I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jean Blacklock, owner of Prairie Girl Cupcakes. She just came out with her first cookbook, The Prairie Girl Cupcake Cookbook, but this 54-year-old go-getter, who has two children and two step-children, has even more on the go. She’s finishing her degree in psychotherapy and just added special events and wedding cakes to her Prairie Girl line. She took a few minutes (while eating a cupcake!) to chat with me about cupcakes and why they make people so happy.
Me: What’s your favourite cupcake?
Jean: Mine is toasted coconut—it’s just so yummy. But our most popular is red velvet with cream cheese frosting. People love it.
Me: Tell me about your cookbook.
Jean: It’s actually my fourth book—I’ve written others about estate planning. My background is as a lawyer and wealth manager. But this book was really a labour of love. It took lots of work and the photography was time consuming, but I’m thrilled with how it turned out. It was a great way to share the Prairie Girl Cupcake recipes with people who don’t live in Toronto.
Me: Why do you think the cupcake trend is still going strong?
Jean: It’s a lasting trend because the cupcake is so iconic. The combination of cake and icing is a memory from your first birthday party. We just grow up loving it. I have a picture in my office of me when I was three years old and I have a plate of cupcakes beside me. I love that photo. I actually think the trend started after WWII when homemakers started doing cute unique things in the kitchen. That’s when the cupcake came into its own and was mentioned in a cookbook for the first time.Me: Is there anything new in cupcakes?
Jean: The newest innovation is that our cupcakes come in three sizes: cutie, which is bite size, mini and classic. We sell gluten-free and vegan cupcakes in our shop and our frozen gluten-free cupcakes are available in specialty grocery stores. Even cupcakes can evolve!
Me: What’s the association between cupcakes and happiness?
Jean: There’s just something comforting about having your own cake that you’ve chosen. It’s a comfort food on the sweet side. I’ll have one late in the morning when I’m in a good mood to reward myself for working so hard. It’s a great treat, a happy food and a joy in life.
So next time you’re feeling down—or you’re just craving a little something sweet—be sure to visit Jean at one of the Toronto Prairie Girl locations!