I’m not the type of girl that you can give flowers to. Yes, they’re nice to look at and all but invariably after a few days, those pretty things will wilt. And then they’ll die, leaving nothing behind but patches of brown and some flimsy petals that I’m urged to “press into a book.” Nah, not my thing. I don’t mean to sound so heartless, and on the day before Valentine’s Day at that. While I’m probably even more sentimental and gushy than the next girl, I don’t like flowers simply because their time with me is fleeting. In a word, ephemeral.
Until the day these flowers turn up.
Their maker is Len Lo, who is fast becoming one of my favorite bakers. She understands my belief that flowers should exhibit some kind of beautiful permanence, and this she does with something she calls: Have your roses and eat it, too.
Len has taken the dessert of the moment ”“ that is, a cupcake ”“ and transformed it into something that will last beyond Valentine’s week. She suffuses a cake batter with vanilla and butter, portions it out into cupcake molds, and then bakes the little cakes until their crumb is feathery-light. Once out of the oven, they infuse the room with their fragrant essence.
Of course the whole point of a cupcake is what goes on top of it. Indeed, my nephews and my very own Boo will attest that a cupcake’s reason for being is its frosting. Len creates a silky buttercream gently tinted pink and again accented with vanilla to point up the flavor of the cakes. The buttercream is then artistically piped onto the edges of the cupcakes and the top is smoothened out for its crowning glory: a single pink rose in full bloom. So riveting is it in its realism that I’m about to take a nibble off of a petal, when I receive a text from Len: “The flowers are FOR DECORATION ONLY.” Darn.
A mixture of sugar, starch and gelatin, collectively known as gum paste, is what these roses are made of, not the sugar flowers I thought they were. But they’re still beautiful and Len tells me that they keep indefinitely ”“ exactly what I’ve been longing for … flowers that last, at last.
A word of advice should you gift yourself or a special someone with these flowers. Like any cake made out of butter, do allow the cupcakes to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, just to take the chill off. If you eat these straight out of the ref, they will be rock hard and dry, thereby robbing you of the experience that these wondrous little things are offering. And on Valentine’s Day, at that.
Have your roses and eat it, too
P520 / 9 cupcakes
Cosmo Bread by Elaine Lo
0922.4874565 / 366.47.25