28 March 2009
Unusual Names & A Nod to the X-men
When I was just out of college, I dated a guy with a friend who had a younger sister named Bega (you still with me?). The story goes that when she was born, her very eccentric parents decided not to name her but to let her come to that decision herself. And apparently, one day when she was about 3 years old, she was in an elevator with her father and suddenly proclaimed "I wish I was bigger so that I could push the button myself." But as kids often mispronounce words, her "bigger" came out as "bega" (pronounced "beaga") and the rest was history. I often wondered however what they called her in those interim years..."She whose name must not be spoken" or something to that effect? :)
In starting this little cupcake adventure, I very much put the cart before the horse in that I just started baking for people and didn't give much thought to anything else such as the cupcake names. I personally find many of the names on my menu to be accurately descriptive yet uninspired -- After Eight, Chocobutter, Cookies & Cream, etc. For my vanilla on vanilla, I chose Vanilla Lovers, and for chocolate on chocolate, Chocolate Squared. And then the reverse of these I called Mixed-Up Vanilla Lovers (chocolate cake/vanilla buttercream) and Mixed-Up Chocolate Squared (vanilla cake/chocolate buttercream). Or was it vice versa? I could never remember when I had to tag a photo or confirm an order with someone, and I found my customers to be just as mixed up as I was. So I got to thinking how to name these so they had some character and at the same time were easily recognized?
I started looking around at some other cupcake bakers and saw names like Birthday Cake, Tuxedo, Vanilla Loves Chocolate or Kids Cone. Fun and creative, but same problem...is it the cake that is chocolate and the frosting vanilla, or the other way around?
As I set about finding some distinguishable names my mind drifted as it often does to movies. For whatever reason, I immediately landed on the Angelina for the vanilla cake and chocolate buttercream combo (and if you don't catch that reference, you've been living under a rock for too long!). But this reminded me too much of a song a friend's brother hit paydirt with once upon a time, and it often gets stuck in my head for days at a time so the Angelina was a no-go. We recently re-watched X-Men 3 and it was then that I had my epiphany. For the chocolate with vanilla buttercream, I rechristened the Little Miss Cupcake version as Storm (after Halle Berry's character) and the vanilla with chocolate buttercream as Rogue (after Anna Paquin's character). A silly mnemonic but you know what? Problem solved on my end and since the change-over, every customer has actually asked for them by name!
Speaking of unusual names, I baked up some Rogue and Storm cupcakes this morning for a little girl named Cleofee, sister to Calypso and Lancelot (cool names, hunh?). Her mom is French but looks like a California surfer girl (she in fact studied at UCLA). She told me a story about how she had been to a party in the US once and they brought out a bright blue frosted cake -- she thought it was one of the grossest things she had ever seen and refused to eat it! So, I figured I would stay with a very sedate but nice and girly look for Cleofee's cuppies! Plus, a few oursons guimauve and mikado as requested by the California girl herself!