Monday, March 7, 2011

A Cake Like My Dad

Today is my dad's 70th Birthday! Hard to believe…how could it be? He’s so young- hardly a gray hair on his head.  I am glad to celebrate him.  Our family met together to celebrate with Mexican food (his favorite), cake and gifts!  My dad is more of a food person than a dessert person, but honestly, in the home where he was raised, with my grandmother, and in the home where he lives, with my mom, he couldn’t help but appreciate and enjoy desserts.  These women are baking legends.  My dad would typically prefer a fruit cobbler to a decadent, fancy cake, but there is a birthday cake that has been his favorite for as long as I can remember.  It is an Angel Food Cake sliced into layers, filled and covered with a vanilla custard and iced with fresh whipped cream.  I asked my mom how long it has been his favorite and she said she remembers back in 1965, my great grandmother telling her that she always made this cake because it was my dad’s (her grandson’s) favorite.  So that means that for almost 50 years this has been this man’s cake-of-choice!

Which, you know, when I stop to think about it, really fits my dad.  He is consistent like that. He is strong in his convictions, constant.  He cheers for his ball teams regardless of what kind of season they are having.  He is trustworthy and honest, whether or not anyone is watching. Always dependable.

This cake is a vintage classic, yet memorable and worth repeating...obviously!   I think it makes sense that this is my dad's cake.  It's fun to think that maybe people's birthday cake of choice might very well be a reflection of the kind of person they are.  Do you think that's true for you?

I celebrate you, Dad, and honor your life of integrity, wisdom, steadiness and consistency.
You are tried and true.

1 Angel Food Cake Mix
2 ½ cups milk
4 egg yolks, whole- beaten
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. gelatin, plain
milk (a little)
2 cups whipping cream, divided
sugar (a little)
1 tsp. vanilla

Bake Angel Food Cake in a tube pan according to package. (This is extremely simple.)   Cool upside down in pan.  Meanwhile, heat milk and add beaten egg yolks.  Combine sugar with flour, add to mixture.  Add vanilla and salt.  Mix and cook.  When thick, add gelatin, dissolved in a little milk.
In an electric mixer, whip 1 cup whipping cream on high until thick peaks are formed.  When custard is cool, fold into whipped cream. 
Cut Angel Food cake into 3 round layers, spreading filling between each layer and on top and sides of cake. 
Whip another cup of whipping cream.  Add a little sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla to taste.  Cover the entire cake. 
Keep refrigerated. 
Slice and serve with fresh berries or peaches.

(my mom snapped these photos while making the cake this weekend so you could see some of the process...thanks, mom!)
cooling the cake

slicing the layers (mom used an electric knife)
custard is on
with whipped cream-YUM!


  1. wow. unbelievable.
    i want 5 pieces.

    happy birthday julie's daddio.

  2. Interesting! My favorite cake is very similar to this but my family does it a bit different. Instead of custard, we carmelize Eagle Brand milk and use that for the layer. Then top the whipped cream with toffee pieces. Delicious!

  3. So, Leigh, I want THAT recipe. How do YOU carmelize the milk? In the old days, we boiled the can, but that is a no-no now! That sounds really yummy!

  4. Will you make just such a cake when Amy has her open house party? You = awesome.

  5. Tommy,
    YES! I will any cake that is requested! Can't wait! Are you Tommy, Ashley's friend Tommy? Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. happy belated birthday to your dad.
    what a wonderful and delicious cake you made for him. he must have been very happy.

  7. That is I! I haven't seen the house yet, but I can't wait. And from the looks of your blog, ANYthing you make will be a definite winner. :) What should I make?

  8. Elaine, you boiled the can? I'm sure that's how Grandma used to do it. I'll have to ask my Mom if she remembers that. We typically heat the contents over the stove or in the microwave but not for any set period of time. We should streamline the process but really it's about stirring until it's thick and carmelly, but not too thick to be spread over the cake. Wish I had a piece in front of me right now!