Finally, there’s salvation for men who want to bake cupcakes but fear castration by way of pink food coloring and gum-paste gardenias. Into the bewildering, estrogen-scented universe of the cupcake cookbook world has come The Butch Bakery Cookbook, a compendium dedicated to dudes with hair on their chests and bloodlust in their pastry bags. Published last October, the book was not actually lovingly crafted by a pair of testicles, but instead sprang from the fleshy loins of David Arrick. Three years ago, Arrick opened his titular online bakery in New York City as a rebuke to the years of gender discrimination wrought by pastel frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

“We make manly cupcakes. For manly men,” proclaims his website, and then jackhammers the point home with testosterone-soaked creations like the Home Run (peanut butter and bacon), the Beer Run (chocolate beer cake with beer-infused buttercream), the Driller (maple cake, more bacon), and the Big Papi (cinnamon spice cake and dulce de leche to “knock your ball out of the park”).

Never mind that these flavors sound like cocktail names at a gay bar (Arrick once admitted to me that people often think the bakery is “a lesbian thing“), perhaps the most striking thing about Arrick’s concept is that it forces one to consider what sort of man needs to prove his masculinity through bacon cupcakes and houndstooth-patterned chocolate discs. Possibly the same man who needs to be reassured that diet soda, candy bars, and milk are not for women, though as the name of Butch Bakery’s Campout cupcake would suggest, there might be some crossover appeal for men who buy into the concept of “gay” versus “straight” foods.

Given that the majority of customer reviews on the book’s Amazon page appear to be written by women, however, it seems that it’s not manly men who are buying Arrick’s schtick. Just as diet soda is just aspartame and milk is just liquid lactose, sometimes a cupcake really is just a cupcake.

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