Clever Cakes


SquareNess finished her vanilla cupcake and sighed:

“That was soooooo delicious! I wish I had another.”

Her mother smiled: “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

A few minutes later Ness sighed again:

“I wish I had another cupcake – maybe a chocolate one.”

“Maybe we’ll get a chocolate one next time.” Said her mum.

“It’s so unfair…why can’t there be more cupcakes now?”

Her mum looked at her dad and rolled her eyes. This was typical Ness – you give her one nice thing and all she could think of was the nice thing she hadn’t got. It was a shame. Nice things that could have made her happy, had a way of doing the opposite.

The following morning, when SquareNess came yawning down to breakfast, she found that everyone had gone out. There was no cereal, or toast or fruit or eggs or any of the usual things she expected to start the day with. Instead she found a little box with a note:

“Had to go out – see you later. Breakfast’s in the box.”

She looked curiously at the little box. What could it be?

“Only one way to find out.” she thought and opened the lid.

SquareNess’s face lit up. Inside the box was a chocolate cupcake. Cupcakes for breakfast! This wasn’t like her mum. She normally insisted that she ate something healthy and filling – definitely not a sugary cup cake.

She ate the cake quickly in case her mum came back and changed her mind. It was the most incredible, wonderful, sweetly delicious cupcake she had ever eaten. Why had she eaten it so quickly? Why had her mum only left her one cupcake? Why were cupcakes so small?

She was beginning to start wishing she had more cupcakes and feeling sad that she hadn’t, when she noticed the much, much bigger box at the other end of the table.

There was another note. She read the first line and smiled.

Which is better – one cupcake or two?

“Was it a riddle?” She wondered.

“Two of course!” Said Ness. Then she read the next line.

Which is better, two cupcakes or three?

“Three of course!” She snorted. This was a very easy riddle. Then she read the next line.

Which is better, three cupcakes or four?

“Four!” She shouted, remembering how delicious and chocolatey that first cupcake had tasted.

The final question in that strange note was: Which is better, eleven cupcakes or twelve?

“TWELVE!” She laughed.

Then, with trembling hands, she opened the big box. I expect you’ve already guessed what she saw?


SquareNess was so happy she danced all the way round the kitchen. Then she picked up the box and carried it to the park to have her own, private cupcake feast.

The second cupcake she ate that day was very good but, if she was honest, not quite as good as the first. She decided to have another one immediately, to make up for it. But, to her surprise, the third was not quite as delicious as the second, and nowhere near as good as the first.

“Oh dear!” Said SquareNess, feeling a bit alarmed. She waited a few minutes before she carefully chose a fourth cupcake – but when she bit into it, the only word that came to mind was:

“Meh…” What a disappointment!

The fifth cupcake might as well have been made of cardboard. She threw half of it away. The sixth…well the sixth was awful! It made her feel sick.

When she saw a little boy from her class looking enviously at her remaining cupcakes she offered him one. He took it wide-eyed and grateful.

“Mmmmmm!” he said. “That was delicious!”

“Was it?” She said, very surprised.

SquareNess looked at the remaining five cupcakes.

“Maybe I chose the wrong ones?”

She picked out a red velvet cake with thick butter icing and took a greedy bite.


There were still four left. She couldn’t eat them. The thought of it nearly made her faint.
She gave the remaining cakes away to the children in the playground. Funnily enough giving them away felt much nicer than eating them. The children seemed to love them and were grateful. She didn’t hear any of them wishing they had more.

“How strange!” She thought.

Then she went home, feeling like she never wanted to see another cupcake in her life. Later that night, as she was getting ready for bed, she looked at her mum and said:

“Thanks for the cupcakes, mum.”

“Don’t you wish you had more?” asked her mum.

“Not really…” said SquareNess. “

“Which was the nicest one?” Asked her mum.

“The first.” Said Ness.

“Interesting…” Said mum.

“You know what?” Said SquareNess, who was suddenly struck by a thought.

“Tell me…” said her mum.

“You can have too much of a good thing!”

“And what does that make you think?”

“Maybe I should be a bit more grateful for what I have.”

“Why?” asked mum.

SquareNess scratched her head.

“…because, it would make me happier?”

“Very wise.” said mum, “Imagine learning all that from a box of cupcakes.”

“They were very good cakes!” Said Ness.

For a downloadable pdf of this story click here: Clever cakes

You can listen to the story read by Kara Alberts 

Now you’ve read the story – why not make the cakes?