Mimi’s 3rd Birthday with Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake

One of my friends mentioned on my Facebook, against one of Mimi’s photographs – Tempus Fugit ( Latin for Time Flees/Flies) and it stayed with me for the longest time. Is there no way to capture it all and bottle it up or have moving photos like that in Harry Potter books? No videos can ever do justice to the essence of the moment. It can never capture the way my baby smells ( at each age; in months, at 1, at 2 and now at 3 years of age, she smells differently), the way she pronounces Mamma and how it has changed to a more definitive and more confident, Mamma now that she has made that transition from being a baby to a toddler. She has very strong preferences about the colour and the kind of clothes she wants to wear and the sort of food she eats and the activities that she wants to do. She can recognize most of the fruits, vegetables, colours, things, people’s names, shapes, animals, birds, numbers until 30, all the alphabets and talks in whole sentences. When did this change come about? It is most extraordinary when I see her perform with such poise and confidence her rhymes with her own set of actions to go with it. She is growing up way too quickly. I feel helpless and happy at the same time watching her grow up so quickly and into this fiercely independent individual. Birthdays are such powerful reminders of how time is just slipping by without warning. I want to hold on to each moment, want to savour it by being in it, revelling and participating in it. But countless such brilliant moments just pass by without recognition and sometimes even without awareness.

Her 3rd birthday was an eddy of emotions like that

It was unfortunate that on her 3rd birthday she was very sick; down with a severe throat infection and high temperature. Medicines kept her spirits up but not mine. I complained that it wasn’t fair that she should be sick on her special day. All my plans of making a cake and sharing it with her schoolmates were thwarted by this disease that seems to afflict my child ever so often. Sweet and considerate friends came over to make her feel special with gifts in tow. She blew a solo candle on a banana chocolate chip muffin that I had on hand. She was beaming from all the attention she got and the songs that were sung for her. She did her happy dance.

She got better a few days after that and we quickly planned a party to thank all our friends who made Mimi’s day by either visiting or calling to shower her with their blessings. A birthday party, that was simple and uncomplicated as Mimi’s own concept of what birthdays are. When I asked her what she thought about her birthday, she said, ” Cake, blow candles, sing birthday song for Mimi”

Such a simple philosophy and so much I learn from her each day about keeping things simple.

Mimi loves chocolate and a chocolate cake is just what she wanted. So Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake was just right for this simple occasion. I was inspired to try this cake from Thanh’s blog. Nigella’s bakes are fool proof and so uncomplicated. Quite like Mimi’s philosophy. Nigella’s old fashioned Chocolate cake was just right for the mood. Simple, homely and delicious. The sour cream addition to the cake the frosting lent a special flavour. It is a special cake and you can take my word for it. In the recent past, I have collected some real good chocolate cake recipes and this one’s an addition to that best- chocolate- cake- ever list.

All photos courtesy : Namit Bhatia

I changed the recipe a little by doubling the quantity of baking powder and baking soda and have incorporated that change in the recipe card in the post. Instinctively it felt that the original quantities of the baking powder and soda might not be enough to hold the cake up. I was glad that I made those changes in the quantities as the cakes turned out beautifully fluffy and moist too. The chocolate flavour was rich inspite of the fact that the recipe used only cocoa powder. I strongly feel that it was the sour cream, that did the trick.

My daughter and her friends enjoyed their cake slices and more so enjoyed picking out the M&Ms off their slices. The other guests ( my friends) enjoyed it too. Both the cakes were gone soon. Disappeared! with only the crumbs to show as evidence. It is with a lot of trepidation that I embark of baking special day cakes as most of the times, the pressure gets to me and my whole effort is wasted. The cake almost never turns out to my satisfaction. But this one did. Nigella promised that it would and it did. That is why I love her and turn to her for special occasion bakes.

It was such a joy to see all the children in Mimi’s party waiting for the cake cutting ceremony. Waiting with bated breath as the candles were being lit and as the glow of the candles reached their eyes,  the cake was the center of their universe. There was a race to blow all the candles in a single breath and once the candles were blown out the eager eyes trailed the path of the knife that sliced the cake laced with their favourite M&Ms. M&Ms were devoured first and then the cake with all the sumptuous attention it deserved. Happy children made everybody smile and the atmosphere was set for the rest of the luncheon. From then on it was more giggles and laughter, conversation and chatter. It was beautiful party indeed.




19 thoughts on “Mimi’s 3rd Birthday with Nigella’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake”

  1. Very many happy returns of the day.. wishing Mimi a very happy birthday. What day was it so I know for next year. Lovely pictures and I hope you kept a piece of that beautiful cake it looks so yummy…

    My best wishes for the little one may all her wishes always come true.. lots of love to her..

  2. Hi anita,

    first of all happy bday to mimi god dwarkadish bless her with health wealth and mother like u.

    really she is very lucky and you too to have a sweety mimi all grace of god

    we are far away but it looks that miles away are just like words.

    after reading this article very pleased and happy

    just for few minutes i went in my past

    Really NO WORDS to spell and share my feelings with u
    afcource i must thank to facebook due to it i am away from my friend my classmate but after years i thnk i m their.




  3. Oh my goodness, such cute photos. Happy Birthday little girl. I have to say the pic with her blowing out her candles is so cute with the boy blowing beside her. It seems kids can never help themselves, adorable.

  4. What beautiful cakes!! I loved that you decorated them with M&M’s – I think they make any birthday cake look so festive. Nigella’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake is a firm favourite for me, a fail-safe cake which I always turn to if I need to bake for a special occasion. That’s a shame that your daughter was sick on the actual day but I’m glad to hear that she got better soon after … she looks so happy in these photos 🙂 She’s very lucky to have you as her mother 🙂

  5. I loved reading about your thoughts on your little girls progress. I am watching my cheeky, lively one year old in much the same way. I also love this cake, but it has been a long time, but I am now bookmarking it again. Why do smarties make me feel so happy?

  6. That’s a wonderful cake you got there. I might use your cake for my son’s birthday. I’ll just add in some ideas of my own. Thanks for sharing.

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