Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Mom, happy birthday to you!
We’re visiting my parents this weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day AND my mom’s 70th birthday. Her only request for the weekend… a Chiffon cake layered with bananas and sweetened whipped cream.
…And, we needed to use the recipe from her 1965 Betty Crocker Cookbook.
But, as it turns out, this is the birthday cake my Great Grandma Moore made for my mom every year. Grandma Moore ran a cake baking business out of her home in the 1950’s when Chiffon cakes were all the rage. My mother, who lived next door, would spend evenings with Grandma, watching her bake 4 or 5 Chiffon cakes every night… all kinds of flavors, shapes and sizes.
For her oldest granddaughter’s birthday, Grandma always made the same thing… a basic Betty Crocker Chiffon layered with sweetened whipped cream and bananas. And that’s exactly what we made last night.
It was a little intimidating, since I really wanted to replicate the cake from birthdays past. At first, Mom tried to stay out of the way and let me make the cake myself. But then she couldn’t help herself… she kept coming into the kitchen to see how things were going, and finally I just gave in and asked for her help.
I guess you could say we made it together. With a little help from Great Grandma Moore.
After we feasted on filet mignon, shrimp scampi and twice-baked potatoes, out came this simple, old-fashioned cake. It was a perfect end to our retro birthday celebration. Not too sweet, not too heavy, but filled with deliciousness and fond memories.
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 2 1/4 cups SOFTASILK flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 5 egg yolks, unbeaten
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 2 tsp.. vanilla
- 2 tsp. grated lemon rind
- 1 cup egg whites (7 or 8)
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1 quart heavy whipping cream
- 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- Sliced fruit of your choice.
- (Bananas are my mom’s favorite)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add, in the following order, egg yolks, water, vanilla, and lemon rind.
- Beat with a spoon, incorporating the egg mixture, until a smooth batter is formed.
- Measure egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a ballon whisk.
- Beat the whites until they form very stiff peaks.
- Pour egg yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites and gently fold to combine with a rubber spatula, just until blended.
- Pour mixture into an UNGREASED 10″ tube pan.
- Bake for 55 minutes at 325 degrees.
- Turn oven up to 350 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Remove pan from the oven and invert onto a thin necked bottle to cool.
- Let pan hang until cold.
- Use a long bladed knife to loosen the cake around the inside and outside of the pan. Shake the cake gently to make sure it is loose, then turn out onto a cake plate.
- Cut the cake into three layers.
- Whip the heavy whipping cream in an electric mixer with the sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff.
- Frost the cake generously with whipped cream and the fruit of your choice.