WHY AM I SUDDENLY SO INTIMIDATED BY CUPCAKES?
HELP! I'M INTIMIDATED BY CUPCAKES!
Intimidated by cupcakes? That sounds so incredibly silly...even to me. But it's true!
(And if you look at the pictures of fabulously cute cupcakes on this page, it's easy to understand).
I used to LOVE cupcakes. Okay, I still do. Tiny little sweet treasures - so much cuter than their full size cousin; the regular cake.
Cup-cakes just seem more...special. More fun!
When I was a kid, I always chose cupcakes over a big cake for my birthday party.
I still remember the cupcakes my mother bought from the local bakery. They came in one of those waxy white bakery boxes, tied with the classic red and white striped bakery string. I would feel such a sense of anticipation looking at that white box in the car. I could barely wait to get home!
Ahhh...but when we finally DID get home....it was worth the wait! Vanilla cupcakes (I always liked vanilla best) topped with frosty dollops of orange, yellow, white, chocloatey brown, and pink! So pretty! So tasty! So fun!
But wait! Where were the fancy designs? The artistic renderings? The amazing likenesses of popular celebrities and movie idols?
They didn't exist on those cupcakes, that's for sure. Those cupcakes of my childhood didn't sport a single sprinkle on top. Not that it mattered to me!
But nowadays? A plain cupcake has gone the way of the....I could say Dinosaur...but that only makes me think of a tiny Velociraptor constructed out of chocolate and cookie pieces perched on top of a cupcake, surrounded by a Jurrasic swamp swirled out of green icing!
That's right, folks! THAT is the kind of cupcake we are dealing with, today!
Nowadays, your cupcake must SHINE with style, color, uniqueness, and artistic flair..... worthy of a spot in the Museum of Art, or at the very least, good enough to be hung on your child's wall!
You can't serve cupcakes any more that are not tied in with the theme of the event - such as a cute yellow duckie swimming jauntily in a shimmery blue pond on top of the cupcakes at your three year old's summer birthday party.
Or perhaps an adorable bespeckled Harry Potter face adorning the top of each cupcake at your twelve year old's sleep-over.
But see..that's just it. They're ALL adorable. They all seem to take your breath away. It's no more just "shoving some jelly-beans on top and calling it a day." Oh, no! Now we must create ART on top of our cupcakes. And it must be GOOD!
Suddenly, everyone has turned into Martha Stewart! At least when it comes to cupcakes, anyway.
Did everyone secretly attend cake decorating classes when I wasn't looking?
Holidays have just become proving grounds for how well you can make cupcakes.
Don't get me wrong. I think this new parade (more like stampede) of cupcakes look simply amazing. A lot of them look way too pretty to eat! It's just...why does EVERYTHING in our life have to turn into this big competition...even something as innocent and child-like as a cupcake?
I'm suddenly afraid to make cupcakes.
What if mine don't look Internet worthy?
Will I be considered a failure?
And STILL....I can't help wonder.....
just when did this whole cupcake craze get under way?
Did some famous celebrity, like Gwyneth Paltrow or Jessica Alba, suddenly decide to bake cupcakes with darling little lady bugs on them and suddenly EVERYONE was doing it?
Maybe Paris Hilton baked some cupcakes with little gumdropop puppies stuffed into little pink icing purses on top?
I'm not sure. It's just that so many things that are suddenly "in" seem to start with celebrities.
Now there are whole web-sites and businesses (very lucrative businesses) - all devoted to cupcakes!
But not just any cupcakes, let me make that clear. Amazing, artistic, adorably adorned cupcakes!
And these things don't come cheap. I actually got a Dulce De Leche (sounds impressive, doesn't it? The name means "sweet milky caramel") cupcake in NY city the other day with my husband.
It was four bucks! This upscale cupcake may not have been "adorned" with cute little pictures or a scene on top, but that's okay since it represents yet another new "in" style type of cupcake .......the GOURMET cupcake!
Anyway, was it worth the four bucks? Oh yea! It was good. And when I say good, I really mean SENSATIONAL!
The icing was so light...so fluffy....so MMMMM......I can't even get it out of my head
And I thought those cupcakes from my childhood were good. Well, they might as well have been chopped liver in a bakery box compared to this fancy shmancy, over-the-top cupcake!
So where does this leave me with cupcakes? Suddenly, I seem to have developed such a craving for them. Like I said, I can't get them out of my mind (obviously....I'm here writing about them)!
I seem annoyed about them.
And yet, I am obsessed.
I'm still intimidated.
Yet...I want to face my fears.
I want to assign myself a "cupcake project."
That's right...I want to bravely march out into that kitchen, and bake some cupcakes...and not be afraid.....
I want to put something cute and/or artistic on top, so I, too, can be part of the new cupcake craze!
I don't need to get rich with my cupcakes. I don't need to start a Squidoo page about them, or make a cookbook. I just want to challenge myself.
Can I do it?
Can I make cupcakes I can be proud of?
I want to find out! I'm up for the chalenge! Yes! I am going to do it. I am going to bake a batch of cupcakes!
If worse comes to worse, at least I'll still have them to eat, right? Even if (God forbid!) they don't look good.
So....now that I have made the decision to face my cupcake fears head on, I must decide what sort of cupcakes I want to make.
I think I will start with a box of vanilla cake mix. After all, the cake itself isn't important. The big question is....WHAT SHOULD I PUT ON TOP?
I could always cheat and copy someone else's cupcake masterpiece. But I don't think that would be as satisfying as coming up with my own idea.
After giving this some SERIOUS thought, I have decided I would like to make a cupcake that incorporates my two favorite colors; pink and orange. After all, there isn't a holiday on the horizon, or a family member's birthday.
So.....I guess I'll just make "any occasion" cupcakes....
Tune in next time, Chapter 2 of The Cupcake Project, to find out how they come out!