After this last month, I am just about birthday-ed out. We had celebrations of some sort at least once a week through all of April. It made the month fly by and lat forever all at once. I have let them eat cake so very many times that I now have the recipe memorized.

It’s a good one, that cake.

So good, in fact, Grandpa Raul changed his order from 2 pies to a cake and a pie for a dinner he is hosting. From the pie-lover and cake baker himself, that is high praise!

I can’t take credit for it. It was Raul who gave me the recipe book from which it hails. Gifted before we were married, The Cake Mix Doctor is one of my most favorite recipe books. Mine is falling apart and stained and creased and now even committed to memory.

Anyway, back to the cake. It will be made a few more times this month, too. And if you are looking for a little something for your Motherly, graduate-y, Memorially or birthday-ish celebrations, this is it.

My tips are these: If you can find someone to smuggle clear Mexican vanilla in a 1 liter bottle across the border for you, bribe who you must and DO IT. It’s worth it. If, like me, you don’t keep buttermilk on hand, you can make some by adding one Tbsp of vinegar to 1 c. of milk. For this recipe I do a Tbsp and a splash, give it a stir and let it sit for 15 minutes until it gets lumpy. You’ll forget all about the curdles when you smell the cake baking, trust me. This recipe calls for a Devil’s food cake, but I’ve made it twice now with a milk chocolate mix and, my sources tell me, it is just as tasty. ( I can’t actually partake of the cake because of the buttermilk. I just am tempted by the smell and taunted by the frosting and the kids crumb covered smiles. Begin feeling sorry for me now and send Oreos.)


1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 1/3 c. Buttermilk
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. Vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour ( or spray with baking spray ) two 9″ round pans. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. With an electric mixer set on low, beat ingredients for 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl, increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more. Mixture will be thick and well combined. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges just start to pull away from the pans and the center bounces back when touched lightly. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes then turn out and cool completely on wire racks.

Frost with the Best Buttercream

1 stick butter, room temperature
3 3/4 c. Powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the butter with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and beat on low for another minute until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat one minute more until the frosting is fluffy and of good consistency. Add up to 1 Tbsp more milk if frosting is too thick. Try to keep greedy fingers out of the good stuff until it’s time to cut the cake.