Chocolate Birthday Cake


As you may know, it was the hubby's birthday on Friday. I wanted to do something special for him since for the past couple of months he's put up with my busy season attitude, sluggishness, and all around absent-ness. So what did I do? I lied to him.

Let me preface this by saying, it's a little game we (mostly he) like to play. His favorite thing is to call his parents when we are about 5 minutes from their house and say we are stuck in traffic and it will be 2 more hours until we get there. Then, SURPRISE! we pop in a couple minutes later. 60% of the time, it works every time.

So Friday, I decided to pull a "Zachary" and surprise him. I took the day off work - pretended I was headed to the office, but instead went to Starbucks. I left the house when he came home for lunch and in our daily emails told him how bad traffic was and that I would be in meetings all day so I couldn't talk... oh yeah, I was good.

All the while, I was wrapping his gift, making him an awesome birthday card (more on that later this week), and baking him his favorite chocolate cake. Boom. That's how I roll.

So, here's my go at Chocolate Birthday Cake 
(adapted from this recipe my cousin sent my way):

Did I mention I love using my iPad while I bake?


// 350 degrees // 35-40 minutes // makes 10-12 servings //

Ingredients

Cake
2 cups boiling water
1 cup baking cocoa
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
(I didn't do the strawberries)


Frosting
2/3 cups shortening
1 32 ounce package confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup water
baking cocoa


Combine water and cocoa in a separate bowl with whisk until blended.



Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

The recipe says to add eggs one at a time, which I usually don't do, but since this was my first time making a cake from scratch I did what they said.


Beat in vanilla. Add flour baking powder and baking soda.


Add cocoa mixture. The recipe said to alternate between adding the flour mixture and the cocoa mixture, but I just did the flour mixture all at once and then the cocoa.


I got a little adventurous and decided to add some chocolate chips to the batter (every thing's better with chocolate chips, right?). I probably added about a hand full.

I opted for a 9x13 glass pan instead of the heart shaped pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. I ended up only baking for 30 minutes because the toothpick was clean when I checked, but I think I should have left it in at least 5 more minutes... the middle was a little doughy.

Meanwhile... while the cake was baking I embarked on my frosting making adventure. Cream the shortening, confectioners' sugar and water.

The recipe didn't say how to make chocolate frosting, so I basically just kept adding cocoa one teaspoon at a time with enough water to keep it smooth until it got to the right chocolate-y level. I lost count... but I think I added like almost 10 teaspoons! Whatever that is translated in to cups, I have no idea...


Next time, I might try a different frosting recipe. I had to add a ton of cocoa to get it not to taste like pure confectioners' sugar. It was pretty darn sweet at first and it was still a little grainy when I was done. But it did get the job done!

Cake is done. Now time for the decorating!



I spread on the frosting, then used green and blue Easter M&Ms to create the 25.



The cake was a hit! It was delicious and the hubby loved it. And the best part was, he was totally surprised! 10 points me. 

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