Day 2 of the Back to School Blog Series, and our contributor Katie from Caked by Katie has an amazing cake recipe and heart-warming story below!
It happened. The day had finally arrived when I received the first phone call home from my daughter’s school. Apparently, there was a disagreement about who could sit with who on the tire swing. Things escalated quickly and after a cutting remark from my daughter she was the recipient of a pair of shoes to the face. The vice principle assured me both girls were brought in and spoke to separately and then together to resolve the issue and prepare a more suitable and safe solution should the problem ever arise again (and let’s be honest…they are 7…it’s going to happen again.)
I thanked her for her time, hung up the phone, and immediately dropped to my knees and cried. I cried the tears of a 7 year old girl who had been told to go away, that I was not wanted by her friends. I cried the tears of a mother who hurt that her child had been hurt. I cried the tears of a human who sees what a broken world we are living in. And I cried the tears of a person who recognizes that we are all broken people. Who here could say they have never been the victim of a bully? No one. Not a single person. Now here comes the hard part…who here could say they have never been the bully themselves? A cruel word uttered behind closed doors. A mean comment written on Instagram. A quiet but manipulative gesture to turn others in your favour. I sit here, while in shame, knowing full well that I, too, have been the bully myself at times. We are, in whole, so very wonderfully and uniquely different. What I lack, you have in spades. And what you long for, I posses without a second thought. That’s what makes this world a beautiful cacophony of weird wonderfulness.
Dare I say that we all have one thing in common though. Hurt. We are all wounded and hurt people. And far too often we bully and differentiate *out* of our hurt instead of gathering around as community *in* our hurt. We choose to wield our wounds as weapons. Hurt before we get hurt. I saw my daughter physically hurting that day when she got home. Her nose was swollen and her cheek bruised. But more than the physical hurt, I say her wounded heart. We grabbed a snack and sat up on my bed cuddled in the warm blankets. A place where we go for safety and comfort. I asked her what happened and listened as she did her best to explain. After she was done explaining what happened the best a 7 year old could do, I asked her what hurt. Immediately she said her nose. Well yes, I bet that did hurt. My nose sure would if on the receiving end of a pair of shoes. But I asked her what hurt first. What had hurt first when her friend and her were disagreeing over who could sit with who on the tire swing. “I didn’t want to be left alone.” She told me with fresh tears. There it was. The true hurt that came out in bully form with mean words.
Can you see where I’m going with this yet? Nobody wants to be left alone. Nobody wants to hurt. I challenge you to take this meager story and the next time you see someone or something different, weird, hurting, or perhaps your inner bully tries to jump out in self-protection, take a moment to picture that tire swing. Jump on, and let everyone know that they, too, can sit here.
A timely thought as “Back to School” season is upon us. Littles getting excited to walk through those welcoming, but sometimes daunting school doors. Parents full of expectation and perhaps a bit of anxiety as to what this next year of learning will bring. Since the very first day my oldest daughter went to school, I started a tradition of baking a cake. A fun and comforting treat to reward my daughters as they come home from that exciting, but often exhausting, first day of school. My oldest, going into grade 2 this year (what?!) has a palette much like her mother and loves the combination of salty and sweet. I’ll be baking up this Chocolate Cream Cheese Pretzel cake while my children are away at their first day back to school and can’t wait to surprise them with a big slice of cake when they come home backpacks full and tummies empty.
Katie's cake is topped with our Vintage Rose Gold sprinkle mix!
Chocolate Cream Cheese Pretzel Cake
1 ½ cups sugar 2 eggs
1 ¾ cups flour ½ cup oil
¾ cup cocoa 2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ tsp powder 2 cups hot coffee
1 ½ tsp soda
1 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour three 6-inch cake pans. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a mixer and combine. Add all the wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly between the three pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cakes rest in pans for 5 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack to completely cool.
Cream Cheese Pretzel Buttercream:
2 cups of salted butter
8 oz. cream cheese
8 cups of powdered icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of finely crushed pretzels
*A handful of pretzels for decoration if you want*
In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the butter and cream cheese on medium speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the powdered icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix on low until combined. Turn the mixer up to medium and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary. Add the crushed pretzels and mix on low until full incorporated.
- Place one leveled layer of chocolate cake on a stand, plate, or turntable. Top with approximately ¾ cup of buttercream. Repeat with remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth sides.
- Decorate with Sprinkle Pop Vintage Rose Gold sprinkles. Get creative!