I had a great conversation with one of my dearest friends the other day. We were talking about a former love of mine, how he had clearly moved on with a new love, and how I was left questioning whether I should have ended things with him.
My friend could not have been more comforting when she said, “Taji, you are the cake. And at most, he should be the icing. This whole Jerry Maguire ‘you complete me’ bullshit is a total lie. You’re beautiful and smart and you’ll only find happiness from within. Looking for happiness in a man will get you nowhere.”
You are free to disagree, but I think my friend was spot on. You can’t look outside for something that comes from within. If there’s a void inside you, only you can fill it.
It was this conversation that really fueled today’s recipe. I wanted a cupcake that tasted great on its own, but also had the potential to taste great with icing. Moreover, I had recently bought an icing kit online and was really eager to try it out.
There were a couple of inspirations to this dish. I started off scavenging the internet for the perfect carrot cake recipe. I came across this one, but made a few changes. I did NOT make this recipe gluten free. Although this is something I normally would do for myself, for my family sometimes I definitely make desserts with gluten that everyone can enjoy. I did however, want to provide a recipe so that my gluten free followers would still have an opportunity to participate. I also cut back on the amount of carrots the original recipe used.
For the frosting, I was out of lemons. I decided to use a ton of orange zest instead and make a orange infused cream cheese frosting. Of course, you’re free to eat these cupcakes frosting-free! Remember, you are the cake. At most, he or she is the icing.
Making the cupcakes was super easy. I’ve been baking for quite a while and didn’t have any problems. The tricky part was the icing. I had only used a pastry bag once before, and to say the least, things hadn’t gone smoothly. But I was eager and determined to make it work.
For about the first dozen, things weren’t quite…appealing. I had a really hard time controlling the bag and the whole process was super sloppy and messy.
But then, something changed. By the second dozen I had really gotten a hang of things. Sure, I wasn’t the next Cake Boss. But I was making a simple, sophisticated-looking cupcake that I’m sure I could sell in DC (mind you, Georgetown Cupcake is in my backyard).
I also realized that cupcakes are like snowflakes. While some bakeries strive for uniformity (and rightfully so), when making my own cupcakes I noted how each sumptuous pastry shined with individuality. The cupcakes didn’t care if they were lopsided or drowning in icing. They stood up straight, fraught with pride.
In a way, I like to think that we are all cupcakes. Some of us may think we’re too tall or too fat. Some of us think we needs loads of icing to taste good. But remember that at the end of the day, the perfect cupcake is simple. And the perfect cupcake can be enjoyed all on its own.