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A year or two ago, my kids and I discovered that we’d amassed a small collection of tree skirts over the years. The original silver one I purchased in college was joined by a red and green velvet one, a purple one … and perhaps more, but we needn’t split hairs with a full list.
The collection reflected changing tastes and goals for holiday decorating. In my early twenties, I loved a cool, sparkly, silver and blue theme. When I had kids, I adopted a more classic and traditional rich reds and greens, along with golds. And then somewhere along the way, needing a change, we tried purple, though that never quite felt festive to me.
As we near this holiday season, the kids and I are shaking up the holiday finery for our house. Our seasonal cheer has never stopped with just decorations on the tree, and this year will be no different. From festive lights and table decor to tasty recipes for sharing, we’re ready to welcome friends and family into our home this holiday season to share laughter and good times.
Recently, we found ourselves inside Big Lots in Augusta, Maine, checking out all the holiday decorations they have on display. From tablecloths and candles to trees of all sizes, there’s so much charming holiday decor to check out there. My kids, in particular, were drawn to decorations in shades of silver.
We found a lovely silver nutcracker (“Mom, can we start a nutcracker collection? It’ll be fun!”), a sweet, lacy silver tree for decorating a table (“So pretty!”), silver accented candle holders, a silver table runner for the kitchen and more.
At Big Lots we also found nearly everything we needed for making delicious holiday treats like this Easy Chocolate Snack Cake. With everything from chocolate chips to sprinkles to cocoa, the store is awesome for stocking the pantry for all the baking we’ll be doing this holiday season. We also picked up some new baking sheets and pans for all our cookie baking.
As for this snack cake, it has a lot of good stuff going for it. It’s moist, chocolatey and so, so tasty.
Plus, as a bonus, it’s so easy. With a one-bowl preparation, you can have this whipped up and baking in a mere 10 minutes. And since it’s a snack cake, it’s a low-stress dessert — just spread the frosting, top with sprinkles and GO!
This is the perfect dessert for whipping up during this season of joy and celebrating with your friends and family. Perhaps you could even make it for when you trim your tree. As for us, we’re excited to use all our new holiday decorations … now, where to begin.
(With cake, of course!)
Easy Chocolate Snack Cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup frosting (homemade or otherwise)
- seasonal sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8x8-inch glass baking dish with cooking oil spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt with a whisk until it's mixed up evenly.
- Add the egg, milk, canola oil and vanilla to the bowl, and whisk to combine until smooth. This won't be easy, but going it by hand (it will take about 2 minutes) is completely worth it.
- Pour the boiling water into the mixing bowl and whisk gently to combine. The batter will go from being really super thick to being pourable and loose. Continue whisking until it's of a single consistency.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool completely.
- Frost all over the top and then sprinkle with sprinkles. Slice into 9 pieces (3x3) and enjoy
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.