Cupcakes are Vegetables? Congress Says Yes | Cupcake Project

Cupcakes are Vegetables? Congress Says Yes

WASHINGTON — Congress wants to add cupcakes to school lunch lines, fighting back against an Obama administration proposal to make school lunches healthier.

A new bill would allow any cupcake, regardless of fat content, to be counted as a vegetable, as long as it has a small sprinkling of dried greens on top of the frosting. USDA had wanted to prevent that.

Bakeries around the country, the sugar industry, and kids everywhere requested the change, and some conservatives in Congress say the federal government shouldn’t be telling children what to eat.


Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee said the change would “prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations, provide greater flexibility for local school districts to improve the nutritional quality of meals, and improve overall school morale.”

Nutrition advocate Frannie Bean of the Healthy Persons Organization said Congress’s proposed changes will keep schools from serving a wider array of vegetables. “Are you kidding me?  If cupcakes are the vegetable, what will kids eat for dessert, deep fried butter?” she says.  Ms. Bean also questioned whether children would be willing to eat cupcakes with greens on top of them.  In an informal study, the Healthy Persons Organization found that 3 out of 4 school-aged children would be more willing to eat a piece of broccoli than a cupcake topped with greens.

A group of retired generals advocating for healthier school lunches also criticized the spending bill. They have called poor nutrition in school lunches a national security issue because obesity is the leading medical disqualifier for military service. The retired generals are also advocating for airport TSA screenings to check for cupcake eaters in order to add them to no-fly lists.  They see cupcake eaters as huge risks to our national safety.

Bakeries who have fought the USDA standards say the standards were too strict and neglected the nutrients that cupcakes and other baked goods do offer.  “Some kids,” they say, “don’t eat lunch at all.  Having cupcakes on the lunch line will encourage children to take the in the calories they need to get them through the day.”  They also point out that by providing cupcakes in the school cafeteria, they can lessen the heavy risk of homemade cupcakes being brought to the school.  Cafeteria food, they point out, is always safer than food baked in a home kitchen.


Note: If it’s not entirely obvious, the content of this post is meant as a satirical news story poking fun of the recent congressional decision to continue to count pizza as a vegetable in school lunches due to its tomato paste content.

During my recent stay at a HomeAway condo in Washington, D.C., I wanted to create a Washington, D.C. inspired cupcake.  I asked every local I encountered about what food, drink, or dessert was unique to D.C. and no one had an answer.  I even put out a call on Cupcake Project’s Facebook page seeking ideas; check them out and you’ll see that most people suggested patriotic or red, white, and blue cupcakes – not cupcakes using specific local flavors.

After much thought, a visit to the Dupont Circle farmers’ market (an easy walk from our condo), and an inspired idea by Elizabeth (the girlfriend of one of my husband’s oldest friends), I decided to go with a cupcake that provided some snarky political commentary.  Mixing politics and cupcakes can be dangerous, but I hope you enjoyed the choice I made.

Although I bake and eat a lot of cupcakes, I strongly believe that our schools should be teaching children about healthy eating and real food.

If you haven’t already seen it, Jamie Oliver’s TED talk about our ignorance regarding food is a must watch. To see what our kids are actually eating, I’d also recommend the The School Lunch Project where a blogger and now author of Fed Up With Lunch went undercover eating and blogging about school lunches.

About The Cupcakes

The cupcakes shown in the photos are honey cupcakes made with both honey and honey-flavored Greek yogurt.  They were the best honey cupcakes I have made to date.  I rolled them crushed kale chips (I used Russian red kale, which is smaller than most supermarket kale varieties) as a joke.  However, they actually ended up tasting quite good.  If you try them, serve within a couple of hours or the kale chips will get too soggy and affect the flavor of the frosting.  

Honey Cupcake Recipe 

Cupcakes are Vegetables? Congress Says Yes

Yield: 16 cupcakes

Cupcakes are Vegetables? Congress Says Yes

Ingredients

    Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey-flavored Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Honey Yogurt Frosting Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons honey-flavored Greek yogurt

Instructions

    Cupcake Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. Mix in honey until fully combined.
  3. Mix in butter (if you are using an electric mixer, mix on high for about three minutes).
  4. Mix in eggs, yogurt, and vanilla until fully combined.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 18 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.
  7. Honey Yogurt Frosting Instructions
  8. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whip butter until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  9. Mix in honey and yogurt.
  10. Spread on cupcakes. Note that the frosting will not be thick enough to pipe.
http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2011/12/cupcakes-are-vegetables-congress-says.html

 

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23 Responses to Cupcakes are Vegetables? Congress Says Yes

  1. Eileen December 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    tongue in cheek or whatever, parents are responsible for what their children eat, not the government! regulations have gone past insanity. at the very least, local school districts should be deciding food choices in cafeterias, not the crazies–of all parties–in washington. your cupcakes look interesting, but kale and i just don’t mix unless in soup. have a great day

  2. Mrs. Dork December 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    I remember that we couldn’t refuse our two packets of ketchup in high school–it counted as our vegetable! Unfortunately, we couldn’t get extra packets of ketchup in place of our potatoes.

  3. Sharon December 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Jamie Oliver changed school lunches in the UK and for the majority it has been for the better. Healthy, yet tasty options. I don’t always like the restrictions imposed on packed lunches but compared to what school dinners and lunches were in my day they are 110% better. USA you need to get on board, what your schools feed your kids is utterly shocking!

  4. Anonymous December 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    I truly believe this is disgusting… government trying to label something that was always supposed to be a “special treat” a vegetable just so it can bypass a rule that is in place to help make it easier to keep our children healthy. I am pretty sure there is a very clear definition of what a vegetable is and a baked good, especially of the sweet variety is just not it – heaven forbid our children eat a carrot or two…

  5. London Accountant December 6, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    I watched Jamie Oliver’s show where he travelled around America investigating school lunches and trying to make kids (and adults) more aware of what was in their food. The recent decision is ridiculous (what is it motivated by? Cost? Don’t want to put in the effort to reform?). But hopefully vibrant satirical responses to these decisions like yours should encourage people to be involved reacting against these decisions and raise awareness.

  6. Priya December 6, 2011 at 4:52 am #

    Wow they looks damn cute..

  7. Gina's Blog: Cupcakes by the Dozen December 6, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    Very clever! I very much enjoyed your post! I watched Jamie Olivers show in awe as I couldn’t believe what they were feeding the kids. We don’t have a cafeteria in our school, we don’t seem to have many cafeteria’s serving lunch in our city at all. I would bet that food from home is probably healthier as a rule. Thanks for the post!

  8. Teri December 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    As someone in the military, I totally bought into your joke that military leaders are calling obesity a threat to national security – well the part about service requirements, not TSA. (Although TSA has come up with some pretty strange ideas over the past years…) In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the military does get on board with something like this. They’re already spending loads of money to make sure us service members don’t get too out of shape as age. It might be easier on the defense budget if we all had healthy food habits ingrained in us since elementary school.

  9. Christine knapkins_com December 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Hey Stefani, your Vegetable Cupcake is a Recipe Guessing Game on Knapkins. Think your friends can win? http://www.knapkins.com/guess_games/1020?source=blog

    Show your foodie love and vote here
    http://www.knapkins.com/duel?dish=15495

  10. FoodEpix December 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Looks delicious. Would love for you to share your pictures with us over at foodepix.com.

  11. myhappyhappenings December 22, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    Aww how cute. Very nice cupcakes!

  12. Cheoy Lee January 5, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Brilliant – culinary satire at its finest.

  13. Jane Bruce May 24, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    Hi there,
    We’re working on a piece here at The Daily Meal that is a roundup of the most creative cupcake recipes. We would love to include your Kale Cupcakes! It will be a slideshow so we’ll need a photo and then will link back to your site. Please let me know as soon as possible. You can email me at jbruce@thedailymeal.com. Thanks so much!

    Best,
    Jane Bruce
    Photo Editor
    The Daily Meal
    jbruce@thedailymeal.com

  14. Anonymous June 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    This is crazy! I made this cupcake and it is AWESOME. I stumbled upon this blog while searching for cupcake blogs on google. This is the first one I made from the cupcakeproject.com website. They still haven’t finished baking :) but the cupcake batter was delicious!!! I personally hate honey, but I made these for my grandparents. I wanted to try it to see if it tasted good and it was amazing. The yogurt is what gives it a creamy texture. I will definitely be spreading the news about this cupcake blog!

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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