Tuesday, February 16, 2010


My beautiful niece Brenna will turn seven years old this Friday.

She is a scamp, a whirling dervish and a doodlebug.

She has a fabulous sense of humor, is a great conversationalist and is extremely capable at almost everything she does. She loves to organize things and clean. I know. Go figure, right? We think this is either an early sign of OCD or she is truly a gift from the cleaning gods. She loves to cook, play hockey, get her nails done and water ski. Of course, she can and does do most of these things while singing something by Taylor Swift (perfectly pitched) at the top of her lungs.

A true fashionista, she was careful to select coordinating sunglasses for the first day of first grade. Because as we all know, first impressions are important, and the future of your entire social life could well be determined on that very first busride to school.

You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but she is fearless. Whether it's riding her four-wheeler, playing hockey or riding a pony, she is determined, capable and completely joyful in her endeavors. Moses, she reminds me of someone. Hmmmmm. I just can't think of who.


No similarities here.





I tried a new chocolate cake recipe for her birthday this year....only I made cupcakes. Delicious! These cupcakes are dense and rich. The kids loved them, and they're really easy to make too!

The Best Chocolate Birthday Cake Ever!

(or cupcakes)

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups cake flour

1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 /2 teaspoon salt

3 extra large eggs

1 stick unsalted butter melted and cooled

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup boiling water

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Place the eggs in a medium mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs well, then beat in the melted butter and vanilla. With the mixer still on medium speed, beat in the buttermilk and espresso, and beat only until they are combined. The mixture will appear curdled...BUT DO NOT PANIC. It's not. Scrape the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat on medium speed just until all traces of the flour mixture disappear. Scrape down the bowl as you mix and pour batter into the prepared pan (s). Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and frost or DEVOUR accordingly.

Melt and cool the butter in a small bowl.

In another bowl, mix the cake flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and slowly whisk in the buttermilk.

Then add the Vanilla,

With the mixer running, gradually add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients.

I ordered these paper muffin cups a few months ago and almost forgot that I had them. I wanted to use them for popovers or Monkey Muffins (you'll love those!), but thought they'd make a nice presentation for Brenna's birthday cupcakes.

Fill the cups about 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.

For the medallions, I melted chocolate wafers in a double boiler and make discs with the back of a spoon on a piece of waxed paper.

When the medallions were dry, I flipped them over and wrote a birthday message in hot pink buttercream!

I doubled the buttercream recipe because I wanted big, fluffy tops on the cupcakes.

That will about do it.......bubble gum pink!!

I used an oversized fluted decorating tip and piled on the pink stuff!

More sugar??? Of course!! Just a few sparkly sprinkles, please.

Ahh yes....the big seven. Do you remember?? It was a time in your life when the days and weeks stretched out forever. You could run, jump, hop and skip without any worries. There were no bills to pay, no time to keep and no problems to solve.

It was a time in life where there was nothing else to do but relax and float through life without a care in the world.

I find that as I've gone through life, not too many of those things have changed for me. Sure...it's fun when you find a couple of goofballs guys to hold you up on a boogieboard in the air.......just so long as you know that when they drop you (and they always do) you'll get hurt when you fall. That's just life I guess. Unless of course, you're able to beat both of them up......and they can't hit you back 'cause you're a girl. For me, the days still stretch out forever........but only when I'm working. I can still run, jump, hop, and skip .......but now I have to sit down in between hops and jumps and take at least 800 mg of Motrin the following morning. The rest of it gives me a headache to think about.

So I won't.

I'd rather sit back and watch her being seven. It's one of my favorite things to do. For when you're seven you know you can do anything.

You can even fly.


Aunt Grace said...

Happy Birthday Brenna; You are one lucky little girl to have coo coo for an aunt. Your cakes looked yummy, good enough to eat. Happy Birthday

Anonymous said...

Oh Great post! Reminds me of someone too! BUT Who??
Happy Birthday Brenna!! I agree w/my Mother - You are so lucky to have "Coo Coo" for an Aunt. (She's awesome!!) Love, Marg.

One of many cuzzins! said...

SEVEN...No way! I talked to the birthday girl today and she's 6 going on 16!! So bright, so grown up, so stinkin' adorable!

I heard all about the cupcakes with pink fluffy frosting! SHE LOVED 'EM and forgot...F-O-R-G-O-T
to save me one. I'm crushed.

WARNING...I'm coming for birthday cake tomorrow after work.

PS..love those cupcake papers and the message discs..yummy!

Lisa said...


Brenna....Pivet when you hit those boys! Hold your fist tight and put your hip into it...You will knock them out!!!! I know will!

Happy, Happy BIRTHDAY!!!
Tell your mom I said HEY!

Coo Coo you are awesome!


Anonymous said...

Just catching up with you AM. Brenna is lovely and I think looks a lot like Carolyn Grace and of course you and Kathy. What a lucky little girl to have such love and attention.
My gosh she is accomplished. She will be like Uncle Ed who I saw last week. He had a small accident when he fell off his bike ---again---at 90.

The Amazing Trips said...

Wow is she adorable!!!!

The similarities are unfathomable ... and what's that I see? A tiny snowmobile?! As if she wasn't lucky enough to have an aunt like you?!?

Happy Birthday, Brenna!! :)