It’s a cake! I actually made a cake. It’s my mom’s birthday… she deserves a cake.

And because it’s my MOM’s birthday… like, the person that BIRTHED me, I broke out the big guns…

Mother Lovett’s recipes.

Ignore my dirty stove. I was having a meltdown yesterday. No… really I was. Un-cake related.

Waaaaay back when, like many moons ago, I started this blog and three days later, I wrote a post about six things my mom was right about. Okay, maybe it was like 15 days later, and we all know that moms are usually right about more than six things, but whatever. The fact is that while most of my early blog posts make me cringe until I can’t breathe, then simultaneously curl into a fetal position and never want to show my face again… I still love that post. IT’S SO TRUE. So much of it bears repeating. So I’m going to repeat some of it. Sort of.

Because really, my mom has been right about soooo many things. Fact.

Like… taking deep breaths. I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a supercalifragilistic psycho stressed out anxiety-ridden headcase like 89% of the time. Taking deep breaths was the only way to get my crazy self calmed down in those early years, and it’s still true ’til this day. I might have stood in my kitchen yesterday mid-panic attack and taken about 45 of them. Desperately needed.

Hot turkey or roast beef sandwiched in between two slices of super soft white bread and ladled with piping hot gravy? YES. And yes and yes.

Who would’ve thought she’d be right about having my own phone? For years I begged for that plastic hunk of junk that DJ Tanner talked to Kimmy on in every Full House episode, as well as some clear, wire-exposed hot pink Radio Shack phone, and basically wanted to die when it never appeared on Christmas morning. And the best part was that I wanted my own phone NUMBER. Seriously, what tween needs their own phone number? What was going on? My mom was totally ahead of the curve because now, I don’t even HAVE a landline. She definitely knew what was up back then.

Annnnd leg shaving? She didn’t let me do it when I wanted to start, so I did it anyway, and I think you all can join me in a resounding dubayu.tee.eff. Is there anything more annoying, more time consuming, more inconvenient? She was completely right. Once you start… blah blah blah.

The best life lesson ever: fry everything in bacon grease. Keep the bacon drippings… ALWAYS. Store them in a container in the fridge. Saute everything in it. And I do mean… everything. Where do you people think I learned this?

Her absolute lack of knowledge when it comes to technology? I dig it. She’d rather be outside planting flowers and in that sun then holed up in the house on some computer or with a cell phone jammed next to her brain. She doesn’t know how to check email. Or voicemail. We should do this. Right?

Not gonna lie, I was pretty jacked when my mom wasn’t falling for the “oh but I’m going to sleep at _____’s house tonight and I SWEAR there won’t be boys there.” Um, no. I’m so glad she didn’t let me participate in co-ed sleepovers when I was like, 15 years old. I hope I am so totally uncool that I do the exact same thing. Forever.

Life lesson #infinity: you don’t need to eat that entire pan of brownies today. Even because they are sitting on the counter. You don’t have to eat them all. You don’t even have to eat one. If you want three, you can eat three. But you don’t have to eat ten. Eat what you want until you feel good. Then just… stop. Or just don’t eat any. No big deal.

She definitely does some crazy things like hoard expired cake mix and instant jello, and she is probably the only person I know who orders white bread with her double decker club sandwich at the Cheesecake Factory and considers corn on the cob slathered in margarine and salt a vegetable, but she is pretty much single-handedly responsible for my head being screwed on somewhat straight. If you can even call it that.

So… a cake it was. Plain old yellow cake with this chocolate frosting straight from Mother Lovett’s recipe arsenal – and let me tell you: it is fudgy. It’s different… in that you cook the mixture and let it cool then whip the heck out of it (hence the lighter color)… and it doesn’t get as sturdy or solid as a traditional buttercream, but it’s perfect for throwing on top of cakes and cupcakes in that casual but oh-so-cool way. Which is totally me, considering I have zero patience to frost a real cake the real way. This just… works. And covered in sprinkles… it’s totally mom-worthy.

Yellow Birthday Cake

[adapted from Mother Lovett’s Orange Cake]

makes two 8-inch layer cakes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing fully until each is combined, then add vanilla. After the mixture has come together, add in half the of the dry ingredients and mix. Add in the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Pour batter in two 8-inch buttered and floured cake pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until cake is not jiggly in the middle and golden on top. Let cool completely before frosting.


Fudge Frosting

4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (I used 4 1-ounce squares of Baker’s chocolate)

1 1/2 cups milk

3 cups granulated sugar

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add milk and chocolate to a large saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Add in sugar, salt and corn syrup, then continue to stir until mixture comes to a boil. Once it’s bubbling, let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring off and on, making sure it doesn’t boil oil. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla extract and let cool COMPLETELY. You can stick it in the fridge or freezer if necessary, but it must cool completely. Once cool, add to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until slightly thickened and light in color. Frost cake or cupcakes as desired – keep in mind that this is more of a “saucy” frosting, a bit runny, and will not firm up like buttercream. It works great for draping on a cake and refrigerates well!

And oh yes, why I did serve my mom a layer cake with two slices missing. But… the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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110 Responses to “Yellow Birthday Cake with Mother Lovett’s Fudge Frosting.”

  1. #
    Dianna Belle — June 14, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    Ummm-m-m since when is corn-on-the-cob not a vegetable?

    Enjoy your mom, I miss mine everyday.

    You did a great job on the cake- even for a non-baker-er-type person! LOL


  2. #
    Mary-Where's the Zoom — June 14, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    Very sweet post. I like your mom. She sounds like mine with regards to the leg shaving and phone line having and co-ed sleepover-ing. The worst (best) thing my mom ever did to (for) me was not allowing me to go to the Dave Matthews concert 4 hours away and sleep in a tent with a bunch of random hippies when I was 16. I was so mad at the time, but now realize absolutely nothing good would have come from that. They really do know best. Happy Birthday to your Mom.

    PS-Mother Lovett’s recipe book looks like an insanely cool treasure!


  3. #
    megan @ whatmegansmaking — June 14, 2012 @ 11:05 am

    happy birthday to your mom! And what a pretty cake – love the rustic look of the frosting :)


  4. #
    Darcie Czajkowski — June 14, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom! She must be one special lady because her birthday is the same day as mine! Maybe I’ll make myself a cake – THIS cake! :)


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

      Happy birthday Darcie!


  5. #
    allie@sweetpotatobites — June 14, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    this is perfect timing for this cake because it is my boyfriend’s birthday today! happy bday to your mom!


  6. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — June 14, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    This looks delicious. And I just so happen to need a birthday cake recipe for this weekend. This is defintely going on the list of contenders!


  7. #
    CulinarilyCourtney — June 14, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

    I loved reading this post so much. My mom and I have a very close relationship and it was touching to read about another mother and daughter. So sweet.


  8. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — June 14, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

    What a gorgeous cake and the frosting sounds heavenly and perfect for “draping” as you say.

    And what a lovely tribute to your mom. I hope one day Skylar writes half of the nice things about me that you did about your mom. It’s my goal in life to be half the kind of mom your mom is! And I hope she had an amazing birthday!


  9. #
    Michele Sparrow — June 14, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    What a beautiful accolade to your mother. Now that I have teenage sons, I often find myself recalling the things my mother did with the three of us girls when we were teenagers (which, of course, at the time I thought were ridiculous and controlling and lacking all understanding) and using those techniques with my boys. How thankful I am that she did not just leave me to myself! You are so right in commending her for giving you your compass. Awesome post and awesome cake, too! :-)


  10. #
    Tara — June 14, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    That cake looks delish!! And you are soooo right…somehow, Mom’s are always right and know everything, it’s like they have magic powers!


  11. #
    Mia — June 14, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    Happy birthday to your mom! The cake was way prettier than any I’ve ever made, for sure!

    Even though, in retrospect, my mom was right about so very much (including the shaving thing) when I was a kid, I can’t seem to quite accept it in my adult life. Current debate: whether to cut my hair at the end of the summer. I really want to; she REALLY votes no. Let’s hope I don’t end up looking like a poodle.


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

      That must be something about mom’s… she never wants me to cut my hair either!


  12. #
    jamie — June 14, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

    i’m scouring your old posts to find the “one with the reasons why my mom was right”. Link back to it please!!! Sounds adorable.


  13. #
    Alyssa — June 14, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    Storing the bacon fat to cook things later? Yup, my mom did that too! Haha

    Hope your mom enjoys that yummy looking cake!


  14. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — June 14, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

    Gotta love moms! What a great post. The cake is the perfect thing for a special birthday!


  15. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — June 14, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    I love all your mom’s helpful tips :) And I love this frosting – I am the same way: no patience for frosting a cake the “normal way”.


  16. #
    Melissa Likes To Eat — June 14, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

    This made me laugh. I remember when I wanted a phone in the shape of red lips AND my own phone number. I could not understand why my parents wouldn’t go for it.


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

      Oh I definitely wanted that phone too.


  17. #
    Cassie — June 14, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

    Moms definitely deserve a layer cake. This looks stunningly perfect.


  18. #
    Kristen @ notsodomesticated — June 14, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

    Happy Birthday to your momma! And I was “that” tween that had her own phone line. But now I am “that” woman who wouldn’t want her tween to have his/her own cell phone!


  19. #
    aaronyce — June 14, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    when do you add the vanilla and butter to the frosting mixture?? before or after it has cooled


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

      Oops – before it cools, just fixed it!


  20. #
    chefroommate — June 14, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

    Love this post – cooked frosting is so old school, I mean that in the best way. I made cake with a cooked frosting for my dad not to long ago and he said it reminded him of cakes his aunt used to make (this is my legendary great aunt who raised my dad and his three brothers all while make baked goods people are still talking about). Well done!


  21. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — June 14, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    Moms are awesome – Mine didn’t let me shave for a while either. Nor did she allow me to have coed sleepovers. And she didn’t let me have a cell phone until I left for college. All rules I hope to inflict on my future children…suckers.

    Hooray for awesome madres!! Happy Birthday Sweet-Mama!


  22. #
    Stacey! — June 14, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

    Happy Birthday to your mama! Moms are the best…. really. My mom is my favorite person on this planet. I’ll bet anything yours is totally super cool like you. I hope you guys have an amazing time celebrating what I’m 100% sure is an amazing lady! I want this cake in my face.


  23. #
    Alysa (InspiredRD) — June 14, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

    Your mom sounds like a smart lady! I’m so thankful that my parents didn’t fall for my stuff either (well, every once in a while they did). And I never had my own phone. Boys had to get through my dad to talk to me, and he was scary. I remember my friend Angela had the COOLEST phone that was actually two phones in one. You could talk into the receiver AND the base. So cool.


  24. #
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — June 14, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    Your cake looks pretty fabulous… I would love some of that fudge frosting right now! Happy birthday to your mom! :)


  25. #
    luv what you do — June 14, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

    I could drink that fudge frosting with a straw! What a beautiful cake!


  26. #
    Nancy — June 14, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

    If you call that a dirty stove then I’m embarrassed at what you would think of mine…and I just cleaned the kitchen, too!

    Excited about this yellow cake recipe! I’ve been depending on a mix for one of my favorite recipes but that can not continue for much longer.


  27. #
    tanya — June 15, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    I think you are a brilliant writer- I am sure the cooking is awesome too- but i genuinely look forward to your posts for the writing too. Am a big fan of Tuesday things- and many a times- Its just wonderful to see how you just write what you feel- I find it hard and a bit of a struggle on my own blog- but you do it in a very classic way. Great stuff- and a wonderful post for your mum.


    • Jessica — June 15th, 2012 @ 9:56 am

      So kind, Tanya… thank you so much – this means the world to me!


  28. #
    Jennifer — June 15, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    Happy, happy birthday to your mom!!


  29. #
    ally — June 15, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    Sounds wonderful! Nothing like yellow cake w/choco frosting, and I just know Mama Lovette’s smiling w/pride! :) Ally


  30. #
    HeatherChristo — June 15, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    This is so sweet Jessica. My mom and I are very, very close. I call her like 5 times a day, every day, and she is right most of the time, and she is always, always there for me. I love to bake her a cake every year too- I always consider it to be appropriate after all of those years she baked them for us kids. Also- thank you for the frosting recipe- I have never made a cooked frosting and am totally scared and fascinated by it. I will trust you and Mother Lovett and try it right away!


  31. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — June 15, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

    Such a sweet daughter for making this cake. I love your whisk… does it work better with the extra inside swirly bits or is it just for show?


  32. #
    Simone — June 16, 2012 @ 2:19 am

    Awesome whisk!!!


  33. #
    Simone — June 16, 2012 @ 2:20 am

    Jinx Rachel :P


  34. #
    Jennifer Holmes (aka "Abi:) — June 16, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    So you use the drippy frosting inbetween the layers, also? It doesn’t squeeze out? I would be tempted to put some of the frosting before it was beaten on the bottom layer – you know, to use as a filler. Or, I would put some raspberry jam or orange marmalade in between the layers.


  35. #
    Elizabeth — June 17, 2012 @ 2:49 am

    I love the sprinkles on top!


  36. #
    tania@mykitchenstories — June 17, 2012 @ 4:03 am

    Oh hope your Mom has a happy Birthday. Enjoy every wacky moment . they are a long time gone


  37. #
    Jenny @ BAKE — June 17, 2012 @ 6:26 am

    your Mom sounds like a wise lady! happy birthday to her!


  38. #
    tiffany — June 18, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    What a fabulous post!!! You’re so real and honest and it makes for a great read! Happy belated b-day to your mom and please let us know where you go that awesome whisk!!


  39. #
    Natalie @ In Natalie's Shoes — June 18, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

    Oh. My. Goodness. I’m drooling. Do you use whole milk or just whatever kind you have around? Yum!


  40. #
    Barb B. — June 18, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    Jess. You are one special daughter…. with one special mother……..


  41. #
    Rosie @ Sweetapolita — June 18, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

    So . . . I know it seems kind of predictable that I would love this post, but I have to say that I, ahem, love this post! First of all, the cake looks scrumptious as all heck, and second of all, I have a love affair with old family recipes, specifically old dessert recipes that are handwritten. And that looks just like my mom’s writing, which made me a little teary. Happy belated birthday to you mama! xo


  42. #
    Rosie @ Sweetapolita — June 18, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

    And, whoops! I meant to “your” mama of course. :)


  43. #
    Simone — June 20, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    Made this last night to celebrate my one year at my job. Unfortunately I did something wrong with the fudge frosting, maybe I didn’t let it cook enough? I was having a hard time getting it to boil. In the meantime I did actually eat spoonfuls of the batter because it was that good! I even put the frosting in the freezer over night and it still wasn’t thick enough to actually leave a covering on the cupcakes. (I did eat a spoonful of that too..and it was heavenly).

    All of my coworkers love the cake recipe though!! Another recipe of yours I will make over and over and over again :]]


  44. #
    kungfublogging — August 7, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    Oh, you silly sweet girl… That’s your idea of a dirty stove.

    Probably because you haven’t been to my house. I mean, I blame my roommate, but still…

    Chocolate frosting with chocolate sprinkles. Awesome. I think I’ll put that on chocolate cake.



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