I’ve always loved baking, but since I bought my first cupcake cookbook on Amazon about two years ago I’ve been kind of cupcake-crazy. Around that time I had just moved to Colorado for school. I found myself living in a dorm (then onto an apartment) with a poor excuse for a kitchen.  I was baking-starved.

Now that I’ve moved back to San Diego, reunited with the kitchen of my youth and all the lovely equipment that it contains, I’ve gone full on cuckoo for cupcakes!

Whenever it’s someone’s birthday, I make them cupcakes. I ask them what flavors they like and don’t like, and then select a recipe tailored to their birthday wishes. Or, I make cupcakes when I’m bored and have an empty three hour chunk of time to fill. Typically, I only eat one or two cupcakes per batch, which generally leads to a substant

ial amount of sweet delicious cupcakes to spare.

And who benefits from this surplus? gap intelligence!

I’ve only been working here in the office since June, and have supplied the gappers with a different cupcake each month.  June?  An airy white cupcake with sticky chocolate icing made from sweetened condensed milk.  July? Banana-rum cupcakes with toffee frosting and toffee bits.  August? Pistachio cupcakes with a simple white icing.

I don’t really know why I enjoy bringing in baked goods to share with the office but I did it when I was in high school, too.  I’d bring plates or bags of sliced loaves of breads, cookies, brownies, bars, you name it. My friends from high school remember me handing them a bag of cookies at seven o’clock in the morning and then getting frustrat

ed with them because they didn’t open the bag right away, eat a cookie, and tell me if they liked it or not.

With the last batch of cupcakes I brought into gap intelligence, I realized that sharing my baked creations with other people pushes me to expand my horizons.  It’s like when you’re at the gym and you’re on a treadmill, and then someone gets on the treadmill next to yours and you feel that pressure to keep pace with them.  Except for me, I’m the person on the other treadmill.  I like to out-do myself when it comes to baking.  Over the years I’ve gone from simple vanilla or chocolate cupcakes with typical cupcake liners to cupcakes filled with cream cheese and a crumb topping and cupcakes that are piped with homemade marshmallow cream and then dipped in chocolate and presented in hand-cut parch

ment paper liners.

I’ve never considered myself a particularly creative person, but the other day someone told me that we’re all creative, just maybe not in a conventional way.  I’ve realized that baking is my “craft.”  I find recipes to tailor to an event or personality or to fit a feeling or an emotion of a season.  I bake something just because in the end I have a tangible product that I’m proud of.