Frosting Rant

Don’t let them fool you! It’s not really a buttercream frosting they use. The “shortening” in their frosting is most certainly NOT butter; and definitely not creamy. Their version of shortening is some hell-spawned hybrid of random vegetable oils and gelatinous lecithin. You know it as soon as it touches the tip of your tongue; your nose crinkles; your eyebrows furl; you’d spit it out if there weren’t so many people around. You politely scrape the rest of it off the remainder of the cake and explain that “it’s too sweet” for you. You use the word “sweet” because you can’t actually pinpoint what that damn, sadistic baker did to make the frosting so tastelessly waxy and mouth-curdling oily. Unfortunately this is the trend with most cakes these days. Not just the typical store-bought birthday cakes, but also from dedicated “gourmet” bakeries. Seeing this trend in frosting is akin watching Herbert Morrison’s reporting on the Hindenburg and screaming out his famous “Oh the humanity!” These shortening-based frostings are a disgrace not only to the confectioners that create them, but also to the stores and bakeries that try to pass them off as a real buttercream frosting. As such, I believe that all frostings made with these artificial shortenings should be given a distinctly different name so they cannot be confused with a real buttercream. As you will read in the ensuing paragraphs, putting an end to bad frosting is not the only benefit to be gained from this proposal.

What is a real buttercream frosting you ask? Well, just thinking about it cost me the lives of three keyboards whilst typing this sentence alone; they were not designed to handle that much drool. Now, with cotton balls stuffed in my mouth like a chipmunk gathering seeds, I can tell you that a real buttercream frosting is perfectly smooth and never crusts over like “the other stuff.” When you are in its vicinity for even a short period of time, you’ll find that it somehow jumped off the cake to various parts of your body and clothes for you to surprisingly discover hours later. Its’ creaminess is achieved by carefully whipping a salted, sweet-cream butter with refined sugar (refined ten times to a near powder state). The most true-to-form buttercream frosting uses real vanilla beans which give the frosting a gentle off-white hue and satiny texture that allow your eyes to sink deeply and softly into the cake below.

If the promise of confection perfection still doesn’t sway you, just think of all the poor, hapless sugarcane plants that sacrificed their succulent nectar only for it to be discarded by a person wielding a sneeringly disgusted face. As you sit on the fringe of the office party, indifferently watching clump after tasteless-waxy-oily clump of bad frosting pile-up in the trashcan, you silently breathe a prayer of thanks to your various gods that this party has enough alcohol to dissolve the feldercarb (“felgercarb” if you’re a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica) left by it on your wincing tongue. You, the environmentalist, should not sit idly by as a mere spectator to the horrific damage that bad frosting causes to our planet. Alone, the resources spent processing the sugar and the chemical by-products of engineering the “shortening” have incalculable carbon footprint on this tiny, blue marble we call “home.” Sugar and shortening that, if not eaten, only compound total percentage of waste our society produces.

Alright, now it’s time for a quick science lesson. Please take a swig of your coffee and pay close attention. Shortening is made by combining hydrogen, a catalyst, and a substrate. The catalyst is always some form of metal that reacts with hydrogen (most often nickel); and the substrate is usually an unsaturated vegetable oil. Essentially, you create chemical reaction that turns what would be a liquid at room temperature, into a solid. Now that the boring part is over, just think of what you are putting into your body. Think back to those early years where you licked a nine-volt battery only to be rewarded with a lingering alkaline taste in your mouth. Now try to recall every time you’ve taken a bite of bad frosting only to be left with that same, familiar taste. Coincidence? No. Alkaline batteries use nickel as one of the catalysts to create electricity. Without delving in to the intricacies of “saturated,” “unsaturated,” and “alkaline,” I shall retire this point by simply asking: If you wouldn’t eat a battery, then why would you eat bad frosting?

In conclusion, we (the consumers of frosting) have a right to be informed about the frosting we are being sold. We need to be confident that what we put on our cake is not going to wreck the environment; and that what we put in our bodies will bio-degrade before our bones do. Most importantly, we frosting freethinkers have the right to experience true buttercream frosting in its’ most decadently delicious form; and not be misled by pushy profiteers (who would just as soon have us eating batteries). Label those cakes as “Bad Frosting” Cakes so we don’t spend our hard-earned money on foul-tasting, resource-wasting frosting.


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