Compact yet fluffy. Decadent but dainty. Self-contained and yet utterly, maddeningly un-portable. I think it’s cupcakes’ inherent contradictions that make them so irresisti-licious. For years now, chic towns across the nation have been worshipping cupcakes; Santa Barbara alone claims several gourmet boutiques devoted to the frosted confections.
And I whole-mouthedly approve. If you ignore the fact that they’re pricey and fattening — and let’s do — cupcakes are the perfect food. “Miniature” equals “adorable” and cake is no different. I like the integrity of a cupcake, each an original and self-contained work of art rather than a crumby fragment of a larger whole, a sloppy slab o’ Bundt, if you will.
I appreciate that cupcakes — whether petite or the size of my head — have a guess-free serving size, and that their frosting-to-cake ratio is considerably higher, and thus more mathematically yumptious, than regular cake.
I like their symmetry and the bling you often find on top: jelly bean, coffee bean, sugared berry. I relish that they’re fork-resistant and, being too tall for a mouth and too precarious to turn sideways, leave frosting on your chin and nostrils, making you look and feel like you’re four years old.