Making friends with pink.

Barbie Sparkling Microphone Cupckaes and Traditional Cupcakes: fluffy white cake with real strawberry vanilla buttercream and black n’ blueberry buttercream.
Barbie Sparkling Microphone Cupckaes and Traditional Cupcakes: fluffy white cake with real strawberry vanilla buttercream and black n’ blueberry buttercream.

I’ll say  it right up front: I’m not into pink. I’m anti-pink in a strident, almost knee-jerk way because I hate that pink is so often used, especially by marketers, as a singular concept that sums up all women. Single dimensional, juvenile, feminine, “here you go, sweetheart” pink.

But when you’re as anti something as I am anti about pink, you sometimes miss the point. Because to be fair, pink can be a lovely color. It’s the color of roses, of babies’ toes, of kitten noses, and yes–sometimes, it is the color of little girls’ hearts. When little girls are deep in the pink phase, their lives are so enjoyable to them. Things are simple, roles are defined and that’s ok . . . you don’t see it as constraining, you see it as liberating. It’s pretty, it’s fun. That’s when things make sense to you and when the world is filled with a color that feels like your very own color and you know, that’s kind of wonderful.

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Because if you’re going to set cupcakes in an ice cream cone for a little girl’s party, shame on you if you leave them empty.

When my friend Andrea asked me if I could make Barbie Microphone Cupcakes for her sweet little girl, I loved the idea of the “both/and” of  these cupcakes. They are pink and purple and from a Barbie book, but they are also about being heard–speaking, singing, shouting, generally being louder. And it made total sense because her little girl is very much a both/and kind of girl–totally girly and fancy and pink, as well as funny and smart, with a big personality and quick wit that demands to be heard–just like her beautiful, kind, loving mama.

Even though Barbie’s instructions start with boxed cake mix, I felt we could do better. So the cake is white and fluffy and tender, with buttermilk and lemon zest. And pink and purple frosting was a foregone conclusion, but our very real kids deserve very real ingredients, not artificial colors or flavors. The pink frosting is strawberry vanilla buttercream, made with real strawberries and real vanilla. And the purple is black n’ blueberry buttercream, made with blackberries, blueberries, and lemon zest for a little sparkle. The taste is fresh and recognizable as real and delicious–a wonderful treat in a world where “red” is a flavor as much as it is a color.

So here’s to parties! And pink and purple and being heard while still being unabashedly yourself. Barbie and all.

 

An adorable, petite matching 6″ cake.
An adorable, petite matching 6″ cake.

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