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Cake, Carbs and Cream Cheese: A Love Story, Memoir and Iron Cupcake Entry

Bagel and Cream Cheese Cupcake
Letter from the Head Spy

Dear Cakespy Readers,

When people meet me, they're commonly surprised by my small stature. "Do you actually eat cake?" they ask. The answer is yes. Yes, I do--nearly every day. And this month, for an entry to Iron Cupcake, the internet's coolest cupcake competition, it made me reflect upon something that has really shaped my attitude toward eating.


When I was in high school, I was overweight--and as a result, always on a diet. Of course, periods of intense deprivation inevitably would end dramatically, with me raiding the freezer for ice cream, cookies, candy, chips...anything. A vicious cycle.

When I was a senior in high school, I came across Geneen Roth's book When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair. In it, she recounts how one day she said "enough!" to the yo-yo of constantly starving oneself and asked herself what it was that she really wanted to eat. In her case it was chocolate chip cookies, so she ate them--and only them--every day, every meal, until her body was crying out for a veggie. Over time, what happened was that she learned how to actually listen to her body and respect its desires and needs.
Bagel and Cream cheese cupcake
What was it that I really wanted, I wondered? The answer was immediate, and consisted of two things: cake and bread. And so, for the next several months, I rotated a menu consisting almost completely of bagels with a generous spread of cream cheese, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, and cake--mostly vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting and crumb cake.

Certainly at this point you're saying "but you must have blown up!". Strangely though, it was quite the opposite. I found that once I gave myself permission to eat these things, I was no longer subject to the furtive style of eating wherein I would inevitably cram more cake into my mouth--and after a while, I would sometimes even leave a bite uneaten, if I was no longer hungry (understand that this was a very big deal).
Like Roth, after a few months my body began asking for other things, and I realized that I too had cravings for what had previously tasted of dull suffering in the diet days: carrots, spinach, apples--even brussels sprouts. Paired with moving to New York City for college and subscribing to the walker-friendly lifestyle there, I began to slim down gradually, and in a natural way; I have remained small ever since.

Grilled Cheese Cupcake
While I can't say that I never worry about eating too much sugar, I (as well as the other Cake Gumshoes) live a generally very healthy lifestyle. However, we also do allow ourselves the joy of full-fat, no holds-barred desserts. We have no delusions about these foods being good for our bodies, but we know in our hearts they're good for the soul.
And so in that spirit, here is the Cakespy entry to the Iron Cupcake: Cheese theme. We followed our cake-and-bread theme by making an extra-carby, dense cake, and topped it with a cream cheese frosting--and topped them with our favorite carby icons--including a marzipan "bagel" dipped in poppyseeds and a sweet little "grilled cheese". And so, in closing--Viva la carbohydrate!--and here's to just letting yourself eat cake.


Head Spy Jessie

That's not a cupcake
PS--For those of you who thought there wasn't nearly enough mischief in this post, here's a fun way we messed with some friends (who happen to be vegan): we made "cupcakes" out of a slightly sculpted slice of soy cheese, topped with Tofutti cream cheese "frosting". Muhaha! That cupcake wasn't sweet! Haha, messing with people is funny.



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Reader Comments (38)

Such a wonderful story- thank you for sharing.

Plus, those cupcake toppers are amazingly sculpted and so adorable!

October 24 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

Love the food philosophy and love the cupcakes!!!

October 24 | Unregistered CommenterSue Sparks

Love the story. Love the cupcakes. Love it all. So I'm in Seattle and I work at Sugar. and I look at your paintings everyday and wonder how I still haven't met you! You must come in sometime soon we would all love to see you!

<3 Zane the baker and coffee drink maker.

October 24 | Unregistered CommenterZane Z

Loved your story! Good luck in the Iron Cupcake contest... you have some fun entries.

P.S. Just visited Hello, Cupcake in Tacoma and spied some of your artwork there :)

October 25 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeGirl

Jessie: Great post.

October 25 | Unregistered Commenterlifeinrecipes

i've lost weight recently and i've been attributing it to not eating all the crazy baked goods i'm used to making, and actually learning how to eat smaller portions of better for me food.

the one downside to this is that i haven't really been baking. as a baker, that's a little hard to accept...baking only for celebrations, etc. it's rough.

October 25 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer

Just watched your YouTube video. Loved seeing your face... live! Thanks for sharing. Loving your site and art, as always.

October 25 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

Just watched your YouTube video. Loved seeing your face... live! Thanks for sharing. Loving your site and art, as always.

October 25 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

I love Geneen Roth's brillant honesty in her work! Great to see it referenced here. Cute cupcakes :)

October 25 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

Great post! Adorable cupcakes, love the tiny grilled cheese sammie!!!

October 25 | Unregistered CommenterHalf Baked

Great post. In my life when I lost the most weight was when walking. But as I get older it does get harder. But I believe in listening to your body and combinded with a healthy lifestyle it should all fall into place like its supposed to.

October 26 | Unregistered Commenterglamah16

thanks for sharing. and totes loving the teeny little poppyseed bagel and the teeny little crispy looking grilled cheese...!

October 27 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay

Amy: Thanks for your sweet note. I think you just have to trust your body and know that sometimes things get worse before they get better--ie, you might feel out of control for a little while but things will even out!

EB: Yea! Glad you enjoyed. Here's to cake! And carbs!

Happy cook: Thanks so much. It seemed to work to just let myself eat. I think a lot of it was allowing permission!

Cakewardrobe: Yea! Bully to you for quitting on the diet beast.

Ricki: Thanks! You've hit on a good point--whereas it seems easy to just let yourself eat, it's hard to TRULY do it--there's a difference between letting go and letting yourself go, you know? Good luck!!

Courteous: Ha! Well, I guess we all have to find out what works for us! :-)

Deborah: So true!!

Bonnie: Thanks so much. Glad you liked the little toppers!

Amanda: Awesome, so fun to hear your story. It's interesting to think of how much food can affect us, isn't it? Cool to hear it from the "other side" as it were.

Rosie: Good luck finding your way!

Sharon: Awesome! They like you too.

Suzanne: So true. Cuppie would be very cranky on a diet, if I do say so myself!

Chantelle: Oh, I didn't realize it had a new name! It's a great book.

Ai Lu: Thanks for discovering Cakespy! So nice to find you too. You hit on a nice point. Once you give yourself permission, all of a sudden you don't need to do that furtive, grazing thing. It's better in the long run I think!

Stef: Thanks!

Amanda: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed!

Bakerella: Thanks! You rock too!

Amanda: Yay! It made me so happy to hear your story. So inspiring!

Dana: That is great. Because -- hello! --diets just don't work!! Hopefully more people will find their own answers, you know?

Patti: Thanks!!! Glad you enjoyed!

Krysta: It is a slow process but it works in the long run!

Veron: Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed!

Cecily: Your story is so inspiring. I am so glad that you are getting through your anorexia. It is a very serious disease, and I am glad that you are finally learning to let yourself eat. I too despise the word diet.

Engineer: Yup. Just have a cookie. I don't advocate eating the entire batch, but one won't hurt! OK, maybe two! :-)

Katie: Awesome, so happy to hear that you enjoyed!

Sue: Thanks!

Hanah: Thanks! Glad you enjoyed! I Love all things small and cute!

Zane Z: Awesome! I do have to stop by. we've been looking at a condo right in that neighborhood!

Recipegirl: Aren't they fun?

Also, so glad you went to Hello cupcake. the owners are possibly my favorite people in the world. Hope you enjoyed!!!

Lifeinrecipes: thanks!

Jennifer: Awesome-it is nice to figure out something that works for you, isn't it?

Caroline: Glad you enjoyed...I just hope yo uweren't judging my crooked teeth! :-)

Amber: Awesome! Glad you enjoyed!

Half Baked: Thanks! I loved that little sandwich!

Glamah: Yup, I believe that too. Thanks for your thoughts!

Lyndsay: Aren't they too cute!?

October 27 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy
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