My birthday cake came out of a box! Sounds like the title of a horror film, and worst of all, it’s true.
The first birthday cakes I remember were ordinary yellow or white cakes with white frosting and candles. Mom made them from scratch with our own eggs and all-purpose flour out of the big flour bin under the kitchen counter. Dad would usually bring home a quart of ice cream which made for a pretty good birthday treat.
But when I was 12 or 13, Mom made me a new birthday cake that is still my favorite after more than 56 years. It is an angel food cake with layers of lemon pie filling and frosting made of lemon pie filling and whipped cream. And except for the cream, it came out of two boxes.
Jerri has been making this cake for my birthday for over 40 years. It is still my favorite birthday cake and, unfortunately, it’s also popular with guests. But by restricting the guest list, it is still possible to have a leftover piece out of the refrigerator for breakfast the next morning. Try it sometime.
1 angel food cake mix
1 box lemon pie filling mix
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Make the cake according to directions on the box. Cool thoroughly. When the cake is baking, make the pie filling according to directions on the box and allow it to cool to room temperature. Chill the pie filling in the refrigerator while the cake is cooling.
After it has cooled, slice the cake horizontally into three layers. Spread a thin layer of pie filling on top of the lower layer, top with the next layer, spread more pie filling and top with the final layer. Since the filling is set, distribute spoonfuls of filling on each layer and use a knife or spatula to smooth it evenly on the cake. You should have about half of the pie filling left to beat into the cream.
Make sure the cream is cold. Chill a medium mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, Pour the cream into the bowl and beat on medium speed until the cream starts to thicken. Add the sugar and beat until soft peaks begin to form. Then beat in the vanilla and the remaining lemon pie filling until you have a pastel lemon cream. Be careful not to beat the cream too long or it will turn into butter.
Frost the cake generously with the cream. Give any leftover lemon cream to the birthday boy or girl.