Red Velvet Cupcakes: a Success With My Workmates


The Red Velvet Cupcakes that Mum and I made from the recipe kindly given to me by Tomato Cafe, found success with my workmates. I had just enough cupcakes to share out (10).

My workmates are trained to hear food packets opening and cake-tin lids being removed and sniff out foodstuffs on our floor. It is very similar to the Conditioned Reflex concept that Pavlov made famous in his experiments with dogs. The dogs had been trained to salivate when certain noises were sounded that meant food was on its way. I noticed this concept in action on Monday morning when I took the tin of Red Velvet Cupcakes into work to share with my workmates. Let’s face it, on the floor I work on when it comes to food, we’re all Pavlov’s Dogs, instantly reacting to the stimulus of foodstuffs. Actually my workmates are more responsive than Pavlov’s Dogs as I had no sooner removed the cake-tin lid, when ‘zoom’, they came running from all quarters. The removal of the cake-tin lid was the Conditioned Reflex noise, the signal for the salivating to begin. I stepped away from the tin to avoid the rush and made my way back to my desk. Behind me I could hear the feeding begin and when I turned around the tin was empty.

When it comes to food, my teammates are more than willing to be taste-testers. And not only taste-testers, but their resume includes MasterChef judges as well. BJ was the first to come over to me and give me the ‘two-thumbs-up’ sign and said “10 out of 10” for the cupcakes. This set off an impromptu judging committee to give their verdicts (we all know how to judge food since we all watch programmes about competition cooking and judging). LA gave me 10 out of 10 for presentation and BR chipped in with an overall 11 out of 10, and a declaration that these were better than the cafes cupcakes with a nicer consistency. EJ said they were ‘lovely and moist and a lovely texture”. LA photographed his cupcake on his mobile phone as he said it looked “too good to eat”, a comment that I was chuffed about. He also said that the cupcakes were 9/10 for taste because 10/10 in his books is unachievable – oh, how I do love my workmates and their sense of humour.

All my workmates now want to try more of these cupcakes. I did warn them that it may be a once-in-a-lifetime event, and LA said it was well worth it. What have I done? I’m going to have to out-do these cupcakes, or I’ll be a ‘one-hit wonder’. There is enough left in Mum’s freezer to cover another round, maybe this time with butter-cream icing instead of cream-cheese? I wonder if that will satisfy the hungry hounds.

The next day, my cupcakes were still being talked about and LA got out his mobile phone containing the pictures of his cupcake and he was showing the photo to everyone who missed out on one – just to really rub it in about what they had missed out on. Isn’t he lovely?

The cupcakes were a great success as they had left their tin within two seconds flat and everyone enjoyed them. So finding a great Red Velvet Cupcake recipe is one thing I can tick off my bucket list. I have to say though that the success is really Mum’s. We made these cupcakes in Mum’s kitchen with Mum’s ingredients and Mum’s expertise.

I do have a bit of a quandary though – I have had queries from people wanting the recipe, which is a lovely compliment and means the cupcakes were appreciated and tasty, and normally I would have no qualms about sharing. The problem is that Tomato Cafe gave me the recipe and I don’t like to give out something that is not mine to share, especially when the cupcakes are a staple part of their business. What to do?

Since we are on the subject of animal experiments, my workmates should be glad that they were compared to Pavlov’s Dogs and not compared to Schrodinger’s cat, as the cat, even though hypothetical, is in a steel chamber and it could be alive or it could be dead. So in theory my workmates could have been in a box in a limbo state, eating a cupcake (or not eating a cupcake as the case may be) but we cannot observe them eating the cupcake and we don’t know the outcome until the box is opened. I suspect it is a bit like the theory that if a tree falls in the forest and no-one is there to hear it, does it still make a noise? And that concludes our lessons on physics for today.

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