Ella’s Third Birthday {a lesson in listening} and the Best Cake Recipe Everfeatured

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I have a tendency to go a wee bit overboard when it comes to events.  I have shifted my perspective from “I think Ella will like this” to “Ella, what would you like to do” and it has made all the difference in simplifying our events and day-to-day activities.

I had all these grand plans for how we could spend her third birthday (her first in NYC), but when I asked, she requested to spend her birthday doing the following things:

  • dancing
  • singing
  • reading books
  • eating pizza
  • daddy-daughter date to get chocolate ice cream
  • eating “a Teepeebell pwincess wainbow birt-day cake” (I absolutely adore her little voice right now)

We checked everything off her little list. And we stayed in our pjs until after lunch, which was awesome.

Kyle and the kids joined me in the kitchen the night before to make the cake. Ella loved mixing the food coloring into the white cake batter with Daddy, and snitching cake batter and frosting. After Ella went to bed, I went to work layering and decorating, and in the morning I added the topper set it out with all of her presents on the kitchen table. Just like my mom used to do.  

For the topper, I used a 3-D sticker I found in the scrapbook section of Roberts and attached the tiny Tinkerbell to the top of the castle with a tiny wire.  She loved it. And I loved how easy it was. It took some time, but it was easy.

Stay tuned for pics from her birthday party…

Old Town Imports 8″ Cake Stand found HERE


White Almond Sour Cream Cake

This is the perfect recipe for birthday cakes, because the flavor is amazing and the cake is light and airy, yet dense enough to create beautiful layer cakes, even if you are a beginner like me.  The full recipe makes enough batter for five dozen cupcakes, or a three-tier 6″ round layer cake and 6-12 cupcakes, or two 8-9″ layers and about 6 cupcakes. Perfect for a birthday party!
Recipe from HERE


2 (18 ounce) boxes white cake mix (Betty Crocker or Pillsbury)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 2/3 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons real vanilla
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups sour cream
8 large egg whites


  • Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Pour into greased and floured cake pans, filling each pan a little over half full.
  • Lightly tap cake pans on counter to bring air bubbles to top.
  • Bake in preheated 325° F oven until cake tests done.
  • Baking time varies according to the size and depth of pans being used (around 20 minutes is typical for cupcakes and 6″ rounds, in my experience.)



I use Ina Garten’s Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, but I use about twice as much powdered sugar so that it has more of a traditional butter cream consistency, which is easier to frost with.  The flavor is wonderful with the cream cheese, and vanilla and almond extracts.

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