Monday, May 4, 2015

Frosting Cupcakes with One Hand

Frosting cupcakes sounds simple enough, no great debate on how to do it, how much frosting to use, what color, what flavor, how much, etc.  What could possibly be hard about frosting a cupcake? 

Well, let me tell you what is hard – doing it with one hand.  I mean just how do you hold the cupcake and frost it at the same time?  If you made frosting properly, or purchased a popular pre-made variety, you know it is thick and creamy.  You can’t just dump it on the cupcake.  And… that cupcake will NOT sit still while you frost it.   Why then would a one-handed person become somewhat famous for cupcakes decorated for every occasion?  Not just a few cupcakes, but massive amounts for parties and other events.  Good question, and one not so far answered by this one-handed person.

I have frosted hundreds, if not thousands, of cupcakes during my adult life (one cake mix generally yields 24).  I am still searching for a way to hold it.  A vice does not work as it smashes the cupcake.  The cupcake swirls around if left in the pan to frost and then presents a problem of getting it out without smudging your masterpiece.  A bowl is not heavy enough to lean the cupcake against while applying the frosting and, again, the side of the bowl gets more frosting on it than the cupcake.  I try to not fill the paper cupcake holder very full in the hopes that it will provide an edge to enclose the frosting.  Then I end up with cupcakes all different heights – only a few of which actually accomplish my goal.  I have tried a small piece of two-sided tape, sticking the cupcake to the table but it seems that tape never gets un-sticky. 

Nonetheless, for some reason not yet apparent, I choose to make decorated cupcakes for virtually every occasion.  They look great and the battle to frost them is clearly hidden.  I never really thought about this battle until I saw my mom pick up a cupcake and twirl either it or the frosting-laden knife, creating a masterpiece of flawless soft swirls over the top.  She put one down and picked up another and another.  It looked effortless to me and then, for the first time, I realized how much effort I had exerted over the years.  Who knew?


Oh, and by the way, it is also a challenge to remove the holder with one hand.  Trying to do this with your teeth will smear frosting on your nose.  Every.  Time.

The challenge of spreading peanut butter on celery almost outweighs the cupcake challenge.  And… consider the butter packets, the small butter/jelly containers and cream containers with a lid you have to pull off.  Some things are simply not worth the effort. :)

Questions or comments welcome!