Showgirl Cupcakes

(I recent met Bryce Corbett, who wrote A Town Like Paris, a book about his life in Paris, where he found the girl of his dreams. Since he’s a terrific writer, I asked him to do a guest post, which included our visit behind-the-scenes at one of Paris’ most exciting attractions. -David)

There are many fringe benefits to being married to a Paris showgirl.

shay blog

Great tables at exclusive restaurants, never being called upon to fetch that hard-to-reach bowl from the top shelf (have you seen how tall these girls are?) and always stepping out with someone who knows how to accessorize with feathers (truly an underrated virtue in a woman).

But it’s safe to say that the greatest fringe benefit to having a showgirl wife is also one that you’d probably least expect: She makes the most amazing cupcakes.

Now at first blush, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a woman who high-kicks on the Champs Elysées each night in feathers, sequins and not much else would have a natural aversion to baked goods. You would imagine that eating like a glutton and baking like a demon would be two practices well and truly off-limits to your average showgirl.

But then, this is the utterly infuriating thing about dancers—they eat like horses and rarely put on weight.

lido cupcakes

If you ever have the good fortune to pop backstage at the Lido (the famous Paris cabaret venue where my wife, Shay, plies her unique trade each night), you’re likely to be confronted by a food fest.

In the brief moments they are not running on stage in barely-there costumes, the showgirls and boys are usually busy eating. Lots. And I’m not talking carrot sticks and health bars. I’m talking potato chips, candy, cookies and whatever cream-filled creation one of them has whipped up in their kitchen that afternoon.

It’s cruel isn’t it?

While the rest of us only have to think about a candy bar and it appears instantly on our hips, showgirls eat with impunity—scoffing every sweet thing they can wrap their painted lips around.

shay

In fact, from what I have come to understand, the more butter involved in the making of any one single item of foodstuff, the greater the likelihood of it being consumed in excessive quantities by showpeople. It’s one of those laws of nature you rarely hear about.

As if to prove this theory, Shay and I took David backstage at the Lido, to give him a glimpse of the jewel-encrusted netherworld in which showgirls live and work – and to give Shay an excuse to whip up some of her trademark pink-frosted cupcakes.

oh my!

Once there, and surrounded by more feather backpacks, elaborate head-dresses and sequined thongs than you could poke a drag queen at, David discovered his inner-showgirl, donning some of the more over-the-top headwear and posing for the camera.

And gentle reader – while he may have the cheekbones to take to the Paris stage, I can tell you he definitely doesn’t have the legs. But that’s nothing he wouldn’t tell you himself, right David?

Shay with Bryce

Hey, what’s wrong with my legs? Well, I guess compared to Shay’s sexy gams, he’s probably right…so I shouldn’t quit my day job. Big thanks to Bryce for sharing his wife’s cupcakes with us! (recipe below) -David

A+Town+Like+Paris+cover+US.jpg

You can visit Bryce at his website Bryce Corbett.com. And be sure to check out his book, A Town Like Paris.

feeding bryce

Showgirl Cupcakes
12 cupcakes

Adapted by Shay, from a recipe by Nigella Lawson

For the cupcakes:

  • 4 ounces, 8 tablespoon (125g) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (140g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125g) self-rising flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C.) Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

2. Beat the butter with the sugar until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well, then mix in the vanilla.

3. Gradually sift in the flour, folding as you go.

4. Add milk. Beat well.

5. Pour mixture into cupcake papers. Bake 15-20 minutes.

6. Use baking time to lick bowl clean.

For the frosting:

Mix about 4 ounces (125g) marscapone with enough powdered sugar to make it spreadable.

Add a drop of red or pink food coloring.

Ice cupcakes, then lick bowl clean.

legs meatlido

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64 comments

  • March 23, 2009 3:34am

    Love the feathers!

  • March 23, 2009 3:44am

    Pink! It’s so your colour David!

  • March 23, 2009 3:46am

    That lipstick is a perfect color for you.

  • March 23, 2009 3:53am

    I love how the baby in the photo above the recipe seems to be eyeing the cupcake too!

  • March 23, 2009 3:54am

    Rowwr!!

  • March 23, 2009 4:41am

    Oh my…maribou, feathers, sequins AND freckles. I think I’m in love.

    Alas, stuck here in Boston – pretty much the furthest opposite point on the glamour scale as you can be. Plus, I’d probably come up to her navel. quel dommage.

    But, we do have cupcakes, Cupcake. Even pink ones.

    Will find and post on twitter.

    btw the arms on her, too. you are killing me. You know this post will make you no friends, right?

    =-)

  • LB
    March 23, 2009 5:42am

    Best post ever.
    What is “I’m going to have a run around the block and a cold shower” in French? I bet they have a pithier way of saying it. Or they just would not bother.
    I can vouch for the truth of it though, two of my closest friends are dancers, and I an a big, strapping lad. They out eat me by a factor of four every damn day. It would be humiliating if I was that sort of a chap.

  • March 23, 2009 5:52am

    Pink cupcakes, feathers, a Lido dancer and an adorable baby, all in one post? Too much!

    Thanks for the recipe, too.

  • March 23, 2009 6:40am

    Bryce sure looks happy. :)

  • Carolina (vienna, austria)
    March 23, 2009 8:08am

    David, I won my day with you in feathers. Allthough you soon will be runned down by all the offers to enter show biz, please do not. Stay keep entertaining us the way you do, if only by appearing on a photograph!!

    Remember I was I the Brazilian reader living in Vienna that met you at Eric Kayser’s in the rue de L’ancienne comedie once last summer?

    Salut from Vienna! Carolina

  • March 23, 2009 9:37am

    There is something totally absurd about this and yet it all makes perfect sense. I mean, of course you know someone married to a cupcake baking showgirl.

  • Lillianne
    March 23, 2009 10:13am

    Oooh la la.

  • March 23, 2009 10:18am

    This post totally made me smile! Love the pics of you with the pink feathers – what fun! Of course showgirls can eat whatever they want – it only makes sense that tall beautiful women should be able to do that too, SIGH.

  • March 23, 2009 10:38am

    Honestly, one of my favorite posts EVER. So adorable. This is how I picture Paris…showgirls, feathers, cupcakes and pink! Thanks for the morning get-a-way.

  • March 23, 2009 10:51am

    that picture of you with that feathers hat totally cracked me up :)
    this look to the camera, “OH SHI…” style, is unbeleivably funny and nice :) .

  • March 23, 2009 11:02am

    David, based on your Bermuda pictures I would argue that you do, in fact, have the gams for the biz. Don’t let anyone tell you different!

  • March 23, 2009 11:46am

    well at least we didn’t see you in your nuthuggers; pink is more your color! LOL!

  • March 23, 2009 11:55am

    Best post EVER.

  • March 23, 2009 11:59am

    LOVE THE HAT!!!

  • March 23, 2009 12:17pm

    The feathers suit you, dude.

    I am loving the frosting. Mascarpone and sugar? Be still my beating heart… I must make this as soon as humanly possible.

  • Susan
    March 23, 2009 4:25pm

    Okay..I guess cupcakes will do to present this oh so fun thread! Dahling, you looked mahvahlus in feathers!

  • March 23, 2009 4:37pm

    So… who’s legs are those in the photo?

  • March 23, 2009 5:10pm

    or should I say – nice legs, David ;-)

  • March 23, 2009 5:12pm

    I had been secretly admiring your work for a few months that i started blogging.. Loved this post.. the lady, the baby, the feathers, lipsticks & last not the least the cupcakes:-)

  • Rona
    March 23, 2009 7:54pm

    Sweet story…
    David, you look hot!

  • March 23, 2009 7:54pm

    All I can say is French women are SO gorgeous!

  • March 23, 2009 8:13pm

    Oh. My. Gosh. I am in love with this piece of writing/picture combination….

    NAOmni

  • March 23, 2009 9:23pm

    Ooh la la! David, you certainly rock as a showgirl! How fun and delicious. Pop culture and baked goods all in one place–certainly I am in heaven.

  • Anonymous
    March 23, 2009 9:59pm

    Hilarious guest post… Now all we need is David’s take on this whole ordeal.
    …and maybe a couple more pictures?

  • Alicia
    March 23, 2009 10:05pm

    Love this post! It’s just what I need on a rainy tuesday and takes me away from the mundane work that is waiting for me. :)

  • March 23, 2009 11:10pm

    Okay, the cupcakes sound amazing, but the real question is….where can I find THOSE SHOES?!

  • March 23, 2009 11:48pm

    What a great post! Love it!

  • Berit
    March 24, 2009 2:48am

    Wow, this lady is not only drop-dead gorgeus, but has the charisma, so many famous actresses lack. What a lucky guy her husband can count himself as ;-D

  • March 24, 2009 2:54am

    Nurit: Those definitely aren’t my legs. Lord knows, I’d never fit into those shoes!

  • March 24, 2009 3:48am

    Just back to add… I think the showgirls can eat cupcakes, or whatever they else want, because they quite literally work their butts off in the shows. Performing a show at the Lido must be an incredible workout.

  • au
    March 24, 2009 6:15am

    David, the brightest email of the day. I want a cupcake and I WANT IT NOW.

  • March 24, 2009 6:32am

    This is the cutest post ever!

  • March 24, 2009 8:32am

    What fun–these photos are a hoot!

    I can imagine that dancers and showgirls burn so many calories on stage that they can afford to nosh heartily before a show. Revealing that is refreshing.

    The cupcakes are gorgeous, and sound yummy!

  • March 24, 2009 10:06am

    Oh how I LOVE you in feathers, David. Ooh, la, LA!!!!

    P.S. Cupcakes…now we’re talking. And they look so straightforward and easy. Muchas gracias, amiga…er, amigo ;)

  • jenn
    March 24, 2009 11:17am

    I loved his book! Thanks for the guest post!

  • March 24, 2009 11:45am

    Love those pink feather head pieces – they compliment your eyes! I just finished reading this book and really enjoyed his writing and his Aussie spin in Paris. Great post!

  • March 24, 2009 1:37pm

    I am about as tall as an average showgirls leg. . . lucky ladies. I love the look by the way, you’re very becoming in feathers.

  • March 24, 2009 4:01pm

    Can I be a showgirl if I’m only 5’2″? I think I already eat like one. :)

  • March 24, 2009 4:32pm

    What an awesome and fun post! Thank you to David for bringing this to us and to Bryce and Shay for sharing. My favorite picture though is the last one of Shay feeding Bryce the cupcake… because you can see baby watching below like “where is mine? I’ll take that bite.” So funny and cute and sweet! I am bookmarking these cupcakes to try very soon!

  • March 24, 2009 6:50pm

    This is very entertaining! You make a great showgirl! :)

  • March 25, 2009 1:34am

    Fun fun fun post! I love these photos. So very.. PINK and fluffy.

  • March 25, 2009 1:42am

    I read Bryce’s book a year or so ago… and loved it. Is that his wife and baby? How so not fair when she can eat cupcakes, had a baby, and look fabulous.

    BTW, you look fabulous in pink. :)

  • March 25, 2009 4:50am

    GREAT POST David,
    It was just fantastic to see those photos of you and that gorgeous dancer. And she cooks too! C’est la vie, I will just carry on being encouraged by all the beauty I’ve just seen on the site today. It was a total gas…well done! Love the PINK as that is the color of The Bakery here in Spain. What would we do without you…..

  • March 25, 2009 7:38am

    wow! that looks like a fun job!

  • March 25, 2009 9:45am

    mrs. lavendula: Fun is a strong word. It’s hard work! These gals do two shows a night and they tried to put one of the headresses on me, which was so heavy, I couldn’t wait to take it off.

    There was also a very tight jacket that the men wear, but it didn’t fit me very well….sorry, no photos of either!

    Eden: Yes, that’s both of them. It’s tough to decide who’s cuter, isn’t it?

    Charissa and Margie: I loved those pink fluffy hats. If I could’ve snuck one home in my shoulder bag, I would have.

    Accidental Parisian: Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they work their butts “off”, since I went to the show last week, and there were some might perky derrières on display. Must be the cupcakes!

  • Sandy
    March 25, 2009 11:26am

    Beautiful lady! Love the pink! Great post!! Find us a hunky french man who makes chocolates for your next post!!

  • Andrew
    March 25, 2009 6:06pm

    David, you forgot the best part…those women are GORGEOUS!

    Yet again, your blog motivates me to quit screwing around online and crack open my french text and study.

  • nona
    March 25, 2009 11:43pm

    LOL! when I wrote the above, I had not even seen your comment in the previous post ( was catching up with the blog from the top post)

    “The most commonly-asked question for a certain cookbook author, aside from “Can I replace the corn syrup?” by a longshot, is: “Can that be frozen?””

    What’s worse is that if I had more experience baking, I could probably know on my own if and at what stage(s?) the cake could be frozen…

  • Deborah
    March 26, 2009 12:44am

    Great post and photos — you make a fetching showgirl! Funny juxtaposed with the cellulite ad!

  • Mary Beth
    March 27, 2009 12:49pm

    Okay David, now try the headdress, the necklace, the shoes, and the camo thong. You go get dressed and I’ll whip up the cupcakes.

  • March 27, 2009 1:17pm

    Great post!

    I actually picked up A Town Like Paris and am a few chapters into it. It seems like a great read.

  • March 28, 2009 3:38pm

    How could I not love anything that involves the words ‘showgirl’, ‘cupcake’ and ‘Nigella’…

  • Jacqueline
    May 15, 2009 11:25pm

    Being gluten-free, I only made the frosting for these to top some really amazing coconut flour cupcakes I make (from Elana’s Pantry). I have to say that the frosting is simply the BEST frosting I have ever had–even more so than an Italian wedding cake I once had with an anise frosting I still dream of. It is so simple and so perfect. I bake mostly with blue agave to skip sugar, but this one is worth the sugar hit. I did add a touch of vanilla, which did add a lovely note to the frosting. Also, I used the whip function on my hand mixer to blend. I found this made the frosting perfectly smooth (almost to a whipped cream stiff peak stage).

    David adapted a Chocolate Financier recipe for Shauna over at Gluten Free Girl. I also made these for the dessert I am going to tomorrow (rounded out with the chocolate cupcakes with ganache recipe from her site). I could not resist smearing a bit of the frosting on the a Fancier. Wow! Totally decadent.

    I am thinking that I can easily adapt my vanilla cupcake recipe into a red velvet one by adding the cocoa and red food colouring mixture from the 60 year-old family recipe. We typically make a flour based frosting for Red Velvet Cake instead of a cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting seems so sacrilegious to this Southern girl! I think this frosting would be PERFECT though.

    David–thank you as always for such a wonderful site and ideas. They spark so much creativity!!!

  • July 23, 2009 10:45am

    David, where can I buy a 12-spot muffin tin in Paris? I’m here for a year from Canada and didn’t bring any bakeware with me. I could also use an 8×8″ square pan and a standard sized loaf/bread pan like a Pyrex one … Any ideas on sources, or will i have to ask my family to ship me stuff since American cookware stores don’t seem to ship to France even if I offer them MONEY… :)

    Thanks :)

    Shelley

  • July 23, 2009 11:15am

    Shelley: You can get silicone muffin molds at most cookware shops in Paris, and the stores that cater to the expat community (like Thanksgiving, on rue St Paul) carry them, too.

    You can also buy them online as well.

  • July 24, 2009 2:55pm

    David, any chance in getting metal ones? I’m not in love with the silicone molds — have you had good experiences with them?

    And I’d really kill for some PAM that didn’t cost 9 euros a can … or does everyone in France just use butter to grease everything? :)

    All best, Shelley

  • jacquie van wagner
    March 29, 2010 8:29pm

    hey Shelly,

    might be cheaper to order from Amazon.

    my daughter is a student in the UK and I live in California – so I opened an Amazon UK account – and i buy things she needs for kitchen and home online and have them shipped directly to her. much cheaper that way than the very pricey shops targeting expats. you might want to open an Amazon FR account for your time there.

    i checked the Amazon.FR site and they have a 12 top muffin tin for 6,89 E (metal one by Kaiser) – just go to the Cuisine & Maison section, and search using the word ‘muffin’

    smiles,
    jacquie

  • November 1, 2010 5:38am

    hahaha i do love this post a lot! bryce is downright hilarious.

  • philadephie
    January 4, 2011 12:57am

    just stumbled upon this whilst looking for a easy french chocolate cake recipe, and i loooved it! i read Bryce’s book last year when i was attempting, however parlously, to french-ify myself before i moved to a french speaking country, and im very happy to see pics of the happy couple and cute baby. bryce – if you read this my favorite chapter was sticker b*tch. LOved it. merci :)