I did not inherit my father’s artistic talents. I understand color theory well enough, but when it comes to the visual arts my abilities tap out at “can kind of doodle JFK’s sailboat.” But that doesn’t mean that I’m afraid of trying to be creative, which is how I found myself at Crave Cupcakes up in The Woodlands on a Saturday morning, wearing a disposable apron, getting ready to design my own cupcakes. Dubbed Create by Crave—and exclusive to their Woodlands location—this program's been up and running for the past few months and allows anyone to explore their creativity when it comes to cupcake decoration.
Things start off simple enough. You look at their wall of ideas for inspiration, pick your frostings (you get three), and select from an assortment of fondants, pearls, sprinkles, and candies that you’ll use to make your edible masterpiece. You get seven of these options to start, but you can get more for a nominal fee. The selection process does encourage you to have an idea about what you’re doing before you sit down, but part of the fun, for my roommate and I at least, was trying to figure out what we could do with our assortment of parts once our first ideas were knocked out.
See, each cupcake kit comes with six cupcakes–two each of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry–which means in a duo you’ll each be designing three cupcakes. You might have a really great idea for your first cupcake, but if you’re anything like us, things get a lot sillier and freeform by the time you get to the last one. And that’s cool because part of the experience is getting to play around with tools that you’re not likely to have sitting around the house.
How often do you make fondant at home? For most of us it’s a pretty rare thing, so getting to use the various cutters, slicers, and markers was really interesting and gave me a whole new respect for those who make intricately designed cupcakes on the regular. In the end, my creations were not nearly as fancy as what my roommate designed, but the time we spent working on them was super enjoyable. And here’s a helpful tip: You have more frosting than you realize, so don’t be afraid to go hard with it from the start.
Create by Crave will run you $25 for the kit of six cupcakes plus an $8 decorator fee per person, and reservations are required. It seems like something fun for kids who like to make a mess in the kitchen, but to me it really shines as a date activity. Not only will it teach you a thing about your partner’s creative abilities, but it’ll show you a thing or two about time management and patience. Plus you get to eat frosting straight up if that’s your thing, which it should be.