I want every husband to know that, with very little effort, he can become a master cook in at least one thing.  I know this because we have a tradition in our family that my wife and my children have insisted that I continue forever.  That is, I am in charge of making the cake for my wife’s birthday.  I should say that I am a pretty good cook in many things.  I can make bread, rolls, and many other items, though I am way out of practice since my wife and children have taken it over.  These cooking skills came from my years of being single. 

I still cook up a mean pot roast.  I also make great hamburgers and chicken on the grill, and, due to my years as scout master, I am fairly expert at Dutch oven cooking. 

But, about all I had learned about cakes from my mother was that, when she wanted to see if it was cooked, she would poke it with a toothpick.  I’m not sure how this helps.  I suppose if it doesn’t holler from getting poked, it must be done.  However, if there is one place in which I now shine in the culinary arts, it is in making a cake.

To understand how I learned this great skill, I must go back many years.  As I was dating my wife, Donna, it often worked out better for me to make dinner for her than for her to make it for me.  The main reason for this was that she didn’t cook much.  You wouldn’t know that now since she is a master chef, but at the time it was true.  In our busy college life, eating together was the one time of the day we could sit down for a peaceful, quiet moment, with only my eight roommates making enough commotion for a person to think the world was coming to an end. 

However, as her birthday approached, I knew I couldn’t have a dinner without having some kind of birthday cake.  I called my mother for her old tried and true recipe, the one that anyone, even the most inept person, could make.  I destroyed it.  Many attempts later, and a whole bag of flour gone, I couldn’t have gotten a dog to eat any of my attempts, even if I held a gun on him.

I decided to try Mom’s frosting recipe.  It didn’t fare any better.  All I had, multiple tries later, was an empty sack of sugar and a mess in the kitchen, which my roommates were not too happy about.  I decided to go to the store and get a cake mix.  Surely I couldn’t mess that up.  But I found that my ability to destroy a cake far exceeded that of the average person.  It was a talent I didn’t even know I had.  Even with a cake mix it came out flat and hard, probably only good for traction under car tires that January – pretty much non-biodegradable and destined for the toxic waste dump. 

My exploits into cake making were going from bad to worse.  I was running out of time and options, and I was even considering going to K-Mart and getting a Little Suzy cake making set, when I hit on the most brilliant of cake making strategies. 

And thus, for you husbands that want to surprise your wife with a cake, but don’t even know what the knobs on a stove are for, here is the recipe for you.  A truly husband-proof cake making recipe.

Take one box of Twinkies and one box of Ding-Dongs.  Stack the Twinkies in one half of the pan, two layers deep.  Stack the Ding-Dongs in the other half of the pan two layers deep.  Frost with whipped cream and decorate with M and M’s.  You will have created a two layer cake that is both a white cake and a chocolate cake and a culinary delight that will be the envy of master chefs all over the world.  My children, and especially my wife, wouldn’t consider letting me make any other cake.  Literally!  At least my wife wouldn’t consider letting me make one in her kitchen.


 (Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at da***@da*********.com; or visit his website )