Cheeto Cake

I feel like adults should get to earn merit badges. Why are they reserved for scouts? Like, if you travel across the country with a baby on several planes, you at least deserve some kind of patch to put on a vest.

About a month ago, Ansel and I took a trip to Seattle to visit friends and family. There was a point on one of the flights when I had Ansel playing on the super-gross-and-sticky floor in the back of the plane where the flight attendants store and organize their snack carts. He had been so fussy I didn’t care that he was getting grimy, I was just thankful to be out of my seat and that he wasn’t making his cry-whining noise. A male flight attendant informed me, “I wouldn’t put a baby on this floor. It’s pretty dirty.”

My brain: “Yeah, no shit! Do you want to deal with this baby, Mr. Flight Attendant?! Give me some extra Biscoff cookies and leave me and this demon child alone, K?”

My mouth: “Oh, yeah, okay.”


The flights were all worth it because the trip was magical. Ansel really liked the woods where his nymph-qualities shone.


And he got to see the ocean for the first time in Long Beach with Grandma Patti!


And we ate Hawaiian-Korean fusion in West Seattle with Kelda, Michael, and Inez.


And we went to breweries, like Buoy Beers in Astoria, Oregon, where Ansel decided to try to pull off my ear lobe while we were posing for a picture.


After our trip, Aaron and I started Ansel in daycare. We knew this was coming, our summer nanny had graduated and was moving for a real job, and Ansel had been on the local daycare’s waiting list since he was born. So, it felt like he was finally being welcomed into the roped off VIP portion of the nightclub.


When I thought about what it would be like to put Ansel in daycare, I mostly (foolishly) thought about the emotional consequences. What would it be like to not be able to check in on him here and there throughout the day?

Frankly, I got over that in a couple of days. What I wasn’t prepared for was how utterly sick our family would become in the coming weeks. And because everyone is cycling through daycare viruses (how are there so many?!), we haven’t been sleeping very well either.


One thing that I’ve learned about myself since Ansel was born and I have had interrupted sleep on the regular, is that I have a totally different middle-of-the-night way of thinking and persona. Let’s call her Kathy.


Kathy has ideas. Kathy thinks outside the box. Kathy is on the daytime television show circuit. She is a sought-after motivational speaker and political advisor.

Above all, Kathy thinks up culinary genius thoughts, like making a Cheeto Cake.


The night that I thought up the Cheeto Cake idea, I literally thought it was THE BEST idea I had ever had. I was in one of those awake-dream-state-Kathy-moments and I was rabidly thinking up all of the types of cheese snacks that I could incorporate into my Cheeto Cake. Crunchy Cheetos! Cheezits! Goldfish crackers! Annie’s organic cheese bunnies! Cream cheese frosting! Bahahahahaha!

This is going to be big, I thought.


I would make a Cheeto-based vanilla cake. And then use Cheeto-Cheezit rice crispy treats as one layer.


And then I’d cover each Cheeto-Cheezit rice crispy treat layer with cream cheese frosting. And then I’d make a cheese snack crumble, a la Momofuku Milk Bar. (Which is to say that I tossed cheese snacks with melted butter, dry milk, and sugar, and baked it at a low temperature in the oven until it resulted in the most delicious brown-buttery sweet-salty-cheesy crumble you can imagine.)


And I’d make a goldfish-Cheeto brittle for the top!


I think what surprised me more than the fact that I actually carried out one of Kathy’s ideas was that the Cheeto Cake truly tasted good. I mean, I thought it would be disgusting. But it was actually palatable. Yummy, even. And it looked pretty too.


It kind of fell apart when cut…


I even convinced Torry and James (friends traveling from Minneapolis to Durham with a stopover in Oxford) to try it.


Since I was first sick and had the Kathy-inspired Cheeto Cake idea, I’ve been daycare-sick at least two more times. Right now I have an evil flu-cold-H1N1-Lord-knows-what type of thing going on, with lots of snot and coughing and general nastiness. And so does Ansel.


At least I go into the night knowing that Kathy will show up when I have to get up to comfort Ansel in the wee hours of the morning. And who knows what she’ll think up next!


3 thoughts on “Cheeto Cake

  1. So impressed with Kathy. Those cheesy snacks are my favorite things. Loved ready your post, Katy. Ansel is the perfect image of what you describe.


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