Baked Sunday Mornings: Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake

I religiously watched Martha Stewart as a child on Saturday mornings. I loved her Polish work ethic, East coast toughness, yet down home sensibility. To this day I still find myself turning to her baking and cooking shows on PBS. She was pioneer in homemade DYI movement. This simple cake is something I could see her whipping up on one of her shows.

This cake is so easy to put together, no separate bowl needed to beat egg whites or a trip to the grocery store for weird ingredients. I am not a fan of cinnamon and chocolate together, and usually omit the cinnamon (never the chocolate, that would be crazy!) whenever the two are paired together. I find that cinnamon doesn’t always place nice with chocolate, and can often overwhelm it. This recipe only calls for a 1/2 teaspoon, and I thought that so little cinnamon would not compete with the chocolate, and added it. This recipes calls for sour cream, but some possible substitutions are given, one being crème frache. I still had some unexpired crème frache left over from the Gay Cake, and used the rest, 1/2 cup, with the remaining cup being straight up sour cream. I was worried about these cakes overflowing as it seemed like a lot of batter for such little pans. They did doom up over, but never spilled. I had to bake mine slightly longer than 35 minutes, around 39.


I made the frosting for this the day before baking the cakes. I made the mistake of having my butter and cream cheese really warm. In addition I only had three cups of powder sugar at home. My frosting was very runny, but I placed it in the fridge and hoped for the best. From my experience with the Gonzo cake, which used a similar cream cheese frosting, it was a success because both the cream cheese and butter were still cold while mixing.

The cake smelled amazing while baking up. It was that cinnamon coming through. I let my frosting come to room temp before spreading. It was still pretty thin, so I just kind of glopped it on. Great,I thought. Runny frosting and chocolate and cinnamon. I was ready to chalk this one up as a disaster. However, sometimes looks (and I guess smells) can be deceiving. This cake was really good. It is a little denser than I usually like; it reminded me of a light pound cake and like most cakes it got denser as it aged. You know that cinnamon I was so worried about. Well, you really wouldn’t even know it was there unless you were the one to assemble this cake, but it does add a subtle hint of flavor to what I usually consider to be a pedestrian cake. I felt like this cake was a great homage to Martha. Find out if the other Baked Sunday Morning bakers felt the same way.

Recipe from: Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito


5 thoughts on “Baked Sunday Mornings: Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake

  1. I also generally don’t like chocolate paired with cinnamon — but I’m glad you liked it here (even though it was still too much for me)!


  2. It is funny how many people in this group don’t like cinnamon paired with chocolate! I have to agree the cinnamon made it smell amazing while it was baking!


  3. yeven says:

    I guess I’m one of the few who actually like cinnamon with almost anything!! Including chocolate. Loved this cake and yours looks yummy!


  4. Byn says:

    You totally nailed it – the cake was like pound cake! It was a little heavier than I expected. I also don’t like cinnamon and chocolate together!!!


  5. hsimpsongrossman says:

    I’m happy you didn’t give up on this one


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