Every year, our family bakes a birthday cake for Jesus. This helps us keep our focus on the true reason for Christmas, plus it adds an extra bit of fun to the festivities. Here are a few ways to make your birthday cake activity extra special, and to stretch the value of that cake for all it’s worth.
1. Bake together. In our family, we don’t just eat the cake; we make the baking process a party in itself. First, my girls get to decide what flavor cake and frosting they want, as well as what shape—9×13 pan, two-tiered round, or cupcakes. They help with mixing and measuring and making a mess. Then once our cake is baked and cooled, my kiddos get the honor of decorating it. That means I frost and they sprinkle—and sprinkle and sprinkle and sprinkle. Besides church, this is their favorite activity on Christmas Eve.
2. Purchase a store-bought cake. If you like the idea of a birthday cake for Jesus but you don’t want yet another to-do on your list, buy one. Why? Because it’s a wonderful witness. I once had a Bible study leader who ordered her cake from the grocery store bakery every year simply because it opened the door to share Jesus with others. The bakery staff would remark, what a sweet idea. Other shoppers saw her wheeling a huge bakery box in her cart with “Happy Birthday, Jesus” scrolled in red icing. For some of those people, it was the only moment throughout the season in which they made the connection between Christmas and Jesus.
3. Let them eat cake—for breakfast! Who says Santa is the only reason kids get giddy about Christmas morning? As soon as the presents are ripped open and our bellies start rumbling, we Kopitzkes—Mom and Dad included—light those birthday candles and sink our forks into some gooey birthday cake for breakfast. No lie, my girls get just as excited over the cake as they do about the gifts under the tree. Birthday cake for breakfast is a highlight of our Christmas.
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Now for a special bonus, I thought I’d share with you my very favorite chocolate cake recipe—the easiest, most fail-proof, moist and delicious cake on the planet—recipe compliments of our dear family friend, Mom Judy. Seriously, you can’t mess up this cake. Plus it’s egg-free so the kids can lick the spoon!
Mom Judy’s Jiffy Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 Tblsp. cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tblsp. vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water
Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a 9×13 inch baking pan. (Yes, right in the pan—by hand.) Make three wells in the dry ingredients mixture and pour vanilla, vinegar, and water over all. Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Note: You can mix everything in a mixing bowl first if you prefer. I often use this recipe to make cupcakes. Bake them for 18 minutes. Enjoy!