And Now, A Rant About Cupcakes
Posted by Alan Edwards
I love me some cake. I mean, I love it like a fat kid loves redundancy. My whole life is littered with the cakes I’ve seen and tasted, from my grandmother’s Red Velvet cake (with vanilla frosting. Seriously, people, cream cheese frosting? Are we in Communist Russia? Am I to begin standing in line for beets next? Cream cheese frosting is ONLY acceptable on carrot cake. Nothing else. UPDATED: I let my rage get the best of me. Cream cheese frosting is delicious on pumpkin or other spiced-cake product. I stand corrected.) to the cherry cake pops my wonderful wife made a couple months ago. I fucking love cake, just to be clear. Love it.
This includes cupcakes. Ahhh, the sweet, glorious cupcake. It’s a mini-cake all its own, a piece of heaven made for one hand, allowing a cake lover like me to eat a cake without having to use a fork and plate. From EZ-Bake ovens to school bake sales to after-game treats to something to make a bunch of goddamn kids shut the fuck up for 5 minutes, the cupcake has a well-deserved legacy as a beloved American treasure. Like so much of our precious heritage, however, this glorious symbol of utter deliciousness is being denigrated and desecrated before our very eyes. If we don’t act soon, the cupcake as we know it will be gone, tossed carelessly in the compost heap of forgotten culinary treasures like so many crumb-lined paper wrappers.
For fuck sake, people, LIVES ARE AT STAKE. Possibly.
Back in the day, a cupcake was pretty simple. It was a mouth-sized cake with a smear of frosting on top of it, much like a regular standard-issue cake. You could bite into it and get the perfect mix of cakey goodness and just the right amount of sweet, sweet frosting. In two or three bites you’d gotten the experience of having a perfect slice of cake and been able to tell yourself that it had a tiny amount of calories because, hey, look at how small and compact that was. You could eat 4 of them back to back and feel no guilt. The cupcake was awesome and a shitload easier to make than an actual cake.
I don’t know what’s happened in the last 10 years or so. Like with most things, I blame the foodies, since everything that ever goes wrong is either the fault of foodies, hippies, or hipsters. Cupcakes suddenly appeared with a huge glop of frosting on the top, leading to an imbalance of the crucial cake-to-icing ratio. You risked getting it up your nose if you bit into it carelessly. And yet, we bought them anyway. I shifted with the changing times, sure. I learned that if I ripped off the bottom half of the cupcake and put it on top of the frosting, I got a cake sandwich. Too much frosting still, but a workable solution. I was lulled into a false sense of security that, although they weren’t perfect anymore, the change wasn’t too onerous. In short, I slipped. My vigilance was lowered, like the Gondorians abandoning Durthang. Other battles to fight, other concerns more pressing. In the crucial first hours of the assault on the glory of cupcakes, I was asleep at my post. I failed.
Oh, how slippery the slope we were on, and we didn’t even KNOW IT.
Suddenly, cupcake boutiques opened. An entire store filled with nothing but delicious cupcakes? Why, this sounds astounding! Amazing! Progress! The 21st-century equivalent of the polio vaccine and the light bulb! I recognized the peril too late. All over the country, middling bakers who couldn’t bake a decent cake suddenly realized that they too could open a cupcake shop – no better, a shoppe – and sell cupcakes to hipsters and foodies at ever-increasing margins. The explosion of perkily-named and pink-decorated boutiques opened by those rapacious bastards led to a war. An underground cupcake war. The competition spurred people on to differentiate themselves in flavor and technique and approach. No longer would a yellow-cake-with-chocolate-frosting cupcake do. It had to become a Mochachino Macadamia Nut Boysenberry Swirl with Fleur De Sel Maple-Infused Frosting topped with Bolivian Chocolate and Cinnamon Bark Shavings. The simple, delicious cupcake was a relic, laughable.
As we stood idly by, the cupcake, the perfect portable miniature cake, grew. And grew. The Cupcake Wars went mainstream, becoming a TV competition show where a bunch of pretentious asshats make their precious little offerings of shit made out of energy drinks and vegan whatever-the-fuck-vegans-make-cupcakes-out-of, probably the souls of trees. More shows appeared, all to celebrate these dickbags and their shitty little uptown shoppes where they charge more for a single fucking cupcake than you could buy an entire fucking cake for somewhere else.
It’s now reached the point of absurdity. We are being sold cupcakes that you can’t even fucking bite into, all topped with this ridiculous whirl of frosting the same size as the fucking “cupcake” itself. It’s too big for the cake sandwich approach. It’s insane. What the fuck is the point of an overpriced, shitty cupcake that you can’t even fucking bite into? It’s like one of those stupid-ass burgers that’s like 7 fucking inches tall. It’s pointless. It’s fucking idiotic. It’s the chef equivalent of compensation for having a small package. “Look at this awesome fucking artisan creation that none of you fucking plebeians can even bite into without looking like goddamn idiot, I’m so fucking awesome.” They have to be laughing as they watch us either try to nibble around the edges of a fucking giant cupcake like hamsters or try to bite into it and get their shitty frosting all over our faces or, worse than any fucking thing else, reduced to using a goddamn fork and plate for the fucking thing. We’ve lost. The cupcake is gone.
At a company lunch recently, there were cupcakes. They were fucking ridiculously huge and topped with this mound of frosting. I said, fuck it, I’ll try one. I grab a red velvet one. I go to try my cake sandwich trick, which still is going to be a bitch since I’ll need to distend my jaw like Cottonmouth to get this Starbuck-muffin-sized monstrosity in my mouth. I tear the bottom part out and I discover that whatever dickbag foodie asshole who made these things decided that all the extravagant extra bullshit isn’t enough, and added a fucking pudding center to the cupcake. A fucking glop of fucking pudding in the middle of the fucking cupcake. Now this shit is dropping everywhere, I’m trying to figure out how to get some of the 8 inches of frosting on the bottom half, and just basically having a pain-in-the-ass time trying to EAT A FUCKING CUPCAKE. I manage a bite. The frosting isn’t cream cheese, so it was made by a capitalist, but the cake itself is as bland as fucking airline food. All this time and effort to make this huge fucking cupcake with bells and whistles and bullshit, and whoever made this fucking thing didn’t even bother to make it fucking taste good. What the fuck. It’s like these shitty little bakers that can’t hack making actual cakes (which is how Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes categorized them) don’t even know how to make a fucking cupcake taste good so they have to add 8 layers of pretentious bullshit to pass them off to gullible customers at batshit insane prices.
In the face of these gargantuan monstrosities, how can the lowly flat-topped cupcake compete? How many proud bakers have brought their traditional cupcakes to their church, only to be laughed at and mocked by the people with their softball-sized versions of the American Classic? How many children have been ashamed at the seemingly-tiny-sized confections given to them by well-meaning patriotic parents and have thrown them in the bushes instead of facing their merciless shitty little peers backed by the tyranny of the New Cupcake? How many of these poor people have despaired at the ridicule and locked themselves away in a dark closet, contemplating the short sharp shock of a knotted rope at their necks to end the torment and misery these oversized faux-cupcakes cause?
We need to put a stop to this. We need to strike a blow against this threat to our very liberty and lives. You and I can change this. This weekend, make cupcakes. The normal-sized kind. Frost them well but not overgenerously. Take pictures of them. Post them to Twitter or Facebook or something. Spread the word that we will not let the precious cupcake ideal go without a fight. Give them to people you love. Allow them to enjoy a cupcake in the manner in which it should be enjoyed.
Take back America.