Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birthday Weekend!

It was AudioDad's birthday, so Munch & I stayed pretty busy. We took advantage of the time he spent with his sister to catch up with my family and do a little covert birthday present shopping. Although she's better than the days when she used to just tell him what we bought as soon as she saw him, Munch still couldn't help but tell her Daddy we went shopping for him (thank goodness she's easily distracted!) She's such a funny kid- she loves to share and get things for people, but HER idea of the perfect card? A humongous Hannah Montana card- WITH music. I was eventually able to redirect her to something more appropriate! For lunch we met up with my dad to try out a new dim sum restaurant- Munch has never had dumplings off the cart before. She quickly polished off a full basket of shrimp dumplings, then we waited for a LONG while for the cart to come back around. (Note to self- Next time, get everything for the kid in the first pass!) Thank goodness for my goofy dad to keep her entertained!Yummy!A full belly brings out Munch's inner diva...
I thought it might be nice to go out to brunch so on Sunday, we headed out to Brix restaurant in the Napa Valley. It was a gorgeous day and we had a great view of their gardens from our patio table.The food was really good and I'd love to go back just to sit in one of their cozy wine barrel booths-
Monday was AudioDad's actual birthday.We celebrated with a fun day of swimming,yummy lunch, and chocolate cake!This recipe seems to use EVERY bowl and sieve and sifter in my kitchen, but if you have a crowd to feed, this is the cake to bring!

Chocolate Cake Squares- makes a sweet cake with a light chocolate flavor
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 c. cold water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

1 lb. pkg. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
6 tbs. milk
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10x15-inch sheet pan. Melt the 1/2 c. butter either in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Let cool for 5 minutes then add the water and oil. Set butter/oil mixture aside. Break the eggs into a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and stir to combine. Set egg/buttermilk mixture aside. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter/oil mixture and blend with an electric mixer at medium-low speed. Add the buttermilk mixture and blend until m=smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading batter a little higher around the edges (prevents a domed center). Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the cake springs back slightly when lightly touched in the center. While the cake bakes, begin preparing the glaze. Place a sieve over a 1 1/2 qt. mixing bowl and set nearby. Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa into a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour the milk into a small saucepan, add the butter, and melt over low heat. Pour the milk/butter mixture into the powdered sugar mixture and stir to combine. Add the vanilla and blend. Pour the glaze through the sieve over the small bowl and push it through with a rubber spatula. When the cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven and set it on a cooling rack. Immediately pour the glaze over the hot cake. Working quickly to ensure a shiny finish, spread the glaze with an offset spatula to cover the entire cake surface evenly. Let the cake cool completely before cutting into pieces and serving.

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