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Cupcake Wars

Most people are aware cupcakes have taken over the world.  There are no more bakeries, there are only a slew of “cupcakeries” lining every street.  Even in my small town, there are four shops that specifically sell cupcakes.  My girlfriend with the rockin’ colored hair (now a bright purple) and I have been sampling from each of them to see who has the best ones.  We purchase a set while on the clock at our regular job and involve our boss on a three judge panel.  What we found in the last month are the cupcakes in this town suck.

In answer to our feeling of superiority over the other bakers who have come up short, we’ve decided to find recipes to make our own concoctions.  My friend started with a ginger cupcake topped with a green tea frosting (because of my recommendation for something different.)  She made a double batch of what ended up being very expensive cupcakes.  She brought them to work, shared with her staff, taste tested with me and then opened herself up to the feedback of the floor. 

It was very interesting to see the room transform into the overly critical French judge from Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.  Some people liked the interesting take of the cupcake and enjoyed the chopped pieces of crystalized ginger in the cake.  Others like the uniqueness of the bright green colored frosting with the subtle hint of green tea.  But then there were the others.  People who spit it out in an overdramatized motion acting like a king who had been poisoned.  Another cried out “that’s disgusting” without a second thought of the baker standing right in front of them. 

It reminded me of the behavior sometimes found on writing boards.  A generous person brought something to the party they had spent time on and poured their heart into.  Feedback was requested.  Of course, you hope the world says it’s great, like something they have never tasted (or read) before, but you are okay if they give you something to tweek it to make it better.  But when people are rolling their eyes, grabbing their throats, and rushing for water, you feel a little deflated.  Different from writing boards, the cupcake creation followed someone else’s recipe and isn’t as personal as a novel which required six months of your life.

My first experience with a critique from a writing board was two years ago and, honestly, before I was really ready.  Some people were nice and tried to help a flawed recipe.  But there were others who were down right brutal.  I remember one famous comment was “I hope your main character dies so I don’t have to read any more.”  Sure, it stung.  And then it made me question if I was cut out for this writing world.  But after a little while it became funny and now it’s something that fuels my continued education to become a better writer.

Did we learn from our taste test with the green tea and ginger?  Sure.  It’s too unpredictable to be a staple recipe.  Like with writing, you have to decide when you are going to edit a work or leave it altogether for a new project.  So we’ve moved on to another recipe, the Irish Car Bomb, and I’m prepping it for tasting in between writing paragraphs on the WIP.  I have hopes it will be better received.  I know it won’t meet everyone’s taste and I’m okay with that.  I just want it to show some progression.  But if nothing else, it’s great practice.  Because even with a bad batch of cupcakes hitting the trashcan or a novel that has to be shelved, there are many things learned to make the next one irresistible.

Guinness cake with Jameson's Irish Whiskey ganache

Bailey's Irish Creme butter cream on top

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