Rudey's Room

Birthday Cake For Jesus

“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more….”

– Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!


In 1978, my mom started a Christmas tradition – Jesus’ Birthday Cake. At two years old, I stood on a stool, in my red snowsuit, and mixed up a the first birthday cake. She said I was so proud, licking the spoon, and putting every candy sprinkle in the house on top.

Of all of our Christmas traditions (and we had many!), making a birthday cake for Jesus was a standout. It felt so special spending Christmas Eve with family, making JC a birthday cake. It was an abstract gesture for little minds, for sure, yet so simple. It was my mom’s way of sidestepping the holiday commercialism to remind us to honor the babe in the manger.

We celebrated like any other family member’s birthday. On Christmas, twenty + of us gathered in a circle around the adult table and joined hands. We’d belt out – Haaaappy biiiiiirthday dear Jesus – loud, joyously, and without irony.

My mom carries on the tradition with my daughters and their cousins, making the Jesus cake in her kitchen.

This cake is vegan, due to my oldest’s egg allergy. But it is delish. The word moist disgusts me, but honestly, moist most aptly describes this cake. It’s so moist. And it’s vegan.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake – for Jesus

– from Cuisine at Home

What you need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 350 with rack in the center. Spray two 8″ round cake pans with nonstick spray.
  • Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in a large mixing bowl.Combine water, oil, vinegar, instant coffee granules, and vanilla in a large measuring cup. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined- a few lumps are ok.
  • Divide batter between the two pans, then bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35- 40 min. *My cooking time was 25-30 minutes.
  • Cool cakes for 15 minutes on a rack, then invert them onto the rack. Leave upside down (this flattens domed cakes) until completely cooled before frosting them.

Ciao for now.

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