remembrance cake: maman’s chocolate chip cake

chocolate chip cake

On October 1st it was my mom‘s birthday and it’s the first one where I couldn’t call her on the phone and sing her happy birthday. The whole week leading up to the day, I felt sad and found myself in tears because it hurts not to have your mom around anymore. But as I wondered how I could celebrate the day, I thought about the chocolate chip cake she always used to make for birthdays. It was baked in a bundt pan and sprinkled with icing sugar and while to others it seems just like an “everyday” kind of cake, for our family, this cake was special.

chocolate chip cake

Heady with vanilla and studded with dark chocolate chips, my favorite part of this cake is actually the golden crust which seems extra buttery and rich. I like that this cake isn’t fussy and it totally suits my mom’s personality. My mom was the epitome of sweetness and kindness and never was the sort to put on a fancy production. That said, whenever we had guests, my mom pulled out the fancy china and silverware and would warm the soup bowls in the oven before serving. She was a very proud woman and this cake and the sprinkling of powdered sugar has an elegance that reflects how she lived.

This cake is also the hands-down favorite of my brother. He always requests it for his birthday and my mom, and now his wife, makes it for him. There are lots of recipes and foods that remind me of my mom, but this cake is special. And now I’m going to adopt this cake as a way to celebrate every October 1st – a lovely reminder of my maman that will really mean something to me and to my family. It’s an ideal way to begin a new tradition.

chocolate chip cake

Elsewhere: Over at Poppytalk I talk figs and even provide a fig recipe – and I’m a bonefide fig hater. Try a Spanish Pan de Higo flourless cake this season.

40 comments to “remembrance cake: maman’s chocolate chip cake”

  1. 1
    sophia foley   November 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    How very touching. My very first blog I ever read of yours, was the one about your dear mum. Happy Birthday to this woman who meant so much to you.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. 2
    Gemma   November 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Beautiful post Jeannette. What a wonderful way to remember your mother. Thinking of you and sending loving thoughts. – Gemma

  3. 3
    tea_austen   November 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    What a sweet post to your lovely Maman. Sending you hugs and love. xox

  4. 4
    Tracy   November 10, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    If I had a working oven door I would be making this tonight. Thank you for sharing such a dear post 🙂

  5. 5
    Nicole   November 10, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    What a nice way to remember your mom 🙂

  6. 6
    Brenda Yuen   November 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    It is something that will always have special meaning to you, and inside you lives your mom’s spirit and sense of pride. What a heartfelt thing to do to honor the memory of your mom.

  7. 7
    Maddie   November 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Sending (virtual) hugs your way, Jeannette. I’m so sorry for all the pain surrounding your maman’s birthday, but there’s no better way to celebrate her memory than with a cake that suits her. Cheers to that!

  8. 8
    chrishpl   November 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    What a lovely tradition for you to begin in your Mom’s honor. I too lost my Mom in October…eight years now…and like for you, there are certain dishes that just remind me of her, and that I hope to pass down to my 5yo son. I look forward to making this cake, and will give a shout-out to your Mom when I do! 🙂

  9. 9
    vanillasugar   November 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    awww. how absolutely sweet of you to do this for her.

  10. 10
    Karen   November 10, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    That’s so very sweet of you. I’m sending you some positive vibes and hugs. I lost an aunt a long time ago who was passionate about food .. I never thought to start a tradition in her honor before now .. You’ve inspired me. Thank you.

  11. 11
    Jacqui   November 10, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    What a wonderful celebration and new tradition to have! This kind of cake is hands down my favorite too; simple, beautiful, and just plain good.

  12. 12
    P-A-McGoldrick   November 10, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Such a great way to remember your Mom! She would be proud of you, I am sure!
    I was 23 when my mother died and, so many years later, one of my favourite memories is her baking. Butter tarts and tea biscuits were made without recipes and were always delicious.
    Take care,
    PM_Poet Writer

  13. 13
    Bijoux   November 10, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Just beautiful! In my Greek culture, there is a bread that families make to commemorate a loved one that has passed away. The bread is taken to the church to be blessed on a specific day on the calendar and then the bread is consumed by the family. This cake sounds delicious and what a great way to carry on the chocolate chip cake tradition in memory of your mom.

  14. 14
    ursula @ apples&almonds   November 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    That is such a lovely thing to do, to remember your Mum like that.
    I don’t know what I would do if my Mum wasn’t around anymore…

  15. 15
    Rina   November 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm


  16. 16
    Foodie in Berlin   November 11, 2010 at 12:29 am

    A simple and elegant way to remember your mother with a smile.

  17. 17
    Joanne   November 11, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Gorgeous post. It is such a sweet thing to do and a great way to remember your mother.

  18. 18
    Emily @ Relishments   November 11, 2010 at 5:16 am

    How much vanilla sugar is in 1 pack, in the event I decide to make my own (I assume we’re talking vanilla infused sugar here?)

  19. 19
    bonniebonnielass   November 11, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Such a great way to remember. Really lovely post.

  20. 20
    bellcurves   November 11, 2010 at 6:22 am

    This is lovely and touching. And what a special way to remember her.

  21. 21
    Post-College Working Girl   November 11, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Hug from North Carolina.

  22. 22
    alana (at) the food   November 11, 2010 at 6:58 am

    very sweet and touching, and reminded me of my mama!

  23. 23
    Trista   November 11, 2010 at 7:09 am

    This is so touching. I understand how a seemingly everyday recipe can be so special to a family. I will absolutely save this recipe and give it a try so it will live on with your mother’s memory. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  24. 24
    Deanna   November 11, 2010 at 8:10 am

    This looks delicious and I will try it. I’ve never used the vanilla sugar before but know where I can get it. I know the emotions you are going through…it’s tough. My Mom has been gone six years now, yet every May/June I get the cloudiness surrounding me and remember why. I think it’s so we never forget. Your Maman sounds lovely, as mine was. Her special cake was a simple angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream, so that is what I make in February for her Birthday. Hang in there…love your blog!

  25. 25
    Melanie   November 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Hugs to you Jeannette…what a lovely tribute.

  26. 26
    Julie   November 11, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I love the idea that a recipe, and a lovely simple one at that, can help bridge the past, present and future. Thanks so much for sharing it. I will make this cake and think of you and your sweet Mom every time I do.

  27. 27
    Sues   November 11, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Combining chocolate chip cookies and cake? Dream come true!! And such a sweet story, too 🙂 I love this.

  28. 28
    Tiberia   November 12, 2010 at 5:03 am

    I don’t know why I never thought to do this – my mum will be gone 24 years in December (hard to believe) and she was a great baker. So this year I’ll start a new tradition to remember her. It’s never too late, ay?

    So thank you! And I will think of you and your mum when I’m baking in honor of my mum.

  29. 29
    Eva   November 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    What a lovely post and a sweet way to are a truly strong person
    xo e

  30. 30
    kickpleat   November 14, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Thank you everyone for your comments and for sharing your own stories. I love that!

    As for the vanilla sugar questions, I’ve amended the recipe with a link to Amazon (where it can be purchased) or you can sub in one teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of homemade vanilla sugar. I’m sure the results will be delicious – just not the same. There really is something about the Oetker’s vanilla sugar which used to be available in most Canadian supermarkets and seems a bit less popular now.

  31. 31
    Erin   November 14, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    What a perfect way to honor your mother. I love how foods can be such a good remembrance of a loved one. Nicely done.

  32. 32
    homegrown countrygirl   November 15, 2010 at 7:14 am

    What a beautiful way to honor your mother and celebrate her love on a sad day. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

  33. 33
    Elizabeth   November 15, 2010 at 11:27 am

    This story is so touching. Taste and smell are so important to our memories, and I love that a simple cake can conjure so much. Thank you for sharing.

  34. 34
    Elaine   November 15, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    What a lovely, lovely way to celebrate your maman – and such a wonderful tradition to start! I lost my mother when I was 18 – but like you, I think of her often when cooking or baking. Nourishment for the body and soul!

  35. 35
    hag   November 16, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Great looking cake. These first milestones are hard, when you miss someone….but I love the idea of creating a cake for her.

  36. 36
    Ellen @ I Am Gluten Free   November 16, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I made this today using Meister’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix and Almond Milk and it came out great! Thank you for sharing!

  37. 37
    Adela   November 17, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Nov. 11th was the first birthday I could not call my father to wish him a good birthday. My father wasn’t much of a cook but he loved good, simple food so I with the help of my two little girls made one of his favorites, tortillas. I am pretty positive he would like this cake.
    Gracias for sharing your memories and recipe.

  38. 38
    Jackie   November 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Beautiful. I love this, Jeannette. What a perfect, touching way to remember your mom. Amazing how recipes can be so magical!

  39. 39
    Patricia Conte   October 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    What a nice way to start a new tradition and remember your mom! I love how food and good memories are such a wonderful pairing!

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