Turning 30: The Year of Chocolate Cakes


My birthday is just around the corner. The parents are coming to visit – currently en route from Ohio. I’ve got a pot of soup and whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies all ready for them.

We’re planning on a relaxing, low-key weekend. Perfect after turning in that beast of a paper yesterday. Whew. I’d like to go to yoga and check out more leaves. They seem game to do the same. (Well, mom will go to yoga with me, and dad will watch football.)

Last year for my thirtieth birthday, I was going to create a list of 30 things to do for my 30th birthday – because, well, people say it’s a big deal so I wanted to make it into something of a deal – but I decided to keep it simple and spend the year discovering my favorite chocolate cake.

I got this nutty, yet fun, idea after reading Molly Wizenberg’s  A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table. She writes the last chapter about her“Winning-Hearts-and-Minds Cake”-  which she describes as “my chocolate cake” and something that she believes everyone needs in their repertoire.


1 year and 10 cakes.

1. Chocolate Avocado Cake (made into mini-cupcakes)

2. Big Sur Bakery’s Chocolate Bundt Cake

3. The Pioneer Woman’s Texas Sheetcake

4. Rosewater Cupcakes

Dorie's Chocolate Cupcakes with Sprinkles

5. Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Cupcakes

6. Chocolate Love Blossom Cupcakes


7. Double Chocolate Cupcakes

8. Easiest Chocolate Cake & Buttercream Icing

9. Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake

cake II

10. Winning Hearts & Minds Cake

The winner?

Well, they were all good, in different ways.

The Chocolate Avocado Cake is vegan and delicious. Even my dad liked it.

I happen to love the Peanut Butter & Jelly Cake because it’s my aunt’s recipe and reminds me of home.

The Easiest Chocolate Cake really is a one-bowl wonder.

The Winning Hearts & Minds Cake is like eating a truffle. So dense and rich.

However, the cake that I made the most, and always had incredible results, was the Double chocolate cake from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from a March 1999 issue of Gourmet.

(That Deb…..she’s always got the good recipes. Liza and I tell our friends to go to her website all the time. Just make anything! People will be impressed.)

I’ve made cupcakes with it….

cupcakes 3

Liza and I made cupcakes and layer cakes filled with raspberry curd….


Ashley and I tested recipes (I forget how many?!) for her wedding cupcakes (yes, she made her own!) and this recipe was the winner. Everyone commented on the rich flavor and moistness.


It’s truly an amazing recipe. I would make it again this weekend, but I think I’m going to move onto a new flavor this year.

chocolate cupcakes

Happy early weekend! I’m taking a long one to hang out with the parents.

About Sarah

Always thinking about my next meal.
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4 Responses to Turning 30: The Year of Chocolate Cakes

  1. What a great way to celebrate your special year. Happy Birthday to you! I think all of these look and sound pretty great, and I’m fairly certain there’s ALWAYS an excuse to find a fine chocolate cake recipe. Maybe since I still have a couple months left on my fiftieth year I should get up a condensed version of the project, eh? Hmmm. Might turn 51 at twice my present weight, so maybe I’ll stretch my investigation out a little longer. But you’ve inspired me. *And* made me hungry for some chocolate ASAP!

  2. First of all: HAPPY Birthday! Hope you have a great weekend with your family!
    Second: I love your posts soooo much! Really like your recipes and the delicious pictures you made!
    Can´t wait for more recipes!

  3. Storybook says:

    Happy Birthday! Have a great weekend!

  4. BrittanyBelle says:

    Happy birthday!!!!!!! Have a great weekend

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