Today is Neil’s birthday. After the summer he’s had, I wanted to do it up big for his birthday. I think I’m pretty good at providing a festive atmosphere and well-loved gifts for the boys’ birthdays, but Neil’s birthday has never really been as successful for me. Maybe it’s because we don’t usually have a party (so, less decorating). Or maybe it’s because he’s so unbelievably hard to shop for (“I don’t really need anything,” he says).
Well, I’m still no better at giving him gifts than I was a year ago, but I knew I could do better on the fanfare front. So I went kind of crazy with the bunting:
The first three banners (outside, living room, and kitchen) are the ones I made three years ago before Aidan’s birthday. They’re still going strong, and I still love the festive feeling they give to a room.
The second three banners (two on the fireplace, and one above the couch) are new this year. I made them to go with the new pillows. They’re so simple to make, and oh! so versatile. In fact, I photographed the process and wrote up a tutorial that you might be interested in… You can get more details about it here, if you’re interested, or just buy it via the button below.
So, anyway, I hung banners and blew up balloons, but I also spent some time putting together a birthday cake recipe. I started with the Hershey chocolate cake recipe I always make, and made some significant changes based on advice I found online and in the American Heart Association Cookbook (that I am now very grateful my grandmother gave to me for Christmas many years ago).
The amount of sodium in this recipe is much-reduced, which I think makes it a smidge more boring than your everyday chocolate cake. For that reason, I would not recommend skipping the icing. A little sweetness on top really makes a big difference.
— CAKE —
- 2 cup Sugar
- 1 3/4 cup All purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Featherweight Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
- 3 large Egg whites
- 1 cup Skim milk
- 1/2 cup Sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 cup Water boiling
— ICING —
- 1 1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
- 3 tablespoon Cocoa optional
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 3 tablespoon Skim milk to 4 tablespoons, to taste
- Heat oven to 350°. Coat a 13x9x2 pan with oil spray and a little bit of flour.
- Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add egg whites, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in water (it will look unpleasant at first, but trust me…) Pour batter evenly into prepared pan.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.
- To prepare the icing, combine sugar and cocoa in a small bowl. Stir, adding vanilla and milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until icing is the desired spreadable consistency.
- Decorate the cake once it is completely cooled.
This recipe can also make 18 cupcakes. Bake them for 20-25 minutes. Pouring this thin batter into cupcake tins can be a challenge, so be prepared for a little spillage.
Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe: 18
Amount Per Serving
Calories from fat: 60 (25% of tot cal)
% Daily Value*
|Total Fat 7g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||6%|
|Total Carbo 45g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Vitamin A 3%||Vitamin C 0%|
|Calcium 4%||Iron 12%|
|*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending upon your caloric intake.|
With lower saturated fat, and lower sodium, my favorite heart-attack survivor can enjoy a piece of this cake guilt-free on his birthday. Of course, it is still cake. Two pieces would be pushing it…
Happy Birthday, Neil! …And many more 🙂
P.S. Here’s the recipe on BigOven.com: