We woke up early one Sunday morning and drove up the long road to Hatcher Pass for another adventure together — my first time on snowshoes.
We had hiked up there many times in the summer and had done some cross-country skiing in the area too, but I had never hiked up a mountain in the snow, and I was eager to add a new skill to my rapidly growing repertoire. We chose a moderate path, starting out flat and slow, a frozen creek crossing, and then straight up through a tangle of bare branches toward the peak.
I led the way on unsteady feet, shoving and fumbling through the deep snow, sinking in up to my knees even on snowshoes. After a few hours, my braided hair had frozen beside my face, my eyelashes were coated in icy mascara, and I was getting tired.
We came to a particularly steep section where I found myself hugging the mountainside, my little hands searching for a hold and finding none. Then I felt the snow shift underneath me, and I heard the telltale “whomp” of settling snow layers, and I started to panic. I froze in fear, still clutching the mountainside, unable to look above or behind me, my face buried in the snow, and I began to cry.
Then I heard his voice beneath me — a giggle. “You’re fine,” he said, “you’re almost there!”
I mustered all my courage and pushed my face away from the snow to look above me and found I was just a few feet away from a flat spot where we could rest. I scrambled up and turned to watch him step up with ease and pull me in for a much-needed embrace. We were nowhere near the top but we decided to call it a day, but not before he wiped the tears from my frozen cheeks so we could take a picture together.
A few weeks later, I made him a birthday cake for the first time. I think that one was chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. But for his birthday last week, I made him chocolate cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
He loved the frosting so much he said he never wants anything else on his cake, and I love him so much I’ll happily make it for him for every future birthday.
2 sticks unsalted butter
16 ounces cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup white chocolate cocoa mix powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Allow the butter and cream cheese to soften at room temperature at least two hours.
Beat the softened butter and cream cheese at medium speed until completely homogenous.
Kick up the speed to high and beat for another 3 minutes.
Turn the speed to the lowest setting and add the cocoa mix and vanilla extract.
Turn off the mixer and add ¼ cup powdered sugar. Turn the mixer back on to the lowest setting to combine.
Keep slowly adding powdered sugar this way, turning the mixer on and off as you go, until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated.
Kick the speed up to high and whip for 5 minutes.
Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to assemble your cake. Just be sure the frosting comes to room temperature before you use it, or it might be very hard to spread.
Keep the cake refrigerated once frosted and finish within a week.