A few months ago, I made cupcakes for a party: jelly-filled cupcakes. I’d made them before, but I measured and mixed thoughtfully, wanting guests to have something special.
The first of two trays failed. Everything went wrong: the top half spread out and got crunchy, it pulled away from the bottom half where the jelly had settled heavily, and the bottom stayed stuck.
Amazingly, I did not freak out. I had no time to freak out. My kiddo would be napping just a few minutes longer, the party was the next day, and this was it. So, I dumped each “cupcake” upside down onto a tray, scraped out the innards and bottom, patted them onto what should have been the top of the cupcake but now served as the base, and sprinkled powdered sugar on top.
The party is family and friends, I reminded myself, they will accept me and my failed cupcakes for what they are. –This is a new realization for me. Although I adore my friends and family for exactly who they are, I’ve always been acutely aware of my many shortcomings, tried to hide them, and assumed people liked me because I managed to be nice enough and pass as a tolerable human. Good gawd.
I ran out of time to make a sign for the failed cupcakes saying something like “Failed cupcake experiment. For the brave and courageous, only.” Instead, I put them on the table with everything else.
Maybe because of that, lined up with perfectly round olives, square crackers, and a tray of normal cupcakes, people did not perceive these as a failure. In fact, they were the most popular treat, and I got the most questions about them. I told everyone the truth, but even so, there was only one left after the party, and that was because someone saved it for me to try. At one point, I passed the dining room and heard someone say, “I think they’re rustic tarts.”
The failed cupcake was pretty good, I have to say. More gooey and chewy than the correct cupcakes, but when are cupcakes supposed to gooey and chewy?
Well, here’s the thing — my cousin gets married soon and has asked me to bring a vegan dessert to the reception. His fiance (both of them were at this party) loved my “rustic tarts” and has suggested a few times that I make them for the wedding.
She knows they were a failure, but wants them anyway.
I’ve come up with at least 12 other options, but I like her, and I want to bring what sounds good to her, but I’m as nervous about trying to fail as I am about trying not to fail.
Can I “ruin” the jelly-filled cupcakes again? Can I fail in the same way? How is it possible I’m aiming for failure in order to succeed?
I lamented about this to the maid-of-honor who replied, “Whether you get it wrong or right, sounds like a winner.”
So, I guess the next step in this long journey of becoming more confident, optimistic, and accepting, is to ruin some cupcakes.
I’ll let you know how it turns out.