[My] World’s Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting

An amazingly moist rich chocolate cake with light-as-air chocolate frosting.  This is the ultimate chocolate layer cake.

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I consider my birthday to be my personal New Year and celebrate accordingly.  No overcrowded soirees and schwanky duds for this chicken; I prefer good company, introspection, bubbles, and my du jour favorite foods.  This year, I had a hankering for Cuban sandwiches and chocolate cake.  Cubans are pretty straight-forward (except that I used chicken … I just cannot help myself with the experimenting… it was okay; pork’s better).  Cake, on the other hand … cake takes thought.  Given that I’ve grown up with the queens of chocolate cakedom (Nonnie and Mom), this couldn’t be any ordinary cake… it had to exceed expectations.  I was having a needs-expectations-exceeded birthday so the pressure was real.  Birthday drama is my jam. Even made up cake drama.

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Strawberry Pa Looza!

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Angel food cake with roasted strawberries

Recipes for everything strawberry!  Homemade ice cream and fudge sauce, roasted strawberries for the perfect angel food cake, strawberry limeade, and strawberries and cream biscuits.  Stretchy pants optional but recommended.

Every Spring I look forward to two things of the verdant variety.  First is planting my pot garden (that still amuses me; for the easily scandalized among us, I am referring to my vegetable container garden) and the second, more reliable, is strawberry season.  I start trolling the pick-your-own farm websites at the beginning of May and then give a week or two to clear out the scary die-hard pickers (those folks that come in with their own containers, jam and jelly on their minds, and a sense of territory that would put a pit bull to shame).

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Lemon Cheesecake with a Shortbread Crust and Raspberry Coulis

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I forgot how much I love this cheesecake.  I’ve made it on and off – obviously mostly off recently – for the better part of my baking life.  The first time I made it was for a boss’s birthday many moons ago and then for quite a while it was my go-to party dessert. Somewhere along the way, much like mood rings and shoulder pads in ladies suits, it fell out of favor or I got bored with it … In either case, my loss.  But no more!

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Ham and Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf

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My relationship with meatloaf runs the gamut from love to hate depending on whose meatloaf it is.  First and foremost, anything called mystery meatloaf is out.  Served at a cafeteria?  Ditto. Any meatloaf made by a person who is less than particular about the sorts of ground parts than I am comfortable with (innards? animals not normally consumed in identifiable cuts? skin and feathers?  You hear me McDonald’s?! … oh, sorry, off on a toot.  Though in that vein, thank the gods they aren’t in the meatloaf business. Could you just imagine? I shudder to think).

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Granola

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I didn’t start out as a fan of granola.  There’s something about the flavor of the sort you get in the box that never sat well with me, and after that wayward Summer we spent with the cousins when the aunt decided that orange juice was a suitable wetting agent for cereal, namely granola, the fate of the oated pariah was sealed for me.

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