Cupcake, the Bastard Son of Cake

Cupcake, the Bastard Son of Cake

Cake is amazing. Seriously. It’s like my favorite food … next to brownies … and coffee. OMG! and tacos. OK, so cake is one of my favorite foods. But while I love cake in pretty much all its iterations – I’m glaring at you fruitcake – there is one type of cake that makes me think.

The cupcake.

Now, don’t get me wrong, cupcakes are delicious. But once upon a time they did cause me to question their parentage.

Flashback moment: while hanging out with my Bestie, we found some Funfetti Cake mix and decided that instead of making a whole cupcake, we should just bake a bunch of cupcakes with the mix instead. Considering how festive Funfetti cake mix is (hey, “fun” is in its name), we started joking around about cupcakes. And because we’re literary nerds, that meant we started making some seriously bad jokes about cake and cupcakes.

Like how cupcakes were baby cake à cake’s baby à cake’s son à cake’s bastard son à King Lear jokes.

Maybe it was the fact that we’d read Shakespeare’s King Lear earlier that year for school, but we couldn’t stop laughing at the idea of combining tiny cupcakes with one of the Bard’s most notable villains.  In the play, Edmund is the illegitimate son of the Duke of Gloucester. He’s also the one stirring up all the shit. Alrighty, my English Lit degree mandates I rephrase that as:  Edmund’s machinations drive the plot’s conflict, which ultimately lead the play into its tragic nature.

Edmund seduces and manipulates two princesses, stages a coup, and fucks up both his father and brother in the process.  Why does he do all this? Does it maybe it has something to do with how he is addressed throughout the entire play? I mean, just look at his billing:

Edgar, elder son of Gloucester
Edmund, bastard son of Gloucester
Old Man, Gloucester’s tenant

The play hasn’t even started yet and he’s already he’s a bastard. So what if it means illegitimate son.  Being called a bastard, even in a literal sense, has still gotta be annoying. And definitely not any indication that he might not be quite right.

Seriously, if you want more proof that Edmund is gonna lash out, just read the opening lines of the FIRST ACT. The whole play opens with Gloucester talking about how hot Edmund’s mom was, and how he had a really fun time banging her (even though they weren’t married and she was just a random hook-up).

And somehow, no one thought that this constant mentioning of Edmund’s illegitimacy/bastard status might upset him? Throughout the play, not a single character suspects Edmund of being the bad guy. And when it’s realized that he is – everyone is shocked! Well, everyone that probably isn’t the reader.

He’s so tired of being the bastard son and it pisses him off so much that he tries to overthrow an ENTIRE COUNTRY!

I guess there’s some life lesson in there, like don’t be mean to medieval-esque illegitimate children because they might try to stage a coup.  Really, the only thing I take away is that Edmund is like a cupcake.  A tiny, concentrated bit of fluffy frosted villainy.


A Version of this post was originally published on Dec. 4, 2010 at After The Hurly-Burly
Artwork by Angeli Rafer of AngeliRaferArt