The Daily Dump

A place where everyone (me) is welcomed to express their opinions openly and honestly. I encourage free thinking, free wheeling, off-the-cuff banter and monetary donations.

Monday, March 13

I Like Funfetti Cakes And Straightforward Titles


Food is important in my family. Not just food, but meals, huge meals that make a mockery of the words “world hunger.” Whether we’re celebrating a birthday, a holiday or a particularly important family achievement, such as the party we threw when I had the fluid drained from my ears at age seven, enormous meals always play an important role, to the point where when I hear stories of struggle from the Great Depression or from Detroit where people say, “We didn’t have enough money to put food on the table, but all we needed was each other’s love,” I can’t help but think that under similar circumstances our family would fall apart at the seams saying things like, “Yeah, I remember Grandma, she made a great lasagna . . . I wonder whatever happened to her?”

Because I never lived in the dorms at college, at the early age of 18 I went directly from “dinner on the table every night” to “I can probably make it if it comes in a can.” Trying to maintain the high quality of my meals was difficult. Men in my family were only required to barbecue and mix drinks. Everything else fell under the purview of the women. So, while the knowledge of mixing drinks came in handy, living in Brooklyn on the third floor of a brick building with no “yard” to be seem for miles didn’t lend itself outdoor grilling, thus negating my only other culinary skill set. I would call my mom every night with another cooking question, her giving vague answers like, “It’s done when it looks done,” or “Throw in some garlic,” with me on the other end holding a whole chicken in one hand, a perfectly mixed vodka tonic in the other and having a nervous breakdown screaming, “FUCKING MEASUREMENTS, MA! I NEED MEASUREMENTS!”

Over time I got the hang of it and was able to make myself meals that involved vegetables and ingredients. Before I knew it, I found myself actually enjoying cooking. Not because it was so much fun to come home exhausted at the end of the day and then stand over a stove, but because I could make whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. Growing up I ate whatever my mom decided to cook that night. If I didn’t like it I could have a bowl of cereal or I could go fuck myself. That’s the way families work. But now I made what I wanted. Steak five nights in a row? – tell your mom you needed a new textbook, cash the $50 check and make it happen! Bacon, eggs and pancakes for dinner? What a brilliant idea! The better I became at cooking, the more control I felt I could exert over my life. It was nothing short of life altering.

Then came a particular day, I don’t remember exactly why or how it came about, when I was walking around the food store and came upon the aisle with the boxed cake mixes. It might be the closest I’ve come in my life to what religious people call an epiphany. I could buy this cake mix, bring it home and bake it for myself. Then I could eat the whole cake. This could happen, and no one would ever know that this happened. Second only to buying my first bottle of vodka instead of stealing it from my parents liquor closet, buying my first boxed cake mix ranks as one of my most prideful adult moments. Nothing says independence like a man who goes off to college and bakes himself a cake JUST BECAUSE HE WANTS ONE. (My A&E Biography would be riveting, I know.)

While I understand that I can do this any time I want to, I also understand that it’s a special event to be taken seriously and if I made myself a cake every single weekend it would no longer be special. So I keep it to a minimum, only indulging the craving every so often. Yesterday, in commemoration of the warm weather and first episode of “The Sopranos,” I decided to make myself a cake.

I went to the store and headed directly for the cake mix aisle. In my estimation there is only one cake mix combination worth buying: vanilla cake, chocolate frosting. Vanilla frosting is as worthless a commodity as fat free mayonnaise. Want chocolate cake? Have brownies instead. No amount of arguing will sway my opinion on this.

But then the brilliant minds at Pillsbury went one step further and came up with the Funfetti cake, a twist on the vanilla cake so ingenuous, so undeniably awesome that with this one creation they have won my brand loyalty for life. I could find a booger the size of dime in my next box of Funfetti cake and I would just shake my head and say, “Those Pillsbury guys are so overworked! They don’t even have time to properly dispose of their boogers!” (For those of you who have been deprived of a life of happiness and don’t know what Funfetti is, it is a vanilla cake mix combined with a package of sprinkles so that when the cake cooks the sprinkles bake into the cake creating colorful bursts of joy in every bite. It’s like falling in love with a woman because she’s beautiful and then finding out she’s rich too.)

My eyes immediately scan the shelf for Funfetti. I don’t see it. I start to panic. People are squeezing past me in the narrow aisle carrying whole wheat bread and organic fat free milk and I am frantically rifling through cake mixes looking for Funfetti. And then I see it: the label sticker on the shelf indicating where the Funfetti should be and above it a gap in the sea of boxes going all the way to the back of the shelf. No Funfetti whatsoever. I begin to sweat. I look around, debating whether or not to ask an employee of the store for help. To my right is a hulking black man with facial hair, to my left a 5’4 elderly woman. I opt for the woman.

Me: (pointing at the Funfetti sticker) “Excuse me, do you know if you have any more of these in stock?”

Old woman: (struggling to read the label over the top of her glasses) “What’s that, dear?”

Me: (whispering) “The, uh, Funfetti cake mix?”

Old woman: “I don’t know dear, let me check.” (to hulking black man) “Tyrone,” (I wish I was kidding) “Tyrone, can you check to see if we have any more Fun-fetti cake mix for this young man?”

The word “Funfetti” had never sounded so incriminating. You could easily substitute “Ultra-thin Tampax Tampons” in that sentence and it would have made no difference. I stood there sweating profusely while Tyrone checked the stock room for me. For a second I seriously considered leaving the store and moving to a different part of town, starting over somewhere where I would never again make the mistake of uttering the word “Funfetti” in public. It’s not like my apartment was rent stabilized. I could find a new home. And I swore to myself that, given the chance, next time I would keep my mouth shut – I would buy a regular vanilla cake and some sprinkles and I would mix them myself.

Before I could resolve myself to run, Tyrone came back, looked me in the eye and said, “No more.” Like a child confronting an abusive parent I showed no outward disappointment. I said thank you, picked up a yellow cake mix and walked away. I may have left my dignity on “Aisle Two, Baby Care and Baking Needs” but I’ll be damned if I was leaving cakeless. And while it wasn’t as good as a Funfetti cake, it was still a pretty fucking great cake and it absolutely made my night like a good boxed cake always does. In fact, The Girlfriend may make a comment on this post about some sort of “song” that was sung by me concerning the cake, wherein I took the lyrics to a popular tune from the 60’s and altered the words to include “cake.” Indeed, she may even make reference to a “dance” that went along with the song. Please let it be known that The Girlfriend makes things up from time to time. She does this because she craves attention and we are seeking professional help to help resolve the issues.

31 Comments:

I am so with you on the vanilla cake/chocolate icing school of thought.

We just made a sara lee pie in honor of the return of Tony Soprano. Delish!

By Blogger Tuesday Girl, at 2:46 PM  

The fluid draining party? Let's not forget the doody parties. Maybe the bodily functions obsession isn't a new phenomenon after all...

And the next time I make a chocolate cake, you're not allowed to have any. You can go find yourself a brownie.

By Blogger Belligerent Sister, at 3:21 PM  

Hey, The Girlfriend, can you post a link to a video of him doing the cake song and dance for all of us to see?

I'm dying to know which 60's song you used. Was it "Cake, cake, cake. Cake, cake, cake. Cake your booty." That's 70's I suppose . . .

By Blogger Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, at 4:03 PM  

I also agree on the chocolate cake might as well be brownies thing. Brownies are way better than chocolate cake, why bother with chocolate cake? I've already decided I just want a giant brownie at my wedding, but now you've got my craving vanilla cake.

By Blogger Hope, at 4:03 PM  

I'm a little confused. Why did you pick up yellow cake? Has the Funfetti ruined your taste for plain vanilla cake? And my whole thought while reading this, and which you alluded to in your moment of embarrassment, was why not get the vanilla cake and some sprinkles. You sound like a great cook, and I'd bet you could make a better "belligerent-fetti" cake than plain old funfetti (oops, sorry, was I being disrespectful to the Funfetti?)

By Blogger Carolyn, at 4:51 PM  

I have a friend who has the same obsession to funfetti cake. Also, in case you didn't know, they have springtime funfetti cake and funfetti frosting. All the sprinkles and funfetti bits are in pastel colors.

And by the way, my brother is a large black male named Tyrone.

By Blogger Heather B., at 4:53 PM  

I can't say I've ever heard of funfetti cake, but I don't like the looks of it. I'm against multi-colored cakes in general and refuse to eat a cake that isn't at least part chocolate (preferably the icing). Otherwise, what's the point?

By Blogger Lizzie, at 4:57 PM  

The Girlfriend craves attention? Oh, please.

By Blogger belligerent mother, at 5:37 PM  

OMG not fair! My favorite is warm chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a cold glass of milk. The key difference between chocolate cake & brownie is the texture: Cake is more airy, which makes for a more satisfying bite sensation. Your teeth get to go through layers of creamy chocolate frosting, and then into luscious layers of cake which give in and moistly crumble into your mouth. Wash down with a gulp of cold milk & you have heaven on earth - you gotta give chocolate cake another try!

By Blogger shirley, at 5:55 PM  

I always, always buy Funfetti cake. It just tastes the best. Don't feel emasculated just because you assert that you like cake with pretty pink and blue spots in it. Would any honest person answer otherwise?

By Blogger mysterygirl!, at 6:37 PM  

'Cake it up baby now. Cake it up baby. Twist and shout'? WTF? I am in no way lame enough to make something like that up.

But my favorite part of this experience was the dollop of chocolate frosting that was rubbed deeply and thoroughly into the faux suede fibers of my couch by Dan's ass as he squirmed with delight while eating the first serving of cake earlier in the evening.

By Blogger T.G., at 6:58 PM  

I also came from a family that celebrated everything, and I mean EVERYTHING with Food... we're talking ribs the size of a wildebeests! Cakes that were good enough for Donald Trumps 3rd marriage! Pot-fulls of pasta sauce, heck, I didn't even know they made pots that big!?

I became an awkward (albeit: well fed) overweight teenager... So much has changed but I still often joke that my parents helped me "eat my feelings" whenever I whip out any old pictures, that have yet to be burned.

However, still can't cook besides the basics... I make a damn good spaghetti, grilled cheese, soup (ok, soup doesn't count). BUT I am a culinary EXPERT when it comes to baking.

Hmmm.... I think I'll go bake a cake.

By Blogger Sarah Jayne, at 7:54 PM  

First of all, I have to calrify: Actually, my favorite type of cake is chocolate souffle, which you may or may not consider a cake. So I've definitely got the chocolate aspect there.

And I picked up the yellow cake in sheer confusion and haste. Not that I would begrudge a yellow cake over a white cake - to me they're all vanilla. But it was a pure grab and go maneuver.

Lastly, I'm pretty sure that icing stain occurred when you attempted to wrestle the fork from my hand in an attempt to steal a bite of my cake. And don't forget I made you dinner.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 8:07 PM  

Buahahahaha!
I've been reading a few of your posts and your writing is great! Probably better (dare I say?) than your cooking.
I sub'd through bloglines.

By Anonymous kissmequikly, at 8:09 PM  

First of all, I already have grown to love your blog. But now you reveal yourself to be a cake-for-no-reason baker. Kudos, my brother. I used to have a fantasy that my left arm would be made of self-regenerating cake that changed flavors after you ate one flavor away.

Shirley brings up a good point about chocolate cake/brownie texture - for cake is fluffy, and fluffy is delicious.

By Blogger tina, at 8:48 PM  

I too have known the pain of not being able to feed a Funfetti craving thanks to the inadequately stocked Brooklyn Supermarkets. The Polish Solidarity Movement was founded upon less egregious grocery shortages. When you want Funfetti, nothing else will do, not crack cocaine, not a brick of gold bullion. And no, you cannot buy a white cake mix and just mix in sprinkles; sure, you'll get the "'fetti", but you will miss the "fun". Trust me.

By Blogger Cupcake, at 8:51 PM  

my secret indulgence is chocolate chip cookie dough--made from scratch!

By Blogger Sexy Lexi, at 10:20 PM  

I am sure Greenwich Village has Funfetti on speedorder. If you take up there, you'll never have to go far to 'score'. Funfetti would be worth it. When I was a kid, we were too po' to have anything but home-made-dry-white-what-is-that-muenster-esk-lump-in-my-frosting-cake.

By Blogger nursevl, at 10:23 PM  

You are the only person I can think off who could write about Funfetti cake and still sound genius.

For the record, I have never had Funfetti cake, nor was I aware of its existance. Should you find a box, send one over pronto.

By Blogger Janet, at 1:35 AM  

I just hope they sell Funfetti cake mix up in Canada. I was unaware of this culinary delight.

By Blogger Snooze, at 7:42 AM  

1) To keep the inside grilling going, get one of those health grills for the house. That way you can have your grill even in the midst of a blizzard (although no, it's not as good as a charcoal grill).

2) I learned the same thing when I was on my own except my particular fetish was with pumpkin pies. Pies are too much trouble so I would buy mine (though it would have to be a certain type from a certain store). Oh, I guess I also did the same thing with reeses peanut butter cups. (Buying them bags at a time and consuming at one sitting.) Though I was fat before I did all this, I swear.

3) I also like the blend of choc/van. E.g. I love vanilla/esque ice cream with chocolate syrup.

By Blogger hanmee, at 7:57 AM  

"To Me, They're All Vanilla" is actually what I was hoping to title my quasi-fictional autobiography of growing up in Detroit and gaining the respect of my peers through rap music. Thanks a lot.

By Blogger ducklet, at 9:00 AM  

I agree, there's nothing like funfetti. However, if you take a yellow cake mix and when it's warm fresh out of the oven, you smear butter over the top and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over it...well, it's a very close second.

By Blogger Amy, at 10:07 AM  

At my office, we treat funfetti with deep reverence and hushed awe.

I was only recently introduced to funfetti cupcakes and at that moment, my life burst with Emerald City technicolor. It's the sort of sugary kaliedoscope that was missing in my Korean immigrant upbringing.. where seseme seed crackers were considered a naughty indulgence.

By Blogger Annie No Pants, at 11:26 AM  

Sweet crap these are a lot of comments...I went through a similar phase following my moving into an apartment...I made a delicious cake from yellow cake mix and a bag of chopped up milky ways...mmm...excuse me...must find grocery store...

By Blogger The Bourbon Samurai, at 12:05 PM  

I've asked for Funfetti on my birthday. It's so key. With chocolate icing, of course.

By Blogger RoarSavage, at 1:36 PM  

Did we come from the same family?

This post is absolutely priceless.

But I prefer yellow cake.

Nonetheless, priceless.

By Blogger Jill, at 12:22 PM  

Believe it or not, I was searching the web for "funfetti" and found your post! I'm so happy to know someone shares my affinity for this fabulous food item, which I affectionately call "fireworks in a box." Ah!

By Blogger babyoog, at 4:19 PM  

This blog post made me laugh so hard - my friends are completely obsessed with funfetti cake and chocolate frosting to the point where they bake it every time we celebrate something (birthdays, jobs, end of finals, you name it)! Glad to see we aren't the only crazy ones out there. Have you ever actually tried mixing the white cake with sprinkles to see if it works?

By Anonymous Sunshine, at 9:36 AM  

there are others like me?!

funfetti for the win!!

By Blogger Holleigh, at 6:57 PM  

My daughter just started college in Canada. I am mailing her today the Funfetti frosting and cake mix because she is turning 18 very soon. I hope she gets it in time. Hate to have her start school without this birthday cake. Wonder if they do sell this in Canada?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:29 PM  

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