DIY Snack Cakes For Bored Kids and Exasperated Adults

For people with young kids, staying at home all day, every day, without childcare, has been a "challenge" (by this point, most of those parents are, understandably, putting it far less delicately). It's been a long time since I've been in that category, but my eldest daughter, Kate, is right in the thick of it with my 4-year-old grandson. She wrote this little piece, which I'm calling "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Make Twinkies." The recipe is below. Here's Kate.


I, too, am at home with a young child, wondering what in the name of all that is holy to do with him for 12 hours a day, worry rising over the fact that I don’t have what it takes to give him what he needs intellectually on a regular basis.

I see your “messy” beautiful craft projects, the way your child neatly presses a perfectly crisp leaf into wax paper to create a memory of this wild ride we’re all on, the pipe cleaners and sparkly paint you just happened to have lying around before this all started.

I’m tired. And — confession — Nick, my husband, and I are sleeping a LOT right now. (Yes, we suck. But it’s not like it helps with the daytime hours. It just feels good in the moment.) It’s pretty hard to get motivated to start a project with this sweet darling angel, let alone deal with the inevitable pushback that comes after the initial suggestion. (“Can I waaaatch something?”)

One thing that my kid will say yes to 95 percent of the time, though? Baking. (Let’s forget for a second that he usually only lasts for five minutes or so, leaving me to deal with the majority of the project while Nick takes over the wrangling.)

I am not a dessert person, in general — I can usually forgo elaborate restaurant desserts, cakes, and pies. But I love desserts in their smaller forms: Doughnuts are my favorite, and cookies, and some cupcakes (I say some because so many are dry and I just cannot deal). There is a “snack cake” recipe in “How to Bake Everything” that is stupid easy and insanely good (they’re meant to be a Twinkie replica, but I make them as cupcakes). And it’s become a go-to for me when my baby asks — uh, I force him — to bake.

On day 2,348 of being at home with him (read: day three), we made these snack/cupcakes and I did the seven-minute frosting, but with raspberry jam (so the frosting was like raspberry marshmallow fluff — really). They were so light and fluffy and cloudlike that they made me forget for a minute just how hard it is to be with someone you love SO much THAT much.

And we’re still here, pushing along, and feeling lucky as hell for our surroundings — most notably, family. And he still smells really good, so there’s that.



Talk To Me, Goose!

Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.