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Cupcakes – is there a backlash?

 My recent posts have all been quite harmonious so I thought I’d try and provoke a bit more of a debate this time.

At Saturday’s afternoon tea event, there were many topics of conversation, most that only involved a few people at a time. However, one conversation that did get everyone talking was cupcakes, or more to the point the buttercream topping on cupcakes. And it soon became apparent that we were all in favour of the less is more approach, or even none at all.

Cupcakes became very popular in the UK a few years ago, taking over from the traditional fairy cakes usually decorated with glace icing and edible silver balls, and found at all children’s parties for last few decades. There are hundreds of businesses specialising in making and selling cupcakes. They are so popular that they have now become an alternative to a traditional wedding cake.

What’s great about cupcakes is that they come in a variety of flavours and styles, they are perfect for one person and they seem to inspire more creativity than cakes. What’s not so good about them is the sickly sweet topping that can be as volumous as the actual cake itself. And that the topping and the look of the cupcakes are sometimes more important than the taste, favour and balance of the whole thing. I have come across some amazing cupcakes that do balance the look with the taste, namely the Sunshine Bakery in Leeds, but unfortunately there are still many cafes and bakeries serving buttercream mountains.

All my afternoon tea guests were very anti buttercream yet the boom in cupcakes is still here – so is there a backlash or are we just the minority?


3 responses »

  1. I may have been the one responsible for kicking this sleeping dog at your little soirée but I make no apology for being a committed anti-cupcake militant activist. They are a hideous American confection; an abomination whose creeping death must be halted. We should hold our own version of The Boston Tea Party and dump these monstrosities into the harbour.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly about The Sunshine Bakery and would urge everyone to visit and see exactly why David earned his crown as Cupcake Champion Of Great Britain. And the good news is that he’s happy to show people the light with his cupcake masterclass. If it was up to me, it’d be part of the National Curriculum.

  2. I rarely make cupcakes and have yet to attend one of David’s Sunshine Bakery Masterclasses. But I have enjoyed, what I consider to be the best Cupcakes I’ve ever tasted from there.

    Can I come down on the side of the Cupcake for a moment. We are a sweet toothed nation and we eat with our eyes first. The thought of eating a whole cake, fills us with guilt. But because the cupcake is a small version of the ‘Grand Dame’ we feel less guilt ridden. Seeing a fine display of beautifully made cupcakes, believe me some cupcakes need removing from the shelves, reminds me of the time I looked in the sweet shop after school, spending ages choosing the sweet I wanted at a 1d each (yes the old penny).

    Cupcakes I feel, will remain part of our institution and as suggested by Al, we should have David from Sunshine Bakery leading the Nation of cupcake Bakers in showing how they should look and taste.

  3. I think I come down on the anti-cupcake side but primarily for the reason that the word cupcake seems to have replaced the delightful “bun” in popular usage for any type of small cake – and I don’t like that!


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