December birthdays

Two of our greatest Christmas gifts are our December babies. Daphne was born in mid-December and Dan was born a couple days before Christmas. They aren’t actual Christmas babies, but since Christmas has expanded to fill the last two weeks of December, any mid- to late-December baby is, in my book, a Christmas gift.
They are both celebrating milestone birthdays this month. Daphne turned 10 and Dan turned 16. Folks aren’t kidding when they say time flies; our baby is now in double digits and our oldest has full driving privileges. It seems like just yesterday that we swaddled them up and slid them into stockings for their first Christmas photos.
Anyone with a birthday in the second half of December – or anyone parenting a child with a later December birthday – knows well the challenge of celebrating birthdays during the holiday season. Birthday parties are next to impossible to squeeze into the schedule. Gifts are often delivered with, “This is for your birthday and for Christmas.”
So we always try to carve out a little time to celebrate our birthday girl and birthday boy. Usually it’s as simple as sitting down for cake, singing while candles are blown out, and opening a birthday-only gift. I also try to make their favorite meal. For her birthday last week, Daphne requested chicken wings, roasted sweet potatoes, and ice cream cake.
A couple days before her birthday, I added “pick up ice cream cake” to my list of errands for town. We planned to celebrate early, since one of our family Christmas gatherings was happening on her birthday. But when I got to Dairy Queen, it was closed. The grocery store was next on my list, so I pivoted to Plan B: pick up ingredients to make a homemade ice cream cake.
The ice cream cake we later enjoyed for Daphne’s birthday turned out to be fairly simple, absolutely delicious, and a nice change from the baked sweets that dominate this time of year. The kids and Glen declared that it tasted even better than a Dairy Queen cake.
I’ll be making another ice cream cake in two days for Dan’s birthday. He requested a different flavored cake and is still trying to decide between chocolate and peanut butter or strawberry and vanilla. You could easily make dozens of versions of this cake by using different ice cream flavors. It’ll never happen in our house, due to my mint aversion, but I imagine some folks would find a mint and vanilla ice cream cake to be very Christmas-y.
Whether you’re celebrating birthdays or Christmas or the coming New Year, may your festivities be filled with family, friends, and joy. (And perhaps this dairy delicious ice cream cake.)

Homemade ice cream cake
1 1/2 quart tub of high quality chocolate ice cream
1 1/2 quart tub of high quality vanilla ice cream
18 Oreo cookies, filling removed and crushed to make 1 1/2 cups of cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups chocolate chips
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
3 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1 cup powdered sugar
Food coloring, if desired

Soften the chocolate ice cream for 20 minutes, then gently spread into an even layer in a chilled 9-by-13 cake pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.
While first layer is freezing, make the chocolate fudge. Put chocolate chips, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla into a medium bowl. Heat 1 cup of heavy cream in microwave until hot but not boiling. Pour cream over chocolate chips, let set for 5 minutes, and then whisk until smooth.
Next make the cookie crumbs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix Oreo crumbs and melted butter together. Spread buttered crumbs onto cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool, then break up any clumps. This step helps the crumbs stay crunchy after the cake is assembled.
Spread chocolate fudge on chocolate ice cream layer. Freeze for 10 minutes. Then sprinkle cookie crumbs over fudge. Freeze again for 2 hours.
Soften the vanilla ice cream for 20 minutes, then gently spread over fudge/cookie layer. Freeze for 30 minutes.
While last cake layer is freezing, make whipped cream frosting. Combine 2 cups whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, powdered sugar, and food coloring, if using, in large bowl. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread frosting on cake. Freeze for one hour before serving. Cake will keep best tightly covered.
Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 100 cows near Melrose, Minnesota. They have three children – Dan, Monika, and Daphne. Sadie also writes a blog at She can be reached at


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