Cupcakes are dead. At least, that is what The Wall Street Journal reported on August 17, 2013. The gourmet dessert phenomenon economically exploded in 2011 when Crumb's Bake Shop entered the stock market under the ticker CRMB. Crumb's confections were sold for $0.50 at the time, and their stock was worth more than $13 a share. Since then, Crumb's Bake Shop stock has plummeted to $0.45 today and some say that this is due to the novelty of cupcakes wearing off. There was no long-term future in cupcakes, as people don't regularly visit a cupcakery on a daily basis.
Perhaps this is true. Crumb's Bake Shops are going dark across the country and in fact, they've been predicting the crash since its overall boom in the early 2000s. To pinpoint where it began is rough. Could it have been the drooling the Sex and the City girls did over Magnolia Cupcakes in New York? Was it the celebration of cupcake design by Food Network shows like Cupcake Wars? Or maybe it was just an obvious trend that finally got noticed for its economic potential by both consumers and purveyors. Or maybe, just maybe, it is far simpler than all of that. Maybe cupcakes just make people happy.
#10) Cupcake Magician, Red Bank, N.J.
Cupcakes are magical by nature, a confectionary gift created from the depths of a need for something sweet. As a result of one of these sweet ventures, the Cupcake Magician was born. Promising to make any event magical, this cupcakery offers customers a ton of regularly flavored cupcakes like the “black and white milkshake” or one of the popular “filled” cupcakes like raspberry cream. Photo Credit: Cupcake Magician
#9) The Cup, St. Louis
Breaking into the top 10 is tough with this much competition, but The Cup thrived, particularly in the area of design and presentation when it came to these cupcakes. With the just right amount of frosting to be delicious and decadent without overstepping, these cupcakes come in a variety of styles ranging from sweet to savory. For example, the “caramel turtle cupcake” is something everyone can love while the “peach cobbler cupcake” will appeal to someone completely different in a different way. Photo Credit: The CupClick Here to see the more of The Best Cupcakes in America
#8) Sweet Indulgence, Providence, R.I.
Go ahead, treat yourself. And if you do, try to do so at the Sweet Indulgence cake shop. The cupcakes hardly need an introduction. Literally one look and suddenly you’ll feel your will crumbling. The best advice we have is try not to eat your computer screen if you’re looking from home. Our favorite has to be the “death by chocolate,” a chocolate cake heavily infused with chocolate fudge and chips to make it even more desirable. Photo Credit: Heidi Hope Photography
#7) Jilly’s Cupcake Bar & Cafe, St. Louis
These gourmet cupcakes weigh nearly half a pound each, hefty enough to stand on their own against the likes of brunch. The devil is in the details, and Jilly's got plenty of them, from a real miniature slice of pecan pie garnishing their “so fly pecan pie cupcake,” to filling “apple pie à la mode cupcakes” with baked cinnamon apples. Need another reason to walk in? The “French silk cupcake” — a chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse, topped with chocolate buttercream, large chocolate curls, and dusted with powdered sugar — is just calling your name. Photo Credit: © Flickr /Paul SablemanClick Here to see the more of The Best Cupcakes in America
#6) Atlanta Cupcake Factory, Atlanta
A small artisan bakery dedicated to small batch baking, their philosophy is centered on interesting and unique flavor profiles, evident in offerings like “sweet potato cake” with Kentucky Bourbon cream cheese frosting. Their must-try cupcake is a sugar cookie cake with browned butter, rosemary, and pine nut frosting. Bottom line: when someone goes to enough effort to create a frosting with browned butter, and serves it to you with a fresh rosemary garnish, you take it. Photo Credit: Glenn Grimwood
#5) Fate Cakes, Columbus, Ohio
Drool session: commence. Built on the belief that old world baking charm is something worth implementing daily, Fate Cakes has high standards regarding what makes a good cupcake. These cupcakes are in our top-five because not only do they have an extensive collection of flavors, they are drop dead gorgeous as well. Just look at the way the chocolate sauce rolls down the mountain of frosting on the “mocha latte cupcake.” Photo Credit: Fate CakesClick Here to see the more of The Best Cupcakes in America
#4) CamiCakes Cupcakes, Atlanta
A true family affair, this award-winning cupcakery turned their hobby into a full-time passion. One Sweet Slice can artfully serve your corporate affair as elegantly as they could your wedding. In the true spirit of DIY, you can personalize your cupcake experience to match your mood. As for flavors, chocolate chunk and raspberry lemonade would be an excellent way to start working through this delicious bakery menu. Photo Credit: Cliff Robinson Photography
#3) One Sweet Slice, Sandy, Utah
A true family affair, this award-winning cupcakery turned their hobby into a full-time passion. One Sweet Slice can artfully serve your corporate affair as elegantly as they could your wedding. In the true spirit of DIY, you can personalize your cupcake experience to match your mood. As for flavors, chocolate chunk and raspberry lemonade would be an excellent way to start working through this delicious bakery menu. Photo Credit: One Sweet SliceClick Here to see the more of The Best Cupcakes in America
#2) Pinkitzel Cupcakes & Candy, Oklahoma City, Okla.
An intricate swirling structure of frosting sits atop a moist, freshly baked cupcake in such a way it feels like you’re staring at the sun when you gaze upon it. Ok, maybe we are romanticizing it just a tad, but these cupcakes are out of this world. The Pinkitzel Cupcakes & Candy has not only some of the most gourmet cupcakes around, they have over 100 loose candy options making it the ultimate sweet house in Oklahoma City. As for the cupcakes, indulge in the “Napoleon,” “a chocolate cake topped with a swirl of strawberry buttercream then a swirl of vanilla buttercream and a cherry sour.” Photo Credit: © Flickr /Travel Aficionado
#1) Pink Cake Box, Denville, NJ
When it comes to making a gorgeous cake, you simply cannot beat Pink Cake Box. This critically acclaimed bakery was birthed from the brainchild of Anne Heap who is an accomplished baker. From the tiniest of cupcakes to a towering wedding cake structure, Pink Cake Box can consistently take your breath away with their sculpting ability. But underneath the layers of gorgeous fondant is a cake so moist and delicious, you don’t even care how beautiful it is. Flavors include “hazelnut frangelico,” “pink champagne cake,” “spiced pumpkin,” and dozens more. Try this amazing bakeshop for a specialty experience you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere across the nation. Photo Credit: Pink Cake BoxClick Here to see the Rest of the 101 Best Cupcakes in America
Really, have you ever bit into a cupcake and had anything less than joy rocket through your brain? Heck, have you ever even looked at a cupcake photo or ingredient list and had any hostile thoughts?
When done right, they are an art form. Cupcakeries that know what they are doing somehow provide perfectly moist, bite-sized cakes topped with just sweet enough frosting. And when they are just right, they are usually coming from a place of pure passion. Just read the backstory behind almost any cupcakery and the story will be similar. The current owner was stuck in a job they loathed and found true happiness when pouring batter into a lined cupcake tin. The joy it brings the bakers translates into each fold of batter. Cupcakes are simply love in a liner.
But determining who makes the best cupcake is a tough thing to do when so many of them have such impressive amounts of passion poured into them. In our last round, we rated and ranked 50 of America's Best Cupcakes on a looser methodology. Frosting, presentation, and menu were the main criteria for our last round up. But expanding the list meant we had to crack down on the specifics to nail down what makes the truly best cupcake in America.
Using last year's list as our basis, we re-entered all 50 into a network of over 100 other cupcakeries vetted from every state's best-of lists. We then ranked them according to five different categories, assigning them a value of one thru 20 (20 being the highest) and tabulating the highest ranking cupcakes.
Menu variety was the first set of criteria we looked at. Exactly how many cupcake options were there? Did they have a wide range of flavors and was the menu accessible to the masses? Presentation rankings were determined based upon consistency and artistic creativity. Were the cupcakes pretty on their webpage but a mess on Facebook? Was the design reflective of the overall style of the cupcake or even visually appealing? Speaking of Facebook, we turned to social media for our next set of criteria, tabulating the numbers of followers they had as an indication of how interactive they were with their community and vice versa. We then turned to online review sites to help us determine just how satisfied their customers were with their cupcake experience according to the star ratings and taking special note of the commentary. And the last portion was editorial discretion, which took the preceding criteria into consideration and as well as culinary value and variety.
Lauren Gordon, The Daily Meal