Big birthday celebrations are great! It's a wonderful opportunity to gather together family and friends from near and far. Where there are many people, there's always a lot of food. This is awesome. Particularly when some of that food is a giant birthday cake! Ain't nobody ever said no to a giant honking piece of cake.
While big birthday celebrations are fun, they can also be, well, draining. How many parties have you been to where the "very special birthday boy or girl" melts down in a torrent of tears? That's why the expression "too much birthday" exists. Being the center of all that attention can be overwhelming. I'm not just talking about for the kids -- parents feel it too.
That's why I'm such a huge fan of this simple, delicious, cake for two! Because sure, a big, epic, sprawling party can be fun, but there's something deliciously special about a party just for mom and kid! When I was little, my mom used to schedule "Mama and Becca" days. I loved spending time with all of my siblings in a group for sure, but that one-on-one mommy time meant the world to me. I'm reminded of that with this recipe for two small, scrumptious marble bundt cakes. The shape and color make it festive without a fuss, and there's enough batter to freeze for another day.
Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Cake, adapted from The Cake Duchess
Makes enough batter for 2 small cakes.
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (if you don't have whole-wheat pastry, use all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 ounce chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon espresso or coffee
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a small bundt pan.
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating until incorporated. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
In a large bowl, combine flours, powder, soda, and salt. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and 1/4 cup milk. Add flour mixture and sour cream mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Combine 1 teaspoon canola oil and chopped bittersweet chocolate in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave at HIGH for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons cocoa and the espresso. Remove 2 1/2 cups vanilla batter, add to chocolate mixture, and stir.
Spoon in the batters alternately to the bundt pan. With a butter knife, gently swirl the batters together.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.
What other simple birthday ideas tickle your fancy?
Image via noonland/Westend61/Corbis