Creme de Menthe and a Birthday

If you prefer to skip the nostalgia…recipe is at the end of the post. 🙂

Today would have been my Mema’s birthday so I wanted to do a post in her honor. 🙂

Mema Phone

She loved the phone. Every single day from around 6 AM on…all throughout the day she could be found with a phone to her ear talking to one of her sisters. About their families. About their cousins. About their plans for the day and always always…about their ‘stories’…Y&R…B&B…As the World Turns and Guiding Light.

Side story…when I was little Papa Lupiac worked in their little town so he would take me over to their house and I’d stay with them until he got off.  You always had to be quiet while the soaps were on.  So while other kids were watching Mr. Rogers…I was watching crazy / creepy Roger on Guiding Light.  At one point during that show ‘Roger’ was running from the cops and living in somebody’s attic.  I was little and convinced he was living in Mema’s attic and wouldn’t go anywhere near the attic door even though it was close to the bathroom.  I’d always make somebody go with me.  I also learned how to tell 3:00 PM on the clock because as soon as Guiding Light was over you could be noisy again…and have a snack. 🙂

One of my favorite images of Mema is of her on her stomach in the a hallway like a teenager. Phone to ear.  Yackin’ away with one of her sisters.  ’til each of their dying days they were still as close as kids. 🙂

I’ve written about her figs. And her Red Velvet cake. And Thanksgiving. And Kolaches. So for today I wanted to come up with a recipe of my own but completely inspired by her.

Mema (and Pappy) were hard-core Catholic.  And hard-core Czech.  The beer used to start flowing at their house around 10:30 AM.  Not in an alch-y way…just a beer for lunch.  Which was always at 11:00 AM…pretty much on the dot.  She used to tell us that if you’d gone to morning mass (or just said your prayers) that you could have your first beer after 10:00 AM.
Mema and Pappy River
I’ve used this pic before but it’s one of my absolute favorites so I’m using it again here.

2014-01-11 16.13.38

During daylight hours she was all about the Old Milwaukee. But when the sun went down it was Creme de Menthe and Sprite. When we were little she’d give us sprite with a tiny splash of CdM (just enough to give a green tint) in the glass and to this day I still love the taste of Sprite and mint.

2014-01-09 19.08.12 2014-01-09 19.26.00

So for today I decided to do a Creme de Menthe cake. I took my Dr. Pepper cake recipe and adapted it. I halved most of the ingredients and left out the Dr. Pepper / marshmallows and pecans.

2014-01-10 01.32.31
This cake tasted so close to a Girl Scout Thin Mint I seriously said ‘I hope the Girl Scouts aren’t putting Creme de Menthe in their cookies.’ 😉

Everyone loved it. I will definitely make this again sometime…especially if I’m missing Thin Mints. Next time I think I’m going to try leaving in the marshmallows too.

There are so many songs I could have used today but decided to go with something fun and that I know will make the fam smile. Years after this song was out…if anyone brought it up she would still start singing it and dancing around the kitchen. 🙂

Happy Birthday, Mema. 🙂

Creme de Menthe Cake

1 1/4 cup Flour (I used Cup4Cup)
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Creme de Menthe
1/2 cup melted / cooled Butter OR liquid Oil (I used Macadamia Oil)
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Preheat over to 350*.

Grease an 8 x 8 pan.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Add buttermilk, Creme de Menthe, butter (or oil), eggs and vanilla.

Mix until smooth. 1 – 2 minutes.

Bake at 350* for 15 – 20 minutes. Know your oven.

Remove and sit pan on cooling rack while you make the icing.


1/2 stick Butter
1/2 box Powdered Sugar
splash of Whipping Cream
1/4 cup Creme de Menthe

Melt butter on medium heat.

Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar, whipping cream and Creme de Menthe.

Stir until completely smooth.

You can sit pan back on the heat for a few seconds at a time if needed to ‘melt’ the sugar mixture to a completely smooth texture. You can also add water a tbsp at a time if it’s too thick. This should be pour-able but on the thicker side…not liquid-y like a glaze.

Pour over warm cake…completely covering the top. Let icing set up for a few minutes before cutting.


6 responses to “Creme de Menthe and a Birthday

  1. What a nice tribute! (Very cute story about Roger in Mema’s attic, too…though I’m sure it was very scary at the time!) Your cake looks delicious. My mom is a big Thin Mints fan, so I may have to make this for her one day.

    • Thanks, Molly. 🙂 I really think anyone who loves chocolate and mint together + cake will like this one. Warning though…if you do make it…the color of the raw batter will look disgusting but it cooked out to nice brown color. 🙂

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