Today is my husband’s birthday! He’s been stressing about it for a while since it’s his last year in his 20s and he’s not ready to be 30. At least he has 365 more days until he has to deal with that reality.
I’ve always believed that birthdays should be celebrated all day (if not all week – hello, college memories) but unfortunately, B had to work all day. And by “all day” I mean “wake up at the unfortunate hour of 4:30 am, shower, shave, kiss sleepy wife goodbye, work all day and come home at 6 pm”. I wish he’d had the whole day off but to make the evening as nice as possible I plan to meet him at the door with a white russian, throw some steaks on the grill, bake some sweet potatoes, saute some cabbage in brown sugar then devour a few whoopie pies.
Birthdays are delicious, or they should be, anyway, and I think that the person celebrating the birthday should be able to do whatever they want and, more importantly, eat whatever they want. I asked B a few days ago what he wanted for dessert tonight and he hemmed and hawed about pie for a few minutes until he stared me straight in the eyes and said “devil dogs”. I love my husband, but I’m from NC and he’s from upstate NY and we don’t always speak the same language. After some discussion I came to understand that he wanted whoopie pies. Of course I would make them, now that I knew what he was talking about.
preheat oven to 375
prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper
1 2/3 cups AP flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
4 T unsalted butter at room temperature
4 T vegetable shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 t molasses
1 t vanilla
1 cup milk
Sift together your dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, and molasses until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for about 2 minutes more. Add half of the milk and flour mixture and beat on low until combined, repeat with remaining milk and flour mixture. Drop by 1-2 T onto prepared sheet pan, leaving 2 inches between each one. I used a scoop that I have. It can hold 1 1/2 T and made very nice sized whoopie pies. Bake for 10 minutes or until the top will spring back when gently pushed. Allow to cool for two minutes on the sheet pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
The Best Fluffy Frosting
I’ve seen variations of this frosting in a number of places online. Here’s my contribution.
1 cup milk
5 T flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2-3 t vanilla
Whisk the flour into the milk in a small saucepan. Make sure to do this carefully so it’s not lumpy. Ever had lumpy gravy? It’s the same idea here. Heat this mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens to a brownie batter consistency. Remove from heat and let cool completely. When you’re ready to make your frosting cream the butter and sugar until completely fluffy and smooth. This will take a few minutes, and if you have access to a stand mixer I recommend you using it. Make sure that the gritty feel of the sugar is gone and then add the milk mixture and vanilla. Turn the mixer back on, and watch as the frosting comes together. This can happen fairly quickly. You want the frosting to be light and fluffy like whipped cream. If it’s still separating keep beating it until it fluffs up.
For assembly take two pieces of cake that are similar in size and pipe (or spread) some frosting on one piece and top with the other. Delicious.
I never knew it would be this easy to make someone’s birthday perfect. Happy birthday, B.