1. Pest control.

When dealing with the worst kind of pest, chocolate is really the only appropriate Bundt cake option. It will take some time for you to decide on this as a last resort. First, notice that your hydrangeas have been uprooted. Put out traps for gophers, to no avail. Then, find suspicious droppings under your rose bushes, and a mound of dirt piled next to your rhododendron. Note that something has been burying bones in your succulent bed. Talk to your neighbor, nicely at first. Ask her about chaining her retriever-collie-labrador mix. Mention the prize you won for your Princesse de Monacos at last year’s Rose Society competition.

When this approach proves ineffective, begin leaving anonymous notes. Although you realize your neighbor will suspect you, feel reassured by your anonymity, and use profanity, freely. When the digging resumes after a short reprieve, gather your ingredients. The most important thing to remember is that chocolate frosting is the key element in the effectiveness of your trap. Your chocolate-frosted devil’s food Bundt cake will be irresistible to your garden pest. Mix four tablespoons of rat poison into frosting, place cake on your best cake platter, and frost evenly on top and along sides. Leave under your Indian rubber tree on a full moon.

Do not ask your neighbor what happened to her dog. Do not appear to gloat. Go to the garden club plant sale and buy bulbs. Plant your spring beds. Watch for the purple crocuses, your favorite.

2. Training aids for the table manners impaired.

While one hopes these won’t be needed in one’s home, one must be realistic. The most important element of these Bundt cake training aids is varnish. Choose a clear, quality varnish for maximum shine and firmness. Make four Bundt cakes – two for each person you intend to train. When cakes are completely cooled, place on newspaper and spread a thin coat of varnish over entire cake. Wait for varnish to dry, then repeat.

While you are waiting for second coat of varnish to dry, cook a delicious meal. Lasagna is a time-honored favorite, and should draw your entire family to the table. If your teenager is wavering, spread minced garlic and melted butter on fresh French bread, to permeate the entire house with an utterly irresistible aroma. Place the Bundt cakes in front of your children’s place settings, covering them with linen napkins.

When the entire family is at the table, ask your daughter to toss and serve the salad. Ask your son to slice the garlic bread. Place the enticing lasagna in the center of the table, but hold the serving spoon firmly in your hand. Tell your children they will not be able to eat until they place the Bundt cake training aids around their wrists. Hold firm in the face of their complaints. Explain how rude it is to place one’s elbows on the table. Turn a deaf ear to their foul language. After their pointless arguing is done, watch them put on the training aids. See how nicely the Bundt cakes hook on the table edge, their elbows discreetly lowered as a result. Watch their hands move airily as they struggle to grasp their utensils. Cherish this intimate family setting. Sit back and enjoy your meal.

3. A pain-free crown of thorns.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. (Note: Though you may be tempted to make a moist yellow cake, do not do so. Angel food is required.) Blend flour, butter, eggs, sugar, baking powder. Do not forget the vanilla. Do not forget to grease Bundt pan. Do not forget how much you have suffered, day in and day out, waxing floors and folding fitted sheets to perfection, unappreciated by anyone save the cat. Stab toothpicks in cake to determine readiness.

Once cake is done, cool on a wire rack. On a clean table or countertop, prepare other ingredients. Lay out one small rubber trash basket, one can gold spray paint, two feet of barbed wire, one roll of bendable copper wire. Place barbed wire inside trash basket to avoid getting paint on your furniture. Holding paint can at a slight angle, aim paint inside trash basket and thoroughly coat barbed wire with paint. (Note: Do this in a well-ventilated area if you do not wish to see visions. If you do wish to see visions, do this in a small, cramped closet).

As you wait for the barbed wire to dry, test cake for coolness. Put cooled cake inside trash basket, and repeat spray paint instructions. Wait for cake to dry. Sit on floor with your back pressed against the rose geranium wallpaper. Talk to the cat. When both barbed wire and cake are dry, take a moment to enjoy the beautiful gilded art you have created. See it shine. Feel almost weepy at its splendid beauty. Next, coil barbed wire carefully around the cake. You should be able to wrap the barbed wire around the top of the cake three times. When you have achieved a perfect circular shape, carefully bind it with the copper wire and firmly press wire into cake. Check to see that wire is firmly planted.

Once you are certain the wire will not move, place bottom of cake on your head. Admire yourself in the mirror. You may wish to apply Vaseline to your eyelids for a discreet glow. You may wish to wear a flowing white gown or bathrobe. Experiment with lighting. (Note: When wearing her own Bundt cake, Martha prefers dramatic backlighting.) Open the door and greet your husband and children as they walk up the polished slate stone footpath. Stretch out your arms and gaze heavenward. Do not react to their surprised murmurs. You are not distracted by the troubles of this world.