I've heard it said that inside every woman, deep down, there's a princess. Princess-related theories about child development abound these days, and I've heard many attestations that rituals such as proms and weddings tend to cater to said Secret Inner Princesses. The thought goes that inside every reasonable, logical, respectable woman, there stands a version of herself bedecked in a flouncy gown with a sparkling tiara upon her crown and a crystal scepter in her hand. Okay, maybe not the scepter, but that's how I imagine it.
My problem with the princess theory tends to be, first and foremost, a superficial issue with the universal princess color: pink.
My ideas about the color pink were cemented in my childhood, while watching the movie "Funny Face." Classic Audrey Hepburn with Fred Astaire, dancing and singing and pretending like Audrey hasn't been speaking French all her life (mhm, sure). At the start of the film, Maggie, the feisty female editor of a famous fashion magazine is writing an editorial that turns into an extensive number about why every woman should "Think Pink." All the dresses shown are pink, the office doors get painted pink, one woman is even brushing her teeth with cartoony pink toothpaste. At the conclusion of the number, a side character comes up to Maggie (who is wearing her usual snappy gray and white business ensemble) and marvels at the fact that since her editorial, he hasn't seen one woman in anything but pink. He asks why she, too, isn't sporting the color of the moment.
She responds, "I wouldn't be caught dead." And she was so smart, so independent, so cool, I remember thinking, "Man, I want to be just like her when I grow up!"
I've since come a long way in my prejudices against the color; in fact, in many measures, I've embraced it. I no longer go into a huge guilt spiral when I admire my shiny pink travel coffee mug, nor am I ashamed to have a few pink items in my closet or have a fondness for the occasional use of pink nail polish. If sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, can't pink sometimes just be pink? And yet there's something that still irks me about the fact that I so delighted in baking these Pink Cupcakes. They don't have enough strawberry flavor to warrant them being called Strawberry Cupcakes, just like they have too much strawberry flavor to be called White Cupcakes. They're somewhere in between. And as the original recipe author says in her post here, they really do taste, well...pink.
To be more specific, there's a pleasant lightness in omitting egg yolks that gives the cake more substance than an angel cake, but less substance than a yellow one. Mine had a nice, chewy bite to them, but I also nearly overcooked them (okay -- so I did overcook a few. Don't tell anyone). I liked the tinge of strawberry flavor, aided by the pink-tinted frosting that contained no berry flavor whatsoever, but seemed to once paired with the cakes. And the cream cheese frosting made an excellent pairing, with a slight tang from the cream cheese tempered by the sweetness of the powdered sugar.
I must also admit that the pink cakes and the pink frosting did make them more enjoyable for the eye and the palate. Don't ask me why -- I don't want to have to think about whether or not liking pink stuff is anti-feminist. I don't consider myself as being much of the "inner princess" type, but it would seem I'm not above such rose-tinted temptations, and I don't wish to be a hypocrite, either. So instead, I prefer to think that all girls, no matter how primped or prissy or superficial-seeming they may be have within them an inner Maggie: an intelligent, earnest, sharply-dressed professional woman... who wouldn't be caught dead in pink.
Recipe: can be found here
Texture: Light but not too airy, a nice mild chew to the cakes
Effort/Time Required: Uses a lot of baking equipment, takes a good bit of time to make, requires ingredients at room temp (read: more time required)
Great for: Parties of any kind, but make them the day before and keep them frosted and in airtight containers in the fridge until an hour or two before serving
Baking notes: Be careful not to overbake - they can burn quickly