Homemade Cake Mix for Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Hello, I am so excited about this cake mix!!!! It’s everything I love in one tidy highly giftable package: cute jars, sprinkles, typewriter cards, string, peanut butter (!), a menorah candle disguised as a birthday wish, and the anticipation of cake! Developing this might have been my favorite part of meal prep especially because it’s the most fun and also, well, it’s for my birthday today! I just figured, who knows if Eggboy will have time to bake my annual yellow cake, and I’ll certainly be too busy to pipe a dang embroidery marzipan llama. So what’s the easiest next best option? A homemade peanut butter cake mix with chocolate glaze mix that I can whip up with a Bernie in one arm and a whisk in the other. I assembled the mix back in March and it’s been sitting in my pantry since. (I kind of feel like I should have half a dozen of these on hand for future cake emergencies, no?) I’d never made anything like it before but realized after looking at my peanut butter cake ingredients that most of the ingredients are easily available in powdered form. Powdered peanut butter and powdered milk were the only two things that I didn’t already have on hand but I bought some at the store and tried them out and they worked so well! So the only things that are required for assembly are an egg, oil, and water, just like a store-bought mix! The result is a really moist and fluffy cake with a shiny chocolatey glaze. I made a set of dala horse cakes, just enough for our little family, but this can be made in a round 8” cake pan or easily doubled and made into a sheet cake!


Homemade Cake Mix for Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Makes 1 One-layer 8” Round Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

3/4 c + 2 tb (175g) sugar

1/2 c + 2 tb (81g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (65g) cake flour, or more all-purpose flour

1/4 c (28g) powdered peanut butter (such as PB2)

2 tb (14g) milk powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/8 tsp baking powder

Glaze:

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

1/4 c (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I like dutch cocoa for the darker color)

2 tb (14g) powdered peanut butter

1 tb (7g) milk powder

Other bells and whistles:

A birthday candle

A card with directions (see below)

A packet of sprinkles and other colorful candy

Other decorations as desired

Clues

In a medium jar (I used a 1/2 L Weck jar), layer the sugar, flour, cake flour, peanut butter powder, milk powder, salt, and baking powder. In a separate smaller jar (I used a 1/4 L Weck jar), layer the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, peanut butter powder, and milk powder. Cover and wrap up cutely with a candle, directions card, a packet of sprinkles, and any other decorations. Go wild! Gift it to the birthday person! 

Directions To Bake (print this out or make a card on a typewriter if you’re into that)

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºf. Grease an 8” round cake pan.

  2. Dump the large jar into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add 1 large egg, 1 cup water, and 1/4 cup oil and whisk to combine. 

  3. Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan.

Glaze:

  1. Add 3 tablespoons water to the small jar and mix until spreadable, adding an additional tablespoon of water if it’s too thick to spread. Pour over cake.

  2. Decorate and enjoy!


mozzarella pesto mac and cheese

I prepped my Mother’s Day brunch months in advance, I prepped my birthday cake months in advance (coming next week!), so obviously I also prepped my birthday dinner months in advance. I promise this isn’t a statement about my faith in Eggboy’s cooking skills so much as it is an example of my obsession with meal prep. I don’t know if it was obvious but I started planning my baby meal prep the moment the little pee stick flashed the word “pregnant” on it. Sorry, I’ll never talk about pee in a recipe post again. So back in like August when I was planning all of this, I thought what will I want to eat on my birthday in May? It was so far in the future but macaroni and cheese always has and always will be my number one favorite food, so I figured that was the most reliable choice.

So here is a version of mac and cheese that I have been really loving these days. It’s not as cheesy as the casseroles that I grew up eating on every special occasion, it’s more saucy and milky, and pretty mild, flavor-wise. I knew I’d be prepping giant batches of it to have on hand for my whole maternity leave, so I went with something that was on the lighter end of the spectrum, at least for mac and cheese. It’s got a pretty green dollop of springy pesto (I used store-bought but would have used homemade if I had basil back in March!), and these individual servings make it really easy to heat quickly. They’re perfect to pair with salad or, my go-to sides as a 7-year-old, apple slices and cold baby carrots. 

If you’ve never made mac and cheese before or are looking to create your own version of mac and cheese with all of your favorite cheeses and mix-ins, this is a great basic recipe to start with. It’s pretty barebones, which means that it lends itself nicely to switching up or adding more cheeses (any cheese should work! less melty ones, like feta, won’t yield a smooth sauce but they’ll still be tasty), adding different flavors (paprika, nutmeg, sriracha, harissa, a little mustard, etc.), veggies (peas! onions! broccoli!) or meats (hot dogsssss!!!!). You can really go wild here. 

And of course, you don’t have to make individual servings or make this to freeze ahead. Bake this in a big casserole dish! Immediately! Or do what I do and just stand over the pot and take a million test bites, just to make sure it’s good, before it gets dumped in the casserole and browned in the oven for other people to eat since you’ve just filled up on “test bites.”

I’ve used Our Family cheese and noodles here, which I always have on hand in case of mac and cheese emergencies! 


Mozzarella Pesto Mac and Cheese (Freezer Friendly)

makes 10 servings

Ingredients

1 lb (16oz) Our Family mini shells or macaroni noodles

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter

1/2 c (65g) all-purpose flour

6 c (1.44kg) 2% or whole milk

1 1/2 c (6oz) shredded Our Family mozzarella

1 c (4oz) shredded Our Family swiss

3/4 c (3oz) shredded Our Family parmesan, divided

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

5 tb prepared pesto

10 tb (32g) panko breadcrumbs 

Directions

If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 375ºf. If prepping for the freezer, see directions below.

Cook the noodles to al dente per the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook for about a minute. Add the milk, one cup at a time, whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon after each until thickened. Add the mozzarella, swiss, and 1/2 cup of the parmesan and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add this point if you want to add fun mix-ins like cut up hot dogs or crispy bacon or peas or hot sauce, now’s the time to do so. Stir in the noodles. It may seem overly saucy at this point but once it bakes up, it’ll be perfect!

To bake immediately, pour into a 9” x 13” casserole dish, dollop all over with the pesto and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan and bake for 25 minutes, or until browned and bubbly. Enjoy!

To prepare for the freezer, divide into 10 individual containers (I like these because they are safe for the oven, microwave, and freezer). Add a heaping teaspoon of pesto to the tops of each and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan. Let cool slightly, wrap well in plastic wrap, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven at 375º for 25 minutes covered with foil plus 20 minutes uncovered, or until browned and heated through. Or reheat in the microwave by heating for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through. Enjoy!


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

this recipe was created in partnership with our family!

Here is a PDF of the freezer labels that I made! They are for Avery labels #6570.

pancakes and sausage on a stick

Back in March when I was doing all of my meal prep, I realized that Mother’s Day would happen soon after I gave birth! It was a wild realization that I’d suddenly be an honoree of the day and I obviously immediately got the urge to cry and be emotional. I imagined my perfect Mother’s Day with a newborn (which is different than my perfect Mother’s Day with, say, a 6-year-old because by that time I can expect some super cute breakfast in bed, right?!) and what I imagined was holding a little nugget in one hand and eating my special brunch in another. A brunch on a stick. And one of my favorite brunches ever, pancakes and sausage! I mean, a bouquet of flowers would be nice but a bouquet of pancakes and sausage on a stick would be nice and tasty. So here we are, I made my own Mother’s Day brunch and it’s in the freezer now waiting to be microwaved. Lol. Pressure’s off, Eggboy! 

Pancakes and sausage on a stick were one of my faaaavorite breakfasts growing up. We’d get them in bulk from Market Day at school (does Market Day still exist?! Omg, it does!) and I’d have them before early morning ice skating practices. These days I can’t walk by them in the freezer section of the Super Target without seriously considering buying them every single time but then I look at the ingredients and have to put them down. So with this homemade version, even though they’re a totally fried breakfast version of a corn dog, I feel a little better about eating them because I can use my fave sausages (I like Applegate’s natural chicken sausages) and then also add some oat flour to the batter. More oats = more boob milk! Yeah! And the oats add a nice nuttiness to the pancake.

So here’s a big batch that you can make, freeze, and nuke for breakfast in a snap and Mother’s Day with a newborn and the like! 


Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick

Makes 18

Ingredients

1/2 c (65g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (65g) oat flour, or more all-purpose flour

2 tb sugar

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 large egg

2 tb flavorless oil

1/2 c (120g) buttermilk

18 pre-cooked breakfast sausages (if frozen, heat them a little just until they’re soft enough to insert with lollipop sticks)

Flavorless oil, for frying

Maple syrup, optional, for serving

Clues

Fill a large heavy pot or high sided skillet fitted with a thermometer with 1” of oil and heat over medium high heat to 360º F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the egg, oil, and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer the batter to a tall skinny glass or measuring cup (this step isn’t completely necessary, but it will make coating the sausages easier). Working in batches of 3 or 4 sausages at a time, insert popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks into the sausages, pat off any excess moisture with a paper towel, and dip them into the pancake batter to fully coat, scraping off excess. It doesn’t need to be a very thick coating as the batter will puff up when frying. Carefully lower the entire thing (stick included) into the hot oil and fry until golden, 1 1/2-2 minutes. Use tongs to transfer to a paper towel or wire rack. Repeat with the remaining sausages. Cool slightly before serving. 

To freeze, cool completely and then store in a ziploc bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, wrap loosely in a paper towel and microwave for about 40 seconds, or until heated through. Let cool slightly and enjoy!


Passover + Bernie's First Month

Despite getting aggressively sick of matzo and showering millions of matzo crumbs all over Bernie every day (sorry, Bernie!), we had the best Passover ever. My mom flew in like a true Passover Mary Poppins and prepared the most delicious brisket, sweet potato kugel, matzo balls, and charoset while I fumbled around just trying to melt some dang chocolate for a flourless chocolate cake while Bernie snoozed but sometimes wailed in her ring sling. (Check out the finished cake! Whatever the cake decorating equivalent is to the Ravel Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, I’m practicing for it.) We set the table with my favorite flowery tablecloth and a makeshift seder plate, complete with Bernie’s toy beet because we couldn’t find a bone and it turns out that a beet is commonly used on vegetarian seder tables, and had the Eggs over for a short and sweet Seder. Bernie slept the entire time and even let me put her down in her bouncy chair so that I could safely eat some soup. She kind of woke up to telepathically guide Eggboy to where she thought the Afikoman was hiding and won, of course. Her prize was a Mo Willems book from Auntie Elaine.

The rest of the week consisted of leftover brisket matzo pizza, cheesy matzo brei, matzo lasagna, pb and j on matzo, kewpie and swiss on matzo… If I was an octopus I would have fixed big beautiful ramp-filled spring salads while also cuddling Bernie, but I’m not an octopus so I chose the next best route which still involved cuddling Bernie but required having to just one-hand scarf the most readily available calories on top of matzo. (And I only cheated once when I determined that one hour of solid Bernie screaming earned me one unit of chametz, which I redeemed in the form of a Jimmy John’s Turkey Tom.)

Other than Passover, we have had such a wonderful month, the first month of Bernie! It has included lots of firsts and lots of learning: 

-Bernie took a pacifier for the first time yesterday and I melted almost as quickly as I did the first time I held her. What is it about baby faces with pacifiers sticking out of them that are sooo outrageously adorable??

-We baked challah for the first time! Bernie was nestled in her Solly wrap while I braided. We made three loaves: everything bagel, cinnamon raisin, and sea salt. I hope she enjoyed the smell of it baking. Imagine smelling freshly baked challah for the first time!

-I learned how to not get projectile pooped on. (Of course, it took getting projectile pooped on to learn that…but it was my own fault for standing in the line of fire.)

-I learned how to plan a Sunday to avoid the witching hour so that Bernie would be calm throughout Game of Thrones.

-This morning I took Bernie up a flight of stairs for the first time. She was in her sling and fast asleep but in my mind it was a *moment*.

-Bernie had her first bath and I think she likes bath time!!

-I learned that the acoustics in the grocery store are not actually that bad when combined with Bernie screams. The acoustics in the gym kind of are though. Conveniently, it’s easier to drop everything and leave the gym than it is to drop everything and leave the grocery store. 

-And lastly, I learned how to have reasonable limits. Do one thing every dayjust one, advised Eggsister, and it’s been the best goal. One outing (like going to the grocery store or on a walk at the gym, but not both) or one project (like writing this blog post or baking something or working on Bernie’s baby book) plus all of the necessary baby stuff (feeding, changing, tummy time, bath time, cuddling) and adult stuff (brushing my teeth, eating a granola bar, staring at Bernie, and occasionally showering) makes a successful day these days. I’ve been slow moving but doing my best to savor every bit of it. 

Ok now if you’ll excuse me I’ve wanted a piece of challah for the past three hours so I’m going to prepare to make the journey with Bernie from living room to kitchen for that piece of challah. See you in a month!

-yeh!