For the past few months, my Tuesday nights have been dubbed “date night” with my boyfriend’s six year old son, Eliot.

It’s just the two of us, pal-ing around Akron, playing games, watching movies, or making up dance routines in the living room.

But last Tuesday, he had a special request: “Can we make cupcakes?”

Being a lover of treats myself, my response was a no-brainer.

Inspired by his new favorite show – Kids Baking Championships, he asked if we could make a protein breakfast cupcake.

I spent some time looking through cookbooks and googling, and landed on a peanut butter cupcake with peanut butter frosting. Win – win – and yes, I’d totally eat that for breakfast.

I made a special last-minute trip to the store to get the pastry flour the recipe called for (if I had planned ahead, I could’ve gotten this at a Countryside Farmers’ Market, but this last-minute adventure called for emergency non-local flour.

Eliot helped every step of the way – from lining the cupcake pan with liners to reading me the recipe to remind me how many cups or tablespoons we needed of each ingredient.

He licked the spoons and sampled the batter, assuring quality control every step of the way.
He boogied around to declare it the best peanut butter frosting he’s ever had.
He helped wash the mixing bowls and wipe the counters.
He kept an eye on the cupcakes while baking, announcing updates of how much they were growing.
When they were not anywhere near cool enough, he delicately applied the peanut butter frosting, and made a smiley face with eyeball sprinkles.

He was an A+ baking assistant, and I don’t know which made me happier – seeing him get excited about creating something in the kitchen or the fact that he was genuinely proud of himself for following a recipe (so much so that he wanted his picture taken holding said recipe.)

Either way, bustling around in the kitchen with Eliot – pretending we are baking champions and concocting our own sweet treat from scratch – was the highlight of my week, and frankly quite heart-melting.

I hope your next Tuesday night includes the simple joys of making a mess in your kitchen, connecting with the people you love and with food, and maybe even a picture of yourself holding the recipe you so proudly mastered.

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