Note: The Rules & Guidelines for the Yes Test can be found here.
About two and a half years into Prohibition Bakery, I never wanted to make cupcakes ever again. I started that business with the intention of building a company, but two years in, it became clear that it was going to survive as a small business and would likely never transition into a big boy company, or even a comfortable lifestyle business. With four years left on the lease, I had no choice but to keep baking and ultimately produced hundreds of thousands of little bite sized treats that brought me approximately $0 in income.
Now that I've sold my half of the business and am officially no longer associated with Prohibition Bakery, I've made a mental note not to bake cupcakes or bring cupcakes to any events or gatherings, simply because I'm trying to keep that part of my life out of my energy field until the emotions around it die down. This whole thing has felt like watching my creative vision die a slow death in the midst of a divorce, and nowadays when I bake one of these cupcakes I created, there's a tiny bit of resentment baked into each one.
Unless, of course, my oldest friend (we're running on 26 years of continued friendship) asks me to bake.
She just finished her fellowship, which means at 32 she's getting her first real job. Welcome to the workforce, old friend! Her mom recently retired, so the party was a casual, joint "graduation" and retirement party, and I was asked to bring dessert. Honestly, if it hadn't been for the Yes Quest, I probably would have said no. I was short on time, not feeling great, and just didn't want to spend any more of my mental energy on cupcakes.
Even though I signed the bakery sell papers over a month ago, I've still been dealing with all of the other things that come with a business partner divorce. Credit cards needs closing, paperwork needs to be filled out, boxes of my stuff needed to be gathered. On the day I was asked to make cupcakes, I was trying to get my name off the business bank account, which is a surprisingly pain in the ass thing to do. This was the last bit of unfinished business before I'd truly be done, and the though of making cupcakes further added to my irritation. But, I had to say yes. I also wanted to do something for my old friend, and to contribute something to the generous party. That night I sucked it up and made the damn cupcakes. The next morning I finally got my name off of the bank account, and later that afternoon I packed up the cupcakes and drove them to the party in California.
After I arrived and made the rounds as "the cupcake girl," I settled into an evening of bocce ball and cava. The host, wandered over with her pigtailed four year old, who looked at me with shy wide eyes.
"Brooke, Piper has a question for you."
Not a pipe from Piper, but I knew what she wanted to ask me.
"Piper," I said, "would you like to help me decorate the cupcakes?"
Piper forgot about being shy and broke into a smile, and ten minutes later I put two sous chefs under the age of 5 to work, instructing them on a small sprinkle of truffle salt and a single pretzel atop each mini cupcake. I am generally not fan of children and found that one of the best perks of creating alcoholic cupcakes was that it kept all the kids away. I also may or may not have gotten a twisted pleasure out of telling kids who accidentally wandered into my bakery that they couldn't have cupcakes. They had to learn about the harsh reality of life and disappointment eventually, and I was happy to help them on that journey of discovery.
But, these kids were extremely well behaved, patient, and polite — adorable, curious, and energetic mini adults as opposed to the whiny, screaming mess of every other kid. They rather impressively brought some color to my black soul, and I found that I wasn't feeling my usual cupcake resentment as I watched them finish off the cupcakes. They didn't care about the past six years. They didn't care if I was a millionaire or a failure, or that these little creations weren't available in a retail location near you. All they saw was a cupcake and the person who magically created them.
Piper and her sister asked me if it was time for a cupcake and with their mother's permission, I told them to pick a good one. Piper has cupcakes at least once a week at school, apparently, so I was dealing with a major connoisseur. She picked up her mini Pretzels & Beer cupcake (all the booze bakes off, don't worry) and examined it. Pretzels, white truffle salt, nutella, and a touch of beer — big flavors for a four year old. She took a bite, giggled, and ran off. I put the rest of the cupcakes on the table for everyone else, and wandered away.
An hour or so later, I felt a tap on my hip.
Piper looked up at me and very seriously said, "That was literally the best cupcake I have ever had."
And with the highest of compliment from a most experienced taster, my story of Prohibition Bakery ended, under the pink sky and twinkling white lights in Truckee, California.