Sunday, July 08, 2007

cupcake anyone?

When did cupcakes become so trendy? Sure I've been to Cupcakes on Denman Street, a delightful little bakery. But I was disappointed to find that the are cakes high on looks, short on taste. Recently I read an article about the LA version, Sprinkles, with their extensive list of flavours and mod decorations. There was even a list of stars who just can't live without them. [Right, cause I believe Katie Holmes has eaten refined sugar in the last five years.]

It all hit a little closer to home on the weekend when I walked into my neighbourhood Safeway and saw this on sale:Designer cupcakes, six varieties. The box with a decidedly Martha feel bore no resemblence to anything else the store sold. When they tied a ribbon on the box before handing it over, for a minute I thought I was shopping in Whole Foods. I have to admit I was delighted, charmed even. I rushed home, put on a decent cup of tea and prepared for a treat. It was not meant to be.

The first problem was a practical one. With an almost equal icing to cupcake ratio this dainty delight was impossible to fit in my mouth. You couldn't take a bite. For a moment I wondered if they were marketing this as the ultimate diet dessert -- the uneatable cupcake. I found a fork and dug in and hit problem number two. It didn't taste very good. The icing had a bit of a chemical taste to it. I'm sure the cake had good intentions of being chocolate, but really it just tasted brown.

Call me crazy, but aren't cupcakes actually supposed to taste good? Great even? Isn't that the whole point? I'm no professional, and I don't own a trendy bakery in LA or Vancouver, but in honor of Canada Day last week, Kendra, Coli and I went freestye on these little beauties:And while they may lack the polished perfection of their more delicately dressed contemporaries our cupcakes tasted FANTASTIC.

If I do say so myself.

So what's the deal with beautiful, but tasteless cupcakes? Must even the humble cupcake lose all substance the moment the cool kids want in?


Anonymous said...

well..I think YOUR cupcakes look absolutely wonderful!!!

i would eat one of those anyday!

and i miss you!

Keith Richmond said...

Interesting. I always thought cupcakes were a convenience thing. My wife often assembles a grid of cupcakes rather than make a birthday cake for the kids, and the guests think it is really cool.

BTW, does anyone remember 20 years ago the big thing around here was Muffins? There are now donut shops on every corner where Muffin places used to thrive. Remember Muffin Break and M-M-M-Muffins? I wonder if the current cupcake trend is going to be a fad that goes by the wayside?

DAve & JAnie said...

Claire, you have stumbled across the problem with mass consumerism: make it look good, but make it cheap (and/or tasteless). I LOVE your cupcakes and can image that they were moist and natural tasting. I was talking with a friend at church, who was a professional pastry chef for a couple of years, about the 'art' of making cakes from scratch, which she feels has been lost. She is pretty convinced that not just anyone can do it anymore. Hats off to you (and me too!) for carrying on the fine talent of the cake mix method! Actualy, I just finished eating three imperial cookies made by this friend (who really does make the most fabulous baking I have every had). We had a coffee house last night and tarts, imperials and cream puffs were left over. I wish they weren't because now I feel that it is my person duty to do away with them, into my tummy...

Enough from me. I am so glad that you felt proud about your homemade goodies! It's an important thing to remember!

kimu said...

yes richmond, i remember those.

but no time to talk. hungry from reading this post.