The idea for this post came to me while I was out running - face glowing, lungs screaming for more air and muscles crying to be home on the sofa. I guess that motivational experts would no doubt shake their heads in pity to read that I spend my exercise time thinking about sweet treats. It's hardly the right sort of visualisation technique; but I find that running with nothing to do but let my mind wander is when my creative ideas start to take shape. It may be something to do with the lack of oxygen to the brain or just a further example of artistic eccentricity, but I'm willing to work with it.
So, where we were we? Ah yes, CUPCAKES!
When I was a lass, these came in a 2 inch high box from the supermarket. They were a flat-topped fairy cake with some icing filling up the rest of the wrapper. Deciding how to eat them was all part of the experience. Would we peel off the icing first or munch the sponge? Or should I combine the crumb and the cream in an all enveloping sweet concoction?
Now things have moved on. We are faced with a work of art. My pondering takes the form of wondering not what part to eat first, but whether I should try to capture its majesty on canvas or memory stick! The icing now tends to be bigger than the cake which in this frugal day and age is quite an oddity. It oozes with calories, buttercream, soft sweet cheese and so much sugar. Little stars and sparkles adorn it and twinkle at your teeth as they move towards the nerve-tingling first bite. Ahh...
Of course, living in the boondocks as I do, we (perhaps fortunately) are not overflowing with chichi cafés and patisseries displaying the latest collections and charging a sweet fortune when we succumb to desire and a skinny latte. Rather, the burghers of this town are still hooked on custard tarts, jammy donuts and iced buns with the occasional exotic yum yum thrown in for good measure. It's all really rather dull.
Instead, the crème de la icing crème of the cake world must be hunted with a predator's skill, while remembering that looks can be deceiving. Less can sometimes be more and the prettiest of pastel shade and most delicate of drizzling could end up tasting worse than the artificial cream oozing out of donuts on the High Street. Clearly much sampling must be done to ensure we get things just right...
It's a tough old world being a cupcake hunter in these parts... Maybe playing with pictures in PhotoShop and coveting knitted ones are a safer and less calorific bet.