My insecurities hit an all-time low this week.

I’m just not trendy, guys. I can’t even describe how excited I am that I currently have long, wavy hair while long, wavy hair is in, because usually I cut it about a month before someone like Blake Lively becomes famous. Then I’m stuck with a short bob that takes an hour to style every morning when people are rocking the “just got out of bed” look.

I read books after they’re already popular. I listen to music that’s already on the radio. I don’t even have Netflix to catch up on shows that have old seasons released.

Usually, these things don’t bother me. What I lack in foresight I make up for in girlish charm. And gifts. Until now.

One of my very best friends from college just had a major career accomplishment, deserving of much praise and celebration. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I never sent him anything for his birthday– a major sin in my book. Twice the cause for celebration! A present of some kind would have to be found. And then, naturally, some kind of baked goods.

Despite my complete ineptitude in the kitchen, I insist on practicing my baking skills. Then I give away all of the things I bake because I don’t actually want all that sugar in my house calling my name in that secret, tempting way that only sweets can.

That’s where the men in my life come in! They are genuine, supporting, and they eat a lot.

So, bonus! Not only is one of my favorite people deserving of great praise, but he is also a prime candidate for my cooking! And he can’t even complain if he doesn’t like what I make him because it’s out of the goodness of my heart!

“What’s your favorite type of cookie?” said the text I sent the next day. And then, as those virtual words were floating out in the texting universe, I had a moment of fear.

Are cookies not cool anymore???

Oh. My. Gosh. Cookies are out. Passé. Old news. So two-thousand and late.

My baking skills are null and void from this moment on. What am I going to do?!

Ok, calm down, Jillian. I can make brownies. I’m pretty good at brownies, actually. But they come out of a box, so that’s not much of a feat. And I don’t even have a box of brownies. That means going to the grocery store. I hate going to the grocery store.

Also from a box could come lemon bars. Lemon bars are gooey and tangy and delicious. They’d be perfect for these early summer days, if the sun would ever come out so we don’t all sink into unending depression from Vitamin D deficiency. My gift would be contributing to his mental health by suggesting that he spend time outdoors!

But Lemon bars won’t hold up well in a box at the back of a mail truck. Damn. Maybe if I individually wrapped every bar in plastic and then bubble wrap? Like a lemon bar mummy? Wait, what if he’s allergic to lemon? I knew someone like that, and her lips and tongue would swell up like a botched attempt at plastic surgery. I wouldn’t want to make him the laughing-stock of his office. I can’t be responsible for something like that.

I can’t send crisps because those ramekins are heavy. I don’t have the kind of money to mail those bad mamma jammas all the way to him, so then they’d all come back to me with moldy fruit filling inside. Lovely.

Cupcakes. That’s what everyone is doing these days. There are even TV shows dedicated to cupcakes. So now I’m way behind the eight ball because I don’t bake cupcakes.

Cupcakes are monopolizing the dessert industry.

How do you even pack cupcakes? They make special cupcake packages, don’t they? That’s disgusting. Just to protect some nutritionally empty frosting, I have to go out and buy an extra plastic container to keep my cupcakes upright and not smeared like…well, only bodily fluids come to mind, and I don’t really want to go there in a post about food.

I don’t bake cupcakes, so how am I going to know if the kind I send him are the best that I can make? I have some more time these days, but not enough to just slave in front of the oven all day long, getting batter all over my bright orange floral apron, which is quite lovely if I do say so myself.

White cake. Chocolate cake. Funfetti cake. Coffee cake. Frosting. Jam. Fruit. Coconut. Buttercream. Powdered sugar. Food coloring.

These cupcakes are bent on ruining my day.

Why are cupcakes a thing? They are cake, only smaller. Yes, yes, smaller is cuter. (With one notable exception…)(I meant shrunken heads, duh.)(Yeah, that still ended up being dirty.)(Get your minds out of the gutter!)(Look at this miniature hippo named Prince Harry. I want to take him home with me.)

But I really love cake. Why would I ever thank you for giving me less cake? That’s like thanking you for giving me less money.

Oh, are cupcakes the baking equivalent of salary after taxes? In that eventually I get my investment back in the form of frosting and/or better baking resources for our communities? I suppose I can support that.

But the last time I checked, no one got more baking equipment because of cupcakes. In fact, premixed brownie packets have had an 83% decrease in sales since the word “cupcake” was included in a cable television show title. I may or may not have made up that statistic.

Now I’m in a panic about all the baking and testing and eating that needs to be done before I can mail my latest package of love, when I get a text back.

“I loved those cookies you sent at Christmas.”

Oh. Cookies. I can do cookies.


10 thoughts on “Schmupcakes

  1. Cupcakes really are a pain to package. I have a hard time just packing some with my husband for his squadron. Cookies are easy. They’re easy to eat, easy to pack. Love them!

  2. Ha! I love how you worked yourself up into a frenzy over it.

    But here’s my prediction . . . . it’s all gonna turn back around and cookies are gonna be the new cupcake. So you are actually trend setting right now!

    I don’t bake. When I am forced to, I get the premade frozen cookies and throw them in the oven, or those prepackaged bags from the store that only involve minimal ingredient adding. Then I pass it off as my own creation!! Ta-da! (Wait, does that make me a bad person?).

    • Claiming someone else’s baking skills to be your own creative concoction may be plagiarism. But also genius.

      Also, thanks for giving me the idea to start my own cookie baking television show! I’m totally going to kick Giada de Laurentiis’ ass…

  3. I would probably have a panic attack if someone asked me to make them cupcakes too… the plethora of cupcake shows on TV have set the bar pretty damn high…. I could never pipe frosting so neatly on top of a tiny piece of cake…

    basically what I’m saying is I completely agree.. and I LOVE that the whole idea of baking a gift for someone make you so neurotic… makes me feel better about the times when I’m neurotic.

    thanks for that.

  4. Are you in Corvallis yet? ‘Cuz when you get here we need to make a field trip to Saint Cupcake in P-Town. They are like Prozac in a lovely fluted cup. 🙂

  5. I totally go the cookie route, whenever possible. One year, for a bake sale at my daughter’s school, I made cookies OUT OF boxed cake mix. Then I piped a thick homemade butter cream between two of the cookies to make sandwich cookies.

    I TOTALLY outsold some awesome cupcakes (including some from the store). Suck on that, cupcakes. Cookies win again!

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