Jeanie Irwin’s Famous Cake
The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, May 20th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
A Special Cake with Special Meaning
I love sharing recipes that also evoke and carry special meanings. I have so many recipes that I consider my personal favorites, lots of them by my Grandma Barbra, Grandpa Max and my Mom, Darla that I go to when I am looking for comfort and warm memories. One of my dear friends, Paula Irwin, sent me a text message a few weeks ago with a picture of a cake she had made for her daughter, another dear friend of mine, Shelby. The cake looked delicious! Paula told me that she usually tries to make the cake for Shelby around her birthday. The original cake recipe came from Jeanie Irwin, who was Paula’s husband, David’s Mother. Jeanie was known for the cake and Shelby has such fond memories of her Grandma making it.
Jeanie passed away in 2008 right around Shelby’s birthday, which was especially difficult because Shelby and her Grandma Jeanie were really close but memories and recipes like this one has helped in the grieving process. As soon as Paula shared the story with me, I immediately asked for the recipe. As soon as she gave me the recipe, I knew that I had to make it. I hesitated to change anything in the original recipe, given the sentimental nature of the recipe, but guess what? No changes needed to be made! The recipe was perfect just the way it was. I loved the flavor of the almond in the cake and in the frosting. The taste was very familiar to me and very comforting. Shout out and special thanks to Paula and Shelby Irwin for allowing me to talk about and share such a special family recipe with all of my readers.
Jeanie Irwin’s Famous Cake
This cake can also be made in a standard 9×13-inch pan but needs to be baked a little longer. Be sure that if you are using this size pan, to check the cake for doneness around the 25 minute mark. This cake can also be made ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap and chilled in the refrigerator for up to three full days. Serve chilled if desired.
For the cake…
2 cups white all-purpose flour
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup water
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
For the frosting…
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
¼ 2% milk
4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.
In a large bowl whisk together the white all-purpose flour, white granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a small saucepan combine the cubed butter and water. Bring to a boil, over medium heat. Once at a boil, remove from heat and add to the flour mixture.
In a small bowl whisk together the large eggs, sour cream and almond extract until thoroughly blended together. Add this to the flour and butter mixture and whisk together well.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top evenly.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean with no crumbs attached.
Remove from oven and cool for about 20 minutes while you prepare the frosting.
To make the frosting, combine the butter and milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once at a boil, remove from heat and add in the confectioners’ sugar and almond extract. Beat until smooth and combined. Beat in walnuts.
Spread the frosting over the warm cake. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
Ask and Answer: Several people have asked me about the chocolate chip cookie recipe that “The Cake Bake Shop” in Indianapolis uses for their cookies, so I am sharing it here. Beat together 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter with 1 cup light brown sugar and ½ cup white granulated sugar. Add in 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk. Beat in 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste. Add in ½ teaspoon each salt and baking soda. Fold in 2 cups white all-purpose flour. Fold in 1 ¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips and ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips. Place 2 tablespoon size dough balls onto parchment lined baking sheets and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in preheated 325 degree F oven for exactly 15 minutes. Remove, cool and enjoy! These are delicious!