“So Savannah was wondering if you’d be willing to make cupcakes for her birthday party.”
The request wasn’t surprising since I’d helped out with this very endeavor a couple of times before, but I needed to clarify something before I could commit. “Wait a minute, does she mean those horrible box cupcakes that I made the first year, or can I whip up something from scratch? I could even do a lovely Coca-Cola cake that the kids would love. It’s so moist.”
“Well . . .” Shannon replied.
“At least ask her, ok? If she really wants the kind you dump out of cardboard, I’ll do those.” And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call a grand concession. It’s not that I have anything against working moms who need to cut a few corners to save time or even those parents who simply don’t want to spend even five more minutes than they have to in the kitchen. But I love to bake. And I’m a darn fine baker. I may not be able to decorate a five-tiered wedding cake or sculpt the Golden Gate Bridge out of fondant, but I can make some mean brownies and my cream cheese pound cake always draws a compliment. So when the response came back that Savannah wanted the cupcakes that I had made in the past, I sighed and wrote “cake mix” on my shopping list in deepest black.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Why not just make cupcakes from scratch and never tell? What are the chances a child would notice?” Well, if they’re anything like my teenagers, they can spot the difference between homemade and store bought the way my friend’s Doberman knows that there’s a pill hidden in a pinch of bread. And here’s the part that should peel the enamel right off your teeth: they prefer store bought until you train them. I’ll never forget the day a group of my kids turned their noses up at my peach cobbler and then cheered when a classmate brought in a plastic tray of Walmart cookies, complete with radioactive green icing. It took me a week to recover from the trauma.
So I swallowed my pride and stood in front of the Duncan Hines section of the baking aisle, throwing furtive glances over my shoulder like a shoplifter with a Rolex down her blouse. I bought something with confetti in it and tossed a can of chocolate icing into my cart that probably has a shelf life that will postdate the next nuclear detonation. At least the roaches will have something to eat.
I baked and delivered my wares and received a report a couple of days afterwards that the party was a roaring success. At least I was in St. Augustine at the time, so I had a perfectly solid alibi against baking crimes committed that day.
© 2014 – Traci Carver