It’s not about the cupcake.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am reposting this post from last year. Enjoy! And have a cupcake
A little bit after Valentine’s Day 2007
I love cake. Grocery store cake to be specific. Give me some Harris Teeter (Can I get a shout out for the Dirty South’s grocery store of choice?) vanilla cake with vanilla icing and you have a girl who doesn’t need any other sustenance. Surely the green icing counts as a vegetable. Anyway, just after Valentine’s Day 2007, my bf’s aunt gave us two cupcakes. Grocery store cupcakes. With a lot of icing. I was so psyched about the cupcake that in the car, on the way home, I was talking out loud about when I was going to eat my cupcake. Yes, I am simple. I know this, but I don’t ever get grocery store cake or cupcakes and so a little part of me was dancing inside from the impending sugar rush. BF looked at me nonchalantly and said, “You can have my cupcake.” “Are you kidding me,” I asked. “Because if you are, that is just cruel.” “I am not kidding you,” he answered. “I don’t need to be eating that.” He actually said that line with a hint of self-satisfaction, as if he were mature enough to rise above the cupcake trance that I was so clearly in. But I ignored him because I knew that I needed the cupcake– both cupcakes. So I started planning, aloud, when I would have each cupcake. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I exclaimed, as if he had given me something gold and shiny. But this was better than gold and shiny. Sugar is my gold and shiny. Back home, I dropped my cupcakes off in the kitchen and then retreated to my office to work on whatever deadline I had approaching, and BF went to bed. Finally at a good stopping place a couple hours later, I walked through the kitchen on the way to our bedroom. My eyes darted to the cupcakes that I had so lovingly wrapped in tin foil. Panic struck. Even through the tin foil, I could see that one of the cupcakes was missing. I opened up the foil. Just one cupcake looked back, and mercury rose through my spine. I marched into the bedroom and noisily opened my dresser drawer, stomped my way into the bathroom, threw on every light, hummed my way through my bedtime routine until BF woke up with a jump. “What?” He asked, as he always does when he is aroused out of a deep sleep. I turned to him, put my hands on my hips, and said “I can’t believe you would do something so tacky as to eat my cupcake without asking.” “It was my cupcake,” he tried to reason. “No it was not,” I said. “And that doesn’t matter because this is not about the cupcake.” “It is too about the cupcake,” he insisted. “It is not. This is about you offering me something and then regretting the offering and rather than coming to ask me if you could have it back like an adult, you just did what you wanted. That is no way to be in a partnership,” I sneered. “You’re just mad that I ate MY cupcake.” “This is not about the cupcake,” I fumed and ranted and raved until we both just went to sleep. In the morning, he looked at me when I hopped out of bed. “I am sorry that I ate your cupcake,” he offered. “It’s not about you eating the cupcake,” I tried again. “Don’t you get that?” “Yeah, I do,” he answered before leaving for work. But I wondered all day if he really did get it. Sure, I love cake, and I love the anticipation of cake. But I also love sharing things I love with people that I love, and I would have been happy to give the cupcake back if he had just asked. That night, he walked into the house with a six pack of grocery store cupcakes. “What’s that?” I honed in, my cake-dar on high. “A peace offering,” he answered. “Now, you have five cupcakes all to yourself.” I did a double take, clearly counting six cupcakes in the container. “But there are six cupcakes,” the greedy little cake hoarder in me said. “And one of them is mine,” he smiled before walking into the kitchen, opening the case, and savoring his cupcake.
** About the cupcakes pictured: I love cupcakes so much that I had to have them at the launch party for Hijas Americanas last summer. So I asked pastry maker extraordinaire, Carly Orlando, to whip up some cupcakes with a Latino flair. Carly outdid herself (and the grocery store cupcake fairy). She came up with three brilliant recipes, two of which are captured here by the gifted photographic lens of Richard Rudisill. They are Mexican Chocolate Expresso which is cinnamon-spiced chocolate cake, mocha buttercream with a chocolate covered expresso bean and Pastel de Tres Leches which is a simple sponge cake soaked with a mixture of three milks, delicate almond buttercream topped with a fried plantain chip. Even better, Carly is now my neighbor (seriously, how lucky can the cupcake hoarder get to have a pastry chef living next door?). Life is sweet. For Valentine’s Day 2008, BF and I had Carly’s Red Velvet Cupcakes. And we shared nicely.