Finding your signature cake! Then bake, bake, bake until you get it right!   

I have had countless people ask for the recipe for our favorite cake (Old Vermont Burnt Sugar Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting) which has become a tradition in our house. I make this triple layer cake every for the BIG combo birthday dinner (my daughter and I share the same birthday) and it has become a tradition to celebrate with a potluck dinner and finish the evening with this same, exact cake…every single year. I love traditions, the favorites old ones or the ones that just happen because it’s what we do and the fun new ones that we create and pass down.  It all began because a dear friend of mine (who happens to be a chef and amazing baker) kept giving me a hard time that I didn’t make any of my baked goods from scratch. I remember the conversation clearly (even though it happened several years ago).

Kieran: Why are you making this stuff out of a box? You need to make this stuff yourself. 

Me: I don’t know how to bake. You know that.

Kieran: Then you need to learn. It’s not that hard, you just need to practice it a few times. You’ll get it down, in no time. 

Me: I don’t think so. 

Kieran: Just pick a few things. Maybe 3-5 dishes and get really good at those. 


Well I took her advice and set out to find my signature items. I perfected an amazing chocolate cake and when she gave me this book (the one that holds the magic recipe) the year before my daughter was born I held onto it, waiting for just the right occasion to try a new recipe.

My suggestion on finding your signature item:


  • Find a recipe that holds some meaning for you.  Something that makes it interesting and special for you and to you.
  • Search for something that isn’t your typical, normal, a go-to recipe. Get out of your box and try something new.
  • Try it, try it again and by the third time you make it-you’ll probably figure out how to work out all the kinks and get that recipe down!

The Vermont cake recipe has special meaning for us because we have family in Vermont that we regularly visit and as a bonus-we always have Vermont maple syrup in our fridge from the area the family cabin is at.  Also the book was given as a gift from my daughter’s godmother and every time I pull it out, it makes me smile and think of her.

Good luck finding your dishes, trying them and perfecting them! Thanks Aunt Kiki for inspiring and encouraging me to develop my culinary skills (I’ll never be a pro, but I sure do love it). Enjoy!



Ps-Im sure the cake looks much prettier and photo worthy without all the sprinkles, candles and toppers…but wheres the fun in that?!?! Lol. Here’s a series of photos of our “birthday cakes.”