Recently, my oldest son had his third birthday, and as I write this, I can’t believe we have had three of these celebrations already. “Is he really three?” I ask myself. Then I remind myself of the importance of cherishing each moment, for I have learned this to be true: time does fly. 🙂
In light of the conversation of cherishing each moment, one of the things I have always loved is the time to celebrate a holiday, a birthday, or a special occasion. Not only is celebration fun, but I truly believe that we must make time to honor those moments and seasons of joy. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (ESV, emphasis mine). Yes, there is a time to celebrate, and birthdays are no exception.
With that said, my son’s third birthday this year was such a wonderful time. He is in love with anything “digger” or “dumptruck”, and so I knew that our celebration would revolve around that theme. When I originally started planning his party, I had a full menu of which I planned to serve our few guests and then to top that off, I also wanted to serve birthday dessert (Of course, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want birthday cake?! :)). Let me tell you… this birthday was about learning to simplify. I feel like I am constantly learning this lesson (aren’t we all?!). By the time the planning was done, I had decided that we would skip a meal and instead, have a fun digger birthday cake with ice cream, strawberries & dip, and some leftover caramel popcorn I had in my freezer. I have always thought that simplifying like this would take away some of the fun and joy in the planning process; what I learned instead was that this actually left me (and my family!) less stressed it made planning much more of a blast. Plus it allowed for more time to relish in each moment of the birthday (cherishing the time, right? :)) rather than being concerned about details that, in all reality, didn’t matter “big picture”. Plus it gave me some time to give this cake a whirl; it truly was one of the best birthday celebrations.
So, what about this cake? 🙂 Let me tell you that looks can be deceiving! This actually was a very simple gluten-free cake to make. I utilized one of my favorite gluten-free baking brands (Pamela’s) and I was set! I also looked at a lot of Pinterest pictures! 😉 Enjoy this simple, yet fun way to spice up a boy’s birthday celebration. 🙂
For the Cake:
2 Bags Pamela’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix
The remaining ingredients listed on the bag recipe (2 eggs, *1/2 cup oil, and 1 1/2 cups water) *I chose to use melted coconut oil for this recipe.
Directions: Lightly grease 2- 9 inch round pans and set aside. Follow the mixing and baking instructions for the “Luscious Chocolate Cake” recipe found on the bag. It is also important to fill the pans 2/3 full. You will have extra cake mix when you are done. Use it to make cupcakes! 🙂 When the cake is done, cool for 15 minutes and then run a knife along the sides to loosen, but do not pop out of the pans yet. Cool completely. In the meantime, make the frosting.
For the sake of simplicity, click on this link to find the frosting recipe. Here a couple of my notes regarding the frosting:
1) Semi-sweet chocolate chips work instead of chopping up the chocolate.
2) I used Brown Rice Syrup instead of the corn syrup to make sure the frosting was gluten-free.
3) My frosting was pretty runny yet by the time I was done preparing it. I followed her instructions and chilled it in the fridge until it was a little more set. I actually popped it in the freezer for a portion of the time, just to speed up the chilling process. 🙂
4) Follow the directions!!! Don’t skip the ice bath, etc. 🙂 You will be glad that you took the time to follow the extra steps. 🙂
1) On a large cutting board lined with foil, carefully pop out one of the cakes so that the flat side of the cake is face up. Frost the top of this layer with a generous amount of frosting. Carefully pop out the second cake and carefully lay it on top of the frosted layer, right side up. If your cake is rounded, may have to shave a little off the top of this layer to make sure that it is flat on the top.
2) Frost the remainder of the cake (top and sides). Don’t worry about being neat at first. Glob a generous portion on the top initially so that you have a lot of frosting with which to work. That way, you won’t get crumbs mixed in with your frosting.
3) Once your cake is frosted, smooth it out all over.
4) Cut a chunk out of one portion of the cake, but only cut down through one, rather than both layers. Set this piece aside.
5) Crumble the cut out piece and use this to fill the empty space in the cake. This will create the “dirt look”. You can also mix the cake crumbs with some crushed up gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies.
6) Use any remaining crumbs to add extra “dirt” around or on top of the cake.
7) Complete the cake by adding a few digger truck toys on the top as well as around the base of the cake.
8) Serve with organic vanilla ice cream (Make sure to purchase the kind without mono and diglycerides and carrageenan.)
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*Thank you to Pinterest for all of the many “digger cakes” on display!
*Thank you to Our Best Bites for the frosting recipe. 🙂