Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Pi" Cake with Portillos Chocolate Cake for Cherise

What is a "Pi" Cake you might ask?  "Pi" is the mathematical constant for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, the ratio itself: 3.141592+.  It has been represented by the Greek letter "π".   I made this "Pi" cake for Cherise, my daughter-in-law, who was an engineering major in college, and loves all things "Pi". When I was looking on the web for all things, "Pi, I saw that someone had made a "Pi" shaped cake, so I had to make this for her. I didn't  have time to take a picture before we left for Chicago on Saturday,

She loved her "Pi" cake, and was so surprised.  I used a knock off recipe for Portillos  chocolate cake. I needed  a firm cake to cut out the design, and  Portillos chocolate cake recipe is firm.  I knew that because I used to work at Portillos in the Catering Dept.and have eaten a lot of Portillos Chocolate cake over the years.  I baked two 9x9 cake layers, doubling the knock off recipe, and put chocolate frosting between the layers., Then, Scott cut out the design free hand, without a template, that's his "artist's eye". Unbelievable!!! He did a wonderful job!!. I couldn't have made the cake without his help.  That's why we make such a great team. After the design was cut out, I frosted the cake with Vanilla Butter Cream frosting, so the design would stand out. I made Todd his ususal Apple Crisp, because he doesn't like chocolate.  I didn't  have time to take  pictures before we left for Chicago on Saturday, so these pics were taken at night, inside.

We were going to Chicago Saturday to celebrate Cherise and Todd's birthday's,  plus see my son, Chris, run his first marathon in the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. We had a busy weekend. It was so much fun, and my Granddaughter and her boyfriend came for the weekend, too. Chris and his wife stayed at a hotel downtown, and we stayed at Todd's in Wrigleyville. We got to see Chris at the 8 mile mark in Lakeview, and after the race. 38,000 people finished the race. 

My son Chris is just to left of the policeman, in the white hat, orange shirt, bkack shorts 
 and white socks, looking for us. There were so many people cheering the runners on, it was hard to find your runner.

These pictures are at the reunion center, where the runners reunited with their families in Grant Park. After the race they, give the runners mylar warming blankets and they wrap them around themselves, like capes. The weather was perfect for runners, high 30's to start the race and in the 50's by noon.

My Son, Chris and Daughter-in-Law  Emily
Proud Uncle Chris, and Niece, Aria
Cheise and Todd

Portillos Chocolate Cake
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Butter Recipe Cake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup ice cold water
  • 1 cup Hellman’s Mayonaise
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and  Spray and flour desired pans.  I used two 9X9 pans, so I doubled the recipe, and had leftovers for cupcakes
  2. Combine cake mix, eggs, water, and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes until fluffy.
  3. Pour into prepared pans
  4. Follow baking instructions on box for your choice of pan.
  5.  Test for doneness
  6. Cool in pans 10 min.  remove to rack to cool

Cook's Note:

I used two recipes of the Portillos Chocolate Cake to make the "Pi" Cake. Because I didn't know how much batter it would take to fill a 9X 9 pan, I made each box, one at a time.  I filled one 9 x9 pan, and then used the remaining batter for cupcakes, then I repeated the process for the second 9X9 pan.

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting


1/2 c butter, room temperature
2c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c more or less milk, or half and half I used almond milk

Cream butter with an electric mixer, until light and fluffy.  Gradually add in powdered sugar and vanilla, and mix well, Add milk until desired consistency. Pipe or frost cupcakes

I I linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #39
Stop by and say Hi to Brandie!



  1. Awww what an adorable pi cake my friend, I love how thoughtful you are - it looks delicious, even if I am allergic to maths ;)
    And great photos from the run, awesome family time!

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Uru,
      This cake is non-allergenic, so it is safe to eat, if you are allergic to math. It works for me.

      Yes, I had a great time with my family over the weekend!

  2. Becky, So sweet of you to make a Pi cake for Cherise, and what a lovely visit to Chicago to cheer your son on in the race. Im not familiar with Portillos chocolate cake, but I will be now. I hope your trip was wonderful!

    1. Brooks,
      They have several Portillos in CA, Buena Park and Moreno Valley. I don't know, if you are close to those locations.

      I had a great time with my family over the weekend.

  3. I'm not good at math - but that cake is wonderful! good for your son!!
    mary x

    1. Mary,
      I am so proud of my son, and we had a great time over the weekend eating Pi cake.

  4. I'd be a lot better in math if I had that cake in front of me hahaha

    1. Valerie,
      You don't have to be good in Math, to eat the Pi cake, take it from me,

  5. Oh my gosh ... This cake is so cute :-)

  6. CJ My daughter-in-law loves, all thing "Pi", so I thought that this cake would be perfect for her birthday, and it was

  7. such an interesting cake!! ;D I wish to have a sample of it..must be real good....

    1. This cake is outstanding, so moist and rich.

  8. I obviously need to go back to school because I forgot what Pi stood for. Love all the photos you took, I can't believe you managed to get a shot of him running by. That is so amazing, way to go Chris. I bet you made your daughter-in-laws birthday that much more special. Never had a chocolate cake like this, but I love chocolate cake any which way.

    1. Gina,
      It wasn't easy to get that picture, because there were so many runners going to fast, you only had a split second to catch him. It was such a great weekend with birthdays and the Marathon.

  9. Hi Becky, thank for sharing the great photos. And your cake sure look interesting, love the shape it look so cute. The frosting look delicious. yum yum

    Have a great week ahead, regards.

    1. Amelia,
      Thank you1 I think that the cake turned out pretty well. The cake is so good.


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