

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  7. What a wonderful tribute to your Mum. The cake looks delicious. Much love x

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    1. Your creative homemaking reminds me of my mother--I'm in awe of your skills, XOXO

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  8. wow that thick layer of lemon curd surrounded with the buttercream icing has really got me! Seriously, i want to spoon some right away into my mouth!
    Happy Birthday to your mom.

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    1. I love citrus and chocolate and this is just enough to make a very decadent cake:-D

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  9. What a lovely post, I'm so glad I stopped by, I enjoyed "meeting" your Mom. It sounds like she was an amazing lady.

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  10. We never stop missing our moms. Happy Birthday to yours.

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    1. I agree! It's been 26 years and might have been yesterday for how much it still hurts. XOXO

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  11. What a beautiful tribute to your Mom! And what a beautiful and tasty way to remember her!

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    1. She loved the combination and I knew it would be a great tribute to a wonderful mother.

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  12. A beautiful tribute! Thanks for sharing your memories with us.
    Jane xx

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    1. Thank you for stopping by--having friends to share this day really helps. XOXO

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  13. Susan, this is a lovely tribute to your mother. The cake sounds terrific - three cheers for short-cuts - we all lead busy lives! I miss my Mum more with each passing year. xx

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    1. I know what you mean--it doesn't get any easier, XOXO

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  14. Such sweet memories and a beautiful cake to celebrate with. I am lucky to still have my Mom with me and I wish I could see her more often! Hugs, Linda

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    1. I envy you--I've known too well that life can change on a dime. XOXO

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  15. So many tips and tricks! I am one who loves lemon curd, though I'm trying to imagine the combination. We never forget our beloved mothers and that is true for most across the board. A dear friend at church lost her mother last Saturday. Her mother was 106 years old! Incredible. Still my friend was teary-eyed and needed a hug. She thanked me for not saying that her mother had had a long, full life. What I whispered was that she'd always miss her. My own grandmother used to say that once your mom has gone on, you've lost the dearest human friend on earth. I love that you are honoring your mother's birthday in this special way.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words; they mean so much. My mother devoted her life to her children and her encouragement has made me the person I am today. She once told me, "you are my Rock of Gilbraltar," but in reality, she was mine. XOXO

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  16. What lovely memories of your mother Susan. I, like you, miss my mother every day. It really doesn't matter how old or young we are, they loved us first. Your mother's cake looks absolutely wonderful. xoxo ♥
    Martha Ellen

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    1. Thank you Martha Ellen; I'm sorry you know the loss too, XOXO

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  17. Lovely cake, lovely story...Lovely memories. :) I need to make some of that lemon curd! It's one of my favorite flavors in the whole wide world. I think a lemon meringue pie is in my future. Lv, me

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    1. You do need to make some, but I know they'll be booze somewhere! Thank you for stopping by; I hope you're feeling better, XOXO

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  18. such a beautiful post susan, your mom would be so proud of you and would love her birthday cake. i don't know how you do it, your talents amaze me so.

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    1. Well, dear friend, I could say the same about you! Being a mother is all she ever wanted to be...and she was the best!

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  19. What a lovely tribute to your Mum. I too lost my Mum too early, so i know how hard it is. My mum loved baking cakes too and taught me my love of sewing and crafts. I am sure your Mum is very proud of you. Hugs, catherine x

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  20. What a wonderful tribute to your mother! The cake looks delicious!

    Have a blessed and wonderful day,
    karianne

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  21. A very sweet way to remember your Mom. It's always good to think back to the good times and have sweet memories. Enjoy your day! Stay warm!

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  22. Happy Birthday to you Mom! My b'day was the 4th! The cake looks so yummy. I know your mother is watching you bake everyday :)
    Hugs,
    Donna

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  23. I raise a belated toast to your Mom. She would have loved that cake.

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