Women’s History Month: O’Keeffe Cupcakes

 To commemorate Women’s History Month, The Phillips Collection will be celebrating female and female identifying artists during the entire month of March.

As a part of her “The Phillips Dozen” project, Phillips Museum Assistant Emily Rader creates delicious cupcakes inspired by works of art in the permanent collection. Recently, staff got to enjoy pumpkin cupcakes with a maple cream cheese frosting inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pattern of Leaves. 

Cupcakes inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe by Emily Rader

Cupcakes inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe by Emily Rader

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pattern of Leaves

Pumpkin Cake with a Maple Glaze and a Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


Flour, Puréed Pumpkin, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Buttermilk, Vegetable Oil, Baking Powder, Cinnamon, Powdered Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Allspice, Salt.

Frosting and Glaze
Confectioners Sugar, Cream Cheese, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, and Butter.

O'Keeffe inspired cupcakes by Emily Rader

O’Keeffe inspired cupcakes by Emily Rader

This work is an olfactory sketch of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Pattern of Leaves. The focus on a single key flavor in this work follows the teachings of Arthur Wesley Dow, O’Keeffe’s most influential teacher. His theories focused on “simplifying and isolating form to reveal its essence”. (PC) This amuse-gueule’s focus on a central motif, maple, is a way of referring back to the original work’s focus. The flavor is made more vibrant by layering maple and similarly tonal flavors like pumpkin and molasses.

The choice of pumpkin is especially significant as a way of representing an artist from the Americas’ work. The earliest evidence of domesticated pumpkin was in Oaxaca, Mexico (over 7,500 years ago) and it was vital to the diet of both the early settlers and the Native Americans. This versatile vegetable, much like O’Keeffe herself, also takes on the flavors of its locales.

Georgia O’Keeffe stands as the representative of Gallery 291 and the other Alfred Stieglitz supported artists. Stieglitz brought the European avant-garde, photographers, and American Modernism to greater awareness in America and a significant portion of the Phillips’s collection is dedicated to artists he promoted.

Description and recipe by Emily Rader. Follow her on Instagram.

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