Tag Archives: cupcakes

Eighth Time Lucky

Here is a short story that I wrote as part of my Writing for the Media module.

“Why did I agree to do this? Why? Why was I so stupid? Why did I think that I could do this?”

There was icing sugar everywhere. The entire kitchen was covered in a light, white snow-like frosting. My worktops looked like they had been decorated in preparation for a Christmas grotto.  I had somehow managed to get icing sugar on the ceiling. I’m sure this never happens to the people who make those delicious Lola’s Cupcakes. Why didn’t I just think and go and buy thirty of those cakes and pass them off as my own? I’m sure no one would have realised, especially in a small town like this – I doubt Mr Young goes in to Selfridges to buy a fancy cupcake.

I plopped another spoonful of butter in to the mixing bowl, causing even more icing sugar to fly up in to my face. With a nose full of icing sugar, I heard some tiny footsteps appear by the kitchen door.

“Mummy? What’s that smell?”

“Oh no! No, no, no, no!” I cried as I opened the oven door. My poor little cupcakes were all blackened instead of “golden brown” like my Marks and Spencer ‘Baking Bible’ told me they should be.

I really shouldn’t have agreed to do it. But the determination to do one better than Phoebe Williams was too powerful to say no.

When Katie ran out in to the school playground to tell me about the school fayre, she was so excited.

“There’s going to be games and prizes and things to buy and a bring your pet part” She told me almost too fast for me to hear.

“So can we take Milo please? Please Mummy, Heather’s already told Miss Piper that she’s going to bring in her dog, her cat, her rabbit and her hamsters.” Katie’s face fell at the last part of her sentence. Heather was the ‘bossy boots’ of the year one class and caused a lot of upset to the rest of the pupils and anger to their parents.  It appeared that Heather liked to let everyone know that she could be better than everyone else in her class, telling them about a new pet or a new dress or a new toy whenever anyone else had something exciting to say. The day we had got out kitten, Milo, Heather had got a new dog and when we’d been to Ireland on holiday, Heather had been to Disneyland.

“Yes of course we can sweetheart, I’m sure Milo will love it.” I replied when I was actually thinking, “that was probably the most stupid thing you could have agreed to.”

I gave Katie a hug and we started to set off home when I heard someone calling my name behind me. It was Heather’s mother.

“Oh hi Phoebe.”

“So, has Katie been telling you all about the summer fayre? I’ve known for a while of course, being on the school committee.  We’ve been thinking of all the ways we can be involved, I think I might run a hair braiding stand, and of course I’ll bake some cakes again.”

It was comments like this that made me realise just where Heather got her behaviour from.

Phoebe continued her list of amazing duties for the summer fayre, but I wasn’t really paying attention, I could see that Katie looked upset with Heather and I was most certainly annoyed with her mother.

“I was just thinking actually how I would bake some cakes for the fayre.”

“Oh really? I wouldn’t have thought it was your thing? You don’t usually get involved in events like this.”

“No, it’ll be fun.”

“Oh right. Well, good luck with that.” Phoebe said and walked off dragging Heather along beside her.

I couldn’t let Phoebe Williams think that she could be the best parent at this school. I would show her that I could “get involved” and that I could bake cakes just as well as she could. How hard could it be?

Now measuring out my ingredients for the second time that day I soon realised that agreeing to take Milo to the fayre was not the most stupid thing I had agreed to do… baking over thirty cupcakes was.

I think I had managed the making process of the cupcakes now; it was just the actual baking part that seemed to be going wrong.

I’d had a trial run last week but it was definitely not a successful one. In the first batch, I managed to not put enough butter in. In the second batch, I managed to put too many eggs in. The third batch would have been okay if I’d only managed to put vanilla essence in and not vinegar. The fourth batch, once again, would have been okay if I’d used self-raising flour like I was supposed to and not plain flour. Then the fifth, sixth and, now, seventh batches were all cremated in my oven.

I made the new batch and popped them in the oven.

“Right sweetie, shall we sit here and watch the cakes baking? We need to watch the clock until it says 16.47 okay?”

Twenty minutes later we pulled the cupcakes out of the oven. They were perfect. They were golden brown and “firm to touch”. I put them on a cooling rack to cool down before we could start decorating. Luckily the icing I had made before the burning of batch number seven was still okay. With the most dedication I think I have ever put in to anything in my life, I spooned the frosting into a piping bag and put little swirls on to the top of each cupcake. It pained me, but I let Katie put on the little sprinkles as she was desperate to help. I wasn’t sure I wanted her to help after all the effort that had gone in to theses cupcakes but let her help all the same.

The next morning we parked outside of the school and walked in carrying Milo and our thirty-six cupcakes.

“Miss Piper! Look what my Mummy baked for us to sell on the cake stall!”

Katie started laying the cakes out on the table, putting them at the front so that everyone could see. Looking at them all lined up neatly, I had to admit to myself that I had done a good job.

“Wow Mrs Richards, they look amazing! They look professional!”

I heard heeled footsteps walking towards the cake stand. Looking over, I saw Phoebe and Heather Williams walking over with their cakes. Laying them out on the table, Phoebe’s cakes definitely did not look as good as my own. Instead of piped icing and decoration, Phoebe’s had icing and little hearts and stars drawn on with writing icing pens, which didn’t look as professional as mine.

After an hour, all thirty-six of my cupcakes had been sold and only two of Phoebe’s had. I felt so proud that I had baked cupcakes that people had enjoyed and that I had made Katie feel a little bit better about herself.

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