mother’s day picnic cake

Picnic Cake

Happy Mother’s Day to the source of my fondest foodie memories and the inspiration behind my continued growth and success. I love you, Mom!

One of my mother’s favorite, now retired, menu items at Texas French Bread in Austin was their bundt-style picnic cake inspired by the 1978 Pillsbury California Bake Off winning recipe. I didn’t remember this particular cake, but I do remember countless visits for a weekend sandwich or afternoon baked treat. After making this recipe last year, I knew instantly why Mom adored this cake so much. It is moist from the orange juice, rich from the graham crackers and just the right amount of sweet from the brown sugar glaze. This cake is delightful with an afternoon cup of tea, yet hearty enough to make an appearance at your next morning brunch. It’s a perfect cake for a perfect mom, if you ask me.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 teaspoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • additional chopped walnuts for decoration
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 12-Cup Bundt Pan with butter and a light coating of flour. Tap out excess flour and set aside.
  2. Mix all cake ingredients except walnuts in stand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Fold in walnuts and transfer batter to prepared bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 45-60 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting, combine brown sugar, milk and butter in a small saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until sugar has just dissolved. Add powdered sugar and stir until smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and spoon over cooled cake. Top with additional walnuts if desired.

Picnic Cake


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