Thursday, October 29, 2009

Case Study 37: "The David Bowie"

"Don't let me hear you say life's taking you nowhere, angel. Come get up my baby.  Look at that sky, life's begun, nights are warm and the days are young." - David Bowie

Ziggy Stardust BowieLabyrinth BowieFreaky dream Bowie.   Heteropoda DavidBowie. A man of innovation, sheer glamour, and reinvention, Bowie reminded us to dream, while never losing sight of who we really were.  
"The David Bowie" is a fun-kyfetti vanilla cupcake filled with jimmies and topped flaming red vanilla buttercream, glam rocks, stardust and a spider from Mars. Half imagination, half bizarre, it's a cake oddity of Bowie mysticism in a Weird and Gilly confection.

This Halloween, I'll don my best silver lame', Aladdin Sane face, and whip out air guitar windmill riffs.  Like a cat from Japan, I'll rebel rebel and find modern love.  And I'll do it like Bowie did best...with striking visuals and in search of my very own golden years.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Case Study 36: "The Impassioned Pistachio"

I'm finally going back to Italy.

Last week, I found a mixtape I made from four years ago, before I arrived at the airport, bound for a year on the boot. I popped it in, and got to thinking about the twenty year-old me.

Life in Italy brought isolation. Two weeks to find an apartment with two years of worthless classroom Italian made for quite the search. It also brought adventure. I rode through the cobbled streets in the backseat of Fiats faster that I ever imagined, and made eyes at the my local bar's handsome cameriere, prosecco in hand by candlelight and listening to Tolga Trio play Django Reinhardt's classics.  I was full of dreams more colorful than the frescoed ceilings in my Via Zamboni classrooms, and I swear I once reached nirvana on a warm black stone beach in the Aeolian Islands.  I threw myself into anything, just for the experience.  I learned from everything.

"The Impassioned Pistachio" is a pistachio cupcake with a vanilla bean buttercream, crumbled pistachios and a maraschino cherry on top.  Made with Delitia butter, it's full of that earthy terroir only made from the Parma and the Reggio Emilia cows, and a delicate nutty warmth.
As I approach my 25th birthday celebration in Bologna, the city where I lived, I think of how that year changed me.  I'm no longer the girl who came home after a month at college, arms flailing as I passionately tried to convince my parents that Gumboot dancing with the children in South Africa was my true life calling.  I'm also not the new college graduate, entering a different kind of "real world," full of wild hope and cocktail dreams. 

Someone once told me that your late twenties are a little more calm, a little less "rollercoaster ride."  Five years ago, that seemed ludicrous to me, and I snarkily replied, "where's the fun in that?"  But as I approach them, a few years of recklessness, a couple of heartaches and some spontaneous wandering behind me, I finally get what she meant.  Though I feel just like that wide-eyed twenty year old, ready to launch into flight back across the pond, somehow, I feel more grounded than ever.   

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Notes from the Field: Ethnographic Studies in Cupcaketology

While anthropology aims to look outward to understand what's inside, to truly grasp the essence of, well, our "humanness", sometimes we need to spend more time. Anthropologists use ethnography, a holistic experience-based study, to understand culture in this truest context.

Drumroll please...

The Cupcaketologist is launching an set of ethnographic and collaborative case reports - a true study in friendship, life history, and shared kitchen chaos,
freshly baked from the ovens of friends, families, and more.

Because who better to help us understand ourselves than the people that we share our lives with...

Photo: Margaret Mead, Samoa. (via)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Case Study 35: "The Enchanted Pumpkin"

Shakespeare famously warned, "'Tis now the very witching time of night, when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world." The autumn season holds more than just apple cider and falling leaves, for at its heart is the most frightful of holidays. Before candy corn began hitting stores in August, and every costume was a naughty one, I always found a sort of romantic and sad madness in the Halloween season. That rather than be about gore and fishnets, what lies within is truly about bewitchment and mystery. It's what is unseen and then assumed in the stolen glances and enchanting moments that brew the magic.

"The Enchanted Pumpkin" is a light pumpkin cupcake with a maple cream cheese buttercream encrusted in toasted pecans and topped with a cinnamon frosting.

It's the haunting face of the jack-o-lantern as the fire turns his flesh inside out. The silhouette of a black bird perched on a freshly bare branch against the crooked icy moon. It's the slightly unnerving feeling that for one night in the world someplace in time, things were not quite as they seemed.

Dusty Springfield - Spooky - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Case Study 34: "The Cookie Crumble"

"Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."- Marilyn Monroe

Like most kids in the kitchen, I started out a cookie baker- I think it was just in my blood. A true Italian bambino, I teethed on unfrosted anginetti cookies and as I got older, I naturally dunked anise biscotti into coffee for breakfast. But I made my personal foray into baking with chocolate chip cookies. Perfecting my recipe meant altering it constantly, which seemed to happen naturally as I got older and life changed more frequently. The cookies were no longer basic. They contained four types of smashed chocolate, coconut, and occasionally "everything but the kitchen sink."

And then one day, I just lost it. My cookies stopped turning out as I wanted, and as it goes, I stopped turning them out.

"The Cookie Crumble" is a vanilla cupcake with a cookie dough center, brown sugar buttercream frosting and chocolate chip cookie star on top. Through all of its grandiose interpretations, its deconstruction, and its rebirth, the noveau chocolate chip cookie is merely a simple one again. Good butter, chocolate, and a little sea salt on top. Because like life itself, no matter how many changes it goes through- the loves, the losses, the successes, and the moves- what is most basic and natural comes out on top in the end.

And that's just how the cookie crumbles.