>Easy as ABC – Awesome Birthday Cake!


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.
Buttermilk Cake
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.
Happy Birthday!

5 thoughts on “>Easy as ABC – Awesome Birthday Cake!

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