Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blissful Thirties and Birthday Cake

Well, here I am, 30 years old today.  I'm hoping to have a nice, uneventful kind of day wrapped up with a yummy dinner I don't have to cook and a chocolate cake, which I will bake for myself thanks to my perfectionist tendencies.

I'm not sure what kinds of gifts are awaiting me today.  Wait, I take that back...I do know of one wonderful gift I get to open...

This gorgeous quilt!

Yay!  My That Girl...quilt along quilt is officially done.  I even wrapped it up so I can open it tonight with any other gifts I might wind up with.

And as a homage to the fabrics I used and as a hopeful attempt to label the next decade of my life, I've named this quilt Blissful Thirties.

I love how this quilt came together, I just wish I'd made it a little bit bigger.  This is definitely a one-person snuggler, but that's okay with me.

And thank you, Jennifer, for hosting this awesome quilt along.  I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I will definitely use this pattern again!

Growing up, with a birthday six days before Christmas, my mother was adamant about separating my birthday from Christmas.  The year of my first birthday, my father was the one who picked up my birthday cake from the bakery, and when he got home and showed it to my mother, she nearly skinned him.  Oh the horror - it had snowmen on it!  And was decorated with red and green frosting!  Over the years, my birthday cakes had lots of things on them - including He-Man one year - but never again was there a Christmas themed cake.

My birthday cake today will not be decorated with red and green frosting, nor will there be any 80's cartoons.  characters.  It will be chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, with luscious chocolate fudge frosting and super yummy layers of chocolate cake.  In fact, I ought to share the recipe with you...

This is my most favorite chocolate cake, slightly adapted from the Barefoot Contessa.  It's really quite easy to make, and ridiculously delicious.  Now, I'm off to get started on it!

Yes, I made a chocolate cake for Thanksgiving.  I'm sorry, pumpkin, but chocolate is my one true dessert love.

Beatty's Chocolate Cake
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken well
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

3. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: 

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1. Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.


  1. happy birthday!!!!!!!!! <3 welcome to 30!! :D

  2. Happy Birthday to You! Your chocolate cake looks delicious. And your quilt for your 30's is "Blissful". Hope you enjoyed your day.

  3. Happy Birthday! Your quilt is beautiful. I enjoyed reading about your past birthdays. Charming picture of you celebrating your birthday with the He-Man cake!

    Thanks for the recipe. Enjoy your special day!

  4. Happy birthday!!! Welcome to your 30s!

    The cake looks yummy, and so does the quilt. I just love the back and your binding/corners are perfection! Enjoy it!

  5. Happy birthday! You're so young! I was pregnant with my first (who's 12 now) on my 30th, so it's a very memorable one for me. We have a lot of December birthdays in out family, including my husband's in less than a week! Great quilt, and who can resist chocolate (I had a big chocolate cake for my 30th too).

  6. Happy Birthday! What a riot...a HeMan cake...I thought I was the only one who watched that.

    As to the snowman cake...I have to say that has nothing to do with Christmas, so I don't think your poor father should've been nearly skinned! As my DS has a December bday...I made a snowman cake for him one year and it was a fun theme. Snowmen are for winter! =)

    Happy Birthday!

  7. Happy birthday! And your quilt is beautiful. I'm sadly way behind on Jennifer's quilt-along. Hoping for better results in 2011.

  8. Happy Birthday! Your quilt turned out beautiful!

  9. Happy birthday, Elizabeth! I hope you have a really sweet day because you're so sweet and you deserve it!

  10. A very Happy Birthday to you! You did a wonderful job on your quilt - I will be copying you next month by giving myself the quilt along quilt. :). I remember how happy I was to turn 30- made me feel like an adult. Enjoy your day!

  11. Now THAT'S a birthday present! Congrats on your finish (it is beautiful!) and on leaving behind your twenties. Trust me - you'll never look back. It just keeps getting better from here.

  12. Happy birthday!!! Don't fret, I have waded into the 30's water for you (I am pretty deep into it, actually) and it really is blissful! LOVE the quilt! And I especially love the back!! Gorgeous!

  13. Love the quilt alot! and now I want chocolate too! Thanks for linking to quiltstory!


Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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