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birthday cake

Food & Recipes

Ultimate Chocolate Layer Cake // Joe’s 29th Birthday Cake

September 13, 2016


Every year I make my husband a birthday cake, and every year Joe asks me to bake a chocolate cake. One of Joe’s favorite recipes of all time is a recipe I developed a couple years ago when I was working for Betty Crocker. Let’s be clear when I say that yes, this cake starts with boxed cake mix, but it’s anything but ordinary.

Actually, I should clarify that I have nothing against boxed cake mix in certain situations, including this one, where using boxed cake yields some of the best cake around.

This was my first attempt at baking this cake in layer format rather than in a bundt pan, and with a few adjustments and adaptations, it turned out really well! I would make this cake again and again, and you should, too, if you’re looking for a chocolate cake recipe that will blow your guests minds.

Plus, the leftovers taste pretty great, too. Not that I would know anything about eating leftovers after taking photographs in the middle of the day or anything. 😉


Ultimate Chocolate Layer Cake // Joe's 29th Birthday Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 slices
  • Cake
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1 box (4-serving) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Frosting
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  1. Make the cake layers:
  2. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water and eggs and beat until smooth and well combined. Batter will be thick. Beat in the chocolate chips just until combined.
  4. Divide batter between the two pans and spread evenly in pans. Bake on the middle oven rack 22 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool 10 minutes on wire racks. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire cooling racks, about 1 hour.
  6. To Make Frosting:
  7. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the chocolate and beat until well combined, about 1 minute more. Beat in the milk vanilla and salt, followed by the powdered sugar, beating about 2 minutes or until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
  8. To Assemble Cake:
  9. Place on cake layer on a cake plate or serving tray. Spread some of the frosting on the top of the cake evenly. Top with remaining layer. Use remaining frosting to frost top and sides of the cake. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Cake recipe adapted from One-Bowl Strawberry Bundt Cake 
Frosting recipe adapted from Magnolia Bakery Cookbook 


Birthday Cake Oatmeal

March 21, 2014


As much as I love variety and change in some aspects of my life, like my work and my workouts, I really crave routine in some aspects of life. Take, for example, breakfast. I eat oatmeal or oat bran for breakfast every single morning. To me, it’s the perfect morning meal. But at the same time, I get bored with the same old oatmeal every morning. It’s good to mix things up every now and again.

I mentioned a month ago that I bought a box of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix. I realize it’s totally not very “foodie” to admit this, but I’ve been finding a lot of ways to put that box of cake mix to use in everyday life. Probably not the healthiest or most important skill, but considering that the box has lasted over a month, I don’t think I’m doing too much damage in the health department.

One of my new favorite treats is to stir a little bit of dry cake mix into my morning bow of oatmeal. Something about doing so feels completely indulgent, without being overly sweet or putting me into a sugar coma. If you’re looking for a way to make your morning a little more fun, I would highly suggest giving this a try!


Birthday Cake Oatmeal
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
I make this oatmeal when I'm craving something a little more like dessert without totally indulging in a breakfast pastry or something similar. I keep a box of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix around in case the craving strikes.
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup milk (I like 2% but you can use whatever milk you prefer)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 packets stevia or 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix
  • Peanut butter, if desired
  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, combine the oats and water. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until much of the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Add milk, vanilla, stevia and salt to oats and stir until well combined; stir in the cake mix and cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until oats are your desired thickness. Top with peanut butter, if desired.


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