The Joy of Cooking Milhouse

“Treehouse of Horror IV,” season 5, episode 5

Treehouse of Horror season continues with another classic: “The Devil and Homer Simpson.” Yes, pals, that means we’re finally making DONUTS.

This donut-heavy episode begins with Homer daydreaming about a donut fashion show while standing in front of a donut box at work. He gets a rude awakening when he realizes there’s no donuts left! He quickly checks his secret stash and finds an I.O.U. for one donut (written by himself). In desperation, he declares that he’d sell his soul for a donut. Donut donut donut.

Ned Flanders appears in the form of the devil (“it’s always the one you least suspect”) and declares that he’ll take that trade. He attempts to warn Homer about the ramifications, but hungry Homer wants his donut now now now. He signs a contract with a flaming pen and a little devil guy appears to deliver his wish. As Flanders reminds Homer that his soul will belong to him as soon as he finished the donut, Homer’s already eaten all but one bite. He cleverly declares he’ll never eat the last bite so that the devil can’t have his soul.

We cut to later that night and obviously Homer is eating the last bite of donut, even though he surrounded it with lots of sticky notes including one that says “Daddy’s soul donut.” The devil appears and he’s immediately sucked into a hellmouth. The devil and Bart say hi like old pals before Lisa insists that Homer deserves a fair trial. It’s scheduled for the next night, and Homer’s sent to hell in the meantime.

While in hell, Homer’s placed in the “ironic punishment section” and fed “all the doughnuts in the world!” He apparently eats all of them, growing super fat, and even saying “more” and “mmm.”

It’s trial time, and the Simpsons hired good ole Lionel Hutz. He prepared by watching Matlock on mute at a bar and combing his hair with a fork so he’s good to go. A skeleton judge calls “the court of infernal affairs” to order and the the jury of the damned appears, including a not-yet-dead Richard Nixon and the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers. Marge tries to find everyone a chair and Blackbeard ends up in a highchair.

Hutz escapes through the bathroom window in the middle of the trial, but as Homer is being sentenced to an eternity in hell, Marge pulls out their wedding photo album. In yet another version of the Simpsons wedding, the photo shows Homer at the hospital. Marge explains that he ate the entire wedding cake by himself… before the wedding. On the back Homer pledges his soul to Marge, and the jury finds that his soul is the property of Marge, not the devil’s.

The devil begrudgingly agrees, but instead of taking Homer’s soul, he turns his head into a big donut. The next morning at breakfast, Homer can’t stop eating his giant donut head (“I’m so sweet and tasty!”). Outside the house, the entire Springfield police department is hungrily waiting with coffee cups.

Woohoo donuts! Since this will likely be one of several donut recipes on this blog (I can’t believe I’ve gotten away with making zero donuts thus far), I thought I’d make a seasonal version. The donuts in this episode are clearly cake donuts (including Homer’s head), so I made spiced pumpkin cake donuts with pretty pink icing. They’re so good that if my head tasted like this I’d be munching on it, too.

Forbidden Doughnuts
(aka Iced Pumpkin Cake Donuts, inspired by King Arthur Flour)
Makes 12 to 18, depending on the size of your donut pans

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola, grapeseed, or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
2-3 drops red food coloring
1 1/2-2 1/2 tablespoons milk
Sprinkles, for decorating

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two standard doughnut pans.
  2. Beat together the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, oil, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add the flour and stir just until combined.
  3. Fill the doughnut pans 3/4 full with batter. Don’t over-fill or you’ll lose your donut shape. Bake the doughnuts for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the side of a doughnut comes out clean.
  4. Let sit in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
  5. Meanwhile, make the icing. Combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, and food coloring. Add 1 tablespoon milk and stir to mix. Add more milk as needed, a little at a time, to achieve a thick but dunkable consistency. Adjust the food coloring as needed.
  6. Once the doughnuts are room temperature, dip the tops in the icing to coat one side. Let excess drip off before flipping and placing back on the cooling rack. Decorate with sprinkles while the icing is still sticky. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
  7. DON’T EAT the last bite or risk an eternity in hell with Flanders!
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