One in the Hand

By Kim Lane
Photography by Jenna Noel

There are adults among us who think the world has become entirely too handheld, too convenient, too portable. PDAs, cell phones, iPods...a veritable army of boxy, metal, ringing-and-beeping devices constantly compete for our attention, time and palm real estate.The younger set, however, would most likely disagree—ain’t nothin’ better than something that fits soundly into your hand.

Bonus points if you can run with it, or if it’s sharp, stinky or chuckable at a sibling. But if it’s edible, frosted and cake-like, the rules are substantially different. Clutching and coveting now become de rigueur; nearby siblings are closely monitored for suspicious behavior. It’s best not to run.

Cupcakes change everything.

And why wouldn’t they? There’s something so innocent, so blissfully enfantin, so downright hopeful about a cupcake. From the colorful doodads that freckle the icing, to the yielding, accordion paper jacket, the world is once again a warm and friendly place when cupcakes are involved. It’s like eating happiness.

Maybe that’s why a copious number of cupcake peddlers have popped up all over town. From gleaming, urbane glass display cases, to blindingly shiny Airstream trailers, cupcakes are being offered dressed up, dressed down, named after celebrities and even subjected to injections.

What’s new in Cupcake Land? First, if you’re old skool don’t worry—the majority of Austin cupcakeries still offer the classic vanilla/chocolate/buttercream combos. But for those fond of mixin’ it up, consider a cupcake from Toot Sweet that gracefully conceals such decadent fillings as mocha crème, coconut chiffon or lemon curd.

The incorporation of popular beverages is a new twist, like the Matcha Green Tea and Honey and Spiced Chai cupcakes from Polkadots. And how about bellying-up to a Sugar Mama’s Black and Tan cupcake tippled with Guinness Stout and topped with Irish cream cheese frosting, or a refreshing Cupprimo tangy Lime Margarita cupcake?

If it’s a “whoa” factor you’re looking for, though, Hey Cupcake! has you covered with their popular Michael Jackson: a chocolate-bottomed cupcake with a cream cheese top. And why not order the Michael Jackson with the Whipper Snapper whipped-cream injection and successfully creep-out the guy waiting in line behind you?

Our broken world is in need of more edible happiness. For just one day, let the BlackBerries decorate lips instead of pockets; let the Bluetooth move to the land of the literal. Let’s all indulge in that portable, cupped goodness, then go home and jump on the bed.

Amen to cupcakes.