Cupcake interview with Courtney McLean

Name: Courtney McLean

Age: 29

Location: New York City

Occupation: solo performance actress/illustrator/suitcase breaker

URL: or

How often do you eat cupcakes?

Not often enough, though every time I do I wonder, "Why don't I eat these little guys more?"

What's the best thing about eating cupcakes?

They're small, self-contained desserts for which you don't need flatware, let alone a napkin. They're portable and a great gift for the birthdays of people for whom you like, but not enough to get a "real" present. They're a distant cousin of the dessert pill, which is how we will eat desserts in the future. Cupcakes are almost from the future.

What's your favorite type of cupcake?

Any cupcake that is moist and chewy and good with not too much frosting. I'm a cake person, not a frosting person. A little goes a long way.

How do cupcakes compare/contrast to other baked goods for you?

Again, it's the portability, edibility sans utensils, and the gift-giving aspects that make the cupcake a better baked good. The only thing that surpasses a cupcake in my eyes is the pecan pie tart, which is a cupcake version of pecan pie, which I love more than cake.

Is there any innovation you'd like to see made to the cupcake that would improve it for you?

As a designer, I can appreciate the need to make a cupcake aesthetically pleasing. You know, "the eyes take the first bite." Unfortunately, this normally means a mountain of frosting on my cupcake. I would like to start seeing more designs in the actual cakes. We're starting, what with marble cupcakes and cupcakes with "confetti" in them. But what about actual pictures⎯murals even⎯in the cross-section of a cupcake? Now that's art. Either that, or I would love a bagel cupcake with frosting that is actual cream cheese, not cream cheese frosting. Although I do love cream cheese frosting.

Do you bake your own cupcakes? Or (even better) have someone who bakes them for you?

I don't think I have baked a cupcake in my life, which kind of saddens me! Looks like I have something to do this weekend. I do know a handful of people that make a mean cupcake, though, so I don't think I will ever have a shortage in my life should the need arise.

What's your first cupcake-related memory?

I think it was Danielle Smith's birthday party in the 3rd grade. I was not bad-ass enough to get invited to her real birthday party, but her mom made some cupcakes for us to have in the classroom. I don't remember what kind they were, but I remember the cupcakes made me feel pretty special.

What's the most fun you've ever had with a cupcake?

I wish I could say I made a couple of cupcakes into a bra or something, but I think the most fun I've ever had with a cupcake is sharing it with a really great friend. Oh no, wait! That's a good answer, but, truly, my friends and I had a lot of fun configuring how to fit about 50 cupcakes into their fridge after too many were baked for a party. That was fun. I like to configure.