I am exceptionally blessed person.

As I get older, I realize more and more that family is truly the most important thing in life and I lucked out.  Today is my grandmother’s birthday and really, I’m at a loss for words.  I keep typing but all I come up with is that she is an amazing woman and that she (with my mom and my other grandma) taught me more than I probably will ever realize.  The women in my family are amazingly strong (sometimes for better or for worse) and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Five years ago she sat me down with my parents and brought to light a big reality: I was heading for health issues with my weight.  At the time I felt like I was getting ambushed but looking back she lit a fire under my ass that I don’t think anyone else could have.   She taught me about sewing, cooking, cleaning, and how to play bridge (I loved playing with them but you always had to watch my grandpa as he would likely pull a fast one.)

So Happy Birthday Grandma- I love you.

My grandmother asked for one thing for her birthday: a homemade chocolate cake.  So that’s exactly what I did- made her big chocolate cake.

I loved the design of my birthday cake so much that I wanted to incorporate the same roses on her cake (except I didn’t want to cover the entire cake- too much frosting.)  For a lady that has everything she needs, a chocolate cake was the best birthday present I could give her.

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A Happy Birthday (w/ Chocolate Cake)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8-10
  • Cake:
  • ½ cup butter room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • ½ cup chocolate chips melted and slightly cooled
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • White Decorating Frosting
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Take one 8" pan and smear butter around the entire surface. Next, take 1 tablespoon of flour and shake it in the pan to cover the butter.
  2. In a medium bowl (or a bowl of a stand mixer) combine butter and sugar, beat until light and fluffy- about 3 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla, continue to beat (I use the whisk attachment on my kitchen aid) until incorporated, scrapping down as needed. Add ⅓ of the dry ingredients followed by half of the milk. Beat until just combined. Scrap down sides and repeat. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until batter is combined- don't over mix. Scrape into pan.
  3. Bake cake for 35-45 minutes or until the cake springs back and a tooth pick can be inserted and come out clean. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. After you let the cakes sit, turn cake out onto a piece of parchment paper and continue to let cool. (If you're impatient, you can always stick the cake in the refrigerator or the freezer for a little bit.) Once cake is cool, make your frosting. Beat butter (with a paddle attachment) until soft. Add melted chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Once frosting starts to come together, add in cream as needed to achieve a spreadable consistency (you don't want the butter cream too soft or too firm.)
  5. To assemble cake, cut cake horizontally in half with a good knife (I use my bread knife.) Scoop some chocolate frosting out onto the first layer and smooth out. Place second layer on top and make sure it's level (if not, fill in areas that are sagging with a little extra frosting. From there you can smear a think layer over the entire cake and let sit for 15-20 minutes or until the coating hardens (crumb coating) From there, continue to put another layer of frosting on the cake and decorate as you please.



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