Foodbuzz 24,24,24: Happy BIRTHday Meal

posted on: Monday, September 28, 2009

Today is our son's half birthday. He thinks he's 4 but he's not, he's 3 and 1/2. Ten days ago I gave birth to our second child, Maria Aurea. We wanted to celebrate our daughter's birth without leaving our son out of the festivities. The Foodbuzz 24,24,24 inspired me to do a BIRTHday dinner celebration where we could celebrate Enzo's half birthday and the birth of our daughter with some friends. Enzo got to introduce his new little sister to our old neighbors. Litle 2 year old Via was just delighted with the baby and with the food.
The company was great and the food was great. What more could we ask for? (a little sleep would be nice but I'm not counting on that for a while...)

Like any good Birthday party the cake took center stage. Christian and I tried very hard to make a cake that looked good and tasted good. I think we finally succeeded.
To accompany the chocolate cake we made Vanilla Frozen yogurt.

And for dinner we had individual pizzas, Ina Garten style.

I wanted the menu to be good but easy(ish) to make. I'm resigned to the fact that for a while I won't have as much time as I used to, to cook as much as I want.

Below are the recipes for the Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Frozen Yogurt, and Ina Garten Pizza dough. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup good quality baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Heat oven to 350* and grease bottom and sides of pan
  2. Beat all ingredients with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly.
  3. Bear on high speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour batter into pan
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes
  6. Cool for ten minutes and then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
We put whip cream in the middle and frosted with with Chocolate ganash. If you do the whip cream make sure it's almost to the point where it turns into butter. You don't want it to melt so it needs to be hard. The ganash should be poured on the cake when it's still warm that way you won't have to work so hard to make it smooth.

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
a couple weeks ago designmom wrote a post about frozen yogurt. I'm a huge fan of frozen yogurt so I checked out the original recipe a frozen yogurt recipe to rival pinkberry's recipecreamy blackberry frozen yogurt and became inspired to use yogurt cheese to make create my recipe. Yesterday I decided to stick with the original vanilla frozen yogurt recipe. So good. So creamy and rich. So delish! Here is how I made the recipe using yogurt cheese

  • 6 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place 6 cups of yogurt on a cheese cloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt and hang it over a bowl in the fridge over night. This will make 2 cups of yogurt cheese
  2. Mix together the yogurt cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions
Ina Garten Pizza Dough (California Pizza)
a couple weeks ago I tried this recipe and fell in love. If you like thin crust pizza you will love this dough.

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  1. combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix.
  3. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour.
  4. Knead the dough on low speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
  5. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.
  6. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil.
  7. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  8. Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately
  9. Preheat oven to 500*
  10. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. You will be able to fit 2 pizzas on each baking sheet.
  11. Brush the dough with olive oil and add any toppings you wish.
  12. drizzle olive oil over the pizzas and bake for 10-15 minutes


  1. Did I tell you? I made Mango Frozen Yogurt based on your recipe. However, when I only got about 2 C of yogurt cheese from an entire quart of yogurt I had to add some regular yogurt (to make enough for dessert) and I don't think it came out as well. I will try again and will have to make 2 quart of yogurt cheese.
    You also inspired me to make a chocolate cake, which I just so happened to make tonight!

  2. I saw you from a far at the Blogher conference. Love your blog! I hope you had fun, I sure did:)

  3. oi Damaris, a Elise Bauer me falou sobre voce e seu blog e vim te visitar. Voce esta na California tambem? Parabens, seus filhos sao lindos! E seu blog tambem. :-)

    um beijo!

  4. Damaris, Happy 1/2 and Happy Birth!

    Sorry, I KNEW I was forgetting to mention someone in my BlogHer recap post! It was you! I really wanted to mention that I was delighted that you thought I was thinner than you imagined too! Sorry! But I did so enjoy meeting you at the conference along with your cute little girl and super nice hubby. Anthropology majors rule! - mary

  5. Congrats! Lovely kids. I'm impressed you have time to cook, so soon after the baby! But I suppose, if you're passionate about food, you can't stay out of the kitchen, eh?

  6. Hello, fellow "24"er!

    Congratulations on getting to do a 24, 24, 24 event, and on throwing a really fun BIRTHday party. It all sounds so delicious. I wish I could have had some California pizza!

  7. Damaris! Looks like a great party and sooo delicious. And congratulations on Maria and Enzo is so cute! You have such beautiful family.


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