What If You Don’t Know the Answer + Homemade Donuts!

I’m a recovering people-pleaser. It’s been my struggle for as long as I can remember.

I can still see myself in first grade, sitting at my desk that was grouped with 3 of my peers, looking up at the number line on the wall, yet still unable to figure out the math problem on my paper. My expectation: I’m decent at math, I should be able to do this. Reality: When I can’t do it, I shut down. I cry out of frustration and shame. I cried that day, and many other days. Mrs. Cross, my first-grade teacher was one of the most comforting and gracious when I ran into those walls. She’d hug me. She’d wipe my tears. She’d let me go to the bathroom to wash my face and get control of my sobs so the others would stop staring.

I see myself in high school on the tennis courts. I wasn’t a natural athlete by any means. But I still got out there and tried, even if my only contribution to the team was to warm the bench. Tennis, though, was all on me. If a mistake was made, it was my fault alone. During my first year, I would miss a ball or hit it out of bounds, would get frustrated, and would slam my racket on the ground. It became a bad, frequent habit. The next year, we got a new coach. He was a Believer, but showed me the tough love I needed. The first time he saw me slam my racket in a match, he called me over to the fence. He said, “If I ever see you do that again, you’re off this team.” That’s all I needed. More than I hated making mistakes, I didn’t want to let him down. No more slamming.

Just the other day, I was hosting an English corner. There were 13 faces staring at me, holding onto my every word. Intertwined with fear of judgment is the fear of not knowing the right things to say. When you’re the “expert,” this is a bad combination. I knew these hesitations about myself, so I was attempting to be prepared, but also knowing that the random questions would still come.

And it did. “I was in a Christian church the other day, and I kept hearing them say ‘Hallelujah!’ What is the meaning of that?”

Um. I don’t know?! I just say it! And then the lies begin: You’re terrible because you don’t know the meaning of this simple word! Do you even know if it’s Greek or Hebrew? How are you supposed to lead others to the Lord if you can’t explain simple things?

A few students tried to save me with their definitions, but they weren’t quite right. Thankfully, another older, wiser teacher was next door and came in just in time to save me. He waltzed in with a definition that satisfied everyone in the room.

It’s not a new pattern. I will continue to make mistakes, continue to be faced with situations that make me uncomfortable; there will be more times I won’t have the right answers.

But can I just give up? Throw away the chances of growing, even if it hurts? Risk entire relationships just because I’m afraid of what will come out of my mouth?

I think it’s no mistake that right now, God has two girls in my life that like to challenge what I say. Sometimes, I avoid them. Other times, when I’m rooted in God’s word and remember that HIS Spirit is IN me, the fear evaporates. I have a choice: live this life He has given me fearing or regretting all the “what ifs,” or march onward with the armor of God (Ephesians 6).


Donuts. I miss them quite a bit. I didn’t eat them a ton when living in the States, but the whole wanting-what-you-don’t-have thing is legit in the donut section. I’ve tried making fried donuts, but they were messy and too much work for me. I asked for a donut pan for Christmas. And, oh my. My exercise plan needs to be taken up a notch now.


Once the batter is mixed, put an empty baggie into a tall cup and spoon the batter in. Cut a tip in the corner, and you’re ready to fill your pan!


In the background: an attempt to show you you don’t have to have a donut pan. You can roll up a piece of foil (NOTE: make a cylinder shape, not a ball!) and stick it in the middle of a muffin tin. They may not look as pretty, but the taste is still the same! Or, you could skip the foil altogether and just have donut-muffins. Donuffins.


Fluffy little friends.


I had no idea homemade donuts were this easy. The flavor combinations are endless!


For the icing, I wanted mine extra thick so it wouldn’t all run off the donuts.


Good thing I have people ready to share with, otherwise…yeah…there would be a problem.


I want another one right now!


Is a donut tower a real thing??

Baked Donuts with Vanilla Frosting

Slightly adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

Estimated time: 1 hour

Makes: About 16 donuts

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butermilk*

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a donut pan with non-stick spray. Set aside. (See muffin tin hack above if you don’t have a donut pan.)

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk the eggs, brown sugar, and buttermilk together until smooth. Add the melted butter and vanilla, whisking until fully combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.

For ease, use a large baggie to fill the pan. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag and pipe the batter into each donut cup, filling 2 ∕ 3 –3 ∕ 4 of the way full.

Bake for 9–10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool for about two minutes and transfer to a wire rack.

For the icing: Here’s where I don’t measure much. (If you’re unsure, look up one of the thousands of recipes for vanilla icing!) Combine powdered sugar, a few splashes of milk, a small splash of vanilla, and a dab of room-temp butter. Whisk until combined (I like mine thick), then spread on the donuts.

If you’re not into icing, then try dipping them in cinnamon sugar, like the original recipe, linked above. They were just as delicious!

*To make buttermilk, add a splash of lemon juice to the milk. Let sit for 5 minutes.


  1. Joanna May March 31, 2016

    Thank you so much Ashley for your wonderfully honest post, and the amazing donut recipe. Will have to try this (with the scrunched up foil). And I love your tip for making buttermilk – I wouldn’t have had a clue, and I certainly can’t get it where I live.

    1. Ashley Felder March 31, 2016

      Let us know how the donuts turn out! Check out M’Lynn’s tip below if you don’t have lemon juice. 🙂

  2. M'Lynn March 31, 2016

    Looks like a delicious and fun experiment! So can I buy a doughnut pan on Taobao I wonder?? Ooooh…my inlaws are coming to visit soon. Maybe they can toss one in their suitcase for me 🙂

    1. M'Lynn March 31, 2016

      oh…and in case there’s someone out there with a doughnut pan but no lemon juice…you can also add 1 tsp white vinegar to 1 cup milk to substitute for buttermilk


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