I've been on a roll with recipes from my great-grandma Peggy. First there was her German Chocolate Cake with Broiled Coconut Frosting that was out of this world good. I mean broiled frosting!! You have to check it out if you haven't already. Then there was her Apple Crisp. I mean really, it is hard to go wrong with an apple crisp, especially this time of year. The funny thing this cake was the one I made first out of the three of them. This is MiMi's favorite birthday cake. The one from her grandma's recipe that was made for her as a little girl. The one she remembers, enjoys and still wants to have to this very day. So, of course I had to make her one for her birthday at the beginning of the month. I have gone back and forth a hundred times as to whether or not to share it. But I have decided to go ahead and give you the goods.
I know, it seems silly. But there were a few reasons I was hemming and hawing all month long. First, this is one of those super special near and dear to her heart recipes that MiMi only recently shared with me. She wants it to be sacred and only served on her birthday... it is HER birthday cake after all. In fact, she has only had possession of the recipe for a few years herself. Her aunt was able to come up with it not all that long ago, before that it was just the stuff of legends. (So if you are reading this DO NOT make this cake for my mom... unless it's her birthday. It's the rules!)
Secondly, I really didn't get any good pictures that do it justice. Third, I made the cake exactly how the recipe card was written. It was DELICIOUS. Dense and buttery with the fudgy frosting that MiMi had always talked about. But it was a bit squatty. Part of the issue was I used 9" pans, 8" would have probably scaled a bit better. When I mentioned it to MiMi, she said that her aunt had told her that they normally scale it up a bit to make it a taller cake. They make 1 1/2 times the amount called for in the recipe to give it more height. The funny thing is, once she said something about that it rang a bell. We must have discussed it when she got the recipe.
So, I was going to hold out on you. Maybe I'd post it a different time. But, MiMi's birthday is a whole year away and that is a long time to wait! So, I figured I could go ahead and give you a taste of MiMi's birthday cake. Then maybe next October, I'll pull out the recipe again and try to get you better pictures and a taller cake. In the meantime I will share it with you the way I made it, the way the recipe card states. Then we can see what happens next year ;-)
French Butter Cake
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 375 F and prepare to 8" cake pans.
- Cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and blend. Add slightly beaten eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
- Sift dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture, alternating with milk. Start and end with flour.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes, then turn onto wire racks and cool completely.
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 box (1 lb) confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Enough half and half or cream to make spreadable
- Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler until smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and powdered sugar.
- Add half and half or cream a bit at a time until creamy and spreadable.
- Spread over cake while warm.