Sharing recipes, stories and memories from my grandma Ginna Burgoyne's kitchen
Another tradition of my grandmother was to make a cake on your birthday. Now I know that most people have a cake made on their birthday, but my grandma went above and beyond. She made a cake for pretty much everyone of my close friends growing up on their birthday, and how about Mary at the office, or Jean down the street. My grandmother always knew how to make everyone feel special and one of the greatest qualities that both of my grandparents possessed was the ability to put a smile on everyone’s face. They were always so personable growing up, and after talking with them for only a short bit, they would make you feel like you have known them for years. My grandmother’s cake was a flavor unlike most cakes, because she made a homemade 7-minute meringue frosting, and made sure to add three layers! She didn’t make any fancy designs with overdone fondant flowers, but instead made this traditional cake that has grown to be one of my favorites, and certainly a recipe that will be carried on to future generations.
The recipe is as follows…
First, you will need to make the cake from the recipe instructions on the back of the Dunken Hines cake mix. The key, however, is to make sure that you beat your egg whites separate until they start to form peaks, and then fold them into the rest of the cake batter gently so that you do not loose the air that has been whipped into the egg whites. Once your batter is mixed, pour the mixture evenly into all three cake pans. Then bake according the package instructions, usually 325 degrees or 35o degrees for about 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean. Once the cakes are finished baking, gently flip them over on to a cooling wrack to let them cool for about 20 minutes to a half hour.
Once the cakes are cooled you can begin making the frosting. First, you will need to put about 2 inches of water into the bottom of your double boiler, and place on high heat. While the water is warming up, add the sugar, egg whites, water, and cream of tartar to the top of the double boiler, making sure not to place over the heat yet. Once your water is boiling, place the top of the double boiler onto the boiling water, and immediately beat on high with your hand mixer. Set your timer for 7 minutes, and continue to beat the mixture until the timer is up and your frosting forms a wonderful creamy consistency and stiff peaks. Once your frosting is complete, add in the vanilla and fold into the frosting.
Next you will need to assemble the cake. I work in layers, and start working from the bottom up. First you will need to place your first cake layer on a doily on either a cake stand or large plate. Tuck in strips of wax paper around the edges of the bottom of the cake so that you do not get any of the frosting on your doily. Next use a knife to spread about a quarter of the frosting evenly across the top (top only, not the sides) of the first layer. The layer of frosting should be about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick. Then you will need to place the second layer of the cake on top of the first and add another layer of frosting. Finally you will add the third layer, making sure to place it evenly over the first two and pressing slightly to secure the layer into place. After your three layers are assembled you can add the remaining frosting on top of the cake, and gently spread the frosting down the sides of the cake being careful to cover the entire surface. Once the frosting is evenly spread on top of the entire cake you can add your choice of toppings. I prefer to shave a chocolate bar using a microplane or similar to dust the top and give it a little extra color and flavor. If you do not want to use chocolate you can add coconut shavings or else chopped nuts are also delicious. If you are really adventurous, add all three! After your toppings are added, then you can gently pull away the strips of wax paper to reveal your clean doily. Place your cake stand cover over top, and you are now ready to display your beautiful cake, until you are ready to eat! Enjoy!