recipe

OUR FAV CAKE RECIPES

Cake is one of our favorite food groups. Here are our three best recipes! Click on the title for links.
Treat yo self.
Now remember, eat cake for breakfast! We approve.
xo

RECIPE: CHOCOLATE TOFFEE CRACK

You know when you’re eating something and every time you take a bite, you have to say how good it is? Even if you’re by yourself? Ooooooor is that just me? I think this crack chocolate salted toffee cracker will have you doing just that. Crunchy, rich, and sweet with a touch of salty. Since Passover starts Friday, we made ours with matzo, but you could certainly use Ritz crackers or Saltines.
Scroll down for the super simple recipe.
Rich bittersweet chocolate topped with fleur de sel
 
Sprinkles by Fancy Sprinkles!
This is the best baking investment you can make. I sprinkle this on every chocolate dessert I bake.
RECIPE
CHOCOLATE SALTED TOFFEE CRACK(ERS)
Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
fleur de sel (or course sea salt)
6 sheets of matzo or your fav crackers
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
toppings – fleur de sel, toasted almonds, sprinkles, candy, peanut butter chips… the list goes on!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Line baking tray with parchment paper. Cover tray with matzo, edge to edge.
3. Melt butter and sugar in a pan over medium heat til boiling. Boil 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and a large pinch of sea salt
4. Immediately pour over matzo and spread with an offset spatula. This will turn into a sea of bubbling toffee so it will sort of spread out naturally- don’t stress if it’s not perfect.
5. Bake 10 or so minutes until toffee is bubbly and brown. Watch or it will burn!
6. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Cover loosely with foil. After 5 minutes remove foil and spread the now-melted chocolate chips evenly over toffee. Sprinkle with your fav toppings.
7. Put the tray in the freezer for about 30 minutes until chocolate is hardened. Break into pieces and keep in a ziplock bag in the freezer. This will keep it from getting all melty… and hide it from view…
8. Try not to consume all at once.
-L

RECIPE: DONUT CAKE

 This cake may look insane and tricky, but it’s the EASIEST cake you could make! Decadent? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Difficult? NOT AT ALL!
INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Buy a store bought cake or make one from a box… normally I’d say absolutely not, but when you’re going to cover it with donuts, you might as well. I made this one with an angel food cake box mix since that’s my mom’s fav and it was her birthday!
2. Buy plain or glazed donuts in regular and mini sizes from the store. Donut holes would have been really cute, but they didn’t have any that day. The minis were from a Hostess bag!
3. Make the glaze (recipe below). I divided the glaze up into three bowls and tinted them with food coloring
4. Pour the glaze just on top of the cake and let the sides drip down. Top with sprinkles and let dry.
5. Dip the tops of the donuts in the glaze and top with sprinkles and let dry.
6. Pile up the donuts on top of the cake and secure with tooth picks. That’s it.
GLAZE RECIPE:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, very soft
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbps hot milk
Mix all together. If the glaze is too thick to be drippy, add a little more milk. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar. Divide the glaze into three bowls with a little more glaze in the color you’ll use for the cake. The glaze dries pretty quickly so make sure to cover with saran wrap pressed to the top if you make ahead of time.

This is a great glaze for frosting sugar cookies too!

This would be so yummy with a chocolate ganache or caramel or peanut butter… yum the list goes on!
ENJOY!
-L

RECIPE: BEST EVER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

We all have our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that is our go-to. Jenni’s is soft and chewy with a brown sugar flavor, while mine is salty, chewy, and crisp on the edges. I have this dough in my fridge most of the time, just ready to scoop out what we want at the moment. So good for those late night cravings or for your kids after school treat! 
I’ve made these with lots of variations as far as add-ins. These are perfect with just bittersweet chocolate chips, but I also love to add dried cherries… trust me on this one. These cookies I made today have chocolate chips and crushed up Heath bar pieces! So. Freaking. Good.
Although this has the most amazing flavor, you really need to let the dough refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Sorry. But it makes a huge difference. We’ve found that three days has the best flavor.
Recipe and super helpful tips below!
RECIPE:
Chocolate Chip Cookies
INGREDIENTS:
*Need to refrigerate at least 24 hours 
– 2 c. minus 2 tbsp cake flour
– 1 2/3 c. bread flour
– 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
– 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
– 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
– 1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
– 1 c. plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
– 2 eggs, room temp
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
– additional mix-ins if you want! The cookies pictured have crushed Heath bar pieces and chocolate chips.
INSTRUCTIONS
– cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes
– combine all dry ingredients besides mix-ins while you wait
– add in eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar, mix well in between
– add vanilla
– slowly add flour mixture
– when there’s only a little bit of flour left, add in the toppings and mix until JUST combined. Do not overmix at this point
– press saran wrap on the dough in the bowl and refrigerate at least 24 hours for best flavor (more in tips)
– when ready to bake, set oven to 350. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
– bake 18 minutes or until edges are golden and the center looks light
– sprinkle immediately with a little kosher salt or fleur de sel
– let cool and devour
TIPS:
* Though the dough tastes amazing right away, you need to refrigerate for at least 24 hours for the best flavor when you bake. Three days is best! 
* Only scoop out what you want to eat! We keep the bowl of dough in the fridge with saran wrap pressed down on top of the dough. Just scoop out and bake what you want to eat at the moment. 
* If you bake and don’t eat, freeze immediately to keep fresh. These are amazing fresh out of the oven, but get stale very quickly. 
* Bittersweet chocolate chips are best with this in my opinion. The cookie is already sweet- it doesn’t need sugary sweet chocolate in there too. I love 60% Ghirardelli. 
* A good cookie starts with good ingredients. Use GOOD vanilla, good butter, etc.
* A sprinkling of fleur de sel on top after the cookies finished baking really brings out the chocolate flavor.
Enjoy!
-L

THE PERFECT CUPCAKE

Yes, you read that right! We have theeeee perfect cupcake recipe for you today. Leah may have “stolen” it from a NYC bakery. Shhh! These are our go to cakes for any grown up secret eating time after our kids go to bed and no one is watching celebration, but ESPECIALLY Valentine’s Day, right? I am not a box of chocolates girl myself, but put a piece of cake in front of me, and its gone in two seconds flat. What can I say? These cupcakes will eat any other cupcake for dinner. And the frosting….. Ohemmmmmgeeeeee! The lightest, fluffiest, not overdone buttercream frosting we have ever tasted! 
Our secret baking tip (well, I guess its not a secret) is to under bake. Even if it means cutting off the last few minutes. It makes such a difference in the moisture of the cake here. Promise!!
CUPCAKE:
(Makes 30 cupcakes)
-1 3/4 c cake flour
-1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
-2 c sugar
-1 T. baking powder
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
-4 large eggs
-1 c whole milk
-1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Add butter, mixing just until coated. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture in three parts. Bake 17-20 minutes. REMEMBER… We underbake. I am always checking mine around the 15 minute mark. I stick a toothpick in and take them out just before the toothpick comes out completely clean.
*rotate pan half way through cooking for even baking!*
BUTTERCREAM FROSTING: 
(Makes 4 1/2 cups)
1 c butter, softened (not melted)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 (32 oz.) package powdered sugar
6 to 7 T. milk
1 T. vanilla extract ( alter if you like. I love the frosting with or without the vanilla)
Beat butter and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer 1-2 minutes or until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 6 Tbsp. of milk, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Get it to your desired consistency and then stir in vanilla. 
* The one thing I adore most about this frosting is that it is perfectly spreadable right after its made. No refrigerating necessary!*
We promise you….. you will thank us!
XO!

THE BEST SPICED COOKIE RECIPE

If you saw my last post on hand lettered recipes, you’ll know how much I’m obsessed with Alyssa Makes Something‘s work! This order was super special. My husband and I had a friend, Jeani Cooney, who passed away this year. She was the mother bear of his whole office and was beloved by every single person who knew her. At company softball games she would bring her famous “sports cookies” and they are SO GOOD. And I am a major cookie snob. Oats, chocolate chips, and spices of cinnamon and nutmeg are a surprising and delicious combination. The cookies are dense and chewy will make your whole house smell like Christmas. 
We purchased the digital option of the hand-lettered recipe and had it printed as a keepsake for the entire office to enjoy for the holidays. I made the cookies this holiday season with my five-year-old and told him all about Jeani and about how we will always thing of her when we make these sweet cookies. So happy to pass on our memories of her through this recipe.
Download printable recipe hand lettered by Alyssa Makes Something right HERE.
* TIPS: All I had at the time was margarine and not Crisco, but it worked just as well. I use a little less nutmeg than Jeani calls for, and I also sprinkle the top of the baked cookies with a little fleur de sel or kosher salt right after taking them out of the oven. Like any cookie dough, it’s way better the next day and even better on the second or third day. We make the dough and just scoop out what we want to eat that day. Leave the rest in the fridge with saran wrap pressed against the dough.
Hope you can make these cookies and share them with the ones you love!
xo
-L

RECIPE: CHALLAH

 Most thoughtful holiday gift ever!
Etsy shop, Alyssa Makes Something, creates custom prints from your own recipes! Just send her the recipe, and she will turn it into a treasured family heirloom. You can even get a digital copy to share with the whole family or even print on tea towels- wouldn’t that be cute? Her hand lettered, watercolor recipes are the sweetest (pun intended) gifts you could give. Turnaround time is 1-2 weeks for the original print and 3-4 weeks for the digital version. It’s first come first serve, so get on it, people! Alyssa is a working mama just like us. We love supporting small businesses and momtrepreneurs!
I had this challah print above made for my mom. It is the BEST. The recipe is actually by our close family friend, Carol, so of course, she and her daughters are getting a print too! Carol made this challah for everyone at my wedding. Like every single table got one. Seriously. Not only do I love eating it, but I love the memories we have surrounding it. Friday nights with family and friends, eating this soft, chewy bread, spread with butter or dipped in honey… drool. Every time my mom would make challah, the whole house was filled with the smell of baking bread! That’s probably my favorite smell in the whole world. That and my newborn babies. Equally delicious.
Full recipe below.
RECIPE:
Mom’s Famous Challah
INGREDIENTS
2 tsp honey
1 pkg yeast
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 c bread flour
1 egg yolk

Dissolve 1 tsp honey in 1/2 c. warm water in large mixing bowl which has been rinsed with hot water.
Sprinkle yeast on top, mix, let stand 10 min.
Stir in oil, 1/2 c. warm water, sugar, 1 tsp honey, salt, eggs, and 2 c. flour. Beat well.
Stir in remaining 2 c. flour. Dough will be sticky.
Knead 2-3 minutes with a bread hook attachment or turn onto a floured board and knead.
Round up in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 2 hrs. Gently put finger in top; if dough stays indented, it’s finished. If it bounces back, continue to rise.
Punch down, cover, let rise again 45 min.
Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Divide into three sections and loosely braid*, tucking in the ends.
Cover, rise 20-30 minutes.
Brush with beaten egg yolk and 1 tsp water. Optional: sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake 400 degrees 15 min. Put a toothpick in the center of a braid and check for doneness. My mom and I like to under bake it just a tad so it doesn’t dry out- we like it a tiny bit gooey but it’s all to your preference.
Eat! Delicious with butter and/or honey. Perfect the next morning for french toast.
*Traditional challahs are braided in one row as shown in the watercolor print. On holidays or special occasions, it’s made into a circle. I actually prefer to bake in a circle because the width is consistent all the way around and will bake more evenly.
*I used THIS hair tutorial for a 4 strand braid lol!!
I also had this recipe made for a surrogate mom, Karla, who always bakes for our family!! Her cinnamon spice bread is my FAV. You have to try it.
Alyssa killed it on these prints! On to order more……
Now stop reading and go bake these recipes!
-L

RECIPE: VEGETARIAN CHILI + CORNBREAD

This is my go-to meal for my family, especially on a chilly fall day! My kids gobble it up, though I think the cornbread might have something to do with it. You can really add in whatever vegetables (or meat) you have in the fridge and it’ll always taste good. There’s a variation of this that I LOVE if you scroll to the bottom- you cook the cornbread dough directly on top of the chili so that each bite has a layer of cornbread on it! YUM.
VEGETARIAN CHILI:
1-2 tbsp EVOO
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 yellow onion
1 bell pepper
couple handfuls of chopped kale (optional)
soy meat crumbles / real meat
1 can green chilies
2 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn / 4 fresh ears of corn
2 can of your favorite beans (I use black beans and navy beans)
1 tbsp cumin
salt & pepper
Optional spices (leave out if you’re cooking for littles): 
cayenne, chili powder, crushed red pepper, chipotle chili powder
Toppings: 
plain greek yogurt / sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, scallions
Serve with corn muffins – the Jiffy box is my fav! (1 box makes 6 muffins, and you’ll need 1 egg and 1/3 cup of milk)
Heat olive oil on medium and add in garlic, chopped onion and pepper, and saute 5 min.
Add in meat crumbles and saute 5 min. You may need to add a little more olive oil at this point.
Add in all cans and spices you’d like.
Bring up to a boil then reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes.
I like to put a handful of chopped kale at the bottom of my bowl, put the hot chili on top to steam, then pile on the toppings. When cooking for my whole family, I leave all of the spices out except for cumin, salt, and pepper so it’s not too spicy for my kids. I’ll add crushed red pepper to my own bowl.
VARIATION:
Spread cooked chili in an 11×13″ pan (as much as can fit leaving at least 1″ room on top. I like to freeze the rest! Make 2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix (you’ll need 2 eggs and 2/3 cup of milk) and spread the dough on top of the chili. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cornbread just starts to brown. Don’t overcook, or your cornbread will be dry! 
Enjoy!
-L

RECIPE: THE BEST EVER OATMEAL COOKIE

I am a cookie snob. And I’m telling you… these are the BEST oatmeal cookies ever. I guess that’s bragging, but I’ve gotta share the love with you! I’ve tried to copy them from my fav bakery, Wild Plum, in Pacific Grove, CA where my husband and I lived before moving to Nashville. I can’t quite get the consistency the same, but the flavors are all there. In fact, every year we visit and if they don’t have them out… I beg them to make a batch before I leave town. #fatkidalert
You can use any mix-ins you like with these oatmeal cookies! This is just a great base. I used bittersweet chocolate chips, dried apricots, and dried tart cherries. We just got back from Michigan where I get my favorite American Spoon dried cherries. They’re SO. GOOD. I put them in cereal, hot oatmeal, spinach salad, kale salad, and now cookies. I’m very passionate about food, can ya tell? So I obviously needed to use these bad boys for the best oatmeal cookies ever.
Please make sure to note that you need to let the dough refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I know…torture. You can eat the dough in the meantime. The longer you leave the dough, the better the flavors will combine. 12 hours is great, 24 hours is better. If you bake after 1 or 2 hours they’ll taste great but the dough will spread out pretty thin. I’ll stop blabbing… scroll down for recipe!
RECIPE:
The Best Ever Oatmeal Cookie
Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg, room temp
1 tsp good vanilla
1 1/2 cups + 1/8 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
fleur de sel / kosher salt
Optional mix-ins:
dried apricots, chopped
dried tart cherries
bittersweet chocolate chips
raisins
m&m’s
(I use 1 cup apricots, 1/4 cherries, 1/4 chocolate chips)
Directions:
1. Mix together dry ingredients and mix-ins in a separate bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugars for 5 minutes.
3. Add egg and mix until combined. Add vanilla.
4. Add dry ingredients until just mixed.
5. Press plastic wrap down directly on the dough then cover the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours 
(12-24 hrs is best for flavor and texture!)
6. Scoop 2″ balls and pack firmly together*
7. Bake 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until edges are browned and the tops are starting to brown.
8. Sprinkle tops with fleur de sel or kosher salt and let the cookies cool on the tray for 10 minutes.
Eaaaaaaat!
*Bake only what you want to eat at that time for the freshest experience! Dough keeps really well in the fridge for a week.
-L

RECIPE: MINI PEACH PIE

This was SO GOOD. If I do say so myself ::pats back, rubs belly::
I used a sugar cookie recipe for crust, because I’m intimidated by pie crusts. 
I made up the filling but it turned out delish! Anything using The Peach Truck peaches is bound to be good right?
RECIPE: MINI PEACH PIE
CRUST:
(Since this is a mini pie, you can 1. halve this crust recipe or 2. make the full recipe and make cookies out of the rest… you should obviously pick this second option)
1 lb butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1. Cream sugar and butter for about 5 minutes. 
2. Add egg yolks and vanilla. 
3. Slowly add flour until it doesn’t feel sticky anymore. 
4. Press saran wrap on dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 min.
FILLING:
4 small ripe peaches, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp brown sugar *if you like a sweeter pie, use 1 tbsp
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp orange zest & a smidge of juice
Pinch of salt
1. Mix the filling topping together.
2. Using floured hands, press about 1/2 of the chilled dough into pie pan – just wing it, it’s rustic. Try not to go too far out on the sides of the pie pan. Since it’s a cookie dough recipe, the dough will spread a bit when it bakes. 
3. Pour in the peach filling.
4. Top with a little extra dough in a pretty shape (and save the rest of the dough for cookies!). 
5. Chill the pie in the fridge while the oven preheats to 350.
6. Place pie on a baking sheet in case of the filling or dough bubbling over.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for around 15-25 minutes until crust is lightly brown and filling is bubbly. My oven bakes way faster so just keep an eye on your pie!
Enjoy!
-L 

MY DAILY DINNER – KALE QUINOA SALAD

You guys. This salad is SO good and SO filling. I’ve been craving it (not pregnant) every day for dinner and sometimes for brunch over eggs. Mmmmm. Kelly Simmons from yesterday’s nap time pilates post HERE created the yummiest healthiest salad, and she’s letting us share it with you! Hooray! Actually when she came over for the photo shoot, she brought the salad for me as a yummy post workout lunch. I mean… come on! 
Kelly tells me that’s a lot of siracha I added on there. I could have gone with more, but I’m a freak. I usually add a huge handful of extra steamed kale under the salad, and I’ll throw some grilled tofu on top for me and grilled chicken for the hubs. I make a recipe of this in a huge pyrex covered bowl and it lasts the week. I’m usually in a rush to eat with the kids so this is perfect for just scooping out over kale, microwaving, and dousing in siracha 🙂 Enjoooooy!
-L

Here’s Kelly (see her site and contact info HERE) with the recipe:

RECIPE:
KALE QUINOA SALAD
by Kelly Simmons
INGREDIENTS:
1.5 cups of uncooked quinoa
2-3 cups frozen broccoli
1 c frozen corn
1 c frozen edamame (shelled)
1 c shredded carrots 
1 c chopped raw green beens
2 cups of spinach or 2 cups shredded kale
Sliced almonds
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
Crumbled Feta
Optional toppings: Avocado, balsamic, teriyaki, siracha
-Prepare 1.5 cups of quinoa according to package directions, but boil in large pot, instead of small pot. Add salt to water. 
-While quinoa is cooking, put all of the veggies in a huge, microwave safe bowl (I like using a gigantic glass pyrex bowl, because I can then store the quinoa dish in it later).
-Cover the veggies with water, put in the microwave, cover with a micro-safe top and microwave on high for 10 minutes (or until all veggies are warm/blanched)
-When quinoa is finished, throw 2 cups of spinach or 2 cups shredded kale into pot with quinoa. Stir until greens are wilted. 
-Drain veggies. Put them back in the bowl. Add quinoa and wilted greens to veggies in the bowl. Add salt and pepper, a handful of sliced almonds, dried cranberries, feta, and avocado (optional). 
-Scoop out a serving size, and your favorite condiment (I’d suggest balsamic, teriyaki, hot sauce or siracha) and enjoy!
NOTES: 
– Depending on how much quinoa/veggies you want, you can reduce the amount of quinoa to 1 cup, or increase it to 2 cups. 
– I like a LOT of greens, so before I dish out my serving, I put torn kale in a microwave safe bowl, then add the quinoa mixture on top of the kale. I cover the bowl, microwave for 1-2 minutes until the kale has wilted. Then, I add the feta. 
– For protein, the quinoa mixture tastes great with eggs, chopped deli meat, chopped chicken or whatever you’d like to add. My favorite combination is scrambled egg whites with a few pieces of chopped deli turkey, with avacado and siracha.
Enjoy!

As a Certified Health Coach with the American Council on Exercise, Kelly helps people get well and stay well with tools and strategies for everyday healthy living.
To contact Kelly, visit kellysimmonshealth.com or email kellysimmonshealth@gmail.com
For fitness tips and healthful ideas, go to Facebook.com/KellySimmonsHealth, find her on instagram @kellysimmonshealth, and follow her on Twitter at @ksimmonshealth.

THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE!

It was my husband’s birthday yesterday, and every year his two requests for gifts from me are: 
1. “Don’t spend money”
2. “Bake my favorite chocolate cake”
I’d say I get off pretty easy!
Update: The picture above is the cake I made for MY birthday! It’s the same cake recipe but with peanut butter frosting (recipe below)
Not to toot my own horn… but I’m going to. This cake is the BEST. It’s super m-o-i-s-t (don’t say it out loud) and super chocolaty in a not-to-sweet way. It’s pretty easy too!
THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER EVER EVER
Cake Recipe
Adapted from Ina Garten
Ingredients:
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans (I use bread flour)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups (good!!) cocoa powder 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon (good) pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. 
Line with the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. I like to flour the pans with extra cocoa powder!
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. 
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. 
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. 
With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Always bake for a few minutes less if you’ve never made this recipe before, so you don’t over-bake the cakes. You can always add more time, you can’t take away! 
Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
CHOCOLATE FROSTING RECIPE
Adapted from Magnolia Bakery
Ingredients: 
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
2 tablespoons whole milk, room temp
12 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled (I use Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chocolate)
1 tsp fleur de sel or kosher salt
1 teaspoon (good!!) vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Directions: 
To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain.  
Add 1 tsp of fleur de sel or kosher salt (my secret ingredient).
Remove from the heat and let cool for 5-15 minutes.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, 3 minutes. 
Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. 
Add the melted chocolate and beat for 2 minutes. 
Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. 
Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until a desired consistency is reached. I whip it for a couple minutes so it’s nice and fluffy!
My two cute helpers
Ari said “Happy Birthday, Daddy! Daddy, how old are you turning? Oh wow, 32? Does that mean you’re going to go bald soon?”

UPDATE: I just made this cake for my birthday but with peanut butter frosting! Recipe as follows:

PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING
Ina Garten
Ingredients:
1 c powdered sugar
1 c creamy peanut butter
5 tbsp butter, room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c heavy cream
Directions:
Beat all ingredients except the cream in a mixer on low until creamy. Add the cream and beat on high until fluffy and smooth. There was enough for the top and middle layer of the cake, keeping the sides bare. You may want to double the recipe if you’ll be frosting the whole cake.

You are going to LOVE this!! Enjoy!
-L