Today, my oldest son turned 5.
5 years ago today, I was lying in a hospital room, waiting anxiously for his arrival. He was stubborn – that’s for sure. He was a week late, and still refused to come on his own. I ended up having a c-section around 4:30 in the afternoon, after a failed induction and some fetal distress. I was perfectly content to have the surgery, since all I wanted was to hold him in my arms.
Since then, we’ve seen him through so many amazing milestones. First teeth, first steps, first day of day-care, first day of school. He’s such an amazing kid – he had open heart surgery when he was three and if you didn’t see his scar, you’d never know it had happened. Adults could learn a thing or two about courage from this kid. I feel utterly privileged and blessed to be his mother.
This year, even though it was a pretty big birthday milestone, we decided to keep things really low-key. Instead of a big birthday party with tons of kids and activities, we kept it small – just our nuclear family for the most part. What’s great is I don’t think he even noticed – he was perfectly content to hang out with us (I think the fact that we took him to the LEGO store and Chuck E Cheese might have had something to do with it).
The theme of the day was chocolate. He had chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast, with chocolate milk (both are special treats – we never keep chocolate milk in our house). I asked him the other day what kind of birthday cake he wanted, and he said yellow cake with chocolate frosting, so I made a buttermilk cake and some boiled fudge frosting – I think his favorite part was getting to lick the beaters after I whipped the frosting.
2 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
Begin by preheating your oven to 350F, and greasing and flouring two 8-inch round cake pans. Sift together the first four ingredients
In a seperate bowl, using a handheld mixer, whip butter and sugar until light in color and texture.
Add the eggs, and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture in three parts alternating with 1 cup buttermilk in two parts. I ended up adding about 1/2 cup more of the buttermilk because the batter seemed awfully thick.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and place on a rack in the middle of the preheated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pans, and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
For the Fudge Frosting
1 cup milk
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine milk, sugar and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until the sugar has melted. Add the chocolate and stir until fully melted. Bring to a boil and brush down sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Insert a candy thermometer and cook until the mixture reaches 234F, or soft-ball stage. Once soft-ball has been reached, remove mixture from the heat and place in a bowl of icewater to halt the cooking process. Cool the fudge to 110F, and add the butter and vanilla. Beat this mixture with a handheld mixer until it begins to thicken and lose its sheen. If the fudge mixture becomes to thick, add a little bit of cream or half and half to loosen it up a bit. Once cake has cooled completely, frost with fudge frosting.