Food trends come and go, but will that be the case of the cupcake?
I never thought it would come to this, but I think I have grown tired of them.
I have, since childhood, regarded the cupcake as the Holy Grail of baked goods. Set in its very own little paper or foil cup, the cupcake is an individual cake, that when topped with just the right amount of frosting, brings together cake and icing in perfect balance. Everything about a great cupcake is simple. They are never too much, nor too little. They are non-committal and leave me feeling regret-free. Sure they're a little girly and probably best for kids. But, really, who can resist? Not me. Up until this afternoon.
As I tried to kill a little time before my last guest segment on Martha Stewart Radio, I popped into a certain famous seller of cupcakes on 6th Avenue. I ordered a banana cupcake with chocolate frosting. The cake was leaden and dry. The frosting was cloyingly sweet and also dry. It took me 30 minutes to navigate through the many lines and clusters of confused customers. And when it was all said and done, I was out $2.75. While that's not a ton of cash, it certainly wasn't cheap. Do the math and a dozen-and-a-half cupcakes there would cost me at least $30 more than it would to have purchased a box of cake mix, a tub of frosting and made them myself. Sure it would have taken me more than a half hour to whip them up, but it also would have saved me a headache.
And it's not just these guys dishing out half-baked goods. Sub-par selections are being sold from storefronts across the nation and beyond, from pushcarts and food trucks, at flea markets and farmer's markets! They're invading the wonderful world of sweets! Last night I saw a cupcake from another "gourmet" bakery that had so much food coloring in its batter that I was afraid it might be poisonous. It looked like a Grateful Dead t-shirt gone very wrong. All it needed was sprinkles in the shape of little bears. It's just too much!
I will always consider myself a lover of all small treats. If you put the words miniature and sugar together, it doesn't take much to sweeten the deal to sell me. However, I am really sick of cupcakes. So, fellow Americans, who are always so good about setting the next trend, can we please just move on to something else?