Cupcakes A Lost Art

I read the other day that cupcakes were another one of those “things” that lifestyle watchers predict will go the way of the Edsel car.  There is just no need or desire to make little decorated one serving cakes.   The loss of the cupcake  is another piece of  the 50’s and 60’s era has run its course and is destined to become only nostalgia.

When I was a child cupcakes were the most amazing special treat.   It was a cake all your own that you ate from beginning to end.   It did not have to be  the same flavor that your brother, cousin or best friend  who sat right next to you and took their treat from the same plate.   Each of you got to choose your favorite flavor.  Cupcakes of my childhood were always decorated, not just frosted like regular cake.

My mother was a room mother when I was in primary school one year.  A room mother was a mom who made sure you had special treats for the holidays you celebrated.  I don’t know if she was always the cook for all our special treats, but almost always they were decorated cupcakes.  Some times she made both chocolate and vanilla as choices, with a  few marble, where mom cleaned out the bowl.

I remember Grandma gave  my mom a book of how to decorate cupcakes.   This was not the Martha Stewart style of cupcakes but simple ideas that worked for kids and moms.  My mom never mastered the pastry bag, so there was no clever frosting decorations from her.  She was the queen of adding special candy to the cupcakes and making them special.  If there was more than one flavor they were decorated two different ways to let the kids know which flavor they were getting.    Halloween brought cupcakes with chocolate frosting and a big orange candy pumpkin on the top or frosted orange with candy corn eyes and a licorice mouth.    Christmas came and we had green and red colored sugar on the top, with little silver candy balls, the kind that almost broke your teeth when you bit down on them.  Color sugar and sprinkles was reserved for very special occassions.  Valentine’s Day mom would include conversation hearts on  our pink frosted cupcakes and even the cake was pink cherry chip.   Once mom dyed coconut green and put “grass” and jelly bean eggs on our treats for Easter (back in the days when you still celebrate religious holidays in school.)  All her kids ate coconut, little did she know that grass would not be a big hit.   

Now days we don’t allow home-baked goods in the classroom.  Many holidays are not celebrated.  I think we have lost one of the joys of childhood, cupcakes and all the joy and laugher they  brought.