Sunday, September 14, 2008
I used to abhore cupcakes. Ever since elementary school. A classmates mother would bring in a giant box of generic supermarket cupcakes and all the kids would jump up and down. I was indifferent. I hated the frosting the most. The thick, tasteless blob that I would wipe off with a napkin and offer to my eager friends. I would never go out of my way for a cupcake.
Then I had a life changing experience. A few years ago the Teacake Bakeshop opened up the shopping center of Bay Street Emeryville. The bakery was adorable, with it's pink candy-striped interior to it's glass case of delicious cookies. My first few visits I ordered a cookie, I never paid much attention to the cupcakes. Then one day while standing in a ridiculously long line for a few sugary treats I gazed over at the variety of cupcakes displayed on dainty glass cake stands. The array of pastel frosting, tiny pearl decorations, and fondant daisies enchanted me and after years of trauma I voluntarily tried a cupcake.
I started simple, a Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream. One bite and I was sold. The moist cake was delicious and the once-feared frosting quickly became my new favorite part. Light and creamy and flavorful. This was the beginning of a beautiful romance and I haven't ordered a cookie from there since.
What started out as a simple taste-experimentation of a gourmet vanilla cupcake quickly advanced into a quest for more mouth-watering flavors: Pink Velvet Cupcakes, daily specials like Coconut and Carrot Cake, and seasonal flavors like Pumpkin with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.
Soon one bakeshop wasn't enough and I eagerly sought out new potentials. From the Fleur de Sel and Passion Fruit filled cupcakes at Kara's Cupcakes in San Francisco's Ghiradelli Square to the Matcha Green Tea and Pretty In Pink strawberry cupcakes at the Love At First Bite Bakery tucked away in secluded corner of Berkeley.
I have yet to bother baking my own batch and really am just waiting for an occasion to do so. It would be safest for me to have them, say, consumed by friends at a birthday party, rather than sitting enticingly in my glass cake stand in plain sight from the living room couch, with myself as their only captive audience.
Maybe I will attempt a scaled-down recipe that could yield only six cupcakes without sacrificing flavor or texture due to the reductions. But then again I wouldn't even know where to start. Which flavor? Paired with which frosting?
For now, cupcakes will remain the one thing I am contented to seek out at a bakery before my own kitchen. For now.