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. #
    Liz — June 14, 2012 @ 6:59 am

    Happy birthday to Mother Lovett!

    I too am a stress-case. Here’s to taking deep breaths and enjoying that cake :)

    (Now I have that Rihanna/Chris Brown song “Cake” in my head… cakecakecakecakecakecake)


    • Liz — June 14th, 2012 @ 7:02 am

      Bad freudian slip there… I meant happy birthday to your mom, and I love that you used Mother Lovett’s recipes. Sorry!


  2. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — June 14, 2012 @ 7:00 am

    Happy birthday to your mom Jessica! She is awfully lucky to have such a PERFECT birthday cake. And there is, without a doubt, nothing in this world better than sprinkles.

    …except for pb + chocolate, together.


  3. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — June 14, 2012 @ 7:01 am

    Happy birthday to your mom! I’d love a giant slice of that cake.


  4. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — June 14, 2012 @ 7:03 am

    Sweet post. Happy birthday to your mom! :)


  5. #
    heather — June 14, 2012 @ 7:04 am

    I’m such a sucker for birthday cakes. This looks incredibly delicious! Happy Birthday to your Momma! xo


  6. #
    Katrina — June 14, 2012 @ 7:13 am

    Mmmm love the look of that frosting! Yellow cake is such a treat. I can only imagine how tasty this cake was!


  7. #
    Ryan - Spicy Richmond — June 14, 2012 @ 7:15 am

    Happy Birthday to your Mom! Now I want cake for breakfast…


  8. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — June 14, 2012 @ 7:17 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom! Your mom sounds a lot like mine. I thought she was so totoally uncool when I was younger. Uh, I hope I’m that uncool someday because she knew her stuff.


  9. #
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) — June 14, 2012 @ 7:20 am

    That cake looks amazing all the way back to the batter. You know it’s a perfect cake recipe when the batter is thick and smooth! Happy birthday to your sweet mama. I can definitely tell you, mothers and daughters don’t always agree, but as a daughter, I’ve learned so much from my mom. She definitely holds a special place in my heart. Beautiful post Jessica! The cake looks amazing!


  10. #
    Shirz — June 14, 2012 @ 7:22 am

    Moms sure do know what they are talking about. I too wanted the DJ Tanner phone and was denied, denied, denied! Grrr.

    Happiest of birthdays to your sweet mama!!!


  11. #
    Erin @ The Food Doctors — June 14, 2012 @ 7:23 am

    It’s amazing how much you don’t understand as a kid. Mom’s are so totally always right, and it sounds like you had a good one. :)


  12. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — June 14, 2012 @ 7:27 am

    Ahhh, Happy Birthday to your Mom! The cake looks beautiful!!!


  13. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — June 14, 2012 @ 7:33 am

    This looks amazing!! Happy Birthday to Mom How Sweet Eats! I totally laughed at the DJ Tanner phone comment because I used to want one of those too! I’m not sure if you have a David’s Tea near you, but they have a cake collection right now (strawberry shortcake, birthday cake, and chocolate cake)… they are all DIVINE and might make you actually like tea, rather than think of it as dirty water. I’m drinking the chocolate cake one now and it’s the bomb!


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 9:51 am

      AHHH! I want to try so bad. Mainly because I’m a marketer’s dream and try anything labeled “cake.”


  14. #
    Rodzilla — June 14, 2012 @ 7:35 am

    It’s my mom’s Birthday too, happy B-day to yours! Had I made this for my mom, her cake would probably turn into a slice..I admire your self control.


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 9:51 am

      Aw, happy birthday to your mom too!


  15. #
    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — June 14, 2012 @ 7:52 am

    Oooh – this frosting sounds really fun. And cheers to bacon drippings! :)


  16. #
    Ali @ Peaches and Football — June 14, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    Mothers are very wise – no doubt!

    And that cake looks wonderful.


  17. #
    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh — June 14, 2012 @ 7:56 am

    Happy Birthday to your wise and wonderful mama!

    Now, pass me some cake please! :)


  18. #
    Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles — June 14, 2012 @ 7:58 am

    Mom’s are always right- she sounds like an amazing mom! :) Way ahead of the curve, totally full of amazing knowledge, and full of love- sooo ‘annoying’ when you’re like 13— I hope I can be as ‘annoying’ as my mom some day. :)
    Happy Birthday to your mom! <3


  19. #
    Simply Life — June 14, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    happy bday to your mom -what a perfect cake to celebrate with!


  20. #
    Villy @ For the love of Feeding — June 14, 2012 @ 8:15 am

    Happy Bday to your mother! I recently made my first bday cake for my 3year-old niece, and it is so rewarding, right?!
    Your cake looks phenomenal!


  21. #
    Heather @ Bake, Run, Live — June 14, 2012 @ 8:15 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom! Today is my birthday also!
    I made blue colored biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake (as today is also Flag Day!), though I will be eating cake this weekend!!


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 9:50 am

      Happy birthday Heather!!


  22. #
    Kim in MD — June 14, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom! The cake looks delicious, and how sweet (pun intended) that you used Mother Lovett’s cake and frosting recipe! I’m so excited that you think your mom was right about so many things when you were growing up. I hope my children see the light someday! ;-)


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 9:49 am

      I’m SURE they will! You seem like the best mom ever. :)


  23. #
    Megan — June 14, 2012 @ 8:38 am

    Happy Birthday to your Mom!!

    (I too wanted the clear phone! And never got it.. The 10yr old I babysit for got a cellphone… Why?!? I had to explain that she can’t text me if I’m in the same house/restaurant/ space as her)


  24. #
    DessertForTwo — June 14, 2012 @ 8:47 am

    Happy Birthday How Sweet Mama! :)


  25. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — June 14, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    Happy Bday to your mom!

    And is it wrong that I want to make a batch of that frosting to just have on hand and smother all over my breakfasts?


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 9:48 am

      That frosting… is totally worth it.


  26. #
    Katie — June 14, 2012 @ 8:53 am


    I love you and your mom and mother lovett and birthday cake. Probably in that order, too.


  27. #
    Meghan @ After the Ivy League — June 14, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    I love this recipe and I love covering the cake in sprinkles, so cute! My mom and I had the exact same leg shaving exchange when I was 10 years old. My friends were doing it, I wanted to, my mom told me I was crazy and didn’t need to and should hold off as long as I could, I did it anyway. And it was a terrible idea. Mom’s are always right, happy birthday to your mom!


  28. #
    Kelly — June 14, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    Happy Birthday to your mana!


  29. #
    Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking — June 14, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    Awwww…Happy Birthday to mom!!! That’s so wonderful that you baked her Mother Lovett’s recipe! It looks delicious, Jessica.
    Um, yeah, I had my own phone…with my own phone number…but that was early to mid 80’s…and I was a spoiled, only child. I’ll admit it.
    Now everyone has their own phone number like it’s no big deal.
    How times have changed.


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 9:48 am

      I’m so jealous Lynne!!


  30. #
    Mansee — June 14, 2012 @ 9:00 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom! This post was so sweet!


  31. #
    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction — June 14, 2012 @ 9:03 am

    Beautiful cake!! Happy Birthday to your mom!


  32. #
    Jessica — June 14, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    I’m still convinced that if my mom had let me go to co-ed sleepovers when I first wanted to I’d probably be living in a shack somewhere with 14 kids and an illegal substance problem. AKA I was boy-crazy from the day I was born. Praise Jesus for strict parents.


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 9:48 am

      God you really are my twin.


  33. #
    Brittany — June 14, 2012 @ 9:17 am

    Your mom is a lucky lady! That cake looks dee-lish.


  34. #
    Ashley — June 14, 2012 @ 9:25 am

    I just love this post, and I remember reading the post about the things your mom was right about. My mom was [pretty much, haha] always right as well. :) Awesome cake!


  35. #
    Cookbook Queen — June 14, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    Happy Birthday to your sweet mama!!

    You’re totally right — Mom’s are geniuses.


    • Jessica — June 14th, 2012 @ 9:47 am

      You are. :)


  36. #
    Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom — June 14, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    It seriously does not get any better than yellow cake with chocolate icing. It is the perfect combination!!

    Happy Birthday to your mom…..glad you got to enjoy a little of the cake, too!!


  37. #
    Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food — June 14, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    Happy Birthday to your Momma!! :)


  38. #
    B @ Crags and Veggies — June 14, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    This looks absolutely amazing! Happy birthday to your Mom!!


  39. #
    samantha @ peach in the city — June 14, 2012 @ 9:46 am

    mommas are the best!


  40. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — June 14, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    Happy birthday to your Mama!!!


  41. #
    Amber @ Slim Pickin's Kitchen — June 14, 2012 @ 10:00 am

    Ugh! DJ Tanner had everything I wanted!!! Like everything. I always thought she was so pretty and cool, ESPECIALLY when she started dating, Steve. What?!? So cute! Mom’s are so always right too. Sometimes I catch myself saying or doing something my mom would, and I just freeze and have to giggle at myself for it. GAH! Growing up sucks…sometimes :)


  42. #
    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables — June 14, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    ALWAYS wanted my own phone line. It was 100% necessary so that your mom (or brother) couldn’t pick up the extension elsewhere and listen in. duh.


  43. #
    Catalina @ Cake with Love — June 14, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom! LOL you actually really cut the cake before giving it to her?!! I made your donuts by the way, and they turned out perfect!


  44. #
    Cait's Plate — June 14, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    Aw, happy birthday to your mom! Isn’t it horrible to go back and read old blog posts of yours? While I’ve gone back and read a bunch of yours and think they’re just as good and entertaining as yours are now…I CANNOT STAND myself in my old posts! It’s like chinese water torture except instead of water, it’s words…typed on a page…one at a time.


  45. #
    Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana — June 14, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    That cake would make anyone feel better…happy birthday to your mom! I’m bookmarking this one to make for my husband’s birthday next month :)


  46. #
    vanillasugarblog — June 14, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    i remember how much you used to speak of her.
    homemade frostings are the best


  47. #
    Melanie — June 14, 2012 @ 10:30 am

    I, too, hope your mom has a wonderful birthday!! This post makes me think of my mom who taught me all of those lessons as well. Why do girls feel the need to shave their legs too soon?

    Lovely cake! I had to bake my own birthday cake this year, but I got just the right amount of sprinkles on it that way! (a bottle and a half)


  48. #
    ellenbcookery — June 14, 2012 @ 10:31 am

    Wishing your momma a happy birthday! Love the cake and her frosting!


  49. #
    Heather Brown — June 14, 2012 @ 10:33 am

    Happy Birthday to your mom! Mom’s are always right when you’re a teenager, but you never realize it till you’re way out of your teens!
    Also, yellow cake with chocolate frosting is my favorite, now I must investigate this fudge frosting, sounds intriguing!


  50. #
    The Blissful Baker — June 14, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    This looks amazing! You are so very talented :) Thanks for sharing!



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