The Marathons are Over

A whirlwind day yesterday with so much going on, thank you all for all the birthday wishes for my baby girl!

After Maxine opened her gifts from us in the morning I got started on her cake. I used a chocolate cake recipe I’ve used in the past.

Dark Chocolate Cake
2 c boiling water
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
2 1/4 c white sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottoms of cake pans with parchment paper and grease sides. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Slowly add flour and cocoa mixture to batter, alternating flour and cocoa until completely combined.

I greased two cake pans with coconut oil (forgot about parchment paper until I was writing this post!) and lined cupcake pans with muffin tins.

Two Cake Pans Cake Batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (20 – 22 minutes for cupcakes.)

I cooled the cakes in their pans for about 15 minutes, then removed from pans and let finish cooling on a rack. This recipe made two 9 inch cakes and 16 cupcakes.

Once completely cool, I used a serrated knife to level the cakes and cut off the top layer to make them flat.

Leveling Leveled

For the filling I made a chocolate butter cream frosting.

1/2 c butter, softened
2 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz heavy whipping cream

Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and cocoa powder and continuing creaming until well blended. Add vanilla and whipping cream. Blend on low until moistened and well combined. Add more cream if necessary, beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.

Filling Filled

I used a wide frosting blade to cover the leveled side of one cake, and then laid the top layer leveled side down so I would have a nice flat surface to frost later.

Two Layers

Cake in the fridge to set, I whipped up two sun dried tomato hummus sandwiches for me and Zak and we were out the door to take Ava to her homeschooling class in the city.

Two Sandwiches

After dropping Ava off the three of us spent some time at a park waiting for Ava to be done with her class.

Playground Birthday

We got home with an hour to spare to decorate the cake and finish getting the house ready for visitors! I used the same buttercream frosting recipe for decorating, without the cocoa powder. I tripled the recipe and had MORE than enough for the cake and cupcakes.

The birthday gal got some fun gifts and then it was time for CAKE!


My cake decorating skills are amateur at best, but I was still pleased with the way it turned out. Maxine was delighted and that’s all that mattered.

Maxine's 3rd Birthday Cake

I had very specific instructions for “An Ariel cake, but no fish and no crab”. OK kid, your wish is my command.

Lesson learned from Ava’s 5th birthday: make lots of cupcakes, just in case. I made Ava a Backyardigans cake for her 5th birthday in March and she loved it SO much that she absolutely screamed like I was cutting into her flesh when I tried to cut and serve it. I had to cut the few extra cupcakes I’d made into tiny portions served with big scoops of ice cream. Fortunately everyone laughed and were good sports but I wasn’t going to risk that happening for two birthday parties in a row!


Maxine had no problem cutting into her cake – I’ve got lots of cupcakes left over. Want one?

It was right about this time that I realized I was having cake and ice cream for dinner! Oops! Oh well, at least it was real butter and sugar instead of partially hydrogenated goodness and high fructose corn fun.


Green juice was most definitely in order for this morning after my 4 mile run. I need to detox the sugar and butter from my cells! (But it was totally worth it!)

Green Juice For Sure!

The two big events that were on the calendar are now behind us! The half marathon and Maxine’s birthday and celebration – and I feel like I’ve run two marathons back to back. How is it Wednesday already?


27 Responses

  1. my week is just slow and easy. No marathons for this Mama…

    just knitting and running errands.

    your Ariel cake is DAHLING

    remind me to tell you my Kyle’s Ariel story some day!

    making cakes is so fun, if not exhausting!

    so happy lil Maxine had a great birthday

    get rest now!!!

  2. What a great birthday cake!!! It looks so good (both taste-wise and decorating-wise). I think “mermaid” is pretty big with the 3-year old crowd. Mermaid and Aurora are my little C’s favorites.

    Love the green juice to even things out.

    Are the mermaid cutout and “3” candle headed towards some type of scrapbooky thing? I kept C’s as well (along with the sugar bow from her Minnie Mouse cake), but not sure what to do with it.

  3. Yes please – I’ll take a cupcake!! I am way impressed with your cake making skills lady! That decoration is profesh!
    I love that maxine “screamed like you were cutting into her flesh” description. Ouch. You are wise to learn and bake cupcakes…hahah.

  4. Wow! I am impressed…what a cake! It looks pretty & delicious!!! I’d love a cupcake. haha I’m glad that Maxine let you cut into the cake this year! That’s hilarious. I hope Ava’s first day went well!

  5. Could you send a cupcake my way? Preferrably one with the blue frosting and sprinkles if you have any left. 😉

    Your cake looks awesome!! Seriously, I’m impressed! My best attempt at baking a cake required lots of frosting inside the crackes to hold it all together as it fell apart. It was rather sad…haha. But still tasted good. 😉

  6. Sounds like you had a great day!
    Love the cake, that was my favorite movie whenIwas younger!
    Your amazing at making cakes, I want to learn!

  7. I love how you did the piping around the top of the cake!! It makes it look SO PROFESSIONAL! I’ll have to get a piping bag! I usually write on cakes with the corner of a ziplock bag cut off. Not NEARLY as pretty as YOUR cake!!! GREAT JOB! I bet Max had a WONDERFUL day!!! I’d love to hear more about the homeschool that’s not at home. Do you switch off with other parents?? Are you ever going to “host” the homeschoolers?? What an interesting idea! Happy birthday again!

  8. Awesome cake. I wish I could be so creative. Happy Birthday to your baby!

  9. OMG your cake makin’ skills are superb! Any person, and your little girl especially, should be honored to have such a delish cake being turned outta your humble little kitchen for their bday! How awesome! and that Chocolate middle layer with the butter and cream….yeah, that makes me wish I could handle dairy but I am dairy free, for health reasons, but oooooh that looks sooo good!

    What a lovely bday party celebration, too. My little girl’s 1st bday I held a baby/toddler yoga party and we did baby yoga in a studio. Her 2nd bday was a disaster and of the 15 people I invited, 14 canceled and so I had a party with one other mom for her. Surreal. So I am dreading her 3rd which is coming up but your beautiful celebration gives me hope for happy times on the big 3!


  10. you are a great cake decorator!

  11. Yay for Max’s b-day! I love the cake. Cake for dinner? Sounds good to me!

  12. Do I want a cupcake? Um yes! The cake turned out awesome, you are quite the little talent!! Honestly, it looks professional. I’d love to try my hand at it some day.

  13. I would love a cupcake! thanks for asking girl! ha….i’m so glad Maxine had an amazing birthday! Your cake skills are stellar! You might have a future in cake decorating…no?

    Hope your wednesday is amazing!!!!!

  14. Cupcakes are my absolute downfall!! I would totally eat all of those – okay, so maybe like four, but still. Your cake looks awesome!! You definitely have some skillz.

    I would also like to note that you wrote your mustard in an M and a W – maybe it was inadvertent but I’m thinking you are subconsciously channeling Mama’s Weeds! 🙂

  15. high fructose corn fun…partially hydrogenated goodness…haha! Real, homemade cake is always better than a boxed alternative for sure!

  16. Wow, that cake looks pretty great to me! Nice job! I’d like a cuupcake please! 😉 I’m no longer allowed to say I’m busy – you take the cake for sure!

  17. hey i will take that top level you had to shave off of plain cake! 😉 the cake looks fantastic! you are quite the baker. i think your decorating skills are fabulous!! i couldn’t do such a good job. i LOVE sprouty hummus sandwiches. yum. i also love that you didnt eat sprouts for liek, what did you say, 73 years.. and now they are a staple! ❤

  18. That cake looks amazing! I want some!!

  19. holy cake me lady…that looks amazing! i am so glad you had so much fun at her party. you are an amazing mother and foodie inspiration – i say green juice and cake balances each other out perfectly!

  20. Wow..Alison, you did a GREAT job with that cake!! I love it!! You must have icing tips and the whole nine yards. 🙂

    It looks like Maxine had a great day! I love her red shirt with the hearts on it. 🙂

  21. That is one gorgeous cake and one gorgeous dress Maxi has on (Gracie has the same one)! You are one of the best mamas ever (I’m the other one)!!!

  22. I just found you through Andrea’s blog. I really related to your comment about why you blog and your journey with emotional eating ! Glad to find you!

    Love your cakes – yum!

  23. what’d you do with that part of the cake you cut off to make it look pretty – i’ll eat it!!!

  24. Love the cake! You are an awesome mom!

  25. That cake and those cupcakes look so yummy. I will have to bookmark your recipe for the next time I want to bake!


  26. Awww what a fabulous bday celebration! Deeeeeelicious cake. Delicious. Yum. I’m drooling. I need cake now! Thanks 😉

  27. I really love to eat chocolates specially dark chocolate because they taste sweet and special. ‘.,`*

    Most recently released article on our own internet page

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