Historically, my New Year's Eves have suffered from this vicious cycle of unfair build-up followed by ginormous let-down. In high school, I spent one Christmas break in Hawaii with my boyfriend at the time and his family. The trip overall was fantastic, but I spent the night of 31st watching reruns of Law and Order on a fold-out couch while my boyfriend slept off a wicked sunburn. The beach outside our window was lit up with fireworks and I was pretty upset that the two of us were missing out on that New Year's Eve kiss on the sand. Last year, I was at a wedding on New Year's Eve, and had imagined that my kiss would be somewhere on a romantic dance floor with my date. Instead, the wedding ended at 11:30 and we wound up in our hotel room at midnight, watching Spanish soap operas and setting off mini fireworks that the maids probably weren't too pleased about having to clean up the next morning.
This year might just have been my favorite New Year's Eve to date. I cooked a meal with some of my closest friends, sat outside by a fire, and baked a successful chocolate layer cake. It wasn't a perfect evening--I played a truly pathetic game of beer pong (with water of course), spilled quite a bit of champagne on the floor, and the frosting on my cake was gloppy (but it tasted delicious). And let's just say that when midnight came around, I wasn't disappointed. What, you didn't think I would kiss and tell, did you?
Recipe from Foodess
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract for two minutes on medium speed. Stir in hot coffee with a spatula and pour batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
I am not going to include a frosting recipe because I have tried to make frosting twice for this cake and "failed." I say "failed" because it tasted really good but had the texture of lumpy pudding, not frosting. No one at the party complained, though . . .