Tap. Tap. Is this thing on? Anybody out there?

Well, I am back from my unplanned and very annoying hiatus. You will be happy to know that Mack is back in school and fully recovered. (Although I did hear today that one of the schools in our district has 18 percent of the student body out due to the swine flu. Makes me wonder how all the rest of us escaped unscathed?)

ANYhoo, I have decided to share with you one of my absolute favorite treats. I helped throw a baby shower this week and thought it was the perfect opportunity to get my cake on.

The sweetness of the cake, however, was momentarily ruined when the husband glanced at the recipe on the counter and commented out loud on the number of calories in the cake.

I know, right?

That was quickly remedied by me:

I found this recipe about a year ago, and it actually belongs to the fabulous Paula Deen, but I borrowed it, tweaked it a little bit, and can safely assume it is the reason I cannot button my jeans today.

First you need three cake pans. I use the classy, no-washing-needed version seen here. Generously grease and flour these babies and set them aside.

Then you take 1 cup butter, which is supposed to be at room temperature - a step I somehow always forget to do ahead of time. The microwave does a great job, and if you accidentally forget to pull the butter out in time, it works just fine if it's a little melted, too.

Cream the melted room temperature butter and 2 cups of sugar for six to eight minutes. Then add four eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition.

There is a little person in our house that has a sixth sense for when the kitchen aid is on. She is like one of Pavlov's little dogs - she hears that humming and she comes a running. Once in a while I'm nice and let her crack the eggs.

Add one teaspoon of vanilla and mix just until combined. Then you're going to take one cup of coconut milk:

And 3 cups flour. Add them alternately to the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.

Lots of times when I'm baking, things look like this, which is always hard for my OCD brain to ignore:

When you're done, the batter will be very, very thick. Almost cookie dough like. But don't worry, you've definitely done it right if it looks like this. If it's thin and cake-batter like? I don't know how to help you. You might want to consider professional help and get your baked goods on the outside.

Next, pour the batter into your three greased pans (ignoring, of course, the disgusting Crunch Berries cereal on the counter. In my defense, it was only a little after seven a.m. when I made this and breakfast was not fully put away yet. See the clock on the wall for proof.)

Once the batter is spread around each pan, lift them up off the counter and slam them back down to pop any air bubbles. Yes, people, this is going to be a dense cake. Lovely, dense, and incredibly moist.

Slam the cake pans, at least four or five times each, until all the air bubbles are released. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done.

Cool five minutes or so in the pan, and dump the cakes onto a cooling rack to cool while you prepare the frosting. When I'm not feeling lazy, I like to use the Wilton buttercream frosting recipe. But I have to confess, I have just made this with frosting in a can, and it by no means impacts the deliciousness.

Next, spread some frosting over your first layer like this:

Top that layer with the middle child, I mean, middle layer, and slather that bad boy with some frosting of his own.

Repeat again for the third layer. Do not be alarmed by the imperfect appearance or unevenness of the layers. All will be made right by the coconut. You must trust the little Stie. Has she ever steered you wrong before?

When you have finished frosting all layers and the edges, it will look like this:

Sprinkle coconut over the top, covering any and all mistakes.

Pat coconut up the sides of the cake next, and be prepared for a coconut explosion in your kitchen. That stuff gets EVERYWHERE during this phase of the process. It would be annoying if the end result weren't so darn delicious.

Pipe a little frosting around the bottom of the cake and voila! An absolutely gorgeous specimen, if I do say so myself.

So pretty that I think we need a close-up. Why hello there, lover. What's that? You want Christie to eat a big, thick slice of you? All right. If you insist.

For the baby shower, I also made some of these. Chase came in and asked me why I was making diaper cookies. What say you, internets? Diapers or onesies? I'm sticking with onesies.

The buffet of gluttony, just waiting to be devoured:

And the gorgeous mom-to-be in a pre-shower photo shoot by yours truly:

It's almost wrong how cute she is pregnant, isn't it? I can't wait until the baby is born so I can get myself some newborn lovin'. Yum.

That's what I've been up to this week. Stay tuned for the long-awaited Traveling Shoes winner, a little visit from my brother Dan, and gorgeous photos of gorgeous people.

I think it's shaping up to be a good week after all.