Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Happy Birthday Cake

I love to celebrate birthdays. It means so much to me to set aside a special day each year to say to my loved ones,  "This is the day you showed up here on Planet Earth and I am SO GLAD you made it!" This is especially true for my daughters' birthdays, since I was somewhat pivotal to their arrival. Heh.

Birthday rituals are a big deal to me. I don't usually have a big budget for heaps of expensive presents, but I have a short list of nonnegotiable ingredients for my daughters' birthday extravaganzas:

1. Hang up our "Happy Birthday" banner over the kitchen sink.

2. Sneak a Mylar balloon and a bouquet of fresh flowers to the bedside of the sleeping birthday girl.

3. Award her with a few nice gifts, as finances allow, and wrap them all with a flourish.

5. Make dinner according to her wishes.

6. Bake her a homemade cake, and serve it with candles and the birthday song.

Yes, a homemade cake. No mixes or store-bought baked goods are good enough for my babies. I mean, come on...if I spent more than forty weeks carrying each one of them, and upwards of 24 hours laboring and delivering those precious bundles, I think I can invest a half hour or so each year in whipping up a cake from scratch.

More often than not, my birthday girls request that I bake them a Katie's Kentucky Chocolate Cake, taken from a cute little cookbook called Bach's Lunch. Honestly, it is the richest, densest, fudgiest, most incredibly delicious chocolate cake you could ever imagine, and best of all, it is ridiculously easy to make.

So I will share this dream of a recipe with you, and hope that you will whip up a Katie's Kentucky Chocolate Cake and serve it to your favorite birthday girl (or boy) someday soon.

* * * * *

Katie's Kentucky Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 shortening
1 cup water
4T cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1t vanilla

Combine sugar and flour in a bowl. Melt butter, shortening, water and cocoa and bring to a boil. Pour mixture over sugar and flour. Stir well. Add remaining ingredients, and stir until smooth. Pour into two greased and floured layer cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for twenty-five to thirty minutes. Cool thoroughly before frosting. This rich fudgy cake is not for weight watchers!

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
4T cocoa
1 box confectioner's sugar
1t vanilla 
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Melt butter, milk, and cocoa and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Frost cake while frosting is still warm.

Serves 10 to 12

Contributed to the cookbook by Mrs. Mary Stevens - thank you, kind woman!!

* * * * *

For more stories about birthdays, read:


  1. I saw this cake on Instagram and wondered who was having a birthday. Judging by the recipe, the cake was delicious!

    1. This was a belated celebration for my world-traveling daughter. She was in Vietnam on her actual birthday, so we are playing a delicious game of catch-up.


Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!