A birthday party

There was a birthday party last week. It turned out to be everything I hoped for; an intimate celebration for my daughter's third birthday.

Three is an underrated milestone, I think. It marks unofficially the beginning of the child's footsteps in this world. They are incessantly verbal, strive for independence, are infuriatingly rebellious, and are brimming with excitement at their daily adventures. They are starting to form friendships, and are slowly demoting your role as the most important person in their life. Or maybe it's just my dear daughter who is at that stage right now. I see the changes in her happening slowly. Her shy, sensitive, delicate soul is emerging for the world to see.

She has been the center of my life since she was born. We have spent her first three years together, every day; learning and growing. My immense love for her is immeasurable and seeing these natural changes is bittersweet.

Soon she will go to preschool and have a world outside the cocoon I created for her.

And so, for me, her third birthday was a significant event.

And therefore, there were lots of preparations.

I made a few things from scratch, including a Caramelized Onion Quiche, a Mexican-style Pasta Salad, and a Quinoa Tabouleh with Heirloom Tomatoes.

You'll hear about those soon.

But I gave my all to the birthday cake.

For all the past birthday cakes I've made, I unapologetically used Duncan Hines Cake Mix. I figured since assembling the cake is a feat on its own, I wasn't going to spend time making the base from scratch. After all, it would be devoured by all anyhow.

But this time was different. The occasion was different. So I looked around to find the perfect cake that would complement the celebration. It had to be dense and moist, as well as feminine and delicate.

I found it at



I made their Double Chocolate Cake. A feast of cocoa it turned out to be. This cake was decadent and delicious, yet still retained a lightness that made another spoonful, or three go unnoticed.

I got inspiration for the frosting


. I was attracted to the texture of the tart candy as well as the contrast in flavor between the sweet and tangy.

A success it turned out to be, but effortless it was not.

For some reason my beloved pasta salad went unappreciated. A pity. Not many served themselves this dish and I had some left over, which I enjoyed immensely the following day. On the other hand, the onion quiche and quinoa tabouleh were a major hit.

Overall it was a lovely celebration. I watched my daughter beam with joy at the attention she received from family (or maybe it was the overload of presents that did it for her). I shared my home with those closest to us. We laughed and ate (and I photographed). Gd has blessed us immensely and I'm truly grateful.

I'll start with the cake!

This recipe makes two 6-inch cake. I used it to make one 9-inch cake. Twice. Actually, three times. The second time I baked it without adding oil. The garbage got to eat it. Lesson learned: do not bake with two kids around.

Miette's Double Chocolate Cake 

from the bakery's cookbook 


1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups of natural unsweetned cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 oz 70 percent cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup boiling water

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 1/4 cups sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter your cake pan and dust with cocoa powder. 

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3. Put the chocolate in a bowl and pour water over it. Whisk until melted. Let cool.

4. Whisk the buttermilk and vanilla.

5. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on high speed until foamy. Reduce speed, add oil. Raise the speed and whisk until fully combined.

6. Reduce the speed to low and pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Add the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the sugar and whisk until batter is smooth. Stop the mixer.

7. Remove the bowl, and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients in until just combined. The batter may still look lumpy, but stop mixing.

8. Pour the batter through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Press against the solids with a rubber spatula and push through as much batter as possible. Pour into cake pan and bake until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45-60 minutes.

 9. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

For the frosting, check


Onion Quiche

The dough can easily be prepared the night before and stored in the fridge.

For the dough:


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed  

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 egg yolks

3 tablespoons ice water


Combine all the ingredients and roll into a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to ease rolling, or overnight for up to three days.

Roll out the dough and shape into a tart pan. Prick with a fork and place aluminum foil over the dough with weights over it. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes.

For the quiche:


4 tablespoons of olive oil

3 onions, thinly sliced

6 eggs

1 cup of milk

dried thyme or herbes de provence

salt and pepper


Sautee the onions in a skillet on medium heat with the olive oil. Stir frequently and cook until the onions are caramelized. 

In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk, onions, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the crust and bake at 325F for 40 minutes, or until the mixture is moist but set.

For the Quinoa Tabouleh

Cook 2-3 cups of quinoa.

2 cups of baby heirloom tomatoes, quartered

half a bunch of parsley, finely chopped

Add everything together and toss with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon. Serve

Pasta Salad

1lb pasta, cooked

1 can of corn

1/2 cup of black olives

1 red bell pepper, diced


Toss everything together and add mayonnaise, lemon, salt and pepper. Serve.

{Party food should be easy, versatile and fool proof. I hope you enjoy these recipes}