Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Miami Beach Cake

I think that today is a day for a recipe. It is especially true because my kitchen, for the most part, is out of commission for the week. We are having counter top work done (Pictures and post later) and I am not doing any cooking.
So, what is your birthday cake tradition in your house? Boxed mix? Ice cream cake? Cake from the store? We have employed all those at one time or another. I am partial, on a general basis to boxed mix Devil’s Food cake with generic white frosting. Yuuuuuuuuuum. But, for birthdays most of us ask for this cake. The yummy cake. This Miami Beach Cake.
The recipe originally came from Mimi (my mom) but I am not sure where she got it. It has just always been there in my life. A happy thing that came along at birthdays.
So lets get started with this shall we.
IMG_5236 These are all the things that you will need. Nothing exotic. Nothing unusual. I bet that you have all these things somewhere in your kitchen.
IMG_5278 You will also need this, 1 1/4 cups buttermilk.

IMG_5235Butter!!! What would life be like without butter. Oh that lovely dairy product that goes on my toast and in my mashed potatoes and in the cake. So smooth. So creamy. So wonderful. Put a stick of butter out on the counter so that it softens. You are going to have 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter that is softening for the cake batter. You are also going to need another 1/3 cup butter that you will be melting for something else. Don’t get them mixed up….it doesn’t make the cake happy. 

I speak from experience. It was a sad day. 

IMG_5266Before we get to the actual cake let’s talk about pan preparation shall we. My biggest fear when baking a cake from scratch is it not wanting to exit the pan when I need it to. Big fear. Many years ago I learned this little trick. You may already know it. If you do just sit and be quiet while the rest of us talk about it. I take a paper bag from the grocery store. I trace around the outside edge of my cake pan. Cut that out and put it into the bottom of the pan.
IMG_5267Spray the cake pan and the paper circle with cooking spray. Voila, no sticking. Yes I know that you can also coat the pan with flour but that never seems to work for me. This has never failed me. You just need to remember to peel the paper off when you take the layer out. It isn’t all that tasty.
IMG_5268 Melt 1/3 cup chocolate chips in the microwave. Remember that chocolate chips can very easily burn when being melted. Watch them carefully. Then just set them aside for a bit.
IMG_5270Melt 1/3 cup of butter and set aside. This is not the same stick of butter that goes into the batter. This is just a reminder. Set this aside for a minute.
IMG_5272 Measure out 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs. I use graham cracker crumbs that I buy already “crumbed”. You can make your own crumbs very easily. I am just lazy. No surprise there. Mix the crumbs and the melted butter together and set aside.
IMG_5275 Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Oh I can smell the sugar and the butter. Ummmmmmmm.
IMG_5276 Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well
After several “bad egg” incidents I usually break the eggs into a separate bowl and then add them individually. That ensures that one bad egg doesn’t ruin either the other eggs that you are using or ruins the batter. It also ensures that you don’t drop the egg shell into the bowl where the beaters then pulverize it into the cake batter as you look on helplessly.
When that happens it really puts a cramp in your day….
I would know……
Then you need to add the melted morsels and the vanilla. You know that any recipe that has these two ingredients is going to be good. It just has to be.
IMG_5273 Combine the flour, salt and baking soda. You can sift these together if you have geegobs of time on your hands but I never do…..remember, lazy.
Then add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Why I don’t know but that is the way to do it.
IMG_5279 Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Don’t those look just lovely.
IMG_5280 Add one cup of chocolate chips to the graham cracker crumb/butter mixture. Mix them around. Don’t they look and smell delicious.
IMG_5283 Sprinkle the crumb/chips mixture evenly over the batter in both pans. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 30-40 minutes. After 35 minutes check to see if the layers are done. Stick a toothpick into the center and if it comes out “clean” i.e. free of liquid batter, then you are done. If not done bake for 5 more minutes and re-check.
Take the layers out and let them cool, on a rack on your counter.
And now, as a break while the layers are cooling, I will tell you the “Max and the Miami Beach Cake” story. You knew there had to be one didn’t you.
                                       Max and the Miami Beach Cake

So, I had made a MBC for The Engaged One’s birthday one year, it is her favorite. The layers were cooling on the counter. I was busy around the house that day and I went upstairs to do something, I don’t remember what now.
When I came downstairs and entered the kitchen the first thing that was in my line of sight was the cake pans sitting on the counter. But something looked…..different. Slightly off if you will.
Hmmmmm, what is that on the counter in front of the pans?
Walked over to the counter and took a closer look.
That’s strange, it looks like a pile of crumbs. There wasn’t a pile of crumbs there before.
Then I took a closer look at the cake layer that was cooling in the pan. And mind you, the pan was in exactly the same place as it had been when I went upstairs. It hadn’t moved….
But part of the layer was missing….right out of the pan.
Yup, he had put his front paws up onto the counter and very quietly eaten part of the cake layer right out of the pan. But he was so careful and sneaky about it that he didn’t even move the cake pan.
I looked at the layer…… I looked at the clock…… I wondered if I had time to bake an entire other layer……I seriously considered just filling in that spot with whipped cream.
No one would ever know….but me.
No, I didn’t do that! I baked another layer.
Now back to the recipe.
By this time your layers should be cooled. You can now frost the cake.
Pour 1 pint of heavy whipping cream into the chilled bowl of your mixer (I just stick the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes). Whip until light and fluffy and holds soft peaks. About half way through add some sugar to sweeten. I am not sure about the measurement (sorry Lauren) but I would think it is no more than a tablespoon or so.
IMG_5293I forgot to take a picture of the frosting process but when you are done it should look like this.
IMG_5292                                              Now blow out the candles
IMG_5294                                    And cut a big piece of cake. Oh yum.
IMG_5298 And when you are REALLY done it will look like this. Is it permissible to lick the plate?
I am trying something new as far as posting the actual recipe. You can find a link below that should take you to a site where you can just print out the recipe by itself. This way it should be easier (I hope) for you to print it out. We will see
Miami Beach Cake


  1. Lick the plate. Definitely. Lick the plate.

  2. What?? No measurement of how much sugar to add to the whipped cream frosting? Forget it. I'm not baking it now.



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