Homemade Birthday Cake - Nailed It

My oldest baby is seven today. So this morning I set out to make him the world's greatest birthday cake, and I totally nailed it.

The real story -

I rushed it. I iced a warm cake, people. I know better. But what it lacks in presentation, I promise it makes up for in taste. This is THE best cake.

It's Stephen's grandmother's chocolate icing recipe, and it is to die for. It's like fudge, and it is totally worth the trouble!

I'm sharing the recipe, but I have a disclaimer....it takes a little time to master. As you can see, I'm still perfecting it. Make a practice cake before you go for the real deal. And above all else, don't ice it when it's warm!

for the cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup whole milk
1 stick melted butter
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

mix all ingredients, divide into 3 greased 8 inch cake pans
 bake on 350 degrees for approximately 11-15 minutes depending on your oven

for the icing
1 stick butter melted
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk (or half n half)
6 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips (or approximately 1 cup)
12 large marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla

on the stove, melt butter, then mix in sugar and milk 
heat until mixture comes to a boil, and then time it for 3 minutes (important!)
after the 3 minutes, remove from heat
immediately pour in chocolate chips, marshmallows, and vanilla

stir and allow icing to cool for about 30 minutes before icing the (completely cooled) cake

*I like to use 8 inch cake pans, which is a vintage size. If you use larger ones, then I suggest making 2 layers instead.


Two Great Podcasts Interviewing Sally Lloyd-Jones

Do y'all know Sally Lloyd-Jones? She's most well known as the author of The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Our family has treasured The Storybook Bible for years (and several of her other books, too). She retells Bible stories and truths in such a fresh and unique way, always pointing back to Jesus as center of it all...of every story...often bringing parents to tears.

I recently found two podcasts where Sally Lloyd-Jones was interviewed. She's so lovely. She has a fascinating life story. And she apparently loves avocado toast! Me too!

Anyways, grab your load of laundry, and start listening! Both of these episodes are such a treat!



My Go-To Weekend Meal

This post is the fourth in a series about about food, grocery shopping, cooking, and good home cook kitchen habits. I'm learning as I go. Please weigh in with your secrets, tips, and tricks. There is always something new to learn in the kitchen!

I was unloading groceries from Costco the other day and my sister happened to stop by. She saw me grab these Kirkland 1/4 pound ground beef patties out of my Suburban, and she asked if they were any good.

And I told her - Yes, these are amazing! These are what sustains our family right now.

We call them skillet burgers because we often cook them on a skillet (or griddle). But lately the weather has been so gorgeous we have been cooking them on the Green Egg (which is exactly what the Green Egg is intended for, a warehouse store pre-pattied burgers).

At least once a weekend, we eat these burgers. They are something I don't really have to think about. Also, they are DELICIOUS and a meal my husband can cook from start to finish.
 (My mom took Laurie to Wal-mart and let her pick out a nightgown. )

 We have been dining al fresco as much as we can, lately and it has been glorious. I adore spring!

There is only a short window of time when the weather is nice and the mosquitoes are still in hiding. 

Truly, skillet burgers are a delicacy, so satisfying and festive! This meal helps us feel like we are getting a treat, but keeps us eating at home. We fancy them up with slices of tomato in summer and pickles, lettuce, and cooked onion in the other seasons.

A lot of times I will do roasted sweet potato fries or another roasted vegetable, but when I'm feeling really desperate (like this past weekend), I'm not too sophisticated for frozen French fries.

Do you have a meal like this? One that's easy, comforting, and will keep you from being tempted to get takeout?

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