No one loves parties more than I do. And, what better time to throw a party than for a birthday! When my boys were young (and up into their teenage years), birthday parties were a family affair, maybe a few little friends from around the neighborhood. And, these parties were always at the house and the playground for the kids was the yard. The highlight of the party, well, besides the presents, was the retro birthday chocolate sheet cake!
Now, I know in today’s world children’s birthday parties can rival Oscar parties. They’re themed. They’re orchestrated. They’re scripted with everything imaginable. And, they’re exxxxxpensive. When you don’t have the money to lay out for these kinds of affairs (I mean they are children, right), then you make the magic on a budget. And, for our family that meant that I even made the birthday cake. And, there were plenty of hot dogs, mustard, ketchup, chips and lemonade!
Yes, every year for many years, this same chocolate birthday cake was made. I might have changed it up by making cupcakes or a double or triple layer round cake, but basically and invariably it was a chocolate cake with candles. And, the decorations? Well, what I could find at a dollar store. You know hats, horns, balloons (yep, the kind we blew up ourselves), small favors for the kiddos. And, many of the things were ‘recycled’…birthday cake candles, hats, any leftover napkins and paper plates. You see, this is what happens when you’re thrifty and you stretch a buck rather than toss things out. I suppose it’s called being ‘green’, huh?
Now, my boys are all grown up and not once have they ever complained about their birthday parties. In fact, the chocolate cake is iconic in their eyes. And, as grown men, they even might ask for this as their birthday cake. This recipe is a take off on what I used to make for them growing up. Gosh, so many great memories are in every ingredients of this cake!
Believe me there’s nothing more special than going ‘old school’ with your kids’ birthday parties. A cookout, at home, in the yard, plenty of burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and chocolate cake!
PS~Enjoy the retro birthday photos at the end. Circa ‘sometime in the 1980s’. They’re snapshots of yesteryear and the birthdays. You’ll spy the chocolate cake!