My family is a “from scratch” kind of family.

As I was growing up, we ate three homemade meals a day together, all made lovingly from scratch, as were any desserts that were ever made.

(At least that’s how I remember it – albeit potentially a bit idealistic-childhood-memory-esque.)

And my Mom wasn’t the only cook in the house – my Dad still makes biscuits from scratch, even to the point that you must mix a stick of butter in with a fork instead of a blender to make biscuits like him. He is already teaching Ali these skills, and one of her favorite treats is to make biscuits with Pop.DSCF3277

I was brought up to cook well, and to not cook out of a box.

However, a year or two after Chris and I got married, I was running late on making him a birthday cake, and in a hurried and frantic decision, I made him a cake…from a box.

It was a Butter Pecan cake mix, made in two round cake pans, then with Sour Cream Chocolate icing from a can in between the layers, and Cream Cheese icing from a can on the sides and the top.

I was ashamed of my methods. Horribly ashamed.

However, for whatever reason, he absolutely fell in love with it. He proclaimed it the best dessert I’d ever made (trumping all of those homemade cakes, cookies, and brownies that I’d slaved over), and thenceforth begged to have it any time I was making a dessert, especially for his birthday.

It was a pretty good cake, I must admit. So good that I even made it for work functions once or twice. However, I had several scratch-and-only-scratch co-workers, so when they oohed and aahed over my cake and begged me for the recipe, I coyly implied that it was my secret recipe.

Because I was ashamed.

The cake became a family tradition, even used in welcoming Ali into the world. On the day of our 20-week gender-determining ultrasound, we invited both of our families over to see the video. I had separated the Cream Cheese icing (out of the can) into two parts and colored it to make this cake:

We made everyone commit to their prediction by choosing a slice of cake before watching the video.

(My little brother was the only one who thought to hedge his bet, and chose a piece that was half pink and half blue, and with the extra benefit of Hershey’s mini chocolate bars. Smart, he is.)

Obviously, The Cake has made it’s mark on our family. Besides it’s sentimental value, The Cake has also excused a decline in my cooking sensibilities: I now make boxed brownies instead of Scratch Brownies, and get Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough when making my favorite kind of cookies instead of making my own dough, on both counts arguing that it tastes just as good with a quarter of the work.

I even buy Frozen Veggies, packed ready in steamable bags.

The shame.

However, like everything that Chris and I love, The Cake met with The Curse.

(You know, The Curse that has captured and bankrupted every restaurant or place that has ever held any sentimental value in our relationship, most notably the location of our Wedding Rehearsal Dinner that was held nine years ago tonight – Our beloved and ever-classy Sarris Steakhouse, which was replaced by the oh-so-not-even-on-the-radar-of-classy Nanci’s Love Stuff. Yes, we ate Filet Mignon in anticipation of our wedding in the room that now houses Thigh-High Red Vinyl Boots, Little Bo Peep Outfits, and Fireman uniforms.)

Back to The Cake. The Butter Pecan cake mix disappeared from grocery stores everywhere – I could occasionally find one at Target, but other than that, no one carried it.

And the Sour Cream Chocolate Icing, which I felt was the real key to the cake’s unique flavor, went completely extinct. It could be found nowhere.

Chris still requests The Cake every now and then, and I search and search for the ingredients, but to no avail.

So I’ve decided to finally admit that the cake as it was is no more and move on. Tomorrow is our anniversary, and I wanted to make Chris something special.

So…I substituted the Butter Pecan cake mix for a Spice Cake mix, and got regular Chocolate icing instead of Sour Cream Icing. And, to help it’s integrity a bit, I actually went back to my scratch roots made homemade Cream Cheese Icing.

Here’s to hoping that he falls in love with it all over again.

Happy Anniversary, Baby – may our tenth year of marriage be full of deliciousness.

Wdg Compilation copy


33 thoughts on “In Sickness and in Health, by Scratch or by Box…

  1. Happy Anniversary!!! Laughing out loud over the scratch vs box thing. One MORE thing we have in common! I grew up a scratch girl…married and suddenly boxes weren't so bad! lol! too funny. Hope your cake turns out great and you find a new favorite. =)

  2. All I want to know is how do you know what is in Nancy's Love Stuff. Happy Anniversary to you both.

  3. Thank you for posting this terrible dietary indiscretion. I feel much better about my own lack of baking and cooking from scratch.
    Happy 10th~!

  4. SO I still think it's funny to see who all is in your wedding…when's the last time you talked to Ashley? Of course, with softball it's not like I've been able to talk with you much lately myself.

    And Kitty, I'm not sure I want to know how Rachel knows what is in Love Stuff.

  5. Happy anniersary! I think our stores here (A Winn Dixie) has the butter pecan cake mix but I haven't seen either of the frostings.

  6. Happy Anniversary!!!!! Oh my goodness, your dress and veil were just beautiful!

    And I'm with Kitty-how come you know so much about Love Stuff?

  7. I'm a from scratch kind of person most of the time because gluten-free boxes are way too expensive. And it turns out that I don't mind dumping together a couple more ingredients. I do occasionally make muffins from a mix – it's the only time we bend our no wheat flour in the house rule and I figure that having it in mix form means slightly less chance of contamination… (right??)

    But don't worry about the frozen vegetables

  8. Geez – all that and I forgot to wish you a happy 10th anniversary! Are you celebrating with tin? Or coal? Or diamonds?

  9. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! 10 years of wedded bliss! I love, love, lover your dress and you look so beautiful! I hope your cake turns out great and your Hubs declares it his new favorite!

  10. Happy Anniversary!!! So is it your 9th or 10th? It may just be me, but I'm confused…rehearsal dinner 9 years ago today yet everyone is wishing you a happy 10th?

    Either way, Congrats! See you in the fall! Roll Tide!

  11. Thank you all!!

    Chris really liked the cake, I wasn't as much of a fan.

    Kitty and Mama Hen – it's kinda like watching Behind the Music on your Rehearsal Dinner location – we had to see the "Where are they now?" :)

    Mary – Thanks for the veggies link! I'll have to check it out.

    Jackamo – You're the best. Now find the Sour Cream Chocolate Icing. :)

    Kristina – 9 years. I mentioned that we were beginning our 10th year of marriage – I think it threw everyone off. You get special bonus points for getting it right!! ;)

    Mrs. Jennifer – Close – I was 19.

    Thanks so much everyone!!!

  12. Oh! I'm excited about the special bonus points! LOL! Just wanted to add that I love your blog.

  13. My parents took us out to eat a handful of times as a child because my mom always made everything from scratch.

    When I first got married I excitedly bought tv dinenrs because I had never had them and thought, wow homemade turkey and gravy for $.99 in a box, it's my lucky day. I was wrong about tv dinners but desserts from a box is another story. :)

  14. Wow, I'm impressed at this concept called "by Scratch"…never heard of it before =)

    Happy Anniversary!

  15. My family is a "From Scratch" kind of family also. I only cook things from scratch and bake things from scratch too. The cake that you picture was a nice idea too. My niece is pregnant with her first baby and I think I will bake that cake and let everyone quess the sex of the baby. (GREAT FUN IDEA) Your wedding pictures look so beauitful and most of all you look gorgeous. I love your wedding dress and vail. HAVE A HAPPY HAPPY DAY!!!



    I am a half and half girl, some things are box and there are just some things that will always be scratch for me.

  17. First time commenting but a follower! Happy Anniversary-cant believe it has been 9 years! Love the wedding dress, you must have had the best bridal consultant :) LOL!!

  18. Happy Anniversary!!! Love the wedding pictures! So cute. :)

    I have given up on "from scratch" for some things: cake, brownies, muffins b/c they actually taste better from the box! But I think any type of cookies, bars, crips, or cobblers taste better from scratch. :)

  19. Bummer you lost your secret recipe! Happy Anniversary!!! I am definitely a box kinda gal when it comes to cake. The fineness of the sugar makes for smaller cells. Just about everything else I make is from scratch.

  20. Hope you guys had a wonderful anniversary yesterday!
    That's terrible that everything you love seems to disappear/close down. Before I read the part about the cake mix & icing not being sold anymore, I was going to ask you to make one of those cakes for small group! :)
    Love your wedding pictures!
    So, what was the verdict on the cake you made?

  21. There is a book that I want called the Cake Doctor. She uses a cake mix but she tells you things to add to it to give it that little something extra! No matter how hard I try I can't seem to make biscuits from scratch. Then there are other things like cookies and brownies where I think, why ruin a good thing that is already done for you. Some will disagree but sometimes those just taste better anyway. Evie is allergic to eggs though so I am having to do muffins, waffles, etc. from scratch. Oh, well!

  22. I love the sour cream chocolate icing, and I've had trouble finding it too. It saddens me. You can make it though. Just add sour cream to chocolate icing…and it tastes the same. :)

  23. awww happy anniversary!

    geez louise look how skinny we were…AND how young! :)

    and Kitty and Amanda, are yall REALLY suprised that they know about Love Stuff???
    I forgot to send a can of whipped cream for an anniversary gift…

  24. happy (uh, late…) anniversary! Josh and I will also be celebrating our 10th this year – so now when people tsk, tsk at me for getting married so young, I'll send them the link to YOUR blog! =)

    And…another random similarity between us – we were also married in a VERY teal church. Teal + churches = what?!?

    And ps – have you ever heard of a book called The Cake Mix Doctor? A friend of mine swears by it – the lady takes box cake mixes, changes the things you add, and it takes perfectly homemade. Just food for thought….haahaaaaa!

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