Instead of Love Thursday, Cake Friday

By Mir
March 6, 2009

Whoops! Was yesterday Love Thursday and I missed it? It’s not because I was without love, I assure you. I was OVERFLOWING with love, yesterday! Inbetween the curse words!

Um. Sometimes I curse when I’m especially overflowing with love. Or especially overflowing with cake batter. Yes.

A few days back Otto told me he was having a colleague come to town for the week, and then he laid out their schedule of events and asked if it would be okay with me if we had him come to dinner on Thursday night. And we’re having kind of a busy week, here, so I may have looked… less than thrilled… and he hurried on to say that he would TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING. So I said “Sure! Let’s have him over to dinner!”

And then I lost my mind.

I don’t know why this is (possibly because I’m a BIG GIANT CONTROL FREAK), but when Otto tells me that he’ll “take care of everything” I thank him and then proceed to do everything myself before he has a chance to. Sometimes, inbetween these two events, I will ridicule his plans.

(FOR THE RECORD, his big plan for last night was to… grill some kielbasa. And a couple of green peppers. That was his entire plan. It like he was DARING me to try not to make fun of him!)

Anyway, like I said, it was kind of a busy week, and so before I knew it, it was Thursday morning, we now had two people coming for dinner, neither of us had been to the grocery store, I had a ton of work to do, and the house was filthy.

So naturally I decided to make a cake. You know, in my spare time.

Look; a good homemade cake smooths over a multitude of sins. I was just covering all my bases.

So, the other thing you need to know is that earlier this week Chickadee heard us talking about this and asked Otto who was coming to dinner. “It’s your old friend John Doe!” he told her, much to her confusion. “You know, John Doe!” And this spawned a plethora of jokes, all week long, from all of us. Before I knew it we were talking about when Chickadee and “her friend John Doe” (always all four words) went to college together, back in the 80s! And how Chickadee and “her friend John Doe” used to hang out together ALL THE TIME! And yesterday morning Chickadee told me, before she left for school, “Tonight I’m having dinner with MY FRIEND JOHN DOE.”

I don’t know why, but it was sort of hilarious. Possibly because Chickadee is painfully shy around new people, and we were anticipating her complete refusal to even acknowledge John’s presence.

So. I went grocery shopping. I scraped the top layer of grime off the house. I put chicken in marinade and I chopped vegetables and measured rice. And I baked a cake. This cake, in fact. Note that this is a Paula Deen recipe, and as such, it begins with two sticks of butter, a glob of shortening, five eggs, and a trip to the Emergency Room for an angioplasty.

(Just covering the bases, people.)

If I had taken the time to read all of the recipe reviews, I would’ve seen that multiple people complained about the batter overrunning the pan. I read the reviews when the cake was about halfway baked, and ran back to the kitchen to check. So far, so good. I left the oven light on and checked it periodically and so of course it wasn’t until I was hip-deep in some work that I went, “What’s that smell?”

Why, it was my cake overrunning the pan and dripping onto the bottom of the oven and burning! Awesome!

A bit of fancy footwork with a spatula and I was able to clean up the oven, scrape off the side of the pan, and still get the cake baked. But then I had to take it out of the oven right before I went to pick up the kids, and I wasn’t entirely certain it was actually, you know, COOKED, so I said a small prayer and went on my way. Later on—after the afternoon taxi shuffle of kids and activities—I unmolded the cake and it looked okay, so I went about my business.

[I also baked a cornbread, to get the burnt chocolate cake smell out of the kitchen. I am ALWAYS THINKING.]

By the time Chickadee’s friend John Doe and our other guest arrived, it was getting late (later than when we normally have dinner on school nights, anyway) and the kids were antsy. John Doe turned out to be a VERY tall man with a bushy beard, and I prepared for Chickadee to avoid him like the plague.

But a wonderful thing happened. John Doe is totally delightful, and he had both kids wrapped around his little finger within five minutes of entering our house. Chickadee rearranged the seating at the table so that she could sit next to him. And she told him with a sly smile that she remembered when they’d gone to college together. They had a long conversation about his invisible dog. He was, indeed, Chickadee’s friend John Doe.

He was also everyone else’s friend John Doe. Dinner was a very jolly affair.

Alas, by the time we finished up, it was really getting late, and I made the decision to send the kids to bed before dessert. To stave off any meltdowns, I promised to pack cake in the kids’ lunches, today. Monkey was not pleased with this, and demanded that I allow him to have cake for BREAKFAST. I thought about it and agreed.

He ran upstairs to get ready for bed before I changed my mind.

The kids said goodnight to our guests and both of them hugged their friend John Doe before heading to bed, and this morning Monkey had cake for breakfast and Chickadee took some in her lunch. And neither of them could stop talking about their friend John Doe.

John Doe: You’re welcome in our house any time. You are totally worth a dirty oven and an angioplasty.


  1. Otto

    No fair – I didn’t get cake for breakfast!!


  2. Aubri

    Yeah no fair! I ended up with a runny nose and a sore throat for breakfast :-( I want a do-over!

  3. Aubri

    And you should totally make it up to poor Otto with lots of cake for breakfast any time he asks. Poor Otto!

  4. Crisanne

    You sent Otto to bed without dessert, too?? Now that’s just not right! :)

    I remember my parents having people over like that and being completely freaked out by them. It HAD to drive my parents crazy. How nice for you guys that they hit it off so well.

  5. lynn

    Cake is nice and all (okay, awesome!) but what I really need is a decent cornbread recipe. It would be so pretty of you to post one… :-)

  6. JennyM

    I’ve never understood why cake for breakfast isn’t a more widely accepted practice.

  7. Mir

    Hey Lynn—I actually use the recipe on the back of the cornmeal canister (though instead of 1-1/4 cup all purpose flour I use 1/2 cup wheat and 3/4 cup all purpose).

    The secret to good cornbread isn’t fancy batter (the canister recipe is fine), it’s cast iron. Put the pan in the oven while you preheat, then toss a generous glob of butter in there just before you add the batter. Once the butter has melted, add batter to the piping hot pan, and VOILA. Best cornbread ever.

  8. crockpot lady

    “but when Otto tells me that he’ll “take care of everything” I thank him and then proceed to do everything myself before he has a chance to. Sometimes, inbetween these two events, I will ridicule his plans.”

    I do the exact. same. thing. And the problem is that if I just left the house and let him at it, everything would be FINE.
    I’m glad you had a lovely party.
    xxo steph

  9. Headless Mom

    This made me smile today.

    Happy Cake Friday!

  10. Laura

    Did the guests get cake? What there frosting or icing? I’d love some leftovers. I LOVE CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!

  11. Megan

    Mir – add some grated cheddar to your cornbread recipe… cheese makes everything better!

    Also, I remember hearing a Bill Cosby bit about the virtues of cake for breakfast and have been convinced it’s a health food ever since. Slight difficulty is that I can’t eat breakfast as it happens too early in the morning, but if I COULD it would totally be cake.

  12. Aimee

    Saying that it is a Paula Deen recipe and THEN saying “two sticks of butter, a glob of shortening, five eggs, and a trip to the Emergency Room for an angioplasty” is redundant. All of those things are neatly wrapped up with the words “Paula Deen,” as well as words like crazy hair, indecipherable accent and mayonnaise.

    Anyway, the cake looks fab. Will you invite John Doe if I come for dinner? :)

  13. Kethrim

    I’m more of a pie for breakfast person, but hey, if cake is what floats your boat, cake it is.

  14. Kim

    You must be a Bill Cosby fan. Husband swears by an old Cosby album where he advocates feeding children cake for breakfast — after all, it has most of the food groups as ingredients! (Eggs, milk, grains, chocolate… hmmm, maybe I’m convincing myself.)

  15. Tracy

    You have got to be superwoman. There is NO WAY I could get all of that accomplished and still be pleasant to be around. When I grow up, I wanna be just like you!

  16. Rachel

    Five eggs in that cake makes it totally acceptable breakfast food!! = ) I hope monkey enjoyed it.

  17. The Other Leanne

    Otto is a genius–making sure the “painfully shy” Chickadee has a history of friendship with the stranger at the table. Brilliant.

  18. Kelly

    For cake Friday can you send us some cake? I could really use some about now.

  19. Katie in MA

    @Otto – you should have held out for cake for breakfast in bed!

    Love the idea of Cake Friday. Nothing says love like a plate full of cake. :)

  20. Barbara

    I’m gonna remember that one to use in the future! Younger Teen is least interactive, and always demanding a full resume on the person coming for dinner. Thanks, Otto!

  21. Keyona

    I really need to get into baking because that looks GOOD!

  22. exile on mom street

    Hmmm. I made cookies so it’s Cookie Friday at my house.

    It’s also, Grilled Cheese with the Next Door Neighbor in the Backyard for Lunch cause it’s so Sunny and Gorgeous Out Friday.

    But that might be a bit too long to put on a calendar…

  23. MomCat

    Just can’t think of chocolate cake for breakfast without thinking of Bill Cosby and that funny routine, in which he describes letting his kids have cake for breakfast, and his wife’s subsequent conniption fit.

    I agree that cake for breakfast is just what kids need sometime. Happy Cake Friday!

  24. Lori N

    Okay, I now have proof for my husband that I’m not the only crazy person that adds baking things to my overly full schedule.

    Speaking of which, yes, I am under deadline, I have a sick kid home from school, grocery shopping to do & a house that needs a MASSIVE clean – but I have bananas that are at the perfect stage for banana bread! (Oh and 2 additional kids coming for dinner because their parents both have to work tonight.)

    Time to bake!

  25. Gaylin

    The best Cornbread recipe I have found is in the book The Cornbread Killer by Lou Jane Temple (a novel, not a cookbook). It is a flourless recipe!!!!! Uses stone ground corn and corn meal.
    I replace the butter milk with 1 1/2 cups of yogurt thinned with 1/2 cup of water. And yes, you can use soy yogurt instead of dairy.
    You can add an extra egg and use this to make pancakes as well. I will have to try adding banana to the recipe to see if that works. Yum.
    Using the pre-heated cast iron pan is the only way to go.

    When we were kids left over birthday cake in a bowl with milk totally counted for breakfast! We also used to hide cookies under our cereal for that morning surprise.

  26. daring one

    Worth a dirty oven? This guy must be awesome.

  27. jennielynn

    Oooooooooooooooooooooo. I need to make a cake.

  28. Lee

    Delurking here to say what a wonderful “time”. Thank you for sharing. You are a good mom and wife.

  29. tj

    Cake for breakfast, thanks mum :)

  30. Giyen

    I am beginning to think I need a wife, not a husband! lol.

  31. Cele

    I always add about a quarter of a box of white cake mix to my corn meal batter and an extra egg. I do like making it in a cast iron skillet.

  32. Michelle

    Dude… that cake looks really yummy. CHOCOLATE!?!

  33. kath

    hmmm, i am now regretting not having dessert when we went out for dinner last night, but in retrospect it is probably a good thing I didn’t order a $10 dessert because we got a $60 parking ticket for parking in a spot that had four separate signs that when deciphered individually made it seem like a place you could park, but after we got the ticket and spent five minutes reviewing the signs to discover where we made our mistake we realized you had to read them all in conjunction and that the arrows meant nothing .. okay I’m going to go bake a cake now

  34. Tatiana

    He sounds like a fantastic guest … and that cake looks amazing! I want some for breakfast too.

  35. Lady M

    My cake didn’t overflow the pan, but I did bake chocolate cake THREE DAYS in a row. Wednesday night for Q-ster’s Thursday birthday. Cupcakes on Thursday night for his Friday preschool celebration. And then the Millenium Falcon cake on Friday night for his party at home today. Is there such a thing as too much chocolate cake?

  36. All Adither

    Do you offer shipping on that cake?

  37. karen

    OMG..that cake was so damn good… I tried the recipe and can’t put the fork down. Thanks for the tip!

  38. maggie

    That cake looks great even if it did make a mess in the oven!

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