There’s something magical about birthdays. Not only are you the center of the universe for a whole 24 hours, but having a birthday is one of the few commonalities (besides needing food, water, and sleep to survive) that all 7 billion of us share. No matter where you live, how old you are, or whether you choose paper or plastic, you have a birthday, and in a world that keeps getting bigger and scarier, sharing something in common with the rest of the planet can be comforting.

If we then take this same mode of thought and apply it to the world of food, it becomes pretty clear that birthday cake is the universal culinary symbol for humanity. That’s right, birthday cake. Sandra Lee doesn’t look like such a demon now, does she? Let’s think about this for a second. Not only do you eat cake (human necessity #1), but it’s a dish that is purposefully made for the one day of the year that every single human on Earth can, and should, celebrate. Now, I’m not saying that everyone has the same resources and access to birthday cake that us Americans do on a daily basis, and of course there are cultures that don’t celebrate birthdays to the same grand extent, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that everyone has one. For reasons like this, birthday cake is a dish that deserves to be cherished and appreciated. Something that should be celebrated at its fullest potential, eaten with a smile, and not minimized for aesthetic purposes or trends. That’s where cupcakes come in.

Oh Cupcakes, you tiny little grab-and-go monsters.


How I wish you would go back into the dark abyss from whence you came, pop out of your paper skirts, and burn. Sure cupcakes might be handy, and sure they might be hip and “in fashion”, but they’re just evil. Now this isn’t just because cupcakes and bratty children go hand-in-hand; it’s far deeper than that. Cupcakes have found a way to take something so pure and beautiful as the birthday cake, shrink it, and find a way to sell it in Boutiques on Madison Avenue for half of your house and your left kidney. Cake is something that you should sit down and appreciate while surrounded by your closest friends and family (most of whom came mainly for the cake anyways). You shouldn’t be able to take your cake on the go. If you’re coming to my birthday party, I expect you to sit down and love me, not take your treats and leave. That’s just plain rude.


Cupcakes Are No Fun

At the same time there is no fun, celebratory way to present a tray of cupcakes to the birthday guy/gal. If there was a photographic study done of the faces people make on their birthdays when cake is brought out compared to a tray of cupcakes, I’m sure the results would be staggering, teetering on the edge of downright sad. There is so much wonder involved in that first moment when you see your birthday cake coming out of the kitchen, covered in glistening candles as everyone in the room sings Happy Birthday. Cupcakes take that wonder, put it in a Shrinky Dink oven, cover it in fondant, and ruin your life.


Lastly, cupcakes have the nerve to pre-determine their serving size on a day that should be anything but portioned out. The great thing about cake is that if I want a bigger slice than my Uncle Marty, that’s totally doable. But if I want to have four cupcakes while everyone else has one, not only am I making my guests visibly uncomfortable with how many cupcakes I just shoved down my throat like my liver is going to be harvested for foie gras, but now I feel fat. With cake, I can have a big slice and you can have a small slice, but at the end of the day we both just had a slice of cake.

smashing-a-cupcakeThere is no doubting the amount of growth that the popularity of cupcakes has received in the past decade. Chances are that there is a shiny new cupcake boutique within a 50 mile radius from wherever you’re sitting right now, packed to the brim with enough sugar, fondant, and edible gold to raise your insulin levels to a dangerous amount just from breathing the air. However, creating an entirely new section of an industry around an item that is anti-cake at its core should be punishable by law. Birthday cake is too special to slip through the cracks, and as long as cupcakes keep booming, the birthday party as we know it might change forever, because as the great Julia Child once said, “A party without cake is just a meeting”

 Still craving a cupcake? Try our delicious recipe for Nutella Swirl Cupcakes.

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Julian Plovnick

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2 Responses

  1. Isaiah Plovnick

    Very well. From now on, whenever I see you about to eat a cupcake, I will jump on the grenade and eat it for you. You’re welcome.


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