The Thrifted Kitchen :: Chocolate Birthday Cake a la Creme

Last week, as I was out running errands, I stopped by the local St. Vincent here in South City, something I hadn't done in probably a couple months. You never know what you're going to find there; sometimes nothing, sometimes beautiful furniture and other times a Pepto-pink luggage set (one of the best finds of my "career"). During this trip, it looked like it was going to turn into the first option; I didn't see much in the way of housewares or clothing, so I stopped by the bookshelves on my way out and came across a fairly large section of vintage cookbooks and booklets, which we all know I'm a bit obsessed with.

And today's Thrifted Kitchen comes to you courtesy of one of those finds, which I actually already had, but bought this second copy to gift to a friend. It's probably my favorite cake book I've thrifted to date: Good Housekeeping's Cake-Lovers' Cookbook, printed originally in 1967, but this edition was from 1971. And here's where my magazine background creeps in: Yes, I do love the recipes in here, but the size, the weight of the paper and the cleanness of the fonts and layouts just really draw me in. The pictures, of course, have that over-contrasted feel that most do from this era of food photography, but we can overlook that for now. :)

The recipe I chose to make from the book is called Chocolate Birthday Cake a la Creme. I haven't made a chocolate cake in some time, mostly because the hubs prefers white-on-white cakes, so I decided to selfishly ignore his pleads for an almond cake (which happens every time I say I'm going to bake) and make something that made me salivate for a change.

The recipe is really straightforward, and I didn't really run into an glitches (for once). The batter turns out very light and fluffy, and the cake layers are glued together with a very, very buttery cocoa-butter filling that, once the cake is refrigerated, hardens, and kind of reminds me of an icebox cake you might find in today's freezer section. I've always loved cold cake better than warm...

Anyway, the only change I made was putting chocolate nibs on top instead of shaved chocolate, mostly because that's what I had. I like the almost childlike feels it gives the cake, but let's be honest, I really like it because I'm terrible at shaving chocolate. :)

In keeping with trying out this whole printable thing, I've made a couple recipes cards you can download and print, if you're one who prefers having something tangible filed away. The first one is the recipe for the cake, and the second for the cocoa-butter filling. Both are 4x6 in size, so just print on heavy-weight paper and break out your scissors! And do let me know if you have any trouble with the link (located at the bottom of the post).

Chocolate Birthday Cake a la Creme
Courtesy of Good Housekeeping's Cake-Lovers' Cookbook, 1971
Yields one 2-layer cake

3 squares (3 oz.) unsweetened chocolate
2 1/2 c. sifted cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. soft vegetable shortening
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 eggs, unbeaten
1 T. grated lemon peel
1 c. milk
2 squares (2 oz.) semisweet chocolate
2 c. heavy cream, whipped
Cocoa-butter filling (see recipe below)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch layer-cake pans. In double boiler, over warm water, melt unsweetened chocolate; cool slightly. Sift flour with baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, with mixer at hight speed, cream shortening with sugar; then beat in eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy. With mixer at medium speed, beat in lemon peel, then flour mixture alternately with milk in small amounts, beating well after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate until well blended. Turn into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until cake tester, inserted in center, comes out clean. Cool in pans, on wire racks, 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to finish cooling. Meanwhile, make cocoa-butter filling. Also, with vegetable parer, shred warm semisweet chocolate squares into curls and refrigerate. On cake plate, place one chocolate layer; spread with cocoa-butter filling; top with second layer. Then, on top of cake, by heaping tablespoonfuls, mound whipped cream around edge in large circle. Sprinkle with chocolate curls. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cocoa-Butter Filling
1 c. butter
3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, cream butter; gradually beat in sifted confectioners’ sugar, cocoa and vanilla extract until fluffy.


  1. Why do none of these goodies ever make it across town to my house? It looks great.

  2. Your picture looks better than the cookbook.Photography back in the day is quite unappealing


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...