I have a cupcake cult. It’s awesome. One of my closest friends, Robyn, and I started it by accident a few years ago while at a union conference in Vancouver. We stumbled upon a cupcake store, one of the first ever devoted to cupcakes, even though they seem to be popular in urban centres now. We couldn’t decide what to have, so we settled on a box of assorted mini cupcakes. The evidence of the fun we had with them is up on our Facebook pages.
We decided to bake cupcakes, and share them with each other, while browsing a Tupperware catalogue with a pair of cupcake carriers. I remember my first offering – carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Unfortunately, good cupcake recipes don’t come in 2’s. 12 seems to be the minimum. What to do with the rest of the cupcakes?
Random cupcaking of our fellow teachers’ mailboxes! I would bake a batch of cupcakes whenever I felt like it, make sure Robyn got one, and then I’d randomly place the rest of the batch, one at a time, into mailboxes. As did Robyn. The school year was in full swing, from September until April, when one of my coworkers was asking me what was with the cupcakes, and what had he done wrong to not get one yet? The cult was supposed to be a covert, but friendly, random suprise cupcaking initiative, but we were causing harm. Not what we had wanted at all.
We had to go public at that point, and now we share cupcakes on the tables in the staffroom. They’re usually snapped up by the time our morning break comes around. We try and remember to put them out at lunch, so that the custodians, who start their day later than teachers, have a chance to enjoy one if they choose.
Other teachers have joined the cupcake cult – it’s easy, you just bake cupcakes and bring them into the staffroom to share. We call it a cult, but it’s most definitely free of Koolaid.
The students know about the cupcake cult – I make sure each of my students gets a batch of cupcakes, in their favourite flavour (they can request what they like) for their birthdays. It’s a great way to recognize their special day and continue to build a safe community within the greater school community. The International student community at our school has enjoyed a little bit of Canadian culture through the cult: cakes in Germany tend to have crumbly topping goodness instead of icing, and Japanese desserts have a different flavour profile to those in North America.
We’ve baked cupcakes for fundraising bake sales, as well as to raise awareness and take action on the International Day Against Homophobia: http://www.homophobiaday.org/ Cupcakes have been donated numerous times to friends’ fundraising initiatives. To raise awareness of Bill 22, legislation with impacts upon student learning conditions in public schools, we made a YouTube offering: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NV2EMjOv5A Who knew cupcakes could be a medium for social justice?
Last summer, three of us decided to try selling our cupcakes at the nearest farmers market. We loved the experience of baking together, and it was fun to sell cupcakes and of course, receive accolades to how well we bake. This year, we’re not able to sell, but that doesn’t stop me baking at home!
I look forward to future journeys of our cult. Cupcake on!