What Makes a Good Cupcake?

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If you’re looking for the world’s best cupcake recipe, you’ve come to the wrong place because I don’t have it. I do, however, have a funny story about my mother. I suppose every girl has a funny story or two about her mother, but for every one every other girl has, I probably have ten. 

Before I tell the story, I have to tell you a few things about my mom. First, when it comes to food, we have complete opposite tastes. If she tells me something is the best she’s ever had, I can almost bet I won’t be impressed. And second, if she likes something, it’s always the best she’s ever had. The best tilapia. The best crème brûlée. And naturally, the best cupcake.

Okay, now onto the world’s best cupcake. 

For Easter, Mother’s Day, or some other holiday where families gather at fancy schmancy buffet dinners that start at 3pm, we had just finished eating when my mom came back from the dessert table with a cupcake. She takes a bite, and proceeds to tell the table that it’s the best cupcake she’s ever had.  At a buffet. Yep, that sounds about right. 

Here’s the other thing about my mom. She tends to repeat herself. When she has the best whatever it is she’s ever had, she tells you over and over until the word cupcake starts to sound like a made up word, which is how it was starting to sound right then.  After hearing it over and over, I decided that although cupcakes aren’t on the top of my dessert favorites list, I had to try one. 

I don’t know how to describe this cupcake other than to say it tasted like sand. Dry and gritty, it had some sugary sweet fake raspberry filling. This was what my mom thought was the best part about the cupcake, because she has never heard of such a thing as a filled cupcake. Not even one of those hostess chocolate cupcakes with cream inside, apparently. 

By this time, several other people at the table had also tasted the cupcake, which prompted the question “Margie, have you ever had a cupcake before?” from nearly everyone at the table. My grandmother took a bite and the look on her face said she couldn’t believe she had never taught my mom what a proper cupcake tastes like. 

I should have known better, coming from a woman that came back from France and remembered nothing other than having the “worst pastries ever.” 

But that’s a story for a different day.