His muttonchops!

Okay, now that we have that out of the way.

Martin Van Buren was a man of many nicknames. Old Kinderhook is one of them, based on his home, Kinderhook, New York. While this  is up for debate, some believe that Martin Van Buren gave us the word, “okay.” As in O.K. As in this is what he would sign when he was giving the green light on something. The Oxford English Dictionary, however, does not agree with this story. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to believe it, and for stating this as fact at parties.

Martin Van Buren was also known as the Little Magician. This was in reference to his small stature, and also to his political prowess, his ability to make political magic. Similarly, he was known as the Red Fox of Kinderhook. While being called a silver fox is a compliment, the red fox was not. It seems that the red part was in reference to his hair color, and the fox part…well, we’ve all read enough children’s stories to know that the fox, while crafty, is usually not the good guy in the story.

Martin Van Ruin is another name attached to him. The Panic of 1837 happened shortly after he took office. Such things never help a guy’s reputation. It also didn’t help that Martin Van Buren was perceived as being a bit fancy. The public mocked his wardrobe and the way that he furnished the White House.

Aside from being a man of many nicknames with high fashion ideals who allegedly wore a corset, Martin Van Buren was our first “ethnic” president. That ethnic is in quotes because we’re all ethnic. I digress. He was Dutch, we’re talking speak Dutch at home Dutch. Ironically, this first “ethnic” president was also the first president to be born a US Citizen. How very American. How appropriate a theme for his cupcake.


The Cake:

Because President Van Buren was the first “ethnic” president, I wanted to do something that played with this. I learned that Dutch is the language that gave us the word cookie, it comes from the Dutch word keokje which means “little cake.” What a perfect connection to one of our smaller presidents! When I followed this connection down the rabbit hole, I looked at numerous recipes for Dutch cookies. Here I noticed that much of what I was finding were very spicy recipes. I decided to frost this cupcake, then, with a spicy cream cheese frosting. For the cake, the inspiration came from a recipe for Dutch apple cake. I didn’t use the recipe as it was written, but it pointed me the in the right direction for an apple-flavored cupcake. Though Applejack was nowhere in the recipe, I did use it in the cupcake. Finally, a nod to his fancy ways, I threw a little gold sugar on top.


  1. Vanessa says:

    Sounds most delicious!

    Is it wrong that I’m now going to associate Martin Van Buren with Spanx for Men? (You’re welcome for that image.)

    • sherlonya says:

      I have to confess that I love the Van Buren with Spanx image! Though, with muttonchops like that, I have to imagine that the Spanx might pull uncomfortably at his body hair.