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I decided to embrace my children’s Irish heritage last night and make my first attempt at soda bread.  After a few minutes’ searching on Google, I found a recipe that fit my most important requirement – no buttermilk.  I don’t keep it in the house, and I can’t stand the waste of driving the the store for one item.

So here it was!  Shared on an expat board…surely, if this is recommended by a real Irishwoman, it should be wonderful.  Right?

It certainly looks beautiful…


…and it feels nice, with a good, hollow thumping sound when I tap it.  (See how creative I got, monogramming it in place of the traditional cross-hatching?)

Yeah, but.

It tastes like baking soda.

Now, I know it’s called soda bread, but you’re not supposed to TASTE the soda.  Are you?  I don’t recall ever tasting baking soda in soda bread before.


Today, I found it was fine once toasted and slathered with peanut butter, jam, and fresh strawberries.  (Thanks for the suggestion, Mom!)  I can’t decide if I’m going to be stubborn enough to play around with this recipe and try to “fix” it, or if I’ll just break down and attempt to think enough ahead to have buttermilk on hand for the next time I want to make it.

My friend, Heather, told me about this awesome chocolate cake recipe.  I figured, coming from her, it must be pretty incredible, because she’s not the biggest fan of chocolate cake.  If she says it’s fabulous and moist, it must be!

So, I decided to make it for Jason’s birthday.  Jason is not much of a cake fan, but he always loved my mother’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, because it’s so moist.  Heather’s recipe (which she got from her sister-in-law, who got it from someone else) sounded similar.  But it’s not.  It’s even better.

The recipe calls for baking in a bundt pan, but since I don’t have one, I baked it in two 9″ rounds and made a layer cake.  I must say, frosted as a layer cake, it’s still incredibly good, especially when you buy the triple-chocolate frosting that also has chocolate chips in it.

One word: Yum.

Okay, more than one word: Oh my freaking wow, this is soooooooo good.

THE Cake:

1 box Devil’s Food Cake
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix cake mix and instant pudding in one bowl.  Mix sour cream, eggs (one at a time), oil, and water in a separate bowl.  Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir together.  Batter will be extremely thick.  Add chocolate chips and mix through.  Pour into greased bundt pan and bake for 45-55 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Turn it out of the pan and continue to cool completely.


Yes, the boys insisted on 35 candles.  He did manage them all in one breath!

My boys

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