Tag Archives: cakes

A Tale of Three Cakes

You lucky, lucky people, you.  I am going to share how you can bake and enjoy three amazing cakes that are so easy to make (because you get to start with a boxed mix), and yet so moist and rich and dense and tasty ~ people will think you’ve been mixing an old, secret family recipe and baking all day long.

I like making cakes from scratch…sort of.  Developing unique flavors and pairing them with tantalizing fillings brings me a special joy – way more so than “decorating” a cake does, which actually gives me anxiety hives – even when they turn out really well.  I have found that using a Duncan Hines mix and adding a special ingredient or two gives me something a grocery-store bakery  cannot hope to achieve.

Here are three yumm-il-i-scious (and I do not use that word lightly) cakes…

Pumpkin Spice Cake

 ben and audrey's wedding cake

I first created this one for Audrey’s wedding a few years back.  She requested 3 off-set square tiers, each a unique flavor and custom filling. Like this: cake-filling-cake-filling-cake-buttercream x 3 tiers!  She allowed me to test out a cake dream I was having based on a very fortuitous mistake I’d once made on another recipe and a pumpkin-spice cake with cream cheese filling family-recipe was born!  It totally turned out, scrumptious!

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake made according to box instructions, except, add an additional egg and use milk in place of water.  Then add:
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond or coconut extract
  • 1-3 teaspoons cinnamon (you might think it is overkill here, but I love cinnamon with a passion, so mine gets 3)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin

Blend well with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.  Pour into prepared pans.  I used 3 9″ rounds.  Bake for 30 minutes.

cake pumpkin spice

I basically doubled Martha Stewart’s Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, so I’d have lots for filling between the layers, but for Jovan’s birthday I also added a few drops (just a very tiny bit) of orange extract and it was so so so good.  It added just the right twist of fresh and tangy and sweet and surprise.

Aunt Dawn’s Banana Cake

The one thing I missed on my last visit to northwest Indiana (in the greater-Chicago region), was my sister-in-law’s rich, dense, but somehow still light banana cake.

Basically, Dawn just prepares a boxed banana cake mix and adds a mashed, ripe banana and bakes it in a regular 9 x 13 cake pan.  That is what makes it denser and so moist.  Then she whips up a simple buttercream, made with real butter, please.  Use about 2 sticks of softened butter, 3-4 cups of powdered sugar, which is about a pound (sift this in as you beat the butter), a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract, and 3 tablespoons of milk (more if you want it softer).  Dawn says she is still tweaking the icing recipe, but all I can tell you – I still think about how good it tastes and want to make one soon!

There is no picture because – well, we ate it.  Fast.

Aunt Robin’s Chocolate-Cherry Cake with To-die-for-Frosting {the quick, “cheater” version}

There is no picture of this one, either and Stormie just made two last week for her workmates.  But no evidence can be found…

Since the official Ross-and-Norma-Moslander Family reunions got into full-swing in 1995, Aunt Robin has always been our go-to dessert and baked goods specialist.  She has surprised us many times with fresh-baked cookies and a variety of cakes and this Chocolate-Cherry Cake with a cooked icing you just cannot get out of a can, people!  So- well – it’s a treat!  On my recent trip to Indiana, my sweet-niece-Elise replicated her mom’s amazing cake using a boxed mix and it was still, as ever, amazingly delicious!  Because anything you spread that icing over is crowned with royal goodness.  DO NOT let the fact that it is cooked scare you away.  Make this and serve it warm from the oven the next time you have company and they will talk about you behind your back for days to come – really good things about how amazing dessert was.  :)


  • 1 Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 20 oz. can of cherry pie filling

Mix  well and put in a greased, floured cake pan.  Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes.  While it’s baking, make frosting on the stove.


  • 5 Tablespoons of butter
  • 5 Tablespoons of milk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

Bring the first three ingredients to a boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips.

Want my advice?  Double this recipe so you can just eat some of this frosting because it is soooooooo good!

There you have it: 3 amazingly delicious, scrumptious cakes.

If you’re very sweet, I may try to get some of Patrice’s cake recipes to share, too.  One year Patrice made a different cake every single day for a week for the staff and leadership at the church where I worked.   Everyday she increased the WOW level!


And just for good measure, don’t forget the world’s moistest, richest, creamiest, richest Coconut Cake by Heather, see {{HERE}}.