Saturday, September 25, 2010

cupcake comparison, cupcake therapy

I was in Ann Arbor this morning for a hair cut and pedicure (which were amazingly relaxing and wonderful) and decided to finally stop and try a cupcake from Cake Nouveau. I've driven by it many times, and seen the owner on quite a few Food Network challenges, so I was excited to finally get a taste!

They have five flavors of the week to choose from, and I went with chocolate truffle. I loved the flavor of the frosting. The flavor was not super strong chocolate, more cocoa-ish, with a strong hint of coffee. One of my favorite Food Network cooks, Ina Garten, always adds coffee to her chocolate deserts because she says it brings out the chocolate flavor, and I agree! The frosting and the cake itself were also not over the top sweet.

It was fun checking out Cupcake Nouveau, but the whole time I was eating it, I was comparing it to one of my favorite places to go in downtown Ann Arbor, The Cupcake Station. While Cake Nouveau's frosting was light and whipped in texture, The Cupcake Station's is thick, and has a really great balance of rich and sweet. I also found the cake at Cupcake Nouveau to be more of a muffin texture compared to super moist cakes at The Cupcake Station. Overall, I think choosing between these two Ann Arbor cupcake shops is really a matter of personal preference. My preference is The Cupcake Station.

All this talk of cupcakes reminds me of an exciting creativity meets career moment I have coming up! I'm going to school to be a speech-language pathologist, and my current internship is at a rehabilitation center for people who have had brain injuries. Some of the people appear to be extremely impaired, and others could walk down the street and give you no indication that their brain has been damaged in ways that make it unsafe or unproductive for them to live independently. Most of my experience is with children, so I was totally freaked out at the thought of working with adults. I'm finding that I really enjoy working with traumatic brain injury clients though. Many clients I work with have difficulty with pragmatics, or the social use of language. For example, a person with a normally functioning brain may think something during an interaction, but determine that it isn't appropriate to be said out loud, and so you keep it to yourself. Maybe it's rude, inappropriate, or hurtful, but in any case, you know that it shouldn't be said. A lot of the clients I work with have trouble putting this "filter" into effect as a result of their brain injury.

Such is the case of one client, who really enjoys volunteering and raising money for charities. As a therapy task two weeks ago, my supervisor brought in a batch of cupcakes for this client to sell to staff around the center and donate proceeds to a charity of his choice. He got to practice his pragmatics through interacting with a lot of people, and do something he enjoys. As soon as I saw the activity, I was excited! Obviously, I love making cupcakes, but when I make them, I end up with an apartment filled with way too many cupcakes than I could/should eat. I talked to the client about this, and now he is excited too. He was especially interested in the strawberry frosting I made last time. So either this week or next, it's cupcake therapy! Pictures to come :-)

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