Iced Muffins?

Dear Keegan Gerhard,

Thanks so much for hosting the Westword Mile High Chef Competition . You were a true professional, and everyone in the audience thought you did a great job of keeping the crowd informed -- especially when I wasn't talking over you.

But then, I'm hardly the professional host you are. I've watched you on the Food Network hosting Last Cake Standing, and I've never seen a drink critic stomping on your words on that show (but I'm available if the network is looking for someone for that role). So anyway, thanks for putting up with me.

Still, I have a bone -- or should I say a cupcake -- to pick with you.

I know that you were named one of the nation's top ten pastry chefs in 2002 and 2004 by both Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design magazines, so I shouldn't question your pastry knowledge. But during the Mile High Chef Competition, when I suggested you invent a breakfast cupcake, you looked at me like I was a total maroon and said, "Nancy, breakfast cupcakes are called muffins."

Au contraire, mon frère. You may be the expert, but I'm in the cupcake trenches. A cupcake is a small cake. And everyone knows that the best part of cake is the frosting: buttercream, ganache, caramel, cream cheese, glaze. I've never seen a cupcake without frosting. And while I've not had a D Bar muffin, I have had cupcakes at your D Bar Desserts, and your cupcakes are always frosted (and beautiful, I might add). I'm willing to bet your muffins do not have frosting on them.

I realize that by definition, a muffin is a cake baked in an individual mold. Still, the last time I had a blueberry muffin, it did not have butter cream frosting on it. And yes, while I realize that carrot cake muffins often have frosting, everyone knows that carrot CAKE muffins are for people who want breakfast cupcakes but don't want to admit they're eating cupcakes for breakfast.

So consider this a thrown-down: I challenge you to make a breakfast cupcake. Maybe an individual blueberry cake with blueberry buttercream frosting. Or perhaps, since I could use a little more fiber in my diet, a lovely, healthy bran cake with a raspberry frosting. Or poppyseed with lemon frosting. Or banana with nut frosting.

Sounds like a cakewalk for an award-winning pastry chef. C'mon, Keegan. Bring it on!

Love, Nancy

Hey, cupcake! A letter to Keegan Gerhard

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