Easy Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting


Today I am sharing one of our best family recipes! We always called this "Silly Cake" because it has no eggs and mixes up right in the pan. It is perfect if you have an egg allergy or if you ran out but still want chocolate cake. Also, having no bowl to wash is great if you don't like washing dishes. Are you sold on this cake yet? You should be. It is awesome!

Also, I think the chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (actually, we say "icing") is pretty much a standard dessert where I live. It might be a PA Dutch/central PA thing. Peanut butter and chocolate are a great combination, so it just makes sense.

But, there is a funny story behind this cake recipe. I mention on my "about page" how I used to be an awful cook. Well, the first time I tried to make this cake, I used tablespoons for everything. Salt, baking soda, etc. When it came out of the oven and looked a little funny I was very insulted because Mom didn't want to put icing on it until we tried it. Poor Dad got the first piece. We asked if it was OK and he shook his head "yes", then his eyes got wide and he violently shook his head "no" as he rushed to spit it out. He said that he had never had a cake grow in his mouth before!

Thankfully, I learned the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons.

Don't let that story scare you. My 4yo and I made this cake last week and I took pics so that I can show you how easy this cake is to make.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a 9 x 13 baking dish. We usually use a metal pan but glass is fine, too.

Next, make two wells in the dry ingredients. Put the vinegar in one and oil in the other.
Then, pour water over everything...
...and mix together really well. (Sneak peek of an apron tutorial that is coming soon!)
It will look like this:
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when you poke it. Top with frosting (and sprinkles if your 4yo insists on them).
Here is the full recipe:
Silly Cake
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vinegar
2/3 c. vegetable oil
2 c. water
Combine dry ingredients in baking dish. Make two wells in the dry ingredients for the vinegar and oil. Pour water over everything and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 stick butter or margarine
4 c. powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. milk
1/2 c. peanut butter
Cream butter and half of the powdered sugar. Stir in 4 Tbsp. of milk and the remaining powdered sugar. Mix well. Add in 1/2 cup of peanut butter and beat until fluffy. (You can add more or less peanut butter as desired.)
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Pink Lemonade First Birthday

My last baby is one year old. 
Yeah, I am tearing up a little just typing that.
Anywho... let's move on now. Since it was our last (sniff, sniff) first birthday I went all out! I have always wanted to do a pink lemonade theme and these silly kids keep going and getting their own opinions about things. This was probably my last chance.
We don't usually go "all out" for birthdays. Just our family and some cake, ice cream, and snacks. A pack of balloons and a little crepe paper if I feel ambitious. This time I put a little extra effort into the decorations, but only because they will be used in her nursery, too. We have parties in our sunroom since it is a large, open area. We actually set up picnic tables outside this time, but I kept the food inside. I just hung some pink balloons and yellow crepe paper (the other kids insist on this) and put some silk daisy bunches that I got on clearance at Joann's and Michaels in some clear vases.
pink lemonade first birthday party
On the windowsill I arranged some pink and yellow items like her first dress (yellow) and her first hat (pink).
pink lemonade first birthday party
pink lemonade first birthday party
I also mod podged some frames I already had and printed out THIS free printable from Daisy Cottage Designs.
yellow honeycomb frame
pink and yellow frames
I painted some wooden signs, too, just 'cause I am on a sign kick for my etsy shop and felt like it.
pink lemonade sign
pink lemonade first birthday party

pink lemonade first birthday party
Yeah, I am totally redoing that one...

Oh, and each month I have been taking her picture in a washbasket, so I clipped those on the wash line that already hangs out in my sunroom.
For the food I found lemon and strawberry cake mix at the store so I did a batch of each in cupcakes. Of course, I added sprinkles. Gotta' have sprinkles! 
pink lemonade first birthday party
Of course, there was ice cream, pink lemonade, regular lemonade, and other goodies. I also made striped jello in lemon and strawberry.
The most labor intensive thing I did for Hannah's birthday party was to make her a romper. I have wanted to make her one for awhile now and this was a good reason. I got the fabric at Joann's and I actually bought a pdf pattern. I am not going to source the pattern because I was not very happy with it and do not think that it was worth the money. The final product was still pretty cute, though!
pink and yellow baby romper
pink and yellow baby romper
yellow ruffle

I think it is too big, so maybe she will get to wear it some early next summer. The ruffles should be higher, too. Well, I learned some things anyway...

pink and yellow baby romper
pink and yellow baby romper

Here it is compared to the very first thing I sewed for her

Oh, it is so tiny!!!
Excuse me. I am gonna go cry and eat some more of the leftover ice cream now.
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Sneak Peek ~ A Little Sewing Time in the AC

My sewing machine is in the air conditioning. 
I have really been in the mood to sew a lot lately!
First up, I expanded upon this years' Easter collection:
I made a tie for my very unhappy son who says that polka dots are "girly" but I think it is very classy.  I also made a purse for Grace with scraps from her Little Diva Dress.  She is really into purses right now.  I used the Buttercup Bag pattern, but it came out a little short and funny-shaped this time. Oh, well. Good enough. A 2yo doesn't care.
This is more gluing than sewing, but I am working on some headbands for a very bald little girl I know. ;)

I have also been making more maxi skirts. Tutorials on the way 'cause I have some clever new tricks up my sleeve. I just need more pictures of the final products where I don't need to crop my belly out to post it here. I might have to leave the AC for that one. :P
The biggest project I am working on right now is this jungle themed star quilt.  I pieced it over five years ago! I am machine quilting with multi-colored thread it in these loose, "organic" wavy lines but my new sewing machine is having tension issues. :(

This quilt is also my July goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Finally, some non-sewing.  I made a Pinterest-inspired July 4th cake. I had good intentions of making red, white, and blue layers.
I forgot that my bright yellow, farm fresh egg yolks would affect the cake color...

Oh, well. I am giving myself points for effort. I am enormously pregnant, it feels like it is over 100 degrees out there with this humidity, and I have five kids to take care of here. The fact that I went to the trouble to bake anything down in my kitchen with no AC has got to be worth something!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend! Happy Independence Day!! :D

Strawberry Shortcake Ball Gown


My daughter is STILL on the Strawberry Shortcake kick, so for her fourth birthday she wanted a Strawberry Shortcake "theme"... again.  But this time she wanted all of her friends, too.  OK.  No problem.  And, just because I wanted to, I made her a Strawberry Shortcake ball gown - copied from the Glimmerberry Ball movie.

 I am pretty happy with the results and I think she likes it, too!  I used the more expensive satin from Walmart and it was worth it!  It was so much easier than the cheap stuff I used on the Pinkalicious dress.

The bodice was patterned after a tank top that fits her well and it has velcro in the back since I didn't have any zippers on hand.  Under the arms I used single fold bias tape and used that for the straps, too.

The bottom is a circle skirt with sparkly tulle overlays - I just cut the waist circles off center and graduated the sizes for the layers on the dress I was replicating.

Oh- my biggest cheater factor is that I melted the edges of the skirt with a lighter instead of sewing a hem- I hate hemming on a curve, especially with satin!

The headband is made from an old Tshirt and leftover satin scraps.  I have been waiting weeks to get this post up because I didn't have that strawberry on the front or the headband done in time for her party.

Now, back to the Strawberry Shortcake & Friends party.  I didn't flinch a bit when she asked for that because I had already bought her a set of dolls on clearance at Target after Christmas to save for her birthday and figured I could stick 'em on some cupcakes!

Lots of sprinkles (clearance from Valentines Day at Target) and some strawberry gummies and we were set!

BUT, because I was so ambitious, I actually made strawberry shortcake, blueberry muffins, lemon meringue pie (my first time!), and "plum pudding."

Actually, that was just dirt pudding with the pudding part dyed purple!

OK!  I finally blogged about the last birthday in time to get ready for the next one!  Grace will be one year old on Sunday!  It makes me all sappy and sentimental...