Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Belated Happy Birthday

I am overwhelmed by your response to my recent post on the journey of motherhood.  I am clearly not alone and thank each of you for your encouraging comments.  I read a post recently that really resonated with me.  She said that she learned more about herself in the first years of her kids lives than she has any other time in her life.  It's true, I have relied more on God these last few months than I ever have.  I have bent friends and family members ears so much, their ears are probably bleeding by now.  But I'm thankful to have them and I'm thankful for this journey, as hard as it might be!

Anyone recognize this handsome devil?

Yep, that's my darling husband.  And yes, he is sporting a National Championship shirt!  And yes, that is Colin holding his hand while we sang to him.  We celebrated his birthday earlier this month.  Colin wanted to know who he was going to invite.  Good question.  When do we quit having parties every year?  And why?  I'm not trying to take on another everything-has-to-be-perfect event but I'm a firm believer every birthday is a special one!  Wes didn't grow up with that same mentality but I'm out to try to change him, cake by cake, birthday by birthday (:

Our celebration may have only been the 4 of us, but it was no less special or decadent.  After all, what's a birthday without the cake?!  Wes, being the thoughtful person that he is, insisted that I not go to too much trouble for his cake.  Pa-leese!  This is the one time a year when you get to be spoiled and you shouldn't even consider such things.  Ok, maybe you should but I didn't want him to.

After sending him several drool-worthy cakes to look at, he finally said he wanted a version of this one, except chocolate.  I like having an inspiration but not having to follow it to the letter so I was definitely up for the challenge.  I used my old standard Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe and then doctored up the Dulce de Leche filling and Chocolate Frosting.  What transpired was a moist cake with an icing that melted in your mouth with it's velvety texture.  The filling could have been a little more caramel-ish for me but it still had a delicious cream cheese taste.

I thought Sawyer might enjoy eating it with his hands, so I took off his shirt (see previous post about The Naked Brothers) but he was not interested in self-service.  I had to feed it to him but that didn't stop him from sticking his fingers in the icing crumbs on his plate and managing to lick the plate clean!  Believe it or not, cake is a real treat in our house!

What do you do to celebrate your loved ones birthdays?

Dulce de Leche Chocolate Layered Cake

Cake (Hershey's):

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Frosting:

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 oz Valhona, or similar, milk chocolate
1 oz unsweetened chocolate

Dulce de Leche Frosting:

5 oz reduced fat cream cheese
4 T. butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup dulce de leche (I used Trader Joe's)
For the cake:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

For Chocolate Frosting:

1. Put both chocolates in a stainless steel bowl and place bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove the bowl from the pot and set the chocolate aside to cool.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat at high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add the cooled chocolate at low speed, mixing until blended and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase the speed to high and beat until slightly aerated, about 1 minute.

Dulce de Leche Frosting:
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until it has no lumps. Add the dulce de leche and mix until it is thoroughly combined.

To Assemble:
Place one cake layer on the cake stand and spread half of the dulce de leche frosting on it. Repeat with the second layer.  For a little extra decadence, drizzle extra dulce de leche over the frosting on each layer before topping with the next cake.

Frost the top and the sides with the chocolate frosting.  Store cake at room temperature.



  1. Oh my word that looks delicious!! Happy bday to Wes!

  2. Wow...that filling DOES look fantastic! I know what you mean about wanting to make birthdays special. We have decided that, for the kids at least, we want to have a special birthday activity. It doesn't have to be anything expensive...just something we wouldn't do on a "normal" day. Last year we spent the afternoon at the park with Sam. This year we went to the movies for the first time. I love the idea of really celebrating another year with those we love.

    And if I'm not mistaken, that is the same shirt that Shawn drove all over town trying to find because he just HAD to have the gray one. Boys!

  3. This looks incredible! My favorite part of birthdays are the's all about the cake. In my opinon.

  4. Wow, happy birthday to hubby, this cake is right up my alley! I think parties depend on the person, but everyone's birthday should be special no matter the age!

  5. I cannot get over people that don't make a big deal about birthdays ... I love mine, even if it does mean I'm getting older : ) I love Colin holding Wes' hand ... too stinkin' cute! Happy (belated) birthday, Wes!!!

  6. That is just the sweetest thing... Colin holding his daddy's hand while singing to him! Precious! That cake looks delish and I love your little Easter vignette on the table!

  7. Happy Belated Bday to your hubby! And what a cake - it looks like the perfect way to celebrate!