How to win a neighborhood bake-off in 8 easy steps:

1. Ask awesome friends for recipes. Keep in mind that chocolate always wins.

2. Stay late at work with the farm bill. Dash home. Run out of time to make planned recipes. Turn to the easy, delicious Black Russian Cake.

3. Take cake mix, add vodka and chocolate. Put it in a cathedral-shaped bundt pan and wait for the magic to happen.

4. While cake is cooling, walk across the street to neighborhood party for a little egg nog.

5. Return home. Sprinkle beautifully-shaped cake with powdered sugar and douse with kahlua. Remember that plate-ing works wonders in fancy restaurants. Put cake on a nice platter and a cake stand. Bring the silver “happy holidays” pie server you bought at a junk shop.

6. Return to the party, as people “ooo” and “aaah” at your cake, which is towering above all the other desserts on its cake stand.

7. Eat yummy treats. Note that people really like a little booze on their cake.
8. Win the prize for “prettiest” dessert and tie for first-place for “overall best: queen of desserts.” Call it good. H-block rocks the house.