With Valentine's Day on Sunday, I thought it was a good time to consider the cupcake.
In the last few years, cupcakes have gone from kindergarten treat to trendy food, with fancy cupcake shops popping up like jellybeans in green plastic straw.
Generally, I'm pro-cupcake. Cupcakes have significant advantages in the cake world, besides their obvious cuteness: You get a controlled portion of cake, you usually get a good frosting-to-cake ratio, and their little tops are just begging to be decorated. Yes, there are many cupcake transgressions, mostly involving dry cake, dried-out, crispy frosting, and not enough frosting. But cupcake shortcomings are not my issue today.
It's hard to eat a cupcake. I was thinking about this recently while communing with a particularly good chocolate cupcake with mocha frosting.
It shouldn't be hard. It's just a cupcake. But as you can see by the picture above, there is a logistical issue here. Most mouths are no more than 1 1/2 inches, tooth tip to tooth tip, when opened wide. And take it from me -- I've got a big mouth. (Go ahead, you can say -- everyone else does.)
But, even the shorter homemade cupcakes are at least 2 inches high, frosting including. And the real extravaganza bakery cupcakes can top 3 inches from bottom to frosting tip. So how do you eat a cupcake without getting frosting all over your nose?
Yes, you can just eat the frosting. But that negates the joyous combination of cake and frosting, which is kind of the whole point.
So here's what I do: Unwrap the cupcake. Grasp the bottom of the cake and gently pull away. Cupcake cake always seems to split in half pretty easily. Eat the bottom layer of cake. Take a lick or two from the frosting top to simultaneously enjoy it and tame the height. What you're left with is a slimmer layer of cake and a good helping of frosting. Cupcake nirvana is closer to achievement.
Good luck, and feel free to share your own method if you have a means of taming unruly cupcakes. In the meantime, happy Valentine's Day.
And remember: If he uses a napkin to wipe the frosting off the tip of your nose, you ought to seriously reconsider the relationship.