On the morning of National Vanilla Cupcake Day, I was making cupcakes at 7 am. Actually, I had made the cupcakes the night before while I was waiting for my Scrapple to thaw. I had purchased a box of vanilla cake mix and tossed the batter together pretty fast just adding water, eggs and oil. After they cooked, I left them on our kitchen table overnight to cool. When I woke up, I made some coffee and then I got right to making the frosting. I was using the Magnolia Bakery recipe which always gets rave reviews. It uses softened butter, some vanilla and lots of confectionary sugar. The end result is a creamy sweetness that makes you understand why the bakery got so famous. The bakery will add food coloring to the icing to give them pretty hues and I have done this in the past, however today for Vanilla Cupcake Day, I wanted to keep them white so they screamed vanilla. I’m getting better at frosting, at least cupcakes, so I glopped on a scoop of frosting to each cake and swirled it around so it looked pretty. I ate one before I went to work (breakfast of champions) and then stashed the rest in the fridge for the rest of the day. My celebration was now complete.
I had to get the cupcakes out of the way early in the day because I was heading to work and then heading to a wedding in New Hampshire that night. Our niece Alex, Jeff’s oldest daughter, was getting married and we wanted to be there to celebrate with her (and Scott her now-husband). However, Lola was still in Florida so that meant that I would be flying solo. I got a lot of props for going to the wedding without Lola and I have to say I was kind of struck by how that made an impression. First, Alex is our niece and although we don’t see her that often, we have really watched her grow up since the time we met her. She was at our wedding and was a great helper that day. In fact, I believe we had her decorate the kiddie table. She was a big part of our day and so being there on her day seemed natural. I was also surprised by the reaction to my going solo because had the roles been reversed and Lola had gone alone, I don’t think anyone would have said anything. It was one of those moments that highlighted the difference between gender expectations. But, without making this all preachy, I wouldn’t have missed it. Lola almost didn’t go to Florida because the wedding fell on the same week, and in working through that, I ensured her that I would go and represent. So I did. I was going to bring the cupcakes to wedding with me but then I thought better. You can’t show up to a wedding with cupcakes because it might clash with whatever the bride and groom has selected for dessert. No, this is not like a funeral where I have found you can show up with fudge; this was someone else’s party. I wisely left the cupcakes at home.
The wedding was a nice event and everyone was in a festive mood. I got to sit with my sister-in-laws Cherie and Tara who even had me escort them in with one on each arm. Alex looked beautiful and it was touching to see her walk down the aisle with Jeff. We got to see Molly making her debut as a bridesmaid all dressed up and no longer our little Molly-Moo (and then we saw her get her Chuck Taylor’s on right after the ceremony – Lola would be so proud). We got to see Sam (Alex’s brother) escort Molly down the aisle and you couldn’t help smiling at how our family circle has so many great people in it. The music started and while the Mellow crew were quick to join the dance party (right behind Becky’s conga line), I stayed back and nursed a beer. I’m not much of a dancer without Lola. I let the young kids rule the party and after the DJ had the party firmly in its groove, I made a quiet exit out the back to drive home to Rhode Island. I ended up getting home around ten pm so I celebrated my early not in with a vanilla cupcake. Man those are good.
Today was also significant because before the wedding, I met up with myself sister-in-laws in the Mexican restaurant where I used to work. The restaurant was in the same building as the hotel where rooms were booked for anyone from the wedding staying overnight, so it was a natural spot to meet up. I hadn’t been inside one of the restaurants since I was let go, so I was a little apprehensive. But I took a deep breath and marched on in. I thought I could go in undetected but within minutes I saw the General Manager who I knew. He gave me a nice greeting and then placed me on a conference call that he was on with a few other folks that I knew. It was a lot to take all at once and I probably sounded weird on the phone. It was nice to get that kind of a greeting after being out of contact for so long. I had a margarita and some baby chimichangas and they were the same ol’ same. In fact, everything was the same ol’ same there. I’m not sure what I was expecting it to be different, but the familiarity of it all was somehow comforting and bitter all at the same time. I can cross that off the list of things to do on my list of moving on. Life is different now and that was an old chapter.
All in all, not a bad little cupcake day. There’s been a lot hype about cupcakes over the past few years and I must admit that Lola and I were early adapters to the trend. We knew about the magic of Magnolia cupcakes and we also knew that vanilla was the better flavor compared to the chocolate. It’s a better taste with a deeper flavor. They seem more moist too. This is a holiday that I can appreciate because of all the cupcakes out there in the world, the vanilla is probably the one that brings the most smiles. That’s what it delivered today and it was a delicious way to start and finish my day, until death do we part.
Next up: National Sundae Day