If someone who knows me were to play word association with my name, he or she might come up with editor, blonde, or short, but not before cupcakes. My obsession with cupcakes started five or six years ago. I blame artist Wayne Thiebaud, whose thickly painted pastries really captured my imagination. (I even wrote a short story about his piece Pies, Pies, Pies.) Though not a cook or even a baker, I follow recipes, hope for the best, and post photos of the results.
Today is my birthday, so it seems an appropriate occasion to reflect on my relationship with these classically celebratory confections. Here are some lessons that cupcakes have taught me about life and dessert:
- Sometimes, the icing on the cake is literally the icing on the cake.
- Making a mess is much more fun than cleaning it up.
- Our creations inevitably fall short of our imaginations.
- Even if you visualize something over and over, it will never happen exactly that way.
- Having an obsession makes it easy for people to buy you gifts you’ll love (“Oh my God! Cupcake dish towels!”).
- Measure twice, bake once.
- Always keep chocolate in the house.
- Think on your feet (and wear comfortable shoes).
- Push yourself beyond what you know you can do.
- There’s no shame in having an entire drawer of sprinkles (or an entire cupboard, room, or wing of the house of whatever you treasure or collect).
Ultimately, for me, cupcakes are about spreading joy. As I say on my neglected Twitter page, I love baking cupcakes for family, friends, friends of friends, friends of family, and anyone who will make yummy sounds while eating them.
And I always bake a few extras for myself.