Quarter of a Century Birthday

It has been a very, very busy month. If I can just say I did three loads of laundry for the past two days and have another three today. That is a lot of laundry for two people. As I mentioned in my last blog we had two pairs of house guests this month. First a new American PhD couple and second David’s parents. The in laws left yesterday for Manchester and left the UK today. They had a wonderful time and we enjoyed their time here. No matter how much my father in law teased me I still enjoyed them.

However, now it is back to the routine. Uni starts up on Monday and David is already feeling it. Meetings, reading, and writing are going to consume him for the next week. Laundry, cleaning, and planning will be my life for the next week. However, that really is every week. And I love it.

Monday was my 25th birthday. David invited some friends over for some dessert and drinks. I made my own birthday cake. I know many of you are gasping at why David made me make my own cake. I love to make my own cake. It gives me an excuse to bake that ridiculous sugary, fatty, calorie ridden delicious cake that I would otherwise not make. It is a little birthday gift to myself. This year I made a chocolate cake with Oreo frosting. I was inspired by a friend’s Oreo Cupcake that she makes on a professional basis.

Chocolate Cake (adapted from justapinch.com)

1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup coffee (I used decaf.)
1 cup milk
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven 350F/175C. Grease 2 round cake tins or a 9×13 with butter. Use parchment paper on the bottom of the round tins to help with removal later.
2. Mix together milk and vinegar. It may curdle. That is fine.
3. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Mix together milk mixture and coffee to cool down coffee. Add the rest of the wet ingredients. Mix well.
5. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry. Work out all of the lumps. Pour cake batter into the tins or pan.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top springs back to the touch or a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Let cool in tins for a few minutes. If using round pans remove cakes and cool completely before frosting.

This chocolate cake is my go to for chocolate. People always always always comment on how moist this cake is. I make this cake the day before because the taste gets better over time. I think it is the buttermilk substitute (milk and vinegar) and coffee that makes it moist and gives it the depth of flavor because it doesn’t have much chocolate in it.

Oreo Frosting (2 cups)

1 cup fluff
1/4 cup softened butter
10 Oreos, crushed into crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
milk, used to thin for the right consistency

1. Cream together fluff and butter.
2. Add in Oreo crumbs. The cookies will change the color of the frosting.
3. Slowly add in powdered sugar.
4. You will need milk to thin it out to the right consistency. Add in a splash at a time. If it is too thick add milk and if it is too thin add powdered sugar.

I decorated my cake with more crushed Oreos.

Here are a few of the gifts that I received from my friends here in Nottingham. This is Venetian Glass from Venice.

Two cookbooks. One is from my favorite cooking show here in the UK. The Great British Bake Off. Ready…Set…Bake! The other is a collection of international recipes from the Mennonites. It has recipes from tons of countries.

My friends also made this little card set of their favorite recipes for me. With some quotes from Julia Child and pictures. Very creative. I will probably steal this idea for Christmas and birthdays.

It was a very great birthday. Thanks to everyone who came, participated, and ate some cake!


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