My daughter was born on ground hog’s day, something she’ll never live down. When she was young, I baked her a heart-shaped strawberry cake with strawberry icing for her birthday every year because it was so close to Valentine’s Day. She was into red heart shapes back then. She wore a white dress with big strawberries (she called it her big-heart dress) nearly every day (apparently the dress had twirl power), and she carried with her a Strawberry Shortcake doll or her friend Blueberry Muffin.
Since then, she’s graduated to dark chocolate and pinot noir and big hair. And she’s 30 something with kids of her own.
I still plan her birthday dinner every year. I was planning on steak with restuffed baked potatoes this year, but she was traveling for work. We ended up with bad take-out pizza after she returned a day later. I did make her favorite cake—Hershey’s Especially Dark Chocolate Cake—no frosting, just a bit of powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Someone, her husband I think, stole a square before we had the chance to sing happy birthday. Her son, pretending to be spiderman, shot invisible webs all over the room while his baby sister sampled a bit of his of cake.
Happy Birthday, Amanda!
- 2 cups sugar
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup boiling water
- ½ cup powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour one 9x13-inch or two 9-inch round baking pans.
Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixture for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour battered into prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to rack. Cool completely. Dust cake with powdered sugar; cut into 12 squares.