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Just Because Cake

The ChickieNob asked me to make her a cake this week. “What do we need a cake for?” I asked.

“Just because,” she answered.

It has been so long since I’ve done something just because.  If I’m making a cake, it’s because it is someone’s birthday or we’re having dinner guests or I’ve volunteered to make a Smith Island cake for a Maryland culture unit.

If I’m going to the mall, it is because I have a specific shopping list or I’ve promised the Wolvog that he can touch some new Apple product or I’m buying someone a present.

If I’m at the library, it is because I need a specific book.

If I’m walking, it’s to get somewhere.  If I’m cooking, it’s because we need a meal.  If I’m driving, it’s to take someone to an activity.

My life is really lacking in “just because.”  And some of it is that life moves too quickly and there is too much to do, and the “just becauses” are the first thing to get dropped because they aren’t immediately necessary.  I mean, yes, they are necessary because I’m obviously feeling the effects of living a life deplete of “just becauses.”  I feel frayed at the edges and stretched thin.

It is impossible to drop things from the to-do list.  I mean, what should I not do?  Skip feeding the kids?  Not turn in work?  But this I could do — throw together a cake and put it in the oven.  Make a drizzled icing akin to a donut glaze.  The whole thing took me about 20 minutes of actual time in the kitchen between mixing the batter and cleaning up the pans.

So I made a cake for no other reason than just because.  And we ate it, just because.  With milk.

Do you have enough “just because” in your life?


Just Because Cake


1 connie { 03.21.13 at 7:36 am }

Looks delish! Need the recipe so we can all make just because cakes!

2 Tiara { 03.21.13 at 7:47 am }

Now that you mention it, no I don’t have enough “just becauses” in my life…sitting here thinking about it, I can’t remember the last, even smallest, just because. I’ll have to do somehting about that…& cake sounds like a great just because, do you deliver, lol!

3 loribeth { 03.21.13 at 8:15 am }

In short, no. I mean, you need a bit of order & routine in your life, particularly when your workday runs according to the commuter train schedule, as ours does — I like SOME order, particularly to my work day (dh even more so) — but sometimes I chafe at the restrictions of the routine. Even on the weekends, we have to start cleaning by a certain time, so we can be in the shower by a certain time, so that we can get to a restaurant before 5 p.m. (because the restaurants here get very busy on Saturday nights and dh, who was born without a patience gene, hates to wait in line for ANYTHING, let alone food…!). Then we go to the bookstore for a browse, but even there, we have to leave by 6:30 if we are going to FIL’s, in order to get there around 7. I try to tell dh that really, his father doesn’t care when we show up, just so long as we eventually do, and does it really matter if we show up by 7 or at 7:20? (his brother rarely arrives before 7:30) — but that’s the way it is.

Everyone thinks that because we don’t have kids, we’re free to go anywhere & do anything we please. And technically, we are. But we don’t. And we should. At least more than we do right now. I am hoping that retirement will give us the opportunity to explore that “just because” side of life a little more… but I could use a little more of it right now, too.

The cake looks amazing. 🙂

4 Gradualchanges { 03.21.13 at 8:24 am }

Fabulous. A just because cake is the best kind. Good for the ChickieNob for asking, an good for you for making and enjoying that just because cake.

5 Lollipop Goldstein { 03.21.13 at 8:53 am }

The cake recipe came from Baking Illustrated (by the Cook’s Illustrated people — this book is fantastic). I just made it in a bundt pan and baked it 40 minutes. Here’s a copy of the recipe: http://www.thecurvycarrot.com/2010/10/26/old-fashioned-chocolate%C2%A0cake/

The icing actually comes from this community. I feel like it isn’t my place to give away someone else’s recipe, but Leah from My Dusty Ovaries taught me how to make chocolate donut glaze as part of her Better Than Sex cake.

6 Lollipop Goldstein { 03.21.13 at 8:58 am }

Loribeth: But then when I think about it, how much did I do things “just because” during college? Maybe high school, but once I had to start taking care of things myself and paying for things myself… most of those just because things went out the window. I don’t even think it’s kids or not kids. It’s just being an adult where you are always worrying about the next thing and the next thing.

My sister sends me just because things. She sent me a sweater this winter just because she saw it and thought it looked like something I would like. I love her for her just because-ness. Because she throws that into other people’s worlds.

7 a { 03.21.13 at 9:07 am }

I’m fairly rigid and scheduled, but I usually manage to shove some “just because” time in there. I rarely bake for events – it’s usually just because someone asks me or I feel like cookies. I go shopping at lunch time because I feel like it. I email people articles because I think they’ll like them. I like taking the afternoon off and having lunch with my husband and then shopping for wine and food at the Italian store. I do not like what is on tap for this weekend, but I have to do it because my mom asked me to.

I like my rut…but I like to pop out of it unexpectedly too.

8 Maria { 03.21.13 at 9:58 am }

I heart ChickieNob. And nope…I don’t have enough of that in my life. Off to find a stellar gluten-free chocolate cake recipe…feeling inspired.

9 serenity { 03.21.13 at 9:58 am }

I often wish I was a “just because” kind of person, too. I’m not. Scheduled and stressed and trying to juggle to do lists.

The good news is that Lucky is a “just because” person – because he’s a kid. And so I don’t have to worry about it; no matter what, he’ll ask me to do something with him. Just because.

It’s one of the benefits of being a parent.

The cake looks fantastic, btw. 🙂


10 Queenie { 03.21.13 at 10:46 am }

Lately, no. Am feeling a bit frayed at the edges, too, and sick to death of learning a new language. Well, not really. Sick to death of making mistakes and not being perfect, is more accurate. 🙂 but really in need of some “just because.”

11 Ellen { 03.21.13 at 11:17 am }

What a great idea! I think I’ll do the same. My son has his first science fair this weekend and he would be tickled pink if I would make him a cake to celebrate.

12 Ana { 03.21.13 at 12:57 pm }

No, now that you ask, I DON’T do enough “just because” things in my life these days. And those things are usually AWESOME when done (though sometimes daunting when initially considered). Maybe we’ll bake a cake this weekend, my kids LOVE to “help” with baking and we never have enough real occasions to fulfill their desires! I think just-because stuff is magic to kids. I really want to incorporate more of that into their lives. They are too young to think life should be so rigid.
I really never was much of a “just-because-er”, I am fairly rigid and scheduled and held to my to-do list. It usually took someone else to force me to do something random—but again, those spontaneous road trips or outings are the stuff of my college memories.

13 Justine { 03.21.13 at 1:25 pm }

Once, in college, I flew to Paris for a weekend. I was thinking about that the other day, thinking about how irresponsible that was, how much money I blew, how crazy it was to try to see Paris in two days, with jet lag. But it was so worth it.

And there is very little I do today “just because.” For the hell of it. Things have purpose. But sometimes TOO much purpose. It goes back to the self-care thing I was talking about the other day. Why not just do things because they are good things to throw out there into the world? Not random acts of kindness, because that idea still feels too overwrought itself to me, but just doing things because they occur to you and they seem like a good idea for no reason at all. 🙂

14 Keiko { 03.21.13 at 1:26 pm }

I love “just because” cakes. A couple of years ago, we saw a delicious looking cake at Trader Joe’s, way to big for just Larry and I. We said, “screw it!”, bought it, and then called a bunch of friends over for “Because We Can” cake. B/c the question we got asked by everyone when we invited them over for random cake was, “What’s the occasion?” 🙂

15 Shelby { 03.21.13 at 1:28 pm }

I think I do a lot of ‘just because’ for my LO, but I often skip the ‘just because’ for me (unless it is junk food related so I can eat my feelings, but even that has a purpose-ha!). I think responsibility has a way of slowly erasing spontaneity and I’m certainly guilty of that. Everything seems to require an end goal in adult land, doesn’t it?

16 Kimberly { 03.21.13 at 2:16 pm }

I’m a “just because” baker. I like to randomly bake and send them to friends away “just because”. I’m the baker out of all our friends so when I need to clear my head, I bake and then friends get packages in the mail.

Our life has been so busy and stressful lately that me and the hubs make time to have “just because” moments. A drive, finding a new beach or park to explore, playing board or video games together, watching our favorite movie for the 500th time, geocaching together, but mostly doing that even when we have a long list of stuff to do. It’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s nice to walk away from the stress of being an adult and doing sometime entirely selfish and fun. Last summer, we spent most of our weekends and all of the really nice days just searching the island we live on for beaches we haven’t been to before. Most times it was random. It was the first summer that my schedule let me explore instead of work all the time. I still think fondly of last summer and consider it one of the best summers I’ve ever had.

17 Rachel { 03.21.13 at 3:37 pm }

When I’m feeling bad for myself, it’s usually because either 1) I’m infertile (duh) or 2) because I feel old. I realize the feeling old is a side effect of not doing enough “just because”. So I started a campaign, recently, to try to do just because things. My best friend and her huband are very good at it, so a few weeks ago, when they asked me and the hubs if we wanted to go to the mall, FOR NO REASON ON A SATURDAY, I said yes. Blew them (and me) out of the water.

We did nothing. It was fun. The next day, I got pneumonia. I try not to link those two things.

But then last weekend, I went to another friend’s house for lunch on a Saturday, and then found myself watching a movie with her. All willy-nilly. Not fretting about cleaning the house or working or whathaveyou. I felt so guilty and by the end I was itching to get home. But I made myself stay.

I’m going to do something just because this weekend, and hopefully not get a lung infection or an anxiety attack. I can do it!

18 FrozenOJ { 03.21.13 at 6:24 pm }

I think sometimes I have too much “just because” in my life. I can’t wait until I’m feeling better enough to go to school, or back to work, or something.

19 persnickety { 03.21.13 at 7:25 pm }

I think sometimes I do have too much just because at the moment- which then becomes its own routine. I don’t play on an organised sports team anymore (and wow was that amazing what it did to my weekend) and I don’t have ivf treatments to worry about, so i sit at home and watch tv. I cling to the few must dos of my outside of work life – the gym classes I enjoy, dodgeball on monday night, and that is about it.
It’s the change that matters- allowing yourself to do something unscheduled in an overly disciplined life, or imposing some discipline on an overly flexible life.

20 persnickety { 03.21.13 at 7:49 pm }

Sometimes IF feels like an endless round of days where you can do “just because”, but that in itself is an issue. Kind of like the scene in when harry met sally when Meg ryan was talking about all of the things she and her ex could do, but never did.
I think that it is hard to schedule in the just becauses, because they do need to be spontaneus.
And my just because this year is to take my 16 year stepson and his 17 year old cousin to Tokyo for a week. in July (so a planned just because). I love Tokyo, but it reamins to be seen as to whether we all will.

21 Sara { 03.21.13 at 9:24 pm }

Last week I bought my husband a card just because, no special occasion. We used to do this all the time when we were dating and first married. Now we only exchange cards on special occasions. I left it on the counter so he would see it when he came home from his morning run. Later that day I received a text thanking me for the card and asking why. He was surprised when I said just because. I would really like to do more thigs just because and not to cross an item off my to do list.

22 Jamie { 03.21.13 at 11:00 pm }

Love it! Just because cake is an awesome idea and I love that you took up your kiddo’s suggestion. I’m going to have to sprinkle in a few just because kind of things in my life. Great idea!

23 Leah { 03.21.13 at 11:34 pm }

I am SO making the CBTS cake tomorrow. Woo hoo! You asked for the glaze recipe, so here goes…2 TBSP butter, 2TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 c heavy cream, 1 c confectioners’ sugar sifted, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Melt the butter in small pan over low heat. Add cocoa powder and cream and stir until thickened (approx 2 minutes or so). Do not boil! Remove pan from heat, stir in vanilla and then stir in confect sugar until smooth. It is important to make sure the confect sugar is sifted or you will get little lumps. I put it on cakes, cupcakes, donuts, scrapple and tree bark. Makes everything better! 🙂

24 Amy Elaine { 03.22.13 at 2:26 pm }

Great idea, ChickieNob! She is wise beyond her years.

25 Amber { 03.22.13 at 2:38 pm }

We get so bogged down in what we are doing, it’s hard to be carefree sometimes. Good for you for baking that cake “just because!”

26 Battynurse { 03.23.13 at 1:39 pm }

That cake looks yummy. Really yummy. I think I may do a little to much of just because. Or at least a bit to much of self soothing with food or things that I purchase.

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