Happy Birthday, Shannon!

Today is Shannon’s forty-xth birthday.

As chief birthday officer, I’m glad to report that everything went well. The gifts were well chosen and well received, and the girls and I acquitted ourselves well in the kitchen, making a workmanlike dinner of bacon grilled cheeses and apple-celery salad and – get *this*! – a chocolate cake. The girls are half my size, but twice the baker I am, so they deserve a lot of credit for both the process

And the product.

Happy birthday, babe!

One thought on “Happy Birthday, Shannon!”

  1. I am an Aquarius like Shannon! Good on you three for your cooking/baking adventures. I don’t know if you have a go-to chocolate cake recipe—here is mine. (I think this was originally a war-time recipe, as it has no eggs or dairy; my Mom has been making it for 50+ years, and it is, IMO, the best chocolate cake ever. I often play with using different liquids instead of the water—strong coffee, red wine, stout beer, even Coke or root beer .)

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups white sugar
    5/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups cold water
    2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
    2/3 cup vegetable oil

    Mix all ingredients and pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350’F for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Frost with your favorite frosting; my favorite (often my requested birthday cake while growing up): combine 1 can sweetened condensed milk with 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips in a saucepan. Set the pan on the back burner where the oven exhausts while the cake is baking; stir once the chocolate chips have melted. (Alternately, heat the milk and the chips over very low heat until the chips melt.) Remove Crazy Cake after 30 minutes, pour mixture evenly over top of cake, and return to oven to bake the remaining 5 minutes. The topping will set slightly, but still be ooey-gooey delicious!

    And my favorite Crazy Cake variation:

    Fill cupcake papers 1/3 full with Crazy Cake batter. Into each cup drop a large tablespoon of the following filling (cups should now be 2/3 full):
    8 oz. cream cheese
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 egg, beaten
    1 tsp. vanilla
    6-8 oz. chocolate chips
    Bake for ~15-16 minutes, until done.

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