Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Art of the Cupcake

Cupcakes. Who doesn't love 'em? I personally don't trust non-cupcake lovers. Do you? Something slightly sinister about those rare cupcake "disser's."

My mom was the first one to turn us on to the wonders of the cupcake. In the summer she'd make orange chiffon with cool citrusy pastel orange, lemon and lime icings. And her good ol' fashioned white cake with fudgey chocolate (my grandmother's recipe) make a grown man weep with joy. We were fortunate to have a mother who could make anything out of a little flour, sugar and loads of creativity. So the cupcake has a special place in my heart because of her and her special way of presenting them.

Yesterday we had our Petaluma Craft Mafia meeting and I thought it might be nice if we had a cupcake swap. It went quite nicely. We had a nice variety from carrot cake to chocolate-orange. My company colors and a favorite flavor! Yummy!

Cupcake historians, (yes there are those who study the cupcake) believe the cupcake is truly an American invention, brought about by some confusion over a measuring term and the challenges of baking in the days of old when Americans simplified the baking process from weighing to measuring, hence "cup" cake. Hostess was the first commercial bakery to announce the arrival of the pre-packaged "cupcake." Since then the cupcake has gone in and out of vogue, but never with children. Children have always known the value of the humble cupcake. It is only in the recent years cupcakes, much like craft have forged a revolution and cult following in the hearts of creatives everywhere. Cupcake cafes and bakeries specializing in the tiny treat cropping up everywhere. I couldn't be happier!

I haven't had a ton of time to bake of late. But baking and cooking are a great way for me to relax. As I whipped up a batch of pastel and purple ballerina and conversation candy heart cupcakes before our meeting yesterday, I thought, my goodness I think I need to do this more often. Not quite like a good massage, but relaxing none the less.

The best part about cupcakes swaps is that you get to see what inspires other people. Some like them plain, some like them fancy. My favorites are good old Americana like what the Magnolia Bakery in NYC whips up or even the Cupcake Cafe. Just the best fresh ingredients, and a rich buttery or chocolately homemade icing.

I was toying with making my famous Red Velvet cake into cupcakes, perfect for Valentines day. But figured lemon and vanilla were crowd pleasers. I may make a Red Velevet cake anyway.

Himself had no complaints, except that he had burned his dinner I had left him. When I walked in late in the evening, he had already eaten not one, but two cupcakes. This was his dinner as his galavanting wife had abandoned him for her crafty chicks last evening. How did I know? The distinct aroma of burnt food, and a certain tell-tale purple smudge of the smeared icing drying on his face. Clever cupcake detective at your service.

There is a certain sweetness from visualizing a grown man enjoying sparkly purple cupcakes adorned with a tiny ballerina when pressed for dinner plans. Awwww... It's also a great way to show your valentine how much you care.

Let him eat cake!

1 comment:

Siren Suds said...

Purty picture cupcake girl!