My Dad’s Favorite Chocolate Birthday Cake

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have turned 59 today, and I’m sure the day would have been filled with all sorts of jokes about how he was only one year away from being really old and over the hill. However, life happens, as it tends to do, and my dad passed away 13 years ago, a week shy of his 46th birthday, due to complications from leukemia. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, and miss him. This past Christmas, my grandma and I were talking about recipes, and she asked if my mom ever gave me the recipe for my dad’s favorite birthday cake. I couldn’t remember it, so my mom dug it out for me, and I decided that this year I would make his favorite cake to commemorate his birthday. My mom’s recipe card was titled simply, “Mom Norris Choc. Cake”. Let me tell you – my dad had some tremendously good taste when it came to cake, as this is not your ordinary chocolate cake. It’s a rich, moist chocolate cake with a river of cream cheese filling running through the middle, and it’s topped with a combination of chopped walnuts and sugar. It’s amazing. And I’ve decided that I’m going to make this every year on April 12th.

I asked my grandma where she got this recipe, and she said that one of the women she worked with back in the 60′s shared it with her. She made it, and my dad, who was in his early teens at the time, loved it, and so she made it for his birthday every year after that. Once my parents got married, my mom took over making it for him each and every year. I couldn’t remember the cake, and my mom said she stopped making it when my sister and I were pretty young since my dad got a “borderline cholesterol” blood result from the doctor and he had to start watching what he ate. Incidentally, that result did not stop him from sneaking Snickers bars at work. Many times we would stop by his office to visit, and my sister and I would see the wrappers in his waste basket. We relished ratting him out to my mom, of course. What little snitches we were!

Celebrating my dad’s birthday is, of course, bittersweet. There are so many things I wish I could share with him and do with him on a daily basis that I can’t, but I am grateful for each and every day that I got to spend with him. He was a jokester – I was doused with cold water more times than I can count, he continually hid rubber snakes for my mom to find (she is absurdly afraid of snakes), and he even won a Friday joke contest on a local radio station. I think he secretly loved having a tomboy daughter – he played catch with me and hit me grounders to practice fielding when I played softball. We threw footballs back and forth. He would change clothes after work and challenge me to a game of H-O-R-S-E out back. And I’m sure he loved nothing more than seeing me, his 8-year-old daughter, pour into his hockey equipment (helmet, shin guards, gloves, and all), grab my street hockey stick (pink blade and all) and declare that I would be the first girl hockey player ever. We always had tons of fun, and I never doubted how proud he was of whatever I was doing.

This cake is for him – to celebrate what an awesome dad he was and for the time I got to spend with him.

Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you and miss you.

One year ago: Classic Egg Salad
Two years ago: Honey-Vanilla Sour Cream Pound Cake

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Filling & Walnut-Sugar Topping

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Walnut-Sugar Topping:
2 cups chopped walnuts
½ cup granulated sugar

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
2 (8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. Make the Walnut-Sugar Topping: Combine the chopped walnuts and the sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

3. Make the Cake Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix together until just combined and there are no traces of dry ingredients. Set aside.

4. Make the Cream Cheese Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until soft and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue mixing until light and fluffy, another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the salt and beat until thoroughly combined and smooth.

4. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Slowly pour all of the cream cheese filling over top, trying to distribute it as evenly as possible (do not try to spread it after you pour it). Pour the remaining cake batter over top of the cream cheese filling. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the walnut-sugar mixture.

5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely before serving.

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129 Responses to “My Dad’s Favorite Chocolate Birthday Cake”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Rosie on April 12, 2012 at 12:49 am

    This looks good hun. I am in love with all you do. Not being a stalker or anything. lol

    Reply

  2. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on April 12, 2012 at 1:12 am

    This is just so sweet. I’m sure your dad would be so proud of this. What a delicious looking cake!

    Reply

  3. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on April 12, 2012 at 1:35 am

    What a lovely post! I’m sure it doesn’t make the pain of losing a parent any easier, but at least you two shared some wonderful memories together.

    Reply

  4. Jessica on April 12, 2012 at 2:34 am

    You are such an amazing woman. Even though your dad and dear grandparents are up in heaven, you still stay strong. I love your recipes! Keep it up!

    Reply

  5. katie on April 12, 2012 at 3:03 am

    That looks like a fabulous cake and what a lovely cheerful way to remember your dad

    Reply

  6. Mindee on April 12, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Miss my dad too..funny caring honest loving father who has a really sweet tooth. We don’t commemorate his B’dae after he’s gone..its just too painful & sad for all of us till now.

    Reply

  7. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on April 12, 2012 at 3:42 am

    It sounds like a wonderful tradition, baking this gorgeous cake every year.

    Reply

  8. valeen on April 12, 2012 at 4:12 am

    The cake looks delicious. Love the story about your dad. What a a great way to remember him!

    Reply

  9. Mireia on April 12, 2012 at 4:18 am

    What a great cake, and the story behind it is even better :)

    Reply

  10. Shellie Cadogan on April 12, 2012 at 5:05 am

    Thank you for sharing…..huge hugs for you today.

    Reply

  11. Kiri W. on April 12, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Mmmm, I an see why your dad would love this – sounds to die for!

    Reply

  12. Johna on April 12, 2012 at 6:10 am

    I am sorry for the loss of your dad. He sounds like a great guy!
    I think this cake definitely is drool-worthy! thank you for sharing!

    Reply

  13. cooking rookie on April 12, 2012 at 6:16 am

    This must be a wonderful cake from a wonderful daughter!

    Reply

  14. Linda Nortje on April 12, 2012 at 6:42 am

    Thank you for sharing this special recipe. Even though, your Dad does not age anymore … Happy Birthday to him, it is after all his birth date that’s being celebrated.

    Reply

  15. Penny Wolf on April 12, 2012 at 6:58 am

    I like to think we are still with the ones who have crossed over, just in such a different way. I talk to my parents ALL the time :)
    His birthday cake looks wonderful!

    Reply

  16. Jeri Barry on April 12, 2012 at 6:58 am

    What a wonderful tribute to your father. He certainly sounds like a perfect example of what a father should be. I just love how food, and the memory of specific recipes shared by loved ones elicits such vivid memories and brings us together. Thank You.

    Reply

  17. Lily on April 12, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Thank you for the recipe and thank you for sharing the beautiful memories of your dad…I thought it was such a beautiful way to remember someone dear to you in a happy way…I will do the same starting this year on May 7th, which would have been my dad’s 80th birthday…

    Reply

  18. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on April 12, 2012 at 7:01 am

    What a great way to honor your dad’s memory and celebrate his life!

    Reply

  19. Katrina on April 12, 2012 at 7:05 am

    This is such a special post, and a great way to remember your dad. I can see why he loved it so much – it sounds fabulous!

    Reply

  20. AnnaG on April 12, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Beautiful post — your Dad would be proud! :)

    Reply

  21. Carla on April 12, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Well…….this morning, this post made me happy (for a delicious chocolate cake recipe), sad (for the loss of your Father), happy (for the wonderful relationship you had with your Dad). I will make this cake and it will make me think of you and your Dad…….. they will be happy thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  22. abigail on April 12, 2012 at 7:35 am

    my dad always get me to make a buttermilk pound cake with vanilla buttercream frosting for his birthday. i use the buttermilk pound cake recipe from allrecipes. it is so moist. my dad likes it so much that every time someone else has a birthday that he knows he gets me to make it for them, lol. there is nothing like making your father happy when you are a daddy’s girl.

    Reply

  23. Melissa on April 12, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Looks wonderful! I love when you can tell that a recipe has been passed down, because a lot of recipes that were around during times of war have no eggs in the cake (due to rationing). Anyways, this looks so yummy and I’ll be craving it until I can have a bite myself!

    Reply

  24. Betsy on April 12, 2012 at 7:44 am

    What a lovely post. I truly can’t wait to make this cake! Happy Birthday to your Dad! What a great way to remember him.

    Reply

  25. Blog is the New Black on April 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

    What a nice post! :)

    Reply

  26. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on April 12, 2012 at 7:56 am

    What a beautiful post.

    Reply

  27. Claire @ Live and Love to Eat on April 12, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I’m glad you have great memories! My thoughts are with you today! <3

    Reply

  28. Lori on April 12, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Michelle,
    You have me crying over my breakfast! This is so sweet and the cake looks delicious, too. I agree….make this cake every year in honor of him. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  29. Anna on April 12, 2012 at 8:48 am

    That is a serious looking cake – seriously yummy, that is! Mind if I borrow it for Saturday? It’s my mom birthday and she’s a major chocolate, and walnut, fan.

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Absolutely! I hope your mom loves it as much as my dad did!

      Reply

  30. Genny on April 12, 2012 at 9:04 am

    What a sweet way to remember your dad! Your cake looks delicious!

    Reply

  31. Erin @ Brownie Bites on April 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

    What a wonderful way to remember your dad and do something special for his birthday. :-) He most definitely had good taste in cake, because this one looks amazing!

    Reply

  32. Cassie on April 12, 2012 at 9:23 am

    What a great way to remember your dad’s birthday. The cake is stunning! You are in my thoughts today, Michelle.

    Reply

  33. Dee on April 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

    It’s amazing how food brings up such strong memories. It looks delicious and I’m sorry that your father was taken so early.

    Reply

  34. Bakeaholic on April 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

    This cake looks absolutely divine! I’m sure dad would have loved this. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply

  35. Paula on April 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

    This was a beautiful post and thank you for sharing such lovely memories of your Dad with us. How very sweet that his favourite cake is going to be made by his daughter every year to commemorate his birthday. It does look delicious.

    Reply

  36. Kathy@sugarrushbaking on April 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

    What a sweet story and a good way to remember your Dad. The cake looks amazing and one I will surely try.

    Reply

  37. Georgia on April 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Happy Birthday, Dad! What a wonderful way to spend time with him. They are always with us – in our hearts and minds.

    Reply

  38. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Pepper on April 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Oh, I’m so sad, what a wonderful story and a wonderful cake. Your Dad would be so very proud of you.

    Reply

  39. Eileen on April 12, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I’m sorry Michele. I lost my mom 13 years ago too so I know how you feel. I’m sure your dad is smiling down on you. Your cake recipe is so unique – love it! Anything with cream cheese in it is a friend of mine – lol…

    Reply

  40. Quinn on April 12, 2012 at 10:23 am

    This looks amazing, and I plan on making it this weekend. :-) Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and your memories. No matter the time, the loss never gets easier but I’m sure he is very proud of his daughter. All the best to you!

    Reply

  41. Martha T on April 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I think celebrating the lives of those we have lost is a huge part of living life.

    I have several recipes that are tied directly to people who were loved and lost by “friends” I have never met. This will go into that collection and your dad will be remembered by my family as well. ♥

    Reply

  42. elisa on April 12, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Thanks for sharing this story-I’m all choked up here at work. looks like a delicious cake too!!

    I bake so many things since I love trying new recipes but it’s so nice having a favorite so that traditions could be made and treasured!

    Reply

  43. Cassie on April 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Your dad was a wonderful man. I know my dad misses him a ton too, he was such a special friend. What a sweet way to keep the memories alive each year. No doubt he would be very proud of you today. All the best!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 15th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks, Cassie! They were definitely special friends, and your dad remains such a blessing to my mom. He helps her so much. I hope you’re doing well! A belated congratulations on your wedding!

      Reply

  44. Judith Q Stewart on April 12, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Oh My Goodness…my Daddy’s b’ day is a few days away…I miss him so much. I am a gardener…and he loved this about me…and I loved his love of nature.
    he also had a sweet tooth…loved all good food celebrated in our wonderful Italian kitchen. you are so sweet to post this heartfelt tribute to your Dad…who left behind a beautiful daughter, who fills our hearts and tummies.
    god Be with you and your family.

    Reply

  45. Debra Kapellakis on April 12, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Thank you for sharing the memory of your Dad and his favorite cake. I printed it and will treat my family and myself to it soon. My Dad will be 71 this year. He is fine. I have seen him only three times in 21 years. (finaces haven’t allowed me to travel there and he doesn’t fly)

    Reply

  46. Laura Dembowski on April 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Michelle, Your story made me cry. It was so moving to read about your dad. I’m sorry he’s not still around for you. I will treasure my dad even more after reading that. Thanks for sharing this story.

    Reply

  47. SamCyn on April 12, 2012 at 11:54 am

    What a heartfelt story! And the cake sounds like it could easily be a winner at my home…I look forward to making it and sharing your story with my husband. Thanks for sharing :)

    Reply

  48. Anita at Hungry Couple on April 12, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I also lost my father when I was young so I can relate. Your dad’s favorite birthday cake looks delicious, though. It’s easy to see why he loved it. Nice post.

    Reply

  49. Mercedes (Satisfy My Sweet Tooth) on April 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I can see why this was your dad’s favorite cake. I think it is wonderful that you celebrate him each year on his birthday with one of his favorite treats. Baking can be very healing and therapeutic.

    Reply

  50. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on April 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    What a wonderful cake and a loving tribute to your late father. I’m sure he’s looking down on you with great admiration and affection for preserving his memory in your baking. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

  51. Betsy on April 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Love this post. Right there with you in missing my dad every day and realizing as much as I hated losing him when I did, it is such a blessing that we had such a great relationship that I do miss him every day. Not every one can say that. What a great way for you to remember his memory.

    Reply

  52. Nancy @ CouponClippingCook on April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    What a great post and what a special recipe. This cake looks delicious and so do your pictures of it.

    Reply

  53. Jill on April 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Tomorrow is my Birthday and I wasn’t going to have a cake, but I am going to bake this tonight when I get home from work, it sounds wonderful.
    Happy Birthday to your dad.

    Reply

  54. Steph@stephsbitebybite on April 12, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I love that you still make it a point to celebrate your Dad’s birthday! I’m sure he would be very happy that you honor him still! What an amazing cake too! I can see why it was his favorite!

    Reply

  55. Kaitlin on April 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I can see why this was a favorite of your dad’s. This is a beautiful (and delicious) way to honor his birthday :)

    Reply

  56. amy@currylime on April 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    This cake looks decadently good!

    Reply

  57. Kate H. on April 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    What a beautiful tribute! xoxo

    Reply

  58. Christina on April 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Sorry to hear that you lost your dad when he still had a lot of life to live. I love the idea of making his favorite cake on his birthday every year. What a perfect way to celebrate his life! Today is my birthday too- going to have to try this cake :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Happy Birthday, Christina! I hope you had a fabulous birthday!

      Reply

  59. Candace T on April 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a precious memory and a delicious cake. I love everything you do. My family gets so much pleasure at dinner time because of you. I hope you realize that you make a huge difference to me!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Aw, thank you so much for the kind words, Candace!

      Reply

  60. Martha in KS on April 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    I will make this cake soon & celebrate your Dad’s life as you did today. Hugs from Kansas!

    Reply

  61. Karen on April 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    My heart goes out to you. Your dad sounds like an amazing person, and I know your loss was great. I can see why he loved this cake. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply

  62. megan on April 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Great post. Happy Birthday to your Dad.

    Reply

  63. Emily @ Life on Food on April 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Looks like he certainly did have good taste. Glad you found the recipe.

    Reply

  64. Barbara | Creative Culinary on April 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    My mom died when she was 48 so I know so well how bittersweet this day must be. What a loving tribute to your Dad…and an equally lovely cake.

    Reply

  65. ang on April 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Beautiful, Michelle. What a way to celebrate a genuinely wonderful person. Brought tears to my eyes…
    Happy birthday, Dave. You are truly missed.

    Reply

  66. Mar on April 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    This cake looks and sounds so appealing! And thank you for sharing the story of your Dad. What a lovely tribute to him. I make a coffee cake that was my Dad’s favourite, and every time I make it one of the kids remembers that it was Petje’s favourite. Food is a wonderful way to share memories of someone special.

    Reply

  67. Hannah on April 12, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    This looks so delicious! What a great recipe! Xx

    Reply

  68. susan on April 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    What a tribute to your father. I showed my hubby the picture and he can’t wait for me to make it! Thanks!

    Reply

  69. KQ on April 13, 2012 at 1:22 am

    the cake looks divine. I lost my dad just last month, and I know that I can look forward to thinking of him every day. his annual birthday cake was chocolate mint. I’ll be making it that day.

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      I am so sorry for your loss. Big hugs to you and your family.

      Reply

  70. Erika - The Teenage Taste on April 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Wow, I can totally see how this could be anyones favorite cake. It looks amazing!

    Reply

  71. Carrie on April 15, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Very touching story, so many things my mom makes remind me of my dad who passed away 3 years ago at age 65. His birthday is coming up and this sounds like something he would love, I think I’ll make it and share it with my family. Thanks

    Reply

  72. Tamara on April 15, 2012 at 12:45 am

    What a lovely post! I’m not usually a cake person, but I’m going to make this cake in honor of your dad. :)

    Reply

  73. The Doll Baker on April 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Aww, so sweet. Thank you for sharing your dad’s favorite cake recipe. ♥ I have a question though about the ingredients. I noticed that there are not any eggs in the cake batter. Is that why there is 3/4 cup vegetable oil? I was going to make it today but hesitated..

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Correct – the vegetable oil and the water are what keep the cake moist.

      Reply

  74. Barbara on April 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Just finished having my (2nd) piece today of this cake. It is delicious!!! It did take an extra 10 mins to bake tho. Just a question. Should this be refrigerated because of the cream cheese? thanks for a great recipe.

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Barbara, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It should be refrigerated, just make sure it’s covered tightly so it doesn’t pick up any refrigerator odors.

      Reply

  75. Kita on April 15, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    This is an awesome post. I say cheers to chocolate cake on April 12 every year. I also lost my mother when she was very young, though I can hear her joking too about ‘being old’ at 40 and can’t imagine what jokes she would be saying if she had celebrated 59. I think its beautiful and bittersweet though that you have loved ones to help you celebrate your fathers memory and re-discover wonderful recipes like this.

    Reply

  76. Michelle on April 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I loved this post… so sweet and honest. Thank you for sharing your memories of your dad – he sounds like a great one! I am looking forward to trying this special cake :)

    Reply

  77. ERIKA on April 16, 2012 at 4:37 am

    what a SWEET tribute to your Father. Hugs to you. My father would have loved this cake too. Chocolate, walnuts creamcheese. yup.. he would have loved it. ;)

    Reply

  78. Adrianne on April 16, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Loved reading about your dad and the memories behind this cake. I am going to bake this today and also would like to know if it should be refrigerated?
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Hi Adrianne, Yes, I would refrigerate it if you have leftovers, just make sure it is covered tightly in the refrigerator.

      Reply

  79. Rebecca on April 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

    It’s a lovely way to remember your Dad and I look forward to trying the recipe. Great post!

    Reply

  80. Noble Pig - Cathy on April 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    (Choking up)…I miss my Dad too and this makes me want to make my Dad’s favorite apple cake. What a nice way to remember him.

    Reply

  81. Denise on April 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I made this last night to take to work for a coworker’s birthday. Everybody loved it! Thanks for the great recipe and wonderful story of it’s history

    Reply

  82. oferte antalya on April 17, 2012 at 3:37 am

    I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Reply

  83. Stefanie on April 17, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I would like to try this recipe! Does it need to be refrigerated after you make it due to the cream cheese?

    Reply

  84. Stefanie on April 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Just saw that it should be refrigerated, thanks!

    Reply

  85. Emily (The Culinary Couple) on April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    What a sweet (literally and figuratively) tribute to your father. My dad also battled cancer right around his 50th birthday. Fortunately, he came out healthy on the other side, so I can only imagine how much you miss your dad. He would be so proud of you!

    Reply

  86. Alex on April 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Just tucking into my first piece – a lovely cake! But when I put the second half of the batter on top, it pretty much sank through. It turned out fine, but I ended up with a cream cheese layer on top rather than the middle. Is there a trick to it? My only thought is that I’m in the UK and the ingredients may be sliiiiightly different…

    Reply

    • Gwen Donnelly on April 18th, 2012 at 11:08 am

      I had the same issue and I’m in the States.

      Reply

    • Michelle on April 18th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Alex, The ingredients may have played a part; I just poured slowly and as evenly as possible. I didn’t get it to cover the entire cream cheese layer, but it was pretty close.

      Reply

  87. Denise (Daisy Belle Bakery) on April 18, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Beautiful post. My seven year old son’s birthday is April 12, as well. I love that you commemorate your dad’s birthday by making his favorite cake. I lost my mom to Lymphoma when she was only 50 and I am always at a loss for how to mark the occasion of her birthday. I think I may borrow your idea and bake her favorite cake on her birthday next February. By the way, your cake looks delicious! I must try this recipe.

    Reply

  88. Brittany @ Brittany Cooks on April 24, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I’m a recent subscriber to your blog, so I missed the post when it was published. It touched my heart a little bit actually, as I can completely relate. My dad’s birthday was also April 12, and he would have been 58 this year. He also died of cancer (pancreatic) 3 years ago. I wasn’t as close with my dad as you were with yours, but he was still my dad. I think about him all the time, especially since I’ve been living in China this year, and he worked here for a bit when I was a baby. I really wanted to make a German chocolate cake for his birthday this year, since it was his favorite and I’ve never made one. I sadly didn’t get a chance to make one as I couldn’t get the ingredients (the expat store is far away =/). There’s always next year I guess. Anyways, thanks for the post. I’ll have to try this cake for sure. It looks wonderful!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 24th, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Hi Brittany, My condolences to you. It’s never easy to lose someone you love. I am planning to make a German Chocolate Cake for Father’s Day this year, so keep an eye out for the recipe!

      Reply

  89. Brittany @ Brittany Cooks on April 24, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Oh yeah..and I found this recipe through your link on the Mississippi Mud Cake..I grew up in Mississippi..trippy :)

    Reply

  90. Ria on April 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    This sounded so good…. Made it and was disappointed. Got very high 1/4 inch above pan….15 extra min baking and center was still undone….and generally had no flavor :(

    Reply

  91. RisaG on May 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Looks like quite a cake. I usually make Birthday Pie in this house as most people don’t like cake. I would make it for me though. I will keep this recipe for December when I turn 52!

    Reply

  92. Daniella on May 15, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Hi!
    It looks beautiful, and i made it, but the cream cheese filling just disappeared from the middle part and came up…I was worried because when i was doing this cake the cake batter was more havy than the cream chees part and i think the top batter just pushed the cream chees filling up… could you help what could be the problem?
    Thank you :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 15th, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Hi Daniella, As you can see from the picture, the cream cheese layer kind of “wove” its way through my cake – in the middle in some spots, closer to the top in others. The best method I’ve found is to really slowly pour the cream cheese filling, trying to distribute it into as even a layer as possible without touching it. Then, do the same when you pour the second half of the cake batter on top of the cream cheese. Slow and even. Hopefully that helps next time around! Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, though (mine never is!) – it will surely still be delicious!

      Reply

  93. Shani on May 28, 2012 at 1:33 am

    I am going to make this for my Dads Birthday this week. Thank you. x

    Reply

  94. Kimberlee V. on June 4, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I made this yesterday to take to a friend’s house for dinner. Everyone really enjoyed it. For us, it served more than 8-10. It’s a pretty dense cake. The only hiccup for me was that I had to almost double the baking time. I was afraid the cake would be dry around the edges, but the finished cake was very moist and yummy!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe and the story about your Dad.

    Reply

  95. Lynna on June 24, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Wow, this looks amazing! :D

    Reply

  96. little pig on August 15, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Hi, i LOVE your recipes and website!

    I wanted to make this for my sister because it’s her birthday tomorrow, but i wanted to do it in a round tin. What size tin do you think i should use?

    thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 18th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Hi there, unless you use a really large round pan, it’s not going to be big enough for this batter. A 9×13-inch pan holds 14 cups, while a 10-inch round pan only holds 11 cups. You would need no less than a 14-inch round pan, and I couldn’t guarantee you if that size would work, as I haven’t tried it.

      Reply

  97. Blessy on September 11, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Hi Michelle,I’m a newbie baker but I’d like to make this cake for a friend of mine. After reading some of the comments above, I hope the layers will turn out fine, (“woven” as you’d said). I really liked the recipe especially because it has such a rich history behind it. I’d like your thoughts on this: instead of the walnut-sugar topping, would it be ok if I used chocolate ganache?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      Hi Blessy, I think a chocolate ganache would be great! Let me know how you like it!

      Reply

  98. Nadine on December 15, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I just made this! It’s so moist and delicious I just can’t get enough of it.

    Reply

  99. Linda on January 19, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Such a heartwarming story! I lost my dad a few years ago at 93 years of age. We had always celebrated our birthdays together since they were only a few days apart. He loved chocolate cake, too! I think I will make it this year – Feb 5th – to commemorate our years of shared birthdays! Happy Birthday Dad! Love you and miss you every day!

    Reply

    • Jazz on February 17th, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      Hi Michelle, I just finished baking this cake (it looks awesome by the way), but it turned out much more moist than I had anticipated. It’s almost as if I haven’t even put it in the oven – only the sides are cooked. I know I followed the recipe very precisely, so I’m wondering what went wrong. I really want to make this cake again, so do you have any suggestions for next time?

      Reply

      • Michelle on February 19th, 2013 at 8:18 pm

        It sounds like the cake simply didn’t finish baking. The time to bake is usually on target, but a lot of ovens can vary in temperature, so it’s important to use the visual cues as well. If a toothpick inserted into the center came out with a few moist crumbs, then the cake is done and will finish setting up as it cools. If the toothpick still has batter on it, then it needs to be baked longer.

        Reply

      • Noelani on April 10th, 2013 at 2:45 am

        I hope you don’t mind me commenting on your site! I haven’t baked this cake, but am planning to, substituting pecans because I’m allergic to walnuts. I would think that it would be easy to get the cream cheese layer too thick in the middle and, if you did, that could certainly add to it not baking all the way through. Whenever I bake anything that stays real moist when it is done, like fudge brownies, I always try to get as much batter as I can into the corners and edges. It always settles back into the center, to some degree, but helps avoid having it a lot thicker in the middle than anywhere else.

        I also think this is a lovely tribute to your father! It reminds me of how blessed I am to still have mine around at 84.

        Reply

  100. Bev on February 19, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Just baked this cake and was concerned because it took so long to bake, 55 min. It wasn’t dry as I feared but it wasn’t sweet at all. In fact, almost no flavor. I baked it for a church dinner tomorrow and now trying to figure out what I can do to save it. Maybe I’ll drizzle some caramel topping over it. So disappointed.

    Reply

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