Friday, September 24, 2010

cupcakes: store bought or homemade?

in case you don't know, we (that's my kids and i) love to bake; even though, we don't often have time to do so. when we make cakes and cupcakes, we also like to make homemade butter cream icing. in fact, i can't even remember the last time i bought frosting in the can at the grocery store.

now this being said, just because we like to make frosting doesn't mean we are good cake decorators or good at frosting cakes.

here are our homemade cupcakes for my dear son megat's hari raya party in school today. forty-eight butter cupcakes with butter cream frosting on top. megat loves his mommy's cupcakes, so much that he asked to make them for the party. for a child his age, he has an amazing understanding of what it takes to make the food we eat, and i'm so proud of that.


this morning megat marched in the school proudly carrying the cupcakes, and all he could say over and over again was "my mom made cupcakes!". then i thought no mothers won't feel great hearing that statement from her children...

as for me, i believe store-boughts are stale, greasy or/and dry, empty of excitement and full of beurk.

at least when you bake your own you know what's in them! i would eat a handmade cupcake before i eat one bought at the grocery store. except for the ones made in cupcake shops.

one of those generally accepted ideas is the idea that the only acceptable treat to send to children's school/group parties is a homemade one. generally, only homemade treats (particularly cupcakes) are seen as a sign that a mother cares enough to send the very best. there is often a hint of contempt in the voice of anyone who talks about "those mothers who run down to the store and pick up store-bought cupcakes".

the first question to ask is why would any mother buy store-bought cupcakes when she could make them herself? the answer to that is not necessarily that she is too lazy or too busy for her child's party, although both of those answers are also possible ones. another answer to that question, though, is that anyone who has ever brought a child by a bakery case and seen his or her eyes light up at the sight of particularly adorable, fun, or beautifully decorated cupcakes or cookies know how nice it can be to offer a child a particularly special and professional decorated cupcake or cookie. let's face it: its a rare mother who can turn out a cupcake that looks anywhere near as great as a bakery cupcake. homemade cupcakes are often a little tilted or lumpy. their frosting isn't usually as artfully applied. often its just spread over the top of the homemade cake in a pretty unimpressive, unimaginative, unprofessional way. moms who want to send something very special may believe that letting the professionals do the cakes really nicely is the more caring and special thing.

the second question to ask, of course, is why would any mother make cupcakes herself when she could "just go by them". one answer may be that she enjoys baking from scratch. most moms, i'd venture, do not bake those homemade cupcakes from scratch, though. most use a mix and a can of frosting, which does kind of take the "homemade" out of homemade; but which still shows a certain amount of enjoyment in making something nice for a school or group party. many moms may make the cupcake-making event one to share with children, who can help. others may prefer to mix up the batter once the children are asleep.

besides the basic motives involved with each mother's preference there are also unspoken messages that homemade and store-bought cupcakes can send.

for example, store-bought cupcakes may say, "my mom can afford to buy 25 high-priced cupcakes from the bakery." store-bought treats can even say, "my mom cares enough about other people's children that she wants their mothers to know the batter wasn't stirred by a five-year-old with a cold. my mom is a perfectionist and wanted to send something really special to the party."

what do homemade cupcakes say? they may say, "my mom loves to make things for our parties," but they may also say, "my mom couldn't afford 25 bakery cupcakes. nobody guarantees that the kitchen in which these cupcakes were made would pass health codes. my mom thinks we, school children, care more that she made these cupcakes than about how special the cupcakes really look." at the same time, homemade cupcakes may say, "i'm so proud that my mom made these cupcakes."

in reality, cupcake-baking moms may have all kinds of other things to do but prefer to make the time for cupcakes. bakery-shopping moms, on the other hand, may be doing other nice things with their children and may simply believe that nice cakes from a bakery are a nice treat for a holiday party.

so children, which do you prefer: bought or homemade?

my advice: love and love big! stop being afraid of being “less than”, a bad parent or being rejected for loving the right person. BE BRAVE AND LIVE BIG!