Tuesday, July 19, 2011



When I was a little girl, cakes were generally made by old women. These "old school" cakes were large and round - anywhere from 6 to 12 inches in diameter, got cut into slices and passed around medium sized groups of people, and then were returned to a tin, that generally had some kind of important decoration on the outside. Depending on how fancy the woman baking the cakes thought she was, you might have to eat the slice with a fork, rather than poke it into your mouth with your hands, or there might be napkins, or, God forbid, doilies, or fuck knows whatever. And women, old women, were incredibly competitive about their large, round cakes and would lie to each other about the ingredients and then laugh like witches, when their unsisterly recipes turned out shitely for their rivals.

That isn't to say, that the indidvidual cake wasn't around in those days. But small cakes - fairy cakes, we called them, were the province of children - the type of thing you made with your mother, as you could just dollop a spoonful of mixture into a paper case and it didn't matter how awful the thing tasted, or whether it was wonky-shaped, as the entire thing would go into the mouth, in one go, just like that, with no fucking around with forks or spoons, and there might be icing and those ball bearing things that broke teeth on the top of it.

By the time I was about nine - I noticed that the spoilt children who had no siblings, or the ones whose parents were getting divorced and were caught in a war of affection, started to bring these new types of cakes to school in their packed lunches. Larger than fairy cakes, there were, cased in deep silver foil, with a dark slick of greasy brown thick fatty sludge on top of them. Cupcakes. These cakes were an occasion of great envy amongst the children with more functional backgrounds, and I pleaded with my mother to be bought them too. "No, Noreen." Said my mother. "Bought cakes are wicked things - made by uneducated people with filthy hands and stuffed full of chemicals. You should feel sorry for those poor children whose mothers have no clue about the nutrition. I mean, it isn't difficult to throw a few ingredients into a bowl and just whip up a simple.... what? Don't say such wicked things. Divorce is a terrible sin, not a great deal for the kids. Jesus, what have I raised here..."

One time I persuaded the most spoilt girl in the school to give me a bite of her chocolate cupcake, in return for a look at a photo of my brother having a pee, as she had never seen a mickey. It wasn't a great shot, as I had had to take the thing covertly to avoid being beaten to a pulp by Francis,and she started giving out about it: "I can't see anything. I mean there is a slight pinkness there, but I can't see "it" at all!" Under normal circumstances I would have been ready to give it right back and ask her how she came to be such an expert on the male member, when she had no brothers and her Dad looked like a fairy, but I was struck dumb by the hideousness of the mouthful of powdery, rotten cake, slathered with oily paste that I was entirely failing to swallow. It was fucking appalling. Just revolting.

That was the first incarnation of the cupcake, and now you can't move for the fuckers. They've changed a lot in appearance from the glistering, brown, factory- efforts-in-boxes of the eighties. No - now cupcakes are these revolting, garish American canonballs with two inches of blue or green lard whipped about the top of them, that cost thousands and thousands of pounds to buy. I see really gormless looking women pointing and giggling at them in Kensington shop windows, and am overwhelmed by photographs of them, all over gruesome lifestyle magazines, and people having them instead of wedding cakes, the lazy fucking cunts.

Someone bought me a modern cupcake the other day, when I was having a cup of tea, and there was this enormous performance about it: "This. This, is a Red. Velvet. Cupcake!" "Oh," I said, "How lovely!". It was six inches high of whipped yellowy butter and sugar icing, over a rather gritty, red coloured sponge. There was no flavour to the actual cake bit whatsoever, but the topping tasted like cheese, and when I pointed that out (trying to conceal the absolute horror on my face - cheese - dirty bastards)I got the "Yes - it's a cream cheese frosting" line. Fuck me, those dirty fucking American cunts. Make individual cakes, because "you are worth it", or hate sharing, or whatever your uncle sam values are - I don't fucking care. And if you must dye your cakes peculiar colours, then I suppose that is ok, especially if you are used to things like aerosol lamb and pop tarts and like everything a bit ersatz. But cheese should be kept away from bakery products. I would no more put dairylea in a fairy cake, or cheddar, or stilton, than I would toothpaste.

And they are tedious to eat, cupcakes, with all that rich, horrible cheese paste on the top, getting all over your face. I notice women taking bits off with their fingers and licking them in a faux sexy way, but I think it all looks a bit sad and like a chapter of the Women's Institute have overdone the HRT. No - cupcakes can completely and utterly fuck off, along with anything "vintage" or "retro" and those overpriced, lacquered ringpieces, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, which are just the end of a dog's cock.


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