No Taking the Cake

I told Colin that if he got a good report at school for the rest of last week, I'd make doughnuts on Saturday morning.

Yeah, doughnuts. Like ... from scratch. With yeast and everything. (And before someone says something uppity about rewarding my kid with junk food? Yeah. It's terrible. I get it. Don't be all judgy.)

Anyway, it just goes to show that I'm willing to do almost anything so that Colin's days improve, after the problems we've been having lately. Because, y'all? Doughnuts are for breakfast. And the particular recipe I used? Called for them to rise for two hours. Now, my kids are early birds. Even on the weekends, they're up before seven - and clamoring for food literally the minute they roll out of bed, like they've been crossing a mountain range on foot with no supplies instead of sleeping.

So that's why, after staying up until nearly midnight watching a movie, I found myself rolling blearily out of bed at 5 a.m. in order to go Betty Crocker it up in the kitchen.

I don't know about you, but when I make a new recipe - especially one that involves tricky stuff like proofing yeast - I need to be able to, like, think. And when it's still dark outside, and I'm running on five hours of sleep, let's just say thinking is not my strong suit.

Therefore, merely reading the recipe went something like this:

Stare blankly at recipe on computer screen until words blur together. Blink and squint. Try to memorize first few ingredients and steps so I don't have to keep running back and forth to the computer. Fail. Need caffeine. Rub eyes. Blink, squint. Scalded milk? Like, I have to heat it and then cool it again? Why?? Two packets of yeast. I only have a big jar. Google "how much yest is in two packets." What, Google? Oh yeah ... I did mean to type "yeast." Two tablespoons, got it. Add yeast to milk and sugar and shortening and ... damn. How much water did I need again?

You get the idea.

In the past when I've used yeast, it's dissolved in plenty of water, so that it's a liquid I can pour into the flour or whatever. But in this recipe there was much more yeast than water, so it ended up in this weird yeasty paste that was all over my fingers (ewwww, that not-so-fresh feeling) as I tried to push the muck off the spoon. Even in my barely-awake haze, I could sense that this doughnuts-from-scratch thing was potentially disastrous.

I'd been trying my best to keep quiet, but my kids are light sleepers; I swear they'd wake up if a chipmunk farted in the woods out back. So by this time, Coby was crying. And, for reasons unknown to me, Colin was crying. Which caused Cameron to wake up crying, saying, "What's going ooooooonnnnn?" Which caused Curtis to wake up. Luckily he was not crying, and was actually (surprisingly) helpful considering the chaotic circumstances. I guess he really wanted doughnuts.

So I mixed everything up, yeast-muck be damned. I was confused because the recipe called it batter, but when I think of batter, I think of, like, runny stuff. Pourable consistency. This was definitely more doughlike. I felt a little skeptical, but was comforted by the fact that they are indeed called doughnuts and not batternuts.

Approximately two hours of rising time, umpteen thousand "Are they done yet"s, and only one failed frying attempt, we had doughnuts. And may I just say ... they were AWESOME! They rivaled the fresh Krispy Kremes that we used to be able to get around here (before some jerk closed down the Krispy Kreme, only to turn it into a Chick-Fil-A. Ugh!).

Bolstered by my doughnut triumph, I decided to whip up some kind of delicious dessert on Sunday for our Easter dinner with the neighbors. Yes: the neighbors I once attempted to impress with poop-topped cupcakes. This time, I was going to make something really yummy and Easter-y. A lemon cake.

No. I haven't forgotten what happened the last time I made a lemon cake. But I learn from my mistakes, y'all. This time, I would be using a storebought cake mix. And I bought some lemon extract. And a zester. Of course, I had to add some extra flair. In my mind's eye was my grandma Sibyl's delicious orange cake: two layers of moist citrus-flavored cake, with a creamy filling sandwiched neatly in between. Only mine would be, you know, lemon.

Everything turned out perfectly. I baked the layers of cake. I whipped up the filling, creamy and lightly infused with lemon. I made a lemon buttercream frosting that was to die for. Now all that was left was to assemble it.

I waited (impatiently) until the cake was completely cool, then spread the filling over the first layer. Success! Until I put on the top layer, that is. It slid off.

I tried to keep putting the layer back into place, but it slid this way and that on its bed of creamy filling. I tried to frost over the whole thing, but I ended up mixing the filling into the frosting, and couldn't keep the top layer still, and, well ... it was an ugly disaster. Here's a picture; Curtis had already cut into it by the time I took it, but you get the idea:

Talk about Cake Wrecks!
Yeah. So anyway. It was absolutely delicious, but needless to say, not a showpiece. At least not enough to take over to the neighbors' house for Easter dinner.

I mean, they're probably still traumatized from those cupcakes. 



  1. The kids got straight A's again so I told them I'd take them to Dairy Queen. I think this year is the year that Dairy Queen isn't a big deal anymore.
    You're so brave for trying homeade doughnuts, I'll stick to my Krispy Kremes. :)

  2. So what your cake wrecked, I am still impressed you made dounuts from scratch at 5am.


    And we bribe Hayden with promises of new DS/Wii games for his good school behavior. You know, what ever works.

  3. I bribed my 9 year old w/$2 if he didn't fall on the ground during his baseball game. (His defense mechanism is to act like he tripped when he misses the ball which results in the base runner advancing and psycho parents yelling at him.) He lost a quarter every time he fell. He went home with $1.75 and a huge grin on his face. I say bribe all you want w/whatever works. If you try to bribe him with something he doesn't care about it won't work anyways. And so happy for you the donuts worked this time! Woohoo!

  4. Mmmmm.....that cake looks yummy, even if it didn't stay together! Now I'm wanting to get out my lemon pound cake recipe, thank-you-very-much!

    The whole "doughnuts from scratch" ordeal is why you and your siblings never got them, either! LOL

  5. Wait a second... you have a BEEF with CHIC FIL A? I will fight you! ;)

    I've never attempted anything so brave. HOMEMADE DOUGHNUTS IN THE MORNING? Hell no.

  6. Would you mind sharing the link to the doughnut recipe? Please! They sound awesome!


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