Number 8 + Vanilla Buttercream

Eight years ago, my first son was born. JP was such a cute baby! Long fingers and little dimpled cheeks. I remember that feeling of awe and indescribable accomplishment I felt when the doctor put his warm little body in my arms. It was an easy pregnancy and an easy birth.855217211_ad6648088c_o Each year that goes by, I am so happy to have him as my son. So happy to see the person that he is becoming. His big smile and big feelings make him who he is.

IMG_0300Eight years later, I realize that parenthood, like life, is a journey and “perfect” is not an option. The bond that connects us is strong, thick and tough. JP grows and changes and so do I. When he was first born it was so clear how much he needed me but I never realized how much I need him.


Being his mom has changed me into the person I am today. And so with each year that passes, we celebrate! Another year of adventures and misadventures and there is no better way to celebrate than with a party and cake – lots of it.


The cake of choice is white cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream. Buttercream is such a classic frosting and learning to make it has come in handy many times over the last couple years.  So let’s have our cake (and frosting!) and eat it too. Cheers!



Vanilla Buttercream

The key to buttercream is to use unsalted butter where the only ingredient is cream and sifting the powdered sugar and measuring from the sifted sugar. I found adapted this recipe from


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted plus more if needed depending on desired consistency
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed depending on desired consistency


  1. Place butter into a medium bowl or your stand mixer. If using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Beat butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix on low until the sugar has been incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium, add remaining ingredients and beat for 3 minutes. You will see the frosting get fluffier and smoother. If you would like your frosting a bit stiffer, add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar. If you would like your frosting thinner, add more milk 1 tablespoons at a time. Beat for another minute to incorporate and adjust if needed. I usually don’t need to add more than the 3 cups of powdered sugar or 2 tablespoons of milk.

Settling In & Hot Fudge

We finally moved into our new house! The move went so quick and smooth that I really have no complaints. The other house is cleaned and ready for another family to enjoy. Our new house has pictures hung and the kitchen is organized. Everyone is settled into our new space.


The part that is not settled yet are my routines. I almost went to the old house the other day on the way home from the grocery store and I keep forgetting where I stuck the garbage bags. This is the first week back to school for the kids so pick up and drop off are all a little different. In the midst of this (smooth yet exhausting) upheaval, I went looking for dessert.


As the weather starts to warm up (70 today!) and summer is starting to feel sooner rather than later, I craved an old classic: Hot Fudge. Growing up in Iowa, summers were hot and humid. Full of thunder storms and fireflies. I remember mom making hot fudge to top the homemade ice cream dad had made out on a hot summer night. Then there were the hot fudge sundaes from the $1 menu that my husband and I ate while snuggling on the couch.


But why should ice cream get all the hot fudge love? Frozen banana slices with hot fudge on top is the perfect afternoon pick me up. I used Ashley Rodriguez’s new cookbook “Date Night In” for my hot fudge recipe. It uses heavy cream and bittersweet chocolate, which makes for a perfect complement to the sweet bananas. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and let me know if you give it a try!



Bittersweet Hot Fudge

This recipe is just slightly adapted from “Date Night In” from Ashley Rodriquez.

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (just a pinch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, combine the heavy whipping cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Give it a quick, vigorous stir every 1 minute or so. Remove the pan from hear and stir in chocolate, butter, salt, and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to use and microwave in short increments as needed.