Category Archives: Cupcakes

One year old never looked so good.

Avid readers, today is a magical day. It’s Living on a Latte and a Prayer‘s first birthday, and I must acknowledge all the lovely subscribers and commentators who have made my entrance into the blogosphere oh-so-special. Your kind and critical words have helped to make me the certifiable caffeine addict that I am. My only hope is that you continue down this crazy coffee-laden road with me in the months and years to come.

It’s quite strange, but the true source of inspiration for this blog was a brief comment a friend once made regarding my study abroad blog. She wrote, “Yaf, for a girl who claims to have a blog devoted to European adventures, you sure do have a talent for finding a way to always bring it back to coffee.” And with a rare talent such as that I soon realized I needed to create a blog to fit my personal mantra: You can never have too much caffeine.

Given the aforementioned mantra, I determined to celebrate today with a coffee-cupcake: part baked good gooey goodness and part liquid euphoria. L’Chaim!

Bagels and lox cupcakes, or, the reason I will need to diet before my wedding

Now I must preface this entry by saying I am not planning on wedding in the immediate future. However, I recognize that the caloric decisions I make at 21 may adversely affect my marriageable opportunities. To cite my biology lab partner, “Fat is the substrate that prevents you from mating.” Her prescription– building protein or lean body mass.

Sadly finals has resigned me to a sedentary state, in which I  refrain from exercise that builds the aforementioned lean body mass while consuming foods of the fatty acid variety. On this particular day, when I am homesick and in desperate need of a bagel with lox and a schmear, I have determined to craft the Bagels and Lox Cupcake. Though, in theory, it sounds like a horrific amalgamation of two delicious lipid-filled food products, I can assure you that the title is anything but literal.

Taking my cue from Hello, Cupcake!, a wonderful cupcake blog and book, I  have devised a baked good guaranteed to induce hip-expansion upon first taste. The recipe yields 24 cupcakes, each featuring a sliced mini-doughnut, sprinkled with poppy seeds on top of its base. The doughnut–designed to mimic the bagel– is filled with Starbucks fruit chew, which serves as the “lox” and adorned with strands of green Twizzlers, or “lettuce.”

My love/hate relationship with chocolate.

Envision a world without chocolate. A world in which young women– in the absence of men and/or physical affection– resort to the consumption of orange peels instead of a processed version of the cocoa bean. A world in which monthly hormonal imbalances do not generate cravings for calories, but for human contact or communication. A world in which my immense distaste for the brown sugary substance known as the human-hips-expander is not an exception to the rule, but the norm.

While I recognize that not everyone shares my disdain for chocolate– and that the prospect of its disappearance from our consumer culture could seriously jeopardize the economy– I sometimes wish it out of existence. Particular now, at the start of the holiday season, in which food of all sorts of caloric varieties begins to appear in large quantities. Chocolate, compared to the carbtastic goodness of a good old fashioned potato latke or jelly doughnut, is simply a waste. Why have the Chanukah gelt (chocolate coins for my non-Yiddish savvy speakers) when you can enjoy the miracle of oil that lasted eight crazy nights?

I’ll tell you why– because it’s there. I have a horrible tendency to eat something simply because it is occupying space in an area near my vicinity. Why did I consume 11 portions of raw cashews yesterday? Because the jar sat tenderly on my desk, begging for some of that aforementioned human contact. With the advent of Chanukah tomorrow night, I am bound to encounter those chocolate coins– and despite my obvious disdain for them, to consume them, as I do all food items that manage to find a place in my room.

Furthermore, finals period has just about begun. With a slew of final presentations, papers, and fellowship applications to complete, I require additional fuel. Given my high consumption of caffeine, coffee alone may be insufficient in generating the necessary energy boost. Chocolate, however, with its embedded sugary goodness, offers such a potential. This is why I have taken a lesson from the lovely lady of Cupcakes and Cashmere, and resorted to a happy medium between healthy living and hip-hugging reality: Chocolate-Covered Orange Peels.

I may even use them in my upcoming Chanukah holiday gift exchange: the annual Shafer Mysterious Maccabee. After searching for some delicious Chanukah-themed cocktails, they may provide a good balance to the Wednesday night celebration.

The sky is falling, or, the tale of the disappearing cupcakery.

I woke up the other day– under caffeinated and slightly delirious from the festivities of the previous night. Said festivities involved a marathon of Apples-to-Apples,  pint size versions of Sabra hummus, and a whole lot of estrogen-driven chit-chat– just another Friday night at a woman’s college.

But I digress, as I awoke, I texted the Beloved Roommate to inform her that I desperately needed a dosage of caffeine, should she care to accompany me on this necessary venture. While driving to Starbucks, we noted that Kick Ass Cupcakes, the cupcake store that had opened in Wellesley only a few months before, had suddenly and mysteriously vanished.

Now Kick Ass Cupcakes is not your ordinary New England cupcakery smack in the middle of an upper class, extraordinarily white suburban setting. It had alcoholic flavored cupcakes– such as the Mojito, as well as comfort food-esque baked goods– like the Peanut Butter and Jelly cupcake. And unlike a typical New York bakery, it served them for obscenely reasonable prices.

 

RIP: Berry Crumbly

 

While Slate may have portended the end of cupcakes over a year ago, I cannot accept that this artheroclerosis-inducing establishment is a bakery of the past. Bakeries, even in towns where the average woman strives to be the size of my right thumb, still seem to support caloric havens. Said woman purchase these products for their small, and usually rather athletic children, who burn off the calories almost as instantly as they intake them. (As an aside, I have always not so secretly despised those children.)

However, I think what truly bothers me is that a potentially wondrous place to study off-campus has disappeared. There are few places in the town of Wellesley that serve both quality food and outrageous ambiance. Kick Ass was one of those exceptions.

Now, in its absence, I must resign myself to Susu’s, a classy cafe that I suspect pays the $80 a jar price tag for Stumptown Roasters. Their prices, sadly, reflect that quality coffee bean endeavor. Also, I am the only brown eyed girl in the cafe. Somehow Kick Ass managed to attract what little diversity existed in the town into its shop. And frankly, I miss that.

All of this, of course, increases the possibility that I will actually venture into the city of Boston to discover a new study niche. If you have any thoughts or recommendations of places to caffeinate and converse in highly intellectual discourses on either obscure Italian cinema or women and economic development, do share.

Why I signed up for an I-Banking recruitment session…

Now I know what all my idealistic readers are thinking, “she’s sold out, in the classic money-grubbing, Park Avenue penthouse sense.” And perhaps I have sacrificed a piece of my soul to capitalist gods of Wall Street. But, in all honesty, it’s just an information session, where I will likely learn that without having ever taken an economics class, I am most certainly not qualified for investment banking.

However, should the recruiter permit me to justify why I have chosen a career for which I have little qualification, I have compiled a list of the benefits to be gained from the experience.

Personal benefits:

1. A continuous, unlimited supply of Starbucks. Even if and when my magical Starbucks card goes into retirement, I will be making enough money to practically buy my own personal Starbucks barista. He– likely a gay New York actor wannabe type (GNYAWT)– will follow me from client meeting to client meeting, brewing and perfecting my lattes before my very hyper-caffeinated eyes.

2. A killer Banana Republic/J.Crew/Anthropologie inspired wardrobe. For all those who hate on the working woman and her propensity for heels, I say, “you’re just jealous you can’t afford her garb.” And, if and when I become an I-Banker, I will no longer be one of those resentful girls in a sundress and flats because, well, I’ll own the sleek black wrap dress and Jimmy Choo heels.

3. Master the art of being a night owl. Sometimes I feel like I am an 80 year old woman trapped in a 21 year old body. I just need so much sleep and at such ridiculously early hours of the night. As I-Banking will require me to work until at least midnight each day of the week, I figure I will learn the art of never sleeping before 2 AM. And a built in perk, I’ll also learn to be a morning rooster, as I’ll be up at the crack of dawn to begin my work day.

Company benefits:

1. A zumba class for all my fellow employees. Yes, there is a little spot on my resume under which I list my special skills. One such skill: ability to zumba– meaning teach all those without rhythm how to dance in spite of their hips, which not only don’t lie, but don’t seem to move or groove at all. And let’s be honest, most I-Bankers are not future Shakiras. They could use a little help in the hip shaking department.

2. A built in matchmaking service. Between my mother, my married-with-kids high school friends, and the astrological calendar, I am a lean, mean matchmaking machine. And as I-Bankers have little time to play the field, they need some outside assistance– to speed up the process, wedding ring and honeymoon in Hawaii and all.

3. Cupcake Fridays. We all know cupcakes are alive and well, and this little New Yorker is attempting to master the art of cupcakery. After sampling quite a few such locations this summer, I believe I may well be on my way to having a mix next to Betty Crocker in your local Stop ‘n’ Shop. In the interim, though, I propose practicing my craft on my co-workers every Friday. I think of it as a delectable way to kick off the weekend, which knowing the profession, will likely involve a Saturday and Sunday spent in the office, slurping up the remaining contents of the latte my GNYAWT left behind before departing for his RENT audition.

She had me at smittenkitchen.com…

You know the moment when you walk into your new office of employment, fully caffeinated, and you realize you are about to engage in a potentially life-changing experience? Oh, and also, those heels you thought would complement your first day of work dress, may actually be cutting off the circulation to your ankles? Well, as a young and impressionable intern at the World Policy Journal, I experienced the above sensation on my first day of work– which notably was also my 21st birthday.

After determining to stick to flats for the remainder of the summer, I began to befriend my fellow interns. In the coming weeks, each intern– with his/her permission, will be profiled in this blog. Their contributions to the Journal and to my overall experience will be detailed and examined and satirized.

Today I begin with Caroline, the only other female intern, and hence the only other person in the office who did not mock me for naming my blog after a song lyric from a Broadway musical about a woman suffering from depression. As a Brown woman (I apologize, the Wellesley woman in me will not refer to a female above 18 as a “girl”), she is both laid back and personable. Researching articles about excrement bags in the developing world, Caroline has demonstrated her ability to get down and dirty, in a semi-literal sense.

She is also the reason why after leaving work the first day I knew that my internship experience would be more than tolerable– it would be enjoyable. While sipping a diet coke at my birthday dinner, where just my luck the restaurant no longer had a liquor license and hence could not serve me alcohol, I referenced Caroline as the other double XX chromosome in the office. My friend, Laura, having just supplied me with the most decadent CRUMBS cupcakes, asked me what it was about Caroline that comforted me– other than the whole sisterhood connection. My response, “She likes smittenkitchen too!”

Crumbs Cupcake flavor: THE GOOD GUY

As a self-described  foodie, I take great pleasure in websites dedicated to fetishizing edible items. Most people– including Upper East Side Italian mothers– warn against this pleasure, which they deem a dangerous obsession. Said people are concerned that if their daughters appear to be too concerned with culinary delights, those daughters will never find sons; and their dream of having grandchildren will never materialize into reality. Caroline, however, dismisses those individuals, and like me, takes pride in smittenkitchen, which consistently provides the most delectable recipes. More importantly, though, Caroline has heard of the website. When it suddenly appeared as a link on my blogroll, she did not stare in confusion (which is more than I can say for her male counterparts). She understood; fellow foodies always do.

Of course, having formed an emotional attachment to a person who appreciates both food and theater, I now must say goodbye. Caroline leaves tomorrow, and sadly I will be on a plane to Chicago at the moment of her departure. I have no doubt we will continue to debate the best method for creating a chocolate doughnut hole– without permanently burning our bodies in 150 degree oil. Nonetheless, as per any ending, parting is indeed in such sweet sorrow.

In other news, stay tuned for a surprise  guest blogger this weekend, who while I am in the Windy City, will delight you with tales of the City that Never Sleeps.

Librarian is my backup career.

I used to think if the whole politician/Supreme Court justice/kick-ass tort lawyer career didn’t work out, I would open up a cupcakery. At age seven, I thought it was a rather original idea. Only Magnolia’s existed in New York at the time. Crumbs and other such West Coast chains had not yet opened on the East Coast, and I was convinced I had discovered an under appreciated foodie niche.

Then, of course, cupcakes became a pop culture phenomenon, with entire feature sections of mainstream newspapers devoted to revealing the best frosted baked goods in town. Shortly thereafter, however, Slate issued a statement: The cupcake crash is coming. The bubble, it posited, would shortly burst, and all those seeking careers in the high powered, artery-clogging industry would soon be feeding their delectable delights to pigeons in the park.

Always the realist, I understood that an alternate back-up plan would need to be determined. As a previous post indicates, housekeeping was out of the question. Any sort of sport related activity was physically impossible. And firefighter was off limits– especially given my pyromaniac tendencies.

Today– in the midst of scouring the web for unique and interesting content for my internship– I happened upon an answer. I noticed an NPR article, arguing that like cupcakes, libraries should become the next socio-cultural phenomenon. Conveniently, said article linked to a video of librarians at the University of Washington parodying Lady Gaga. Needless to say, it was magical.

It also established a clear alternative career choice: college librarian. My love of the written word combined with my creepishly good internet search/stalking skills, and I have the perfect resume for the job. In some ways I am more qualified for that career than my first choice– chasing down evil corporations that contaminate small town drinking water with carcinogens, while simultaneously authoring groundbreaking editorials for The New York Times or some such publication. Regardless, I will shoot for the stars, and if I don’t actually reach them, well, then at least I know there is a building not far below begging to be alphabetized.