Life in Lape Haven

Category - Recipes

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Instant Oatmeal. Make your mornings easier with this easy, inexpensive DIY recipe that gives you all the convenience of instant oat packets with the flavor and nutrition of homemade oatmeal. You and your kids will love this recipe for homemade instant oatmeal!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Tried It Tuesday” post, I know. But, honestly, not many of the DIYs or recipes I’ve tried recently were very exciting. And those that were, well, I’ve failed to get pictures so far. (Sometimes I’m just focused on getting dinner on the table before the natives get too restless…)

But a few weeks ago, on a whim, I decided to try a recipe and DIY combo to make our mornings easier, and it was such a hit, I have to share it!

Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Instant Oatmeal. Make your mornings easier with this easy, inexpensive DIY recipe that gives you all the convenience of instant oat packets with the flavor and nutrition of homemade oatmeal. You and your kids will love this recipe for homemade instant oatmeal!

Most mornings are busy enough with getting Elijah off to school and Brad on to work that our go-to breakfast is simply cereal, although we do try to have healthier cereal options for most days. (Saturdays are the exception.)

However, some days I’ll make time to whip up oats or eggs or something more, and on those days, my boys are excited for breakfast.

Then not too long ago, I snagged a box of instant oatmeal on sale, and our boys ate it up in a matter of days. Not only were they getting oats in the morning, but they were also getting to exercise a little bit of independence, as Elijah could mix up and microwave the packets on his own and could even help Josiah.

So, when I saw a post on One Good Thing about making your own instant oatmeal, I knew we needed to try it, especially when I read her “secret trick” for making it have the texture of store-bought instant oats but of course, with better flavor.

Tried It Tuesday: Homemade Instant Oatmeal. Make your mornings easier with this easy, inexpensive DIY recipe that gives you all the convenience of instant oat packets with the flavor and nutrition of homemade oatmeal. You and your kids will love this recipe for homemade instant oatmeal!

Within a few minutes, I had thrown together our first half-batch of instant oatmeal (half-batch in case our boys didn’t eat it very well). I bagged it up into individual servings, and we were ready to try it out.

That first batch (with about a dozen servings) was gone in less than a week. Yes, our boys really love oats for breakfast!

We have since gone through two more half-batches (I haven’t done the full amount yet, just in case my guys tire of it…but I probably should just go with it, since they eat it so well, especially Josiah and Isaiah!)

Since there are any number of ways you can customize oatmeal, you’d think I’d be tossing in raisins or cranberries or nuts or different spices, but nope. My boys like it pretty simple: with brown sugar and cinnamon.

I do, however, sneak in some ground chia seeds for a little nutritional boost that doesn’t affect the flavor or texture at all (and my boys don’t see the ground seeds like they might whole chia seeds.)

If you’re wondering what the “secret trick” is that I learned from Jillee to make your oats really “instant” oats, it’s this: grind up 1/3 of the oats for your batch then mix them with the whole oats, sugar, salt, and whatever else you choose to put in your oatmeal.

I just toss the chia seeds into my NutriBullet with the oats I’m grinding up, and boom! Done. 🙂 (Of course, you can use a decent blender to grind up the oats, too.) 

And since we were out of sandwich bags when I made our second batch of instant oatmeal, I skipped bagging it altogether and just stored the whole mix in an empty oats container with a ½ cup scooper inside and directions written in Sharpie on the plastic lid. Saves me time and plastic bags. 🙂 Plus, we can make smaller portions for Isaiah!

So here’s the recipe I’ve been using for our own Homemade Instant Oatmeal. Feel free to double it, triple it, half it, or whatever you need. Just make sure to blend 1/3 of your oats you’ll be using.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Yield: 12 1/2-cup Packs

Easily and inexpensively make your own homemade "Instant" Oatmeal Packs!


  • 5 cups Quick Oats
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar (or less)
  • 1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ cup Chia Seeds (optional)


  1. Blend 1-1/2 cups of your oats in a good blender. If your blender can handle it, you can add in the chia seeds as well to grind them up at the same time.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine oat powder with remaining 3-1/2 cups oats, salt, sugar, cinnamon, & chia seeds (if not blended). Mix thoroughly to combine.
  3. Either store in sealed container or package in ½ cup servings into plastic zip-top bags.
  4. TO COOK: Add ¾ cup water to ½ cup oatmeal mix. Microwave 1 minute, stir. Then microwave 30 seconds – 1 minute longer, depending on microwave.

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7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving - Life in Lape Haven. Our kids like to be a part of everything we do, so it shouldn't have surprised me when my oldest really enjoyed making something "on his own" to take to our family Thanksgiving gathering. Here are 7 easy recipe ideas that your children can help make for your holiday meal or other celebration.

When Elijah was still a little-little guy, about 3 years old, we added a new tradition to our family Thanksgivings that he has faithfully continued every year since. In fact, it only became a tradition because he asked to do it the following year. I might forget it, but he always remembers!

Every year, Elijah gets to make a “special” dish to take to our families’ Thanksgiving meals.

It all started because I was trying to keep him busy while I was prepping my contributions: sweet potato casserole and apple pies.

He wanted to help, but he wasn’t quite old enough to peel potatoes or roll out pie crust. So, I reached back into my childhood and came up with a super easy side dish/dessert he could make: fruit cocktail with marshmallows. 🙂

I know, not exactly your normal Thanksgiving fare, but it was a dish my grandma often served with our meals when we visited when I was little, so I knew our family would be familiar with it.

Plus, all it requires is emptying a can of fruit cocktail into a bowl and stirring in miniature marshmallows. Elijah could totally do that. I opened the cans for him, let him dump it into a bowl, and had him stir as I poured in the marshmallows. Then he put it into the refrigerator until it was time to leave.

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving - Life in Lape Haven. Our kids like to be a part of everything we do, so it shouldn't have surprised me when my oldest really enjoyed making something "on his own" to take to our family Thanksgiving gathering. Here are 7 easy recipe ideas that your children can help make for your holiday meal or other celebration.

He was so excited and proud of himself for “making” something for the day. He carefully carried his creation to and from the car and into my parents’ house.

When it was time to eat, he made sure that everyone knew that he had made the fruit cocktail. 🙂

And they made sure to compliment him on his tasty dish, especially my grandma, who knew exactly where the “recipe” came from.

The following year, I completely forgot about it, but as we got closer to Thanksgiving, Elijah asked me if he could make “his” fruit cocktail again.

And so, it’s now “his” fruit cocktail.

And for him, it’s a special concoction for special occasions. His memories of it are predominantly found in our holiday meals, so to him, it IS Thanksgiving fare.

In talking about Turkey Day this year, he was listing all the things he loves about the day, and he put making fruit cocktail right up there with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (one of our other big traditions here) and ALL. THE. PIES.

I had no idea that it was that important to him.

But it makes sense.

In a day where everyone is bringing something for the feast, what better way to be a big part of the day than to contribute to the table, too?

While for me it was simply a way to keep him busy, that small offering gave Elijah a deeper sense of belonging, allowing him to be an active part of the day, contributing to the celebration, and making something special for his family.

It’s no wonder he never forgets to make it every year. 🙂

With that in mind, if you’d like to give your younger ones a chance to bring something to your family’s festivities this Thanksgiving, I’ve scoured my recipes and those online for a few simple dish ideas your children can create for the holiday table.

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving - Life in Lape Haven. Our kids like to be a part of everything we do, so it shouldn't have surprised me when my oldest really enjoyed making something "on his own" to take to our family Thanksgiving gathering. Here are 7 easy recipe ideas that your children can help make for your holiday meal or other celebration.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you purchase through the link.)

7 Simple Dishes Your Child Can Make for Thanksgiving


1. Fruit Cocktail: A can or two of fruit cocktail in 100% juice. (If using 2 or more cans, you can drain the liquid from all but one). Stir in at least a cup of miniature marshmallows. It’s really just to your preference. Chill in lidded bowl until ready to serve. It’s best if made a couple hours ahead so that the marshmallows soften just a touch. Too long, though (like a couple days), and they will start to dissolve.


2. 5 Cup Fruit Salad: If you want to be more adventurous than just one can of fruit with marshmallows, you can try this tasty dish here. Made of just a cup of each ingredient, it’s easy to put together!


3. Cranberry Sauce: If you’re using the stuff in a can, let the kids take charge of that one. 🙂

If you’re using fresh cranberries, kids like to mash stuff. 🙂 Or you could make it quickly and make Cranberry Sauce in the Instant Pot, but I doubt the kids can help too much beyond stirring there. (But I love my Instant Pot, and might try this recipe myself!)


4. Compound Butter: Most Thanksgiving menus include rolls, bread, or biscuits of some kind. Make it extra festive with some “fancy” butter.

You could take it even further and let your kids make the actual butter, too! Here are instructions for two different methods: In a Stand Mixer or in a Jar 


5. Rice Krispie Treats: Cereal, butter, marshmallows. This one’s easy. And if you’re worried about the stove, melt the marshmallows in the microwave.

Want to make it more festive? Try these adorable Turkey Rice Krispie Treats or make it chocolatey (never a bad thing!) with this Oreo-based recipe.


6. Cheeseball: While there are lots of variations for this classic appetizer, they all tend to be simple to put together. Here’s a tasty looking Bacon Ranch Cheeseball that your kids could assemble with only a *little* mess 😉


7. Turkey Veggie Tray: With a little help or supervision with the cutting part, I know my boys would have fun assembling a fun veggie tray for the day.


BONUS RECIPE IDEA: Sweet Corn Spoonbread (also known as Corn Bake): Yes, this involves the oven. But hear me out. This is a simple dump-it-all-in-and-mix-it-up recipe. Kids are good at pouring stuff into the bowl (and many are good at missing…I know). With a little adult help with melting the butter, opening cans, and using the oven, your slightly-older kids can handle this one and have the joy of taking one of the “big dishes.”


Of course, you can include your children in numerous areas of the meal prep, even if they can’t make an entire dish all by themselves. Letting them have a part in creating the meal, which is kind of the centerpiece of Thanksgiving Day, will give them a sense of accomplishment, purpose, and pride, while creating new family traditions and memories to last a lifetime.

That’s something to always be thankful for, right? 😉


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Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes, & Apples

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls. A simple recipe for healthy energy bites. Great for the whole family.

In the past three months since Isaiah’s birth, I haven’t done a lot of extra cooking or baking. Right now, I’m doing well to get dinner made most nights. 🙂 However, I still like my goodies and making what I can from scratch, and on occasion my older two boys will behave and Isaiah will nap or be content long enough for me to throw together a little something special.

As a mom with a newborn, I haven’t only been looking for recipes that are quick and easy, but also ones that could be helpful to my milk supply since our new little guy LOVES to nurse. In the first few weeks especially, I needed healthy, easy-to make and easy-to-eat snacks for both my boys and myself. I found a perfect answer for all of those in the form of simple, customizable protein balls.

I’d seen these little treats, also called “energy balls” or “energy bites,” before online, and I’ve even sampled some that a mom friend of mine had made. However I’d never made any myself. So, I had to find a recipe.

Since protein balls can be made with such a wide variety of ingredients, I wasn’t sure which particular recipe to try from the myriad I found on Pinterest, so I looked for ones with ingredients that I had on-hand, especially ones with oats and flaxseed, since both are foods that can boost a mother’s milk supply.

Once I found a few options, I compared the recipes, used the common measurements of ingredients, and made up my own recipe, following the same basic procedure that all the protein ball recipes followed.

I have made up several batches since then, and my whole family loves them. However, since the protein balls do pretty much give you a boost of energy, I try not to let the boys have them too late in the evening. 🙂

I have also tried a few different variations, such as using different nut butters (I like using both almond butter and peanut butter as the same time) and using either date syrup and/or raw honey as a sweetener (I prefer the date syrup because the honey can make the balls very sweet and a bit stickier).

I think the fact that I can easily adapt the recipe to what I have makes this a fun, almost foolproof snack. However, here’s my favorite way to make protein balls…so far. 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls


  • 1 cup Oats
  • ½ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 cup Coconut Flakes, toasted
  • ½ cup Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Almond Butter
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup Date Syrup (or can use Raw Honey)


  1. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly combine oats, chocolate chips, coconut, and ground flaxseed. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together nut butters (or can do ½ cup of only one type of nut butter), date syrup, and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Roll mixture into small balls. I use my cookie scoop to portion out the mix. You can roll them large or small, depending on what you want. If the mixture is too sticky or melty, you can chill it in the refrigerator a bit before rolling it into balls.
  6. Place balls onto the prepped baking sheet.
  7. Chill protein balls until they harden.
  8. Keep refrigerated in an airtight storage container.




Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes & Apples. This delicious roasted butternut squash side dish spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with sweet potatoes and apples is a great healthy addition to any meal or holiday table throughout the fall and winter.

As much as I love summer, there is something to be said about all the crisp weather, cozy clothes, fall fun, and tasty treats that come with autumn. While I love all the apple and pumpkin goodies to be made (Apple pie? YUM! Pumpkin cookies? Yes, please!), I also get really excited when I start seeing butternut squash in the stores.

I’m not sure when I first tried cooking butternut squash for my family, but it quickly became a staple of our autumn pantry. I love making this Winter Squash soup (Pumpkin-Butternut Squash Soup) by the Food Network’s Ina Garten. However, I think my absolute favorite way to enjoy this seasonal veggie is to simply dice it up and roast it, usually along with some sweet potatoes and apples.

The other night I was ready to make this sweet combination as a side for our dinner, but I couldn’t remember at what temperature I usually roasted it. So, I searched online for “roasted butternut squash.”

The first recipe I checked out was one for cinnamon roasted butternut squash from Chew Out Loud. Suddenly, I was ready to spice up my usual recipe a little bit. 🙂

While their recipe calls for adding brown sugar to their squash, I didn’t since I already add sweet potatoes and apples to the mix. I didn’t want to make my dish into too much of a dessert. I also had to adjust the oil and seasoning a bit, since I had more to roast overall.

The resulting Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes and Apples was delicious! (Even my little picky eater Josiah ate it well.) Not only is it a tasty side, but it is simple and healthy! This is a perfect dish for any meal throughout the fall and winter and would be a great new addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Note: Don’t let the prepping of the butternut squash intimidate you. It seems tricky, but it’s not that bad. I’ve learned that if you microwave it for a few minutes, that will make peeling it much easier. It will even help make it easier to cut up (butternut squash is a hard squash). Of course, be careful, as it will be hot! For more info on prepping your squash, you can check out this How-to from Simply Recipes.

Here’s how I make this yummy fall dish.

Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Roasted Cinnamon-Spiced Butternut Squash with Sweet Potatoes & Apples


  • 1 large Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (in about 1” cubes)
  • 3 small Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced (in about 1” cubes)
  • 3 medium Apples, peeled and diced (in about 1” cubes) I used Gala apples, but any sweet variety of apple will work.
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil.
  3. In a large bowl, stir squash, sweet potatoes, and apples together.
  4. Drizzle oil over mix, and gentle toss/fold until all pieces are coated.
  5. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
  6. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the seasoning over the squash mix, then stir to evenly coat pieces. Then sprinkle another 1/3 and stir. Then sprinkle the remaining seasoning and stir until all pieces are evenly and thoroughly seasoned.
  7. Spread squash mix out on prepped baking sheet(s) into a single layer so that the pieces are not over-crowded and will bake evenly. (I needed two baking sheets).
  8. Roast about 35-40 minutes (depending on the size of your dicing – mine were slightly smaller, so it cooked faster), until squash is fork-tender. You may want to stir the pieces halfway through or rotate your pan to ensure even browning.


Tried It Tuesday: Old Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Old Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies. This fall must-bake is a simple recipe for yummy, super soft pumpkin cookies drizzled with glaze. One of our family's autumn baked goods favorites.

About four or five years ago, I finally got brave enough to try making my own pumpkin puree. Once I did it, I realized it wasn’t very intimidating or difficult at all, plus it’s absolutely delicious. (It also freezes well). Of course with lots of fresh pumpkin on-hand, I had to find new recipes to use it in, besides just pumpkin pie.  

Thankfully, the internet loves pumpkin recipes in the fall, so my options were nearly limitless. We’ve had everything from pumpkin ice cream and cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds to pumpkin cornbread and pumpkin soup, with all kinds of goodies in between. However, of all the recipes I’ve tried, only one has become our must-have fall pumpkin tradition: Old Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies

The first time I made them, our family fell in love with these yummy, super soft cookies, so I made more to share with Brad’s family. The cookies were a big hit with them, too, especially with Brad’s grandpa, who wasn’t in the best of health and living with Brad’s parents at the time. He was a very picky eater, so when he talked about how much he liked those cookies, I took it as a big compliment and determined to make them for him as often as I could.


Later, during one of his short stays in a nursing home, Brad and I visited Grandpa, taking along pumpkin cookies for him to enjoy. While we were there, the nurse brought in Grandpa’s medicine for him to take, and I watched with a great deal of amusement (and a bit of admiration) as he took his sweet time eating just one cookie – like, 15 minutes, at least – just to avoid taking his pills. (Even the nurse was amused, albeit a little frustrated with him). I have no doubt that the other cookies were eaten much quicker when the nurse wasn’t around. 🙂

Because of Grandpa, who passed away about 3 years ago, these cookies have become a special tradition for more than just how delicious they are. To this day, I can’t think of pumpkin cookies without thinking about him. Each time I make these pumpkin cookies, I smile at the memory of how Brad’s grandpa always smiled when I brought them to him and how thoroughly he managed to enjoy one cookie in particular.

By the way, this is a really easy recipe to make, and while I prefer to use fresh pumpkin puree, you can use canned pumpkin. (If you’d like to try making pumpkin puree, this post from Somewhat Simple, Homemade Pumpkin Puree, explains it fairly well. This is pretty close to how I make my puree, with the only difference being that I put some aluminum foil over the top of the pan to keep the heat in, so it usually only takes about an hour to cook. You definitely want the smaller SUGAR PIE PUMPKINS, not the big jack-o-lantern kind.)

My recipe is adapted from Libby’s Old Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies. I use less sugar than the original recipe because they are sweet enough, especially when you add the icing. (I also make and use less icing.)

So, here’s a new pumpkin cookie tradition for you to add to your fall must-makes:
Old Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies

This fall must-bake is a simple recipe for yummy, super soft pumpkin cookies drizzled with glaze. One of our family's autumn baked goods favorites.


    Cookie Dough
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Butter, melted
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, & salt).
  3. Cream softened butter and sugar together in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, beating together until smooth.
  5. Slowly add in flour mixture, a little at a time.
  6. Drop batter in rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheet. (I use a scooper/ disher to dip out my cookie dough, so my cookies are usually larger)
  7. Bake at 350 for 15-18, until edges are firm.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before icing.
    To make icing
  1. Whisk together sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla until smooth. You can also add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to the icing.
  2. Using the whisk (or a fork or spoon), drizzle the icing over top of each cookie, or use a knife or spatula to ice the cookies on top.

I use a scooper/disher to drop out my cookie dough, and this recipe yields about 18 large cookies that way. You can definitely get more cookies if you use a smaller scoop or spoon for the dough.

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Chocolate Cake with Simple “Bavarian” Cream Filling & Chocolate Ganache

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Chocolate Cake with Simple Bavarian Cream & Chocolate Ganache. Easy recipes for a tasty Bavarian cream filling and decadent chocolate ganache that take a regular boxed Devil's food cake from ordinary to extraordinary with very little effort or time!

In my family, there are three of us with birthdays in September. Not only do my dad, my younger brother, and I share a birthday month, but we nearly share a birthday week (Dad’s is on the 5th, Caleb’s is the 7th, and I’m a week later on the 14th). Growing up, my parents did a good job of commemorating each birthday separately, so that we each had our own day and our own birthday cake (or whatever treat we requested).

Of course, now that we all have families of our own, getting together three times in just over a week is simply not practical, so we tend to usually have one party to celebrate for all three of us.

This year, I provided the birthday cake.

Over the last few weeks, thanks to pregnancy cravings and a lifelong love of chocolate, chocolate cake has been looking especially tempting. However, thanks to pregnancy issues, like heartburn and that persistent yucky taste in my mouth, I knew that indulging that craving wouldn’t come without a price. Up until last week, the cost outweighed the desire. And then I caved.

With only a few days until our planned birthday gathering, I broke down and baked myself a chocolate cake. However, having put off this craving for so long, this wasn’t going to be my regular chocolate cake. It had to be a little something special.

A couple minutes of searching on Pinterest, and I was making a chocolate cake with a delicious but easy Bavarian cream filling, topped with a decadent chocolate ganache.

It came together so simply that I wasn’t sure it would be all that spectacular, but OH MY, it was scrumptious. After cutting into it, I sent a picture to my mom because we like to share good recipes with each other. (I also took some over to them the next day because I’m a sweet daughter and because there was no way my guys and I could – or should – eat it all.)

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday: Chocolate Cake with Simple Bavarian Cream & Chocolate Ganache. Easy recipes for a tasty Bavarian cream filling and decadent chocolate ganache that take a regular boxed Devil's food cake from ordinary to extraordinary with very little effort or time!

Her text reply was: “Nice. You made it too early. Dad wants chocolate cake Monday.”

So yesterday found me back at, putting together this delicious chocolate cake with its simple but yummy cream filling, all covered with that addictively rich chocolate ganache.

Brad, who is usually more of a vanilla cake fan, loved it, declaring it “one of the best chocolate cakes” he’d ever had. (Although, he tends to think a lot of the things I’m make are “the best ever,” like my homemade vanilla ice cream, which would be amazing with this cake.)

Even though it didn’t turn out to be my prettiest cake ever (I didn’t wait for the ganache to cool quite enough), it was still a big hit at our birthday shindig. I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes one of my requested, regular contributions to family gatherings in the future. I know I wouldn’t mind indulging again!

Okay, so here’s how I made each part of the chocolate cake.

This is super easy! It was a boxed Devil’s Food Cake mix from Aldi.  All I did differently from the directions was to substitute melted butter for the vegetable oil (make sure you let it cool after you melt it) and use milk instead of water. I baked it in round 9” pans for about 28 minutes. The cake turned out super moist and yummy, a perfect base for all the extras to come.


I found this “Perfect Chocolate Ganache” recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen on Pinterest, and by following her very easy instructions, I made my first-ever ganache with only one problem – I did learn that allowing it to cool and thicken a bit more than the 15 minutes she specified made it cover my cake sides a little better.


I had picked up a box of vanilla pudding mix when I bought my cake mix, knowing I could somehow combine it with whipped cream to make a tasty cake filling. Using this “Easy Bavarian Cream Filling” recipe from Sprinkled with Jules, with a minor tweak by myself, I had a perfect filling in no time with very little effort. Yes! The filling is a creamy vanilla without being too sweet. Also, I imagine that this idea could easily be switched up using different flavors of pudding mix. Yummy! (Below is my recipe).

Simple “Bavarian” Cream Filling

Yield: About 4 cups

Simple “Bavarian” Cream Filling

A creamy vanilla cream that is not too sweet but is super simple. It's the perfect filling for any cake!


  • 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (3.4 oz size, says serves 4)
  • ¼ tsp. Vanilla
  • 3-5 Tablespoons Milk


  1. Whip heavy cream on high with mixer until stiff peaks form, just as you would for homemade whipped cream.
  2. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the vanilla pudding mix, sprinkling it around and mixing until it is thoroughly incorporated. (You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.)
  3. Still mixing on low, add in vanilla extract.
  4. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, until it smooths out to your desired consistency. The more milk you add, the smoother it will be.
  5. You can refrigerate the filling until you are ready to use it.



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