The only time in his life I can buy a pack of candles and use every last one of them.
Here is the cake we nearly always bake for a Wolfe family birthday, ever since I bought Rosso and Lukins New Basics Cookbook and adapted it.
The Chocolate Birthday Cake
1 c. butter
1 1/4 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
2 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
9 T. buttermilk
1 c. boiling water
2 tsp. vanilla
Cream the butter and the sugar in the mixer for five minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Meanwhile, melt chocolate in the microwave by breaking the blocks in pieces and microwaving on high one minute. If not fully melted, microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Fold into butter and egg mixture.
Sift flour, soda and salt together. Add one third of flour mixture with 3 T. of buttermilk and mix on low. Repeat two times, mixing until all buttermilk and flour is incorporated.
With mixer on low, slowly pour in boiling water and then add vanilla. Pour into two prepared cake pans (I prefer Doughmakers) and bake at 375 til it pulls away from the sides and springs back in the middle, 25 to 32 minutes.
While the cake cools, melt 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips in a small saucepan with 8 T. of butter over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, gently store in 2/3 c. half-n-half, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 c. confectioner's sugar. This mixture will be thin. Refrigerate, stirring every 10-15 minutes until its stiff enough to frost the cake.
Start by applying a thin layer of ganache on the bottom cake round. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips, pressing them down into the ganache. Top with other round, frost top and sides.
Serve. Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.