Mangia Mondays:: Birthday Yumminess

Welcome to Mangia Mondays, the weekly blog hop I co-host with Kristin of the fabulous foodie blog Delightfully Dowling!

This month my eldest turned thirteen.

I’m still trying to figure out how my 8 lb., 7 oz., 21″ little bundle of joy somehow managed to morph into this young lad who, as of last week’s measurements, is taller than both his parents.  Of course I know how it happened – hundreds if not thousands of PB&Js are responsible for this baby growing up before my eyes – but witnessing this transformation never ceases to amaze me.  We center our whole life around these kids, feed them and care for them, watch them learn to sit up, walk, talk, socialize, develop personalities and skills, uncover talents and become independent people – and in the busy-ness of life I don’t reflect often enough on what a blessing and a gift it is to raise a child!  It’s also a job that is tiresome, stressful, underappreciated, aggravating and even annoying at times.  But to see my kids growing into healthy, happy, kind and hardworking people is worth every second of the more challenging parts of parenthood!!

{Peter, you are a great kid and I love being your mom!}

I am glad for my kids every single day, but I use the excuse of their birthdays to get all sappy and smother them with the warm and fuzzies.  I talk about the day of their births and pull out their birthday books (I’ll show you those one of these days.)  No matter their age, I hang up decorations and make their favorite foods.  I have hung the same “Happy Birthday” banner up since Peter’s very first birthday.  It’s all bent and warped and I will continue to tape it back together and hang it up until this boy is all grown up!

This year I once again made Peter’s favorite dessert, which he has requested five years running for his birthday.  Who said you have to have an actual cake for your birthday anyway???  This is the very first recipe I ever posted on Shine Your Light, and I think in honor of Peter’s big day it should be revisited!  The recipe first debuted as Chocolate Cheesecake with Thin Mint Crust, but ’round here it’s known as…..

Chocolate Cloud Pie
{Note:  For Peter’s birthday I made this homemade Oreo crust, but you could substitute a store-bought Oreo crust  or try one of the crusts from the original recipe – using either Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies or Famous Chocolate Wafers.}

22 Oreo cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325F. Break up cookies into food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Add butter and combine. Press firmly onto bottom and sides of 9″ pie plate. Bake 10 min.
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar (not pictured)
1 t. vanilla (have you ever made homemade vanilla extract? mmmm it’s yummy)
2 eggs
6 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted, cooled slightly

Beat cream cheese, brown sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time. Blend in chocolate; pour into crust.

Bake for 35 minutes or until all but center is set. Chill before serving. Garnish with real whipped cream.

But hang on!  This is a two-for one birthday special!  Since we’re on the subject of alternatives to the traditional birthday cake, I should tell you about the ice cream cake I made for Hannah & Sean’s birthdays back in May.  This dessert was messy and yummy and both the kids and adults thoroughly enjoyed it!

Ice Cream Cake

2 gallons of ice cream
4 sugar ice cream cones
fudge topping
colored jimmies
Take one gallon of ice cream out of freezer and leave on counter for at least a half hour to soften.
Trace the bottom of a springform pan on wax paper.  Cut out this circle for the bottom and strips for the sides; grease or spray the pan and then line with wax paper.
Spoon entire container of softened ice cream into pan and spread evenly.  Put in freezer for 1/2 hour, and in the meantime take the second gallon of ice cream out of the freezer and leave on the counter to soften.
Spread second gallon of ice cream in pan and return to freezer for at least a couple of hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, unlatch side of springform pan and invert ice cream cake onto serving plate.  Peel wax paper off cake. 
Spread chocolate topping over top of cake, letting it ooze over the sides.
Crush ice cream cones into small pieces and spread on top of cake, along with colored jimmies.
Serve quickly!  As you can see our cake started melting immediately but it was still yummy!

I’ve reused this little paper cake bunting several times and it’s still going strong (I replaced a couple letters that smudged and covered them with scotch tape)  Check out this post for a few more cake bunting inspirations.

Happy kiddos.

I hope these fun takes on birthday cake have inspired you to make something different for the next birthday you celebrate!  
Now what have you been cooking up in your kitchen?  Please join the Mangia Mondays fun and thanks for visiting!