So, here it is. The perfect birthday cake. Cake #3 from the weekend. And it’s good, people. This is the cake I made for my mother, Rosie Beaucoup, to celebrate her birthday. This is the third cake I made in under twenty-four hours. And this is the recipe my mother used when I was growing up. Look how I turned out… right?

This cake is moist and the icing is light and floofy. You could have this cake frosted and on the table in two hours start to finish. The cake comes together in one bowl, and the icing? You make it in the food processor! It’s tasty enough to be the perfect birthday cake, yet so easy to make that you could whip it up for any occasion – like a successful trip to the grocery store.

This is the first cake I’ve made in a long time that didn’t require the beating of the butter and sugar before adding the other ingredients. For this cake, you basically dump everything into one bowl and mix. It’s so easy a monkey could do it. Provided that monkey had access to an electric mixer and a spatula. (Are you starting to wish you could meet this monkey? ‘Cuz I am.)

Turns out my mother hasn’t had a homemade birthday cake since she was a child. Don’t you think everyone deserves a banner day?

. . .

Movita’s Perfect Birthday Cake – adapted slightly from a recipe handed down by Rosie Beaucoup, original source unknown – download

  • 2 1/2 cups cake and pastry flour (not self-rising)
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

I recommend bringing the butter and eggs to room temperature before making this cake. Leave them out on your counter for at least an hour.

Makes two 9 inch round pans, one 9×13 inch pan or 24 cupcakes.

Grease pans and flour lightly. I like to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper as well. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the soft butter, milk and vanilla. Mix on low speed to blend ingredients, and then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl often. Add eggs and beat 2 minutes longer at medium speed. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans.

Bake 25-35 minutes for round layers; 40-45 minutes for rectangular pan; 20 minutes for cupcakes. Cake tester should come out clean. Cool for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

. . .

Instant Fudge Icing – adapted only slightly from Smitten Kitchen – download

Makes about 5 cups

  • 6 ounces unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.

Note: the type of chocolate you use will affect the sweetness of your icing. I used 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate and 4 ounces of semi-sweet. You could use only unsweetened for a less sweet icing.


  1. emmalina73 on April 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I wish that cake was my bed. In old England all of our beds are made from cakes and then when we eat them we bake a new one. But miraculously we remain slender and mentally agile, able to be master criminals, intellectuals and we all walk our dogs on roller skates.

    Adoption sounding tempting yet?

    • movita on April 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      I have so much to learn about England.

      Also, yes. You can adopt me. I will require an all white room, Cristal champagne (nightly), rose petals in the toilet (always) and a special attendant to dispose of my chewed gum.

      • emmalina73 on April 19, 2011 at 10:52 pm

        Ah you are indeed a simple girl with simple tastes. We can easily accommodate all your wishes but you might need to defeat an evil queen who requires all bedrooms to be taupe. Pretty standard practice in the old country.

  2. Anonymous on January 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Oooooo…So yummy!

  3. movita beaucoup on October 29, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in April 2011. Happy baking!