Dolly Parton's Mama Made Her Kids This Classic Cake On Birthdays

On her 77th birthday, the singer-songwriter reveals the special treat she enjoyed as a child.

If birthdays require the best cakes (and they do), Dolly Parton deserves the biggest and most delicious cake there is. The singer-songwriter and philanthropist turned 77 today, and though she's busy recording her rock-and-roll album this week, we hope she takes a moment to enjoy a bit of cake.

Just like she did as a child, when her mama made her and her 11 brothers and sisters a special treat on their birthdays: chocolate cake.

"Mama always made a chocolate cake. We loved it," Parton told Southern Living in a recent interview. "We were from a big back-woods family. We didn't have all that sugar and all that stuff. It was only on our birthdays that we got the special treats. Mama made big ol' thick chocolate cake, which was always great."

Dolly Parton

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Parton, who grew up in east Tennessee, also reminisced about the contribution she and her siblings would make to the baked goods their mother made.

"We always had walnut trees, so we often added walnuts to anything we were baking, like Mama's chocolate cake," she said. "We'd all have to get out and gather them, get those stains all over our hands, getting the shell out."

She added, "We loved it when the walnuts would fall in the road and the cars would go by and crack the shells for us. We'd run and pick them up."

Triple-Layer Chocolate-Caramel Cake
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Get the Recipe: Triple-Layer Chocolate-Caramel Cake

Parton recently added four new baking mixes to her collection of Southern-inspired desserts with Duncan Hines. In the new mixes are two brownies, which Parton says is what she's drawn to bake when she has a few free moments to herself in the kitchen.

"I love chocolate. I do not have what they call a sweet tooth because I didn't grow up having a lot of that," she said, "But when I do have it, I tend to go toward the chocolate and have brownies or chocolate cake. On special occasions when you have prettier things, I'll make coconut cake or banana pudding. But who doesn't like chocolate?"

We certainly do, Miss Dolly, and we hope you get some special chocolate cake today for your birthday.

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