On Saturday, my baby girl turns 14. There were days during her visit when I was certain she had actually surpassed me in height, and she just started her first day of high school this week. I think I’m now officially old. When am I going to start feeling like a grown up?
I realize I gush about this kid constantly, but that’s what mom’s do. How could I not, really? Not only is she intelligent and beautiful, she is exceedingly kind and generous. She is an infinitely better person than me, and I couldn’t possibly be more proud of her. I am completely confident that she will grow into an extraordinary woman.
Her sweet spirit shows through in the dessert she asked me to make her for her birthday. She could have asked for anything, but instead of choosing something complicated, fancy, or ostentatious, she wanted a simple chocolate cake with orange frosting. She specifically requested that it be a single layer. Nothing fancy.
Did I mention she also has excellent taste? This cake was completely lovely. The hint of the vanilla and orange in the frosting complimented the delicate chocolate cake perfectly. The single layer was just right. It wasn’t overwhelming and didn’t leave you groaning as you finished the last bite. It was just enough.
Time will keep moving forward. It never stops. We’ll both keep getting older, but I’ll look forward to making a birthday dessert for my baby every single year until I can no longer lift a spoon. She deserves the world a million times, and I love her a little extra because she would never ask for it. Happy birthday, Emily! You are super awesome!
- 25 grams (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
- 125 milliliters (1/2 cup) boiling water
- 62.5 grams (4.5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 75 grams (3/8 cup) sugar
- 112.5 grams (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Zest and juice of half an orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a nine-inch round cake pan then line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Put the cocoa powder and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl. Pour over the boiling water and carefully whisk until everything is mixed up and melty.
- Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium high. This will take about three minutes. The butter will be light and fluffy.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. If you're using a stand mixer, you can do this while you cream your butter. Set this bowl aside.
- Beat the vanilla into the butter mixture, and then beat in the egg. Turn your mixer down to low and slowly start adding the dry ingredients until everything is just incorporated.
- Finally, add in the cocoa mixture slowly. Give the bowl a scrape and final mix with a rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out the cake onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
- Put the butter in your mixing bowl and slowly add in the powdered sugar while your mixer is on low. After everything's been added in, turn the mixer up to high and mix for about a minute.
- Zest your orange directly over the bowl so the oils that come flying off will land in your frosting. Squeeze in your orange juice and add the vanilla. Mix again on high for about a minute to combine and make everything nice and fluffy.
- Frost your cake in your favorite way. I decorated mine with a thin slice of orange, but you can get crazy with it.