The Trouble with Cupcakes


cupcakesThis may sound like a whinge but I can’t for the life of me see the obsession people have for cupcakes.  On first inspection they like larger version of  fairy cakes with pretty  swirls of butter cream in varying colours: purple and yellow and orange. Creatively a work of art, but on taste, they belie their attractiveness.

The confection consists of fairly large dry sponge, covered with swirls of sickly sweet butter icing. 

I have happy memories of childhood with my mother baking buns, as they were called in Northern Ireland, or fairy cakes, in the rest of the United Kingdom. She used a standard recipe for Victoria sponge and placed a small amount of the mixture in dainty paper cases. They came out of the gas oven: golden brown and as light as a feather- lovely to eat plain with no decorations.

Should any of the said buns managed to survive the cooling stage on the wire tray in the kitchen she would decorate them. Sometimes she would spread good quality strawberry or raspberry jam on them, and then toss them in coconut. Sometime she would make simple water icing and place it liberally on the bun with a chocolate button or a glacé cherry on top. The pièce de la résistance was cutting the top of them, spreading whipped cream in the centre and shaping the removed top into the shape of two wings. These were known as butterflies. Nothing fancy but absolutely delicious.

After all, in the world of fashion a classic black dress beautifully made with accompanying bags, shoes and accoutrements can be classy as day or evening ware and never goes out of fashion.

And at the end of the day, shouldn’t subtlety and taste be more important than gauche flamboyance?

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