Birthday Sheet Cake

Well… this post was supposed to be a lot different than it has turned out to be! After my self-imposed blogging hiatus, I wanted to return with a bang! Something yummy and sweet.  We have spent the summer moving our personal residence and entrenched in our wine business, so we have been busy.  We are still surrounded by boxes and disorder but we love our new home.  I now have an amazing kitchen to cook in and couldn’t wait to get back at it… all while organizing closets and drawers.

Today is also my “40th Birthday” so I decided to make myself a cake.  Unfortunately, the picture you see above, is the only picture that exists of this alleged masterpiece. 

While the cake was baking, I was heavily involved in making the chocolate frosting and decided I wanted to take a drippy, frosting picture.  I took a spatula full of chocolate goodness over to the sliding door leading out to the deck.  I went to snap the photo but decided I needed a little more light, so I stepped down to the step, but missed most of it with my foot.  Down I went, face, camera and wrist hitting first then my knee and twisting my ankle in some awful contortion, causing it to swell to epic proportions almost immediately.

Have you ever been in so much pain you couldn’t even yell for help?  I laid there pretty breathless, it would be 20 minutes before anyone found me.  The kids finally came around and did not believe I was hurt. I have played so many jokes on them, they laughed and started to run away.  Whatever!  I begged my youngest to get Daddy, explaining to him that I was really hurt.  Yes, they really believed I staged it all with my camera, my glasses, and splats of chocolate frosting all over the deck.  While I laid there all I could think of was my camera that slammed into the deck with me.  I reached for it and turned it on to see if it still worked…it did!! Then my thoughts went to worrying about all the bugs that were flying in my house with the screen door wide open.  So ridiculous.

Anyway, after much swelling, pain meds, icing, elevating, compressions, ER visit, it was determined my ankle is not broken but a “very unusual”, bad sprain.  Swelling goes all the way through the toes and up my leg.  A break would be easier to heal at this point.   I cannot put an ounce of pressure on it and I need crutches to walk.  The worst part is, I hurt my wrist as well, making the crutches even more difficult to maneuver.  I feel like a prisoner and can barely do anything for myself. Who has time for this? I don’t!!! 

So just as I was getting back into the cooking thing…well…let’s just say things might be pretty sporadic around here until I can walk on my own or in the boot cast. Ugh. 

By the way…the cake was fabulous.  It made it out of the oven safely, but the frosting kind of hardened a bit before I begged my husband to slather it on the cake.  He did his best, it’s just not so pretty.  But it tastes good so who cares!

Not really the birthday I was expecting today, but you can guarantee everyone will be waiting on me hand and foot…they don’t really have a choice.  Pftttttt!!!

Birthday Sheet Cake
From Ina Garten
Makes one 12 x 18 inch cake

For the cake:
18 Tablespoons (2-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the Frosting:
24 ounces chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

M&M’s candy for decorating

Preheat oven to 350o F.  Butter and flour a 12 x 18 sheet pan.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment until light and fluffy; about 5 minutes.

On medium speed , add the eggs, two at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest, scraping down the bowl as necessary.  Mix well.  Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until just smooth.  Finish mixing by hand to be sure the batter is well mixed.  Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the chips are completely melted.  Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it’s thickened.

Spread the frosting evenly on the cake and decorate with M&M’s.

Post a Comment


  1. Lorena 1

    So, not with a bang, but a (painful) whimper… Ouch. So sorry to hear – hope the ankle heals sooner than later. xo

  2. Julia 2

    Well, on the bright side, you’re back! And we’re glad to see that.

    I fell down my stairs almost two years ago, and I still have a dent in my bum from that. gah. (and it was my birthday too!). If only I had a yummy chocolate cake to console me.

  3. Paige 3

    That sounds terrible! Hope the swelling goes down soon so you can begin to heal!

  4. Oh no! How awful! If it makes you feel any better, on my birthday I accidentally shaved off half my eyebrow.(I was trying to trim them. lol) While not at all painful, quite embarrassing!!
    Hope you’re back on your feet soon!

  5. Andrea 5

    Hope you start feeling better soon! I’m glad your cake turned out – sounds delish!

  6. So glad to hear that you’re feeling better but so sorry to hear about your mishap. Sit back and enjoy some quiet time. God bless you!

  7. Fallon 7

    Oh no! What a freaken bummer. I hope you are able to recover quickly and at least you didn’t break anything. So scary! I always run outside to snap a shot of some foodie item, I’ll definitely be more careful doing so.

    The cake sounds fabulous. Ina Garten always has great dessert recipes.

  8. Chris 8

    Ouch! So sorry to hear that happened, and for your birthday of all times! Well, at least you got to eat some yummy chocolate cake. Good luck with the healing process. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  9. Susan 9

    My goodness! Such birthday drama! I sure hope the swelling is coming down and that you have some help around the house for a few days! Consider it a birthday gift from the family – nurturance and care and seconds on your birthday cake! Happy Birthday!

  10. angela 10

    We are supposed to be sending birthday wishes, not get well. The only thing I can think is good about this is that you didn’t sprain two ankles and I sure hope someone baked you a great cake. In the meantime, perhaps read some books, prop your feet up and enjoy your new home. And, drink a lot of wine. :) Happy Birthday.

  11. Welcome back and HAPPY HAPPY Birthday!!!!

    Wishes for not only a beautiful birthday, but for speedy healing!

  12. Cindy 12

    Happy birthday!! Sorry to hear about your mis-step. Hope your ankle heals quickly.

  13. J.T 13

    I don’t think I’ve never seen so much frosting on anything in my life… LOL

    Happy Birthday!!

  14. Susan 14

    Bless you and happy birthday. Sometimes we are told to slow down in unusual ways. This was a very difficult message. Take care.

  15. JAMIE 15

    Happy Birthday! So sorry about your fall. Maybe it will force your family to pamper you :) Looking forward to your posts….We would love to see pics of your new kitchen so we can drool over it as well. Best wishes for a speedy and comfortable recovery.

  16. Amanda Thompson 16

    Sorry you are hurt but glad you’re back ~ We missed you!!

  17. Jenn C. 17

    That’s terrible! Sorry to hear you got hurt. I hope you’re able to heal quickly and get back to your beautiful kitchen. Any shots of that kitchen yet? I love looking at kitchens!

  18. Joan 18

    Hi there Birthday Girl, so sorry to hear you had taken this nasty spill. They say sprains are more painful than breaks, as you have already noticed. Wishing you well and a good recovery in all ways. Take care, enjoy getting a bit of attention and being waited on, you certainly need some TLC. Don’t “rush” to heal, just heal.

    Best wishes all around.

  19. Nancy L 19

    So sorry you hurt yourself so badly trying to take a picture!!! Hopefully you have good pain meds in the mean time! (LOL!) Hope you have a great birthday anyway!! It will be another one to remember!! Strange things seem to happen to you on your birthday, no? Didn’t you have the drunk waitress last year for your birthday???

  20. Julie 20

    Oh my goodness…what a thing to happen on your birthday! I’m glad the cake was delicious anyway (and the camera didn’t break). Hope your foot gets better very soon!

  21. Dan 21

    I was happy to see your new post — I am sitting in our totally cluttered house due to our summer move (we moved Aug 3). We though downsized and we left a gourmet kitchen for one not so. We have a sign at the front door reminding us of the “step” as we both have missed it several times. I can relate to your fall and hope you have a speedy recovery — I have in the past been on crutches due to an ankle sprain as well, though my wrists were unscathed. Crutches and the eventual walking cast are so unpleasant — but in time it gets easier to deal with.

    During the move I came across my old crutches and wondered whether or not they should be one of the items “given to charity” — I opted to keep them.

    Please keep up your delicious recipes and posts — they are a high spot in the day — even among the 300 boxes we are trying to sort through . . .

    Here’s to a speedy recovery!

  22. Magsntx 22

    Speedy healing and happier birthday wishes to you, Cathy. Poor thing! Look on the bright side… no one in your family will ever forget your 40th!

  23. Ha-ha…remember that. She still works there too. We laugh everytime she serves us! She has no idea.

  24. Barbie with a T 24

    How unfortunate! Hope you get better soon. Happy Birthday and I am happy to hear the cake turned out okay. Congratulations on the new home. You finally made it to heaven on earth, right?

  25. GloriaT 25

    OUCH!! I remember just after we moved into our home I was trying to catch the mail truck, coming down the stairs with a laundry basket and missed the lasted step – torn ligaments in my left foot. Crutches for the first 3 days then I was able to get a boot. But watch out having everyone wait on you – I gained 10 pounds in 6 weeks with that stupid boot! And had out of town guests twice during that time. Hang in there because there will still be rehab after to get your muscles back in shape. Anyway the cake sounds delicious and when I get my house unpacked I will make it for my celebration (we’re having new flooring put in the entire house). Get better – just have a glass of wine!! And this gives you more time to blog.

  26. Noble Pig 26

    Ummm….that’s cake batter.

  27. Oh my god! My mouth was clenching in sympathy pain the entire time I was reading your post. :( You poor thing!!!

  28. Cynthia 28

    Happy Birthday to you. Sorry it turned out with a visit to the ER.

  29. Tiffany 29

    So sorry about your fall. Ouch. Happy Birthday anyways, though! Next year you can instruct your family to buy you a cake for your own safety! :)

  30. Diane 30

    So sorry to hear this. I was fertilizing my fruit trees on an incline in my yard and just slipped in the wet grass and sort of sit down on my foot and ankle and was in a wheelchair and cast for months. Big surgery and screws put in and not one broken bone. It was called Les franc injury. I feel your pain.

  31. Oh! I’m so sad for you, I know that pain well – although in my case I face-planted the sand as I fell down the stairs at the beach. The delicious fish & chips I had just bought went flying, it was a culinary crime. Even worse, I managed to break one ankle and sprain the other so my attempts at getting around on crutches were ridiculously painful. Best wishes for a speedy recovery – I hope you’ve got some minions to do your every bidding and wait on you hand & foot? :-)

  32. Happy Happy Birthday!!!

  33. Heppie2000 33


    Happy Birthday! It sure turned out to be a birthday to remember. I’m so happy you are back. I was really missing your posts.

  34. Cassie 34

    I missed you! Sorry about the ouch!!

  35. Cathy 35

    Happy Birthday Cathy. I am so glad you were born so I could be a small part of your world. Sorry about the nasty fall. My husband says wine and photography don’t mix. (ha ha) Feel better soon.

  36. Laren 36

    Get Well Soon! I did the same thing in May at my son’s college graduation…Do what the doctor says, and you will be well soon. I LOVE YOUR RECIPES AND BLOG and am so glad you are back!
    A Fellow Aggie, now transplanted to Virginia….

  37. Valerie Bohar 37

    I wondered what happened to you. Happy Birthday! You are my absolute favorite blog. I’ve made so many of your recipes. Great to have you back.

  38. Laren 38

    Get Well Soon! I did the same thing in May at my son’s college graduation…Do what the doctor says, and you will be well soon. I LOVE YOUR RECIPES AND BLOG and am so glad you are back!
    A Fellow Aggie, now transplanted to Virginia….

  39. Millie 39

    Cathy what a ‘memorable’ birthday! I broke an ankle when I was 8 months pregnant with Son#2. The nurses in the Labour suite where more intent on signing my cast than rushing to the drug cabinet to get my much needed analgesia!! Believe me a new baby & a toddler are not a good mix with crutches.

  40. Jen 40

    OMG!!! I fell on my birthday 2 weeks ago and jacked up my ankle too. I figured I was the only one that would do that on my birthday.

  41. Kayln 41

    Oh no!!

  42. Michelle 42

    YOU have been missed… wishing you a speedy recovery and a year abundant in blessings. Be gentle with yourself and celebrate the gift of your life which so enriches the lives of countless others.

  43. Angie 43

    I’m cringing just reading this!! Hope you have a speedy recovery. We will all be here waiting for you when you get back to blogging!

  44. Kim in MD 44

    I am so sorry to hear about your injury, Cathy! Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  45. Katrina 45

    This sounds so yummy! Love this!

  46. debra 46

    Hi Cathy!

    I know you’ve been busy, which is good! but now I’m hoping you’re feeling better!!!! I’ve missed your yummy recipes, beautiful pictures, and great writing. Belated happy birthday and here’s to a great decade!!!


  47. araina 47

    Hey there, I needed a sheet cake recipe for an upcoming birthday party and this sounds great. Its so tiring flipping through books trying to find just the right one. I’ll let you know how it turns out!!!

  48. erin 48

    Oof! I hate when missteps like that happen, but silver lining that it was a sprain, not a break. Cake recipe looks delicious!

  49. Oh Cathy-that stinks! I hope you are feeling so much better now! I need to catch up…I am drooling over the short ribs :)

  50. kelly 50

    you poor thing. please know that your post made me laugh out loud, literally. and that’s hard to do! not because fell and hurt yourself, but the stream of consciousness that you shared as it would have been the SAME for me. why?! forget the ankle, is the camera still working? glad it is and that SOMEONE came to your rescue. :)

  51. Tracie Young 51

    I just stumbled upon your website and I have to say that these recipes look sooo yummy. I look forward to making them. Thanks for having such a great site!!!


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