Let Them Eat: Coffee & Donuts Cake


Last fall I went to Nantucket to attend the wedding of two dear friends. A group of us took the ferry over and rented a cute little house on Orange Street. One morning—crisp, sunny, glorious, wish-you-were-here postcard-perfect—we wandered out for a cup of coffee. In keeping with the fine morning and the island's movie-set charm, a girl stopped short on her bicycle to say hello to one of our housemates. She had the inside scoop on the menu at Provisions (an amazing sandwich shop you must all flock to immediately): doughnut muffins.

I heard nothing else. Like a zombie on amphetamines I lurched around town until I got to Provisions. And there, under a glass dome on the counter by the register, were two little muffins, damp with melted butter and dusted with sparkly brown cinnamon sugar. I stared at the muffins intently, willing the people in line ahead of me not to buy them.

My Jedi mind tricks were not forceful enough and one was taken from the shop. The people in front placed their orders. I leaned in to listen, crossing my fingers and toes that I wouldn't hear "Oh, and, I'll take one of those."

At last, the gentleman ahead of me completed his order, pocketed his jingling change, and stepped to the side to wait for his breakfast sandwich. And then I heard it. A small, squeaky little voice. "Ooooh, look, mommy, they have a doughnut muffin." To which Mommy replied, "Maybe no one will want it..." The tiny voice sounded like Cindy Lou Who, all innocence and charm.

My husband looked at me sternly. He knew I was pretending not to hear. But when I'm hungry my heart becomes two sizes too small. So I ordered the muffin. And I didn't look back. And I ate the whole buttery, sugary, cinnamony, nutmeg-spiked thing that really did taste like a muffin and a doughnut holding hands.

I wasn't sorry, though I suspect I carry a heavy load of bad karma as a result. This recipe, a big doughnut muffin cake coated with caffeine, is a little peace offering. Someone out there has to forgive me after they have this cake.