est. 2008

birthday cake

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories





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Last night I cooked up a storm using at least half of the bowls, pots, and utensils in the house. It was Matt’s birthday, and after driving home from Pittsburgh I felt the need to make up for a few days of being gone… plus cooking is somehow relaxing to me. Chocolate might as well be a food group for Matt, so it was an easy choice when it came to his birthday cake. I have made several others for past birthdays but I was happy to finally bake a cake I was proud to share. One that looked good as well as tasted good. In fact it was so good we ate some for breakfast. I guess that’s the problem with baking a whole birthday cake for just two people to share.

I seem to be on a 4 year rotation when it comes to celebrating birthdays. Every 4 years I knock it out of the park, a homerun birthday with thoughtful surprise with perfectly selected gifts… this was not one of those years. I still tried, I promise, but after being gone all weekend and spilling my secret about a surprise weekend because of a potential wedding conflict, I knew it was over. Of course, I’m the only one putting the birthday pressure on myself. I love the chance to really show Matt how much I care about him and even though things weren’t perfection we ended the night with big slices of chocolate cake, which made up for it.

Here’s the recipe, originally told to me over the phone by my sister from a cookbook I can’t remember.. and slightly adapted.

Chocolate Cake:

  • 12T butter
  • 1/3 c bittersweet chocolate chips or 1/4c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2c flour
  • 1 1/2c cugar
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs

1/2c buttermilk or 1/2c milk + 1T lemon juice

1. heat oven to 400, grease (2) 8″ round pans or one 9×13″

2. in saucepan combine butter, chocolate and 1 c water and stir until smooth and brought to a low boil. remove from heat.

3. into bowl sift flour and add sugar, baking soda + cinnamon and combine.

4. pour in chocolate mixture and stir until smooth.

5. whisk in eggs + buttermilk until combined and pour into prepared pans

6. bake 18-22 min or until knife comes out clean when inserted

Glossy Chocolate Frosting:

  • 5T butter
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 2/3c bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2c heavy cream
  • 2T sour cream
  • 1t vanilla extract

1. melt butter in saucepan. stir in sugar + chocolate (mixture will be thick and grainy)

2. combine heavy cream and sour cream and gradually add to chocolate mixture. cook until smooth but do not boil

3. take off heat, add vanilla and let cool for a few hours at room temp or in fridge until thick + spreadable.


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