Monday, November 06, 2006
Cupcakes Take the Cake got in touch with sisters Victoria and Elizabeth Kann, illustrator and author respectively of the new cupcake-themed kids' book Pinkalicious. Elizabeth is also a doctor, while Victoria teaches at the School of Visual Arts. They both love cupcakes, but as you'll see below, only in moderation!
Your new children's picture book Pinkalicious is about a little girl named Pinkalicious who turns pink after eating too many pink cupcakes. Where did you get the idea for the book?
Victoria Kann: The book was inspired by my older daughter who was three at the time. She loved the color pink, wore her pink princess dress every day and would do anything for a cupcake. I have found that cupcake lovers and pinkaholics of all ages enjoy the book.
Why pink cupcakes?
We love pink cupcakes. They make us happy.
What's the lesson behind the book?
Pinkalicious teaches children that more is not always better and that moderation is key. The book focuses on desire and discipline, and parents can relate to the mother in the story who tells Pinkalicious, "You get what you get and you don't get upset."
You're moms to "Pinkerellas" yourself; how old were they (or will they be) when you let them eat desserts like cupcakes, and how do you make sure they're a treat and not a regular demand?
VK: My daughters' first cupcakes were carrot cake cupcakes. They were repulsed, of course. Later they heard me eating a cupcake behind their backs, while I pushed the double stroller around the city. Once I was caught munching, they forced me to share.
In an ideal world, I would like them to eat cupcakes with me on special occasions. They are now in school, and it seems like there is a birthday celebration every week. So they eat a lot of cupcakes without me. That makes me sad.
Elizabeth Kann: I feel my role as a parent is to protect my children from sweets. I don't want them to have a mouthful of cavities or grow up nutritionally deficient. That's why I eat their cupcakes for them. I also eat their Halloween candy. It is my parental obligation. The younger they are, the easier it is to make half their Halloween candy disappear overnight. As they grow, their senses grow too, as in, "Mommy, what's in your mouth? Is that chocolate? I want some!"
You've sampled cupcakes from many of New York's bakeries. Which one's your favorite and why?
VK: The bigger question is why doesn't my favorite bakery serve cupcakes? I love City Bakery but they have really let me down in the cupcake department. Sigh. As for my favorites, well, I love the cupcakes Amy Sedaris makes, Buttercup, and, of course, the cupcakes from The Cupcake Cafe which made cupcakes for my wedding.
My all time favorite cupcakes came from a little shop in the East Village called Pantry. The baker made the most original cupcakes I have ever seen. In the autumn he would decorate the cupcakes with acorns, leaves and twigs. During Easter, he would bury a peep in a mountain of buttercream with only its beak sticking out. He was so creative. I loved seeing what he was going to come up with next. Unfortunately the place closed, and I have never been able to find the baker since then. I wonder what happened to him and if he is still making cupcakes somewhere.
EK: Choosing a favorite bakery is like choosing favorites among your children. But as a cupcake connoisseur, it would only be fair for me to share my expertise and knowledge in this area. The Cupcake Café takes the cake for me in terms of appearance, frosting depth and quality, and cupcake taste. However, my research is an ongoing project. I am open to sample new cupcakes at any time, especially if a bakery ships them to me directly.
How much does color and appearance matter when it comes to cupcakes?
VK: Everything. I am a very visual person, so I want the cupcake to entice me. It has to look delicious, somewhat homemade or over the top.
EK: Color absolutely makes the cupcake. It's the difference between consumption and the walk by.
What's the best thing about eating cupcakes?
VK: The first bite, it wakes up all the senses.
What's your favorite type of cupcake?
VK: I like them all, but if I had to choose, I would take a moist chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting.
EK: Chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting and mini-chocolate chips on top.
How do cupcakes compare/contrast to other baked goods for you?
VK: They are on the top of the list followed by warm chocolate cake (I'm thinking of the Coca-Cola cake from Chat n' Chew on 16th Street).
EK: Right up there with ice cream!
Is there any innovation you'd like to see made to the cupcake that would improve it for you?
VK: That is like trying to improve the egg.
Do you bake your own cupcakes? Or (even better) have someone who bakes them for you?
VK: When I have time I try to bake my own. I would love to have someone bake them for me.
EK: I'm too busy sampling bakeries' cupcakes to bake.
Do you have any cupcake tips?
EK: Yes, I like to microwave my cupcakes when I eat them at home. Sometimes I cut off the tops to preserve the frosting and sometimes I just let the frosting melt into the cupcake.
What's your first cupcake-related memory?
VK: Pressing my face up against the glass of the local bakery and seeing rows and rows of colorful cupcakes decorated with rainbow sprinkles and thinking that the world was sweet, beautiful and limitless.
Do you have anything else to add?
EK and VK: Visit our website, www.elizabethkann.com and send us an email if you are interested in more news about Pinkalicious and future Pinkalicious events like book signings and more. We also have coloring pages and a word scramble that you can download and Pinkalicious birthday party ideas. If anyone wants to send us pictures and/or recipes of their Pinkalicious cupcakes we will put them on our website.
By the way, we love the cupcake blog. It's the most delicious site on the web! Thank you for always making us happy.
Hope everyone out there has a Pinkalicious day! Think PINK! Cupcakes for all!