So, we celebrated a birthday this month. It’s hard for even me to believe, but I turned 30!

We had such a great time! My birthday also happened to be the 30th Anniversary of the Norman Chocolate Festival, so a bunch of us headed down there to indulge in way too much chocolatey stuff. There were tables and tables of samples. Chocolate Chili, custard, chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, truffles, cake, cookies…oh my!

I’m not a huge cupcake fan, but I thought Gigi’s Cupcakes had the best sample there. A moist dark chocolate cake piled high with salted caramel frosting and sprinkled with a pinch of salt. Yum! Maybe I’ll try making those some day.

Anyway, after that we went home and started making dinner. I had the hardest time deciding on a menu for my Birthday dinner. I finally went with inspiration from an Italian restaurant nearby.

Tortellini with Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

A fresh salad with my “House” Caesar dressing.

Marinated and Grilled Chicken Tenders made by Dad – which I utterly failed to get a picture of! They were so good too!

Parmesan Puff Rolls made by Tera…

And served with a herbed olive oil dipping sauce.

And, last, but most definitely not least…


I thought something chocolate might be a bit too much after our mid-morning spree, so I created a trifle using strawberries and a strawberry wine that a friend gave us.

Fresh strawberries aren’t at all in season and they are from Mexico this time of year, so I used frozen for this dessert.

After cutting into quarters and macerating in wine and a little sugar for several hours, they transformed into this…

The pound cake…

And the vanilla bean custard…

Along with whipped cream, made up the rest of the trifle.

The pound cake recipe is one of the best ever, and so easy I know you’ll want the recipe. I made it twice while I was in Idaho for different trifles.  And the custard, well, it’s pretty good too. I adapted it from the custard that I used for the Cherry Almond Trifle I made a year or so ago. You’ll find that recipe right here. Just add the scrapings from one vanilla bean.

Pound cake

1/2 c. butter, softened

1 1/2 c. sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2  t. vanilla

1 1/2 c. flour

1 c. cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla.  Alternate the flour and cream while continuing to beat. Pour into buttered loaf pan and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes.

This recipe is perfect for one trifle. But the cake freezes exceptionally well, so you might want to double it and save one for another dessert down the road.

I like to use different extracts in place of the vanilla depending on what dessert I’m making. Orange or almond extract give it a whole new dimension. Someday, I’ll post my Orange Chocolate Tiramisu…