cinnamon-streusel coffee cake

How Not To Be A Parent. 
Episode 153. 
The Brush Incident

I blame Katie. She made it being a parent to a teenager easy. She figured out early on that she was an awful liar and copping to the truth would normally disarm us as parents so much that we would go, 'Okay, don't do it again. [insert punishment here]' End of story, no hysterics.

But she left for college and the others appeared.

Disclaimer: My kids are good kids. Good grades, they volunteer, they are nice to little old ladies on the street, they don't come home drunk, not pregnant at 17 (knock on lots of wood). In other words waaaaaaay better than me and my siblings. So far I am not raising homicidal maniacs but they might be turning me into one.

Teenager-dom has hit my house like a freaking tornado. 3 teenagers in one house. Moody, no eye contact, lots of stomping, even more grunting. Good times.

Anyways, the brush incident.

I go to bed on a Saturday night after doing my nightly bathroom routine. Last thing I do is brush my hair and place the brush in the bathroom cabinet. So far so good.

I wake up Sunday morning, read the paper, have some tea, eat breakfast,check facebook and then go take a shower.

I am about to do my hair and sitting in the bathroom cabinet is the brush.

With the handle snapped off.

Huh, strange. When I put in the bathroom cabinet it was in one piece.... now not so much.

I go out and ask Drew, Will, and Nancy who are all lying around the couch enjoying their lazy Sunday morning.

'Hey, anyone know what happened to the brush?'

'I didn't do it. ' said all three at once.

Now mind you this is a cheap ass brush from Target. It's not made of unicorn eyelashes hand crafted by elves but the first thing out of my kids mouths is 'I didn't do it.' and that sets me off. All I want to hear is, 'Yeah Mom, I used the brush and the handle snapped off. Sorry, I didn't tell you.'

After I tell them that, I ask again, 'Dude, just tell me who did it. No one is in trouble. It was fine last night, now it's broke.'

I break out the dude as a partial plea, partial 'hey look I am one of you'. Even though no one but me stuck in the late 80's says dude.

Silence then...

'Not me.' Again from all three.

'Okay, so the not me ghost did it? Well... now everyone is in trouble. BECAUSE THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE NOT ME GHOST!'

And here's where I pull the one peer pressure trick up every parents sleeve...

'All of you are in trouble until someone tells me who broke the damn brush. Go to your rooms. No facebook, no x-box, no video games. Nothing.'

The one tactic that never ever works.

At this point it's all about who's more stubborn. Me or them. It's also the point of the matter. It's a stupid brush and I know the not me ghost didn't break it.

It also doesn't help that I am PMS-ing. Parenting teenagers and PMS-ing should never be allowed together in the same room. It's WWF cage fight to the death. It's only going to get ugly.

6 hours later.

No one has confessed and we are now due to go to my two sister's joint birthday dinner. I don't want to go. This little tiny issue has morphed into a big deal that I want, no, need to win. I am not talking to them when we get into the car. I am not talking to them at the party. I am fuming at this point... over a brush. I know this is ridiculous but I am so mad that this is so ridiculous I am getting madder and madder. It's like the snake that eats it's own tail. There. is. no. end.

I am quietly venting to my sister, Stacey, about how dumb my kids are and how stupid I feel and how did this get to be a bigger issue than it already is. I normally pretty good at picking my battles but not this time.

Drew comes up to me and says, 'I didn't do it Mom but I am going to take the blame.'

In my best Clint Eastwood snarl and channeling Red from That 70's show, I said, 'Stop being a dumbass. Why would you take the blame and then tell me you didn't do it. That makes no sense. Please go away before I get even madder.'

After a few hours at the birthday party my anger simmers down and sorta fades away.

I end up blaming the not me ghost also.


Which really is no way to end a story but sometimes that's what happens.

I feel like an asshat and a little embarrassed over making such a big deal over a small thing but it's now the point of who's lying and who's not. Obviously my parenting skills failed big time and...

I still don't know what happened to the brush.  


and as the kids would tell me...


Again I blame it on Katie. She made it way too easy.

cinnamon-streusel coffee cake: adapted from martha stewart living march 2011

* i made a mistake while reading and making this recipe. the recipe calls for the streusel topping and center to  be divided but i for some reason didn't grasp that little part but i think it turned out for the better because i ended up with more streusel and that is [quoting martha] a good thing.

streusel topping:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

streusel center:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans


1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream


1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

Make the streusel topping: Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt, Cut in butter using your fingers until small to medium clumps form. Mix in pecans. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the streusel center: Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans together. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the cake: Butter a 9 inch tube pan with removable bottom. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar with a mixer with a paddle attachment, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Continue to beat until well combined.

Spoon half the batter into the pan. Sprinkle streusel-center mixture evenly over the batter. Top with remaining batter, and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Sprinkle streusel-topping mixture evenly over batter.

Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Remove cake from pan and transfer to parchment.

Make the glaze: Mix together confectioners sugar and milk. Drizzle over cake and let drip down sides. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.


Pamela said...

it's awesome how kids can turn us into great big huge giant humongous crabcakes. with mold sauce.

Melissa said...

I love Pamela.

This story was even funnier all laid out like this. Steve and I both said we would be insane over not knowing what happened to the brush... though I supposed you get used to these things?

Great cake. Great lead photo too.

Amy said...

Ah, puberty and PMS. So much to look forward to.

Jennifer said...

PMS sucks.
Streusel makes it better.

Stephanie said...

Will you marry me? This is the best post EVER!!!!!!!! You made my morning and I'm going to make the "Bitter Brush Cake" this weekend!!!!!

auntjone said...

You could tape the brush back together and beat them with it until someone confesses for reals.

The Red Forman channeling was awesome, btw.

Euniece Santiago said...

This post made me laugh because it reminds me of my mom right now!!!! As soon as I went off to college, the 'teenager' began coming out of my 8 year old sister!! My poor mother! But i'm sure frisky attitudes are nothing that this delicious coffee cake couldn't solve!

oneordinaryday said...

You tell a great story. I totally relate, though I blame mine on my son being a hormonal, moody PREteen. Lord, help me when he's an actual TEEN. I have those same conversations with him on a regular basis - don't say you don't know what happened, when you clearly do. Just tell me, for crying out loud!
Lucky you - at least you got to go eat cake. :)

Mrs. L said...

You realize I'm going to spend the entire afternoon trying to figure out which one of your kids broke the brush. Then I'm going to make the coffee cake cuz not knowing will drive insane.