The Shared Chocolate Birthday Cake by Amy Cantu

I'm just going to start with this apology, rather than end with it, (so you know what you're getting into and can just skip to the recipe link at the bottom of the page if you want): I'm sorry, but my eldest son turned five, and I melted into this puddle of sad, emotional mush. On the morning of his birthday, he crawled into bed with me, and I cuddled his no-longer-tiny body as tightly as I could. "Mom, I can't breathe!" "Oh, sorry." "I still can't breathe!" I sighed deeply and loosened my death grip. I ran my fingers through his thick straight hair, (what mine used to feel like before losing half my hair after each pregnancy—a testimony to the many changes and ahem, sacrifices it takes to be a mom.) I intertwined my fingers with his; thank goodness, his hands were still tiny in my adult-sized ones. He's still small, still a child. I inhaled and took in his little boy scent that no bath could ever completely erase—earthy like the dirt he spends all day digging, a little salty from all the endless running around, and sweet, the way that only a child can smell to his mom. Silently, I thought about the first time I held his tiny, fragile body in my arms. I remembered the twisted face he made the first time he tried mashed avocados, how proud I felt the first time he completed a puzzle on his own (boy-genius!), his determination to line up and sort all of his cars by size and color, and most recently, his favorite piece of trivia: Did you know that the longest flight is from Columbia to Singapore?! "Happy birthday, Sweet Pea!" I whispered to keep my voice from cracking. He turned to me with a wide grin and exclaimed, "Today we make cake! Any cake I want! Chocolate with chocolate frosting AND SPRINKLES!" He was standing on the bed now, waving his arms above his head, and shouting. "I want to pick all the things to put on top of it, OK?! And cupcakes too!" My wistful reflection came to an abrupt halt, and I cocked my head to the side, "You want to bake a cake AND cupcakes today?" "Yep! It's my birthday!" I couldn't deny him anything in that moment, and so we did.

Follow us to the recipe:

Chocolate Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting (Perfect for a layer cake, cupcakes, or a bit of both!)

The Shared Birthday Dinner by Amy Cantu

Three Cheese Fondue

My husband is one of those impossible-to-buy-for people. He’s a minimalist and prefers to get rid of stuff, rather than acquire more stuff. There is, however, one thing that he can never get enough of: cheese! (Okay, that’s not entirely true - he also never tires of carne asada burritos.) He is a serious cheese lover - all day, everyday . . . cheese. On our honeymoon to Europe, we had cheese with every single meal. I thought I loved cheese, but by the end of the trip, I had hit a wall. My husband? He wanted to know if we could have cheese fondue for our last meal before heading home. So it came as no big surprise when he requested fondue for his birthday dinner. And what about the cake? (I bet you’re thinking cheesecake . . . ) Nope, he requested his favorite - ice cream cake!

Follow us to the recipes:

Three Cheese Fondue

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cake