Celebrating Levi’s 6th Birthday

December 26, 2011

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Levi is my third boy. Yes, sadly, he does sport the occasional hand-me-down sweat shirt or ski parka. He hasn’t participated in as many extra curricular activities as his two older brothers. Regardless, he is proving to be quite the athlete. He loves art, he is amazing at math(unlike his older brother’s), and if you witnessed him strategizing Mine Craft on the computer, you would think you were watching a very short, 15 year old boy.

This month, Levi turned 6. Collectively, as a family, we all felt it was time that Levi had a proper birthday party. In the past, the effort was there, but with his birthday right smack in the middle of December, planning a party can be somewhat challenging. The 15th is usually the last week of school before winter break, which inevitably means holiday classroom parties, baking for gift giving, and there have have been those years where Hannukah ends up being on his birthday as well. Admittedly, his birthday has been overlooked. My third child was not neglected this year. Quite the contrary, he was adored, loved, and the center of our universe.

His day started with pancakes, a candle and all of us singing him happy birthday!

A birthday gift(a book) was his gift to his class. He was king for the day.

After school we went for a celebratory Hot Fudge Sunday and invited his best bud, Alex.

That night, Nana and Alex joined us for the meal of Levi’s choice; chicken picata, black beans, rice, guacamole, and a special cake.

His party(the following week) was at The Putting Edge(an indoor glow-in-the-dark mini golf) was celebrated with 15 of his favorite people. I made a party mix from the latest Bon Appetit – with many alterations(omitted the bugels and replaced it with rice chips, cashews instead of peanuts, and added carrot chips), a Chinese chicken salad, hummus + veggies, and his favorite cupcakes with “blue” frosting.

The cake has become a popular request on most birthdays and is adapted from one of my favorite cook book authors; Rose Levy Beranbaum. I doubled the recipe and made a 4 layer cake with a delicious dark chocolate buttercream. The cake disappeard before I could take a photo of it sliced. Needless to say, this won’t be the last you see of this cake, thus more photos to come in the future!

White Velvet Cake
a Rose Levy Beranbaum favorite
yield: 12-14 servings

6 large, organic egg whites(6.4 oz.), room temperature
1 1/3 cup(11.2 oz)whole, organic milk(divided)
1 Tbsp.. pure vanilla
4 cups(14 oz.) cake flour, sifted
2 cup(14 oz.) superfine sugar
5 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 stick(8 oz.) unsalted, organic butter, room temperature

1. preheat oven 350* line 2 baking sheets with parchment. set aside.
2. lightly butter 2 9″ x 2″ round cake pans. line with a piece of round parchment paper. butter again and dust with flour
3. in glass bowl, whisk the egg whites, 6 tablespoons of milk, and the vanilla. mix thoroughly.
4. in the work bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed. add the butter and mix until creamy. add the remaining milk. mix until moistened and incorporated.
5. on low speed, add half of the egg mixture, once combined, add the balance. scrape down the side of the bowl and mix a bit by hand.
6. divide the dough between the two prepared, round cake pans.
7. bake for 35-45 minutes, or until brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
8. let the cakes cool for 20 minutes in the pan. run a small knife around the perimiter and place on a cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. once cool, refridgerate for atleast an hour.
9. using a long, serrated knife, slice the cake through the middle to create two layers. repeat with the second cake.
10. place one of the layers, top of cake facing down onto a cake place lined with parchment strips. place about a 1/4 – 1/2 cup of frosting in the center. repeat with additional layers and then frost the outside. decorate or eat as is!

Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

7 oz. butter, softened to room temperature
12 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp.  unsweetened cocoa powder ( I use Droste), sifted
1 1/2 lbs. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. chocolate extract
2-4 Tbsp. heavy cream

1. in the workbowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese
2. with the mixer on low, slowly add the cocoa powder and chocolate extract until fully combined.
3. slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until combined.
4. add the heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. I prefer a thicker frosting, using a bit less cream achieves this
I used the left over Orange Cream Cheese Frosting to write his name and do a little decorating.

More Birthday Celebrations around the web:
Purple Ombre Sprinkle Cake – Raspberri Cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcake – Gourmand Recipes
7 Layer Rainbow Cake – The Urban Baker