Easter Basket Ideas for Infants

It’s Caleb’s first Easter this year! Even though I know that he’ll not really have any idea what is going on, I still wanted to do a little Easter basket for him. We are also planning to take him to see the Easter Bunny next weekend as long as the weather is decent. So one of the hardest things for me was finding items for his Easter basket. My mom always did such a great job of putting together baskets that were actually useful instead of having junk in them that we just tossed. Sometimes I would get items for the beach or items to use in the garden but she always made sure to get me something sweet!

When creating an Easter basket, especially for that first Easter, I think it is important to go with more practical items. Keeping that in mind, here are some of the items that will be in my little one’s basket this year.

 

Philips Avent BPA Free Soothie Pacifier – Caleb has already gotten to the point where he doesn’t seem to need a pacifier but when he uses one, these are his favorite. Since he seems to be starting to teeth, I think they help him out a little bit. Plus, they are made of silicone and are super easy to sterilize by just tossing them in the dishwasher.

 

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes – I picked this little board book up a few weeks ago and absolutely love it. I try to read to Caleb almost everyday so getting him another book was a no-brainer for me. The artwork in this particular book is great and I love how it using small, basic words to talk about the changing of the season.

 

Wilderness Romper from Finn and Ark – Isn’t this romper adorable? It looks like the perfect thing for Caleb for wear during the summer so I got it in a 6-9 month size. This Etsy shop (based out of Canada) is full of great products in a variety of styles. I’ve been eyeballing her nursing hoodies as well. Even though Caleb has plenty of clothes, he doesn’t have anything similar to this so I thought a little outfit would be the perfect addition.

 

Wooden Name Puzzle from FromJennifer – Jennifer’s Etsy shop is full of beautifully crafted wooden items and I have been wanting this wooden puzzle since I found out that I was pregnant. I know that Caleb won’t be able to actually do the puzzle for a while but the letters (I went with maple) are perfect for teething.

 

Coconut Cream Easter Egg – Okay. I’m not going to lie. This one is really for me but what is an Easter basket without a little something sweet in there? I love, love, love the handmade coconut cream Easter eggs that are sold this time of year (and the peanut butter ones as well). I don’t think there has been an Easter yet that I haven’t either been given one or picked up one for myself. Robb, Caleb, and I are headed to the farmer’s market tomorrow and the word on the street is that there will be some eggs at the market!

Granny’s Old-Fashioned Multi-layer Cake with Boiled Chocolate Frosting

I still remember the first time my mother and I attempted my granny’s 16-layer chocolate cake even though it has been almost 20 years now. We had worked all afternoon on it, carefully cooking each paper thin layer of cake, guarding the fudge-like frosting as it cooked away on the stove so that it wouldn’t burn, and finally, assembling it. Pleased with ourselves, we stepped out of the kitchen until a loud splat brought us running back. Our beautiful cake was now in bits and pieces all over the floor – we had assembled it while it had been too warm and the layers had slid apart. I looked at my mom and did the only thing that I could do at the moment. I sat on the floor and started eating.

It was delicious.

That’s the kind of magic that my granny’s cake had. I can’t think of the holidays without picturing her chocolate cake, sitting modestly on top of the freezer in the backroom, though it should have been issued a place of honor at the main table. Every time we gathered at her house, for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for birthdays, the cake would be waiting for us. We all had to pass through the backroom to enter our house (no one ever used the front door) so we all would feel a glimmer of excitement when we spotted that cake sitting there.

Even when arthritis crippled her hands, she pressed on, switching from homemade cake batter to one out of a box. She faithfully made her icing the same way, though at times my grandfather had to take over for her (under her watchful eye of course). Sometimes the cake would have 14 layers, sometimes closer to 19. It was always a game to see who could come the closest to guessing the number of layers before we counted, peeling off each layer to eat, line by line.

My granny passed away this past January, only a few brief months before I would find out that I’m pregnant with my first child. I’m looking forward to sharing the magic of this cake with my own child as he grows. Even though I might have learned my lesson to let the layers cool before assembling the cake, who knows, maybe I’ll let him help me and start a tradition of eating cake off of the floor.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

Even though my granny started using a box cake mix in her later years, I went with her original recipe. When Robb saw me unloading not just butter but margarine for this cake, he said that it HAD to be good with all of that fat in there.

The key is nice, thin layers. I made my layers just a little too thick but my body was just exhausted. Being 8 months pregnant would do that to you!

There is an ingredient in the frosting that doesn’t normally appear in most other boiled frosting recipes, an ingredient that I think turns this into an almost foolproof recipe – marshmallows. I’ve done a little digging around and it seems that adding in marshmallows became a thing in a few areas of the country back in the 1960’s. When I called my mom to ask if she remembered including marshmallows during our initial fateful recreation years ago, she said that it didn’t seem familiar to her but perhaps that was why her attempt failed.

After letting your frosting cool for just a few minutes – and be careful because it will be hot – start stacking your cake, pouring the frosting over layer by layer. Making this cake requires a tremendous amount of patience.  If you try to hurry through it, your layers will start to slip and slide just like ours did.

The worst part about making this cake is even after you get it all assembled – you still have to wait. Wait for it to harden and solidify. It’ll be well worth the wait, trust me.


Print Recipe
Granny's Old-Fashioned Multi-layer Cake with Boiled Chocolate Frosting
Don’t be ashamed if your first couple of attempts at making this cake come out less than spectacular. It took my granny years to perfect her cake and even then, she would occasionally put out a product that was, in her mind, “sub-par”. I simply called it rustic.
Course Dessert
Servings
1 12-layer(ish) cake
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 stick margarine room temperature
  • 1 stick butter room temperature
  • 2 c. white cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. self-rising flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk
Frosting
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 1/2 c. white cane sugar
  • 2 1/4 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 12 large marshmallows
Course Dessert
Servings
1 12-layer(ish) cake
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 stick margarine room temperature
  • 1 stick butter room temperature
  • 2 c. white cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. self-rising flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk
Frosting
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 1/2 c. white cane sugar
  • 2 1/4 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 12 large marshmallows
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour your 9” baking pans (I used shortening and flour).
  3. Beat butter, margarine, and sugar together with an electric mixer until creamy.
  4. Add in your eggs, vanilla, milk, and flour, mixing until well combined.
  5. Using a measuring cup, measuring out just over ¼ of a cup of batter in each of your baking tins. Smooth out the batter using the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake each layer for 8-10 minutes until done - depending on the amount of batter you add to each tin will dictate how long it will take to cook. You’ll want the cake to spring back when touching lightly in the center. Remove from pans to the cooling racks.
  7. Wipe out cake pans, grease and flour the again, and bake the remaining cake layers as directed.
Frosting
  1. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the cocoa powder, sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, margarine, and marshmallows over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Be careful as the liquid will be hot.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Assemble your cake, pouring your frosting over each layer.
  5. Let sit for a and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Don’t be in a rush. If you notice that your cake is starting to slide after you begin frosting it, secure it with a few wooden dowels or skewers. Since the layers are so thin on this cake, you will notice that you can see the ridges through the frosting. That is okay!

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Happy New Year + Veganuary

Happy 2018!

2017 was certainly a stellar year for my boyfriend and I. We found out that I was expecting a little one, turned 30 years old, and we welcomed our Lil Bean into this world. Even though my business didn’t make an appearance at many in-person events, I had more online sales than in previous years.

I fully believe that 2018 will be even better. I plan to continue growing my business and I have a super awesome project that I’ve been working on the past few months launching this March.  I’ll get to watch Caleb develop in so many ways. My boyfriend and I will be one step closer to achieving our goals (the homestead).

I stopped making New Year’s resolutions years ago. If there was a change that I wanted to make, I would go ahead and implement that change. I didn’t want to have to wait until a new year rolled around. That being said, I have decided to try Veganuary. Veganuary challenges you to go vegan for 31 days (the month of January) in an attempt to raise awareness about animal suffering and to show the impact of veganism on your health.

We already have cut down on meat consumption in our household (and rely mostly on what Robb has hunted instead of purchasing meat from the supermarket) but I would like to make it so we one day only consume what we produce ourselves.

I don’t plan on ever going 100% vegan as I don’t see an issue with using the infertile eggs from our own chickens but I can see us adopting even more of a plant-based diet for humane and health reasons. I didn’t start Veganuary today as I didn’t want to waste leftovers but plan to make an honest effort of it and look forward to experimenting in the kitchen.

Have you ever thought about adopting a plant-based diet?