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.
Make up the Chocolate Buttercream and refrigerate to set.
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!