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Why are cupcakes so trendy? [moved from Los Angles board]

I hate to be the cranky one, but I just don't get why cupcakes in general are so trendy these days. I get it for a shower or party, because a dessert needs to be easy to transport and serve a lot of people. But why is it now the must-have thing for chowish types as well as muggles? Is it because they're portable? That you get a higher frosting ratio than a regular slice of cake? Because you can get your very own decorations and don't have to fight for them? Because you can eat them with your hands?

No one really needs to reply to this, I just thought I'd put my puzzlement out into the universe. Thank you. :)

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  1. Several reasons...

    They are cute
    Less clean up and mantainece (No slice cutting fee)
    You don't have to share

    Don't worry though, they'll go the way of Krispy Kreme and in two years brides will be having "Brownie Mountains" at their wedding or something similar I'm sure...


    2 Replies
    1. re: Dommy

      LOL! Thanks Dommy, you are so right! I feel much better now. A few years ago I remember seeing the Krispy Kreme wedding cakes with candles stuck in each (talk about low-rent). And now just last weekend the LA Times reported that the first KK store on the West Coast is becoming a Chick-Fil-A due to low sales.

      I'm sure cupcake sizes came in VERY handy for your recent red velvet cake sampling, but you're right, this too shall pass.

      Brownies for weddings are a good guess. But I'm voting that Hostess Ding Dongs or Ho Ho wedding cakes will be next, since the Boomers are leading the drive for nostalgia!

      1. re: Kishari

        They got a lot of attention in "Sex and the City".

        They appeal to me in terms of portion control. There's not as big a calorie hit.

        On a episode of "My Name is Earl", Earl's former wife Joy had a wedding with a wedding cake made of Ho Ho's ... oh wait, I just got that ... pretty funny ... I love that show.

    2. Trendy? Nah!

      Cupcake lover for 45 years (that's what I remember). Starting with all chocolate tastycakes ($0.06) for the threepack, to Snowflake Bakery up the street (for $0.08) they are fantastic. Now I love the cupcakes in a bakery in stamford CT ($0.75) that puts icing in the cake as well. WOW!!! :-)))

      3 Replies
      1. re: jfood

        Okay, times hace changed. We were up in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago and there was a cupcake store on Denman selling them for $2.50 Cdn each. They were good, but not that good.

        1. re: jfood

          which bakery for $.75. I live in stamford, and that seems like a really good price.

          1. re: Rnotghi

            if you know where the springdale train station is on hope, also cannan distributing and patio.com. It's in the same park. go through the light over the rain tracks and you will see it in front of you.

        2. Definite nostalgia... remember the excitement as a kid of getting your very own personal cupcake?

          Also, no arguing over who "gets the flower" or who gets the bigger or better piece.

          Plus, portion control :)

          1. Hmmm, interesting observation. I was at a company cocktail party last Friday and the dessert tray had different cakes and pies and....cupcakes! I didn't even give them a second glance but I did think it was rather strange. I went for the key lime pie, raspberry torte, and chocolate mousse instead :)

            1. Cupcakes are the perfect New York dessert. Small-ish, just for you, don't have to share them with anyone. In the "city of strangers", what else would you expect?

              Don't underestimate the nostalgia aspect. Especially among those over-indulged, over-analyzed Baby Boomers whose childhoods are littered with cupcake paper cup liners and sprinkles forever embedded in the wall-to-wall broadloom carpets of their Family Rooms. Sorry, but I have no interest in being eight again. No matter how appealing our president makes being an eight-year-old appear.

              Someone saying that the Cupcake Fad will pass makes my heart fill with joy. Just think-- people might have to interact with each other to eat a dessert! What a concept.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                I disagree. Cupcakes are extremely interactive, especially Hostess cupcakes ... but then you need to buy the three-packs. This way you can share one with a friend and still have two cupcakes for yourself.

                Wow, people being annoyed by cupcakes. Maybe you have to be adult enough for cupcakes. Sort of like a little kid starts rejecting things as they get older saying 'I'm a big girl/boy" now.

                Once you are an adult long enough ... waaay, too long enough ... it is ok to enjoy fun things. A well made cupcake can be as interesting as that torte or gallette ... in fact, if you are ever in SF, try DeLassio's imaginative quarter-sized cupcakes ... they hold their own agains ANY dessert.

                What difference does it make if it tastes good?

                1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                  As someone who just received an invite for a Totally 80s dance/karaoke night at the Hollywood Bowl (featuring the Psych Furs and ABC), I agree that you cannot underestimate the power of nostalgia. However, you can neatly step aside and let it pass by. :)

                  I'm going to be in NY over Labor Day, I'll keep an eye out for cupcake stores like Sprinkles in Beverly Hills. That's what I've been shaking my head over...an ENTIRE store for just cupcakes? Especially since I'm really more of a pie girl, this almost offends me.

                2. I think the cupcake is the latest target/victim/starlet of gussying up classic comfort foods that we enjoyed/remembered as children. Other dishes that gone through recent revamping includes the mac 'n cheese (which is now made multiple foreign-cheeses and garnished with truffle oils, cured meats & some veggies,) and French fries (which are spiced up in various ways and come with an accompaniment of creamy dips).

                  I'm betting meatloaf is coming up soon...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: AquaW

                    Already done! Isn't the name of the restaurant Cafeteria? It's in NYC, and gussies up comfort foods in a fancy shmancy bistro setting. So you can go have a meatloaf with mac n' cheese, but still be surrounded by glass and chrome, eat off a white tablecloth, and enjoy wine by the glass. I'm not condoning/panning it, just saying that the fancy meatloaf is already here!

                    1. re: Pei

                      Haha, in LA here and have yet to seen the fancied-up meatloaf, so I guess it hasn't caught nationwide attention... yet.

                      1. re: AquaW

                        I Lived in L.A. a while back, and remember having meatloaf at The Ivy. Don't they have that anymore? The Ivy is still around, isn't it?

                  2. The "Lazy Sunday" rap video on SNL, which was No.1 for some time on YouTube, also may have contributed to the cupcake trend. On Magnolia Bakery:

                    "4 no 8 no 12, Bakers dozen! I told you that Im crazy bout those cupcakes cousin!"


                    1. Right now cupcakes are trendy with the have-to-be-trendy crowd, but I've always made cupcakes. Some recipes just do better as cupcakes. I also have recipes that I only make as bundt cakes.

                      Do you think bundt cakes might become trendy? maybe I can be ahead of trendy time :-)

                      1. I am still a sucker for the Hostess variety...

                        For those among us who are cupcake-obsessed, you might appreciate this link:


                        1. I don't like cake, especially frosting, so cupcakes are sometimes worse. I'm trying to figure out what to do at my wedding. I thought about the cupcake tier since it's cheaper than a big cake, but would prefer something that my man and I would want to eat. We both like cheesecake and ice cream cake, but the wedding will be outdoors and I'm afraid of melting. Hmmm.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: mojoeater

                            Lots of people now do a smallish cake for the ceremonial cutting aspect and photos and a large buffet of pies, brownies, cookies, cheesecakes, etc.

                            1. re: Chowpatty

                              I don't even care about the cutting photo op. But I know a lot of people love that part of the party. I'd hate to disappoint my guests.

                              1. re: mojoeater

                                How about tiered angel food cake wedding cake. No frosting, just a light dusting of sugar. Simple, elegant.

                                1. re: grocerytrekker

                                  We don't like angel food either. In fact, we don't often eat dessert-type things. Just don't really like them too much. And I hate the idea of paying for a big cake we won't enjoy.

                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                    This reminded me of some people who don't like sweet cakes and went for Korean rice cakes. They were pretty. (Prettier than these pictures.) The problem is, people EXPECT sweet at weddings.


                                    1. re: mojoeater

                                      go for a cake, and don;t worry about yourself. everyone is having a blast and they are expecting a cake. don;t disappoint th guests. focus on mrs mojo.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        That's a pretty expensive addition to the meal when it's not something we even want. I've got to find another solution. Maybe I'll post a new thread on the subject. And oh, I'll be the Mrs!

                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                          then I both apologize and recind. Whatever the bride wants she gets. :-))

                              2. re: mojoeater

                                I had a croquembouche. Mmm, creampuffs. And it won't come apart in the heat. Mine was pretty heavy on the hard caramel holding it together, and I kinda had to whack at it to get a piece off. Sort of a pinata wedding cake. :) It was fun. People seemed to like it, though my husband's grandfather looked at his piece and said, disbelievingly, "It's a doughnut!" Not sure what he would have done if we'd gone the Krispy Kreme route.

                              3. Variety! Bake one cake and their is bound to be someone who's not going to like it...but, buy a dozen one of each cupcakes and guests are sharing and smiling.

                                Hand held! Parties that encouraged mingling, moving about do well with portable foods, small appy sized bites and low maintenance mess (one nappy).

                                Surprisingly tasty! I can't say that I was a cupcake fan as a child...found them rather boring but the second coming of cupcakes ala this latest trend takes the framework of a cupcake and (dare I say) kicks it up several notches...cupcakes today are down right delicious!

                                1. Because they are totally delicious and you're right...For those of us that prefer more frosting to cake ratio...they are the way to go...

                                  1. I feel that I must officially pronounce the cupcake trend to be over.

                                    How do I know this to be true? Well, our first dedicated cupcake store will be opening up in the next few weeks down here in Raleigh, NC and we're at least 2 years behind the rest of the world on every hot trend!

                                    Time to move on to the next "what the hey?" fad.

                                    1. Just read the other day that the "brownie is the new cupcake." Hilarious. Did any of these ever go out of style? We just love trends. I think it's all a part of the retro schtick. What will follow the brownie? The pancake? The peanut butter and jelly sandwich? No,no....pie a la mode. That's it. Time to open a pie a la mode place.......but wait...then you'd actually have to take time out from work to sit down and eat it. Not enough take-to-work business. Did I just put my finger on the cupcake craze? Makes sense, when you consider the donut craze.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: suse

                                        You're so close, Suse - the next fad will be the individual tart a la mode! Small apple tarts, spread with soft-serve ice cream - can be eaten one-handed while driving, typing, or texting!

                                        1. re: suse

                                          I ate at the Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC last week. They have pancakes that are as big as a 12" pizza. Very think too! If this is going to be a trend, you will have to share it between 5 people like we did.

                                        2. Trends are a big, loud sound of aging CH pals!

                                          What's been there, done that for some of us....is clearly "hey, cool" for a whole new generation. Perhaps a true trend is when us old kids and new kids on the block actually ENJOY the same things!

                                          1. Iced cupcakes in liners will stay fresh longer than whole cakes that have been cut - no exposed edges to dry out. Better if you're not going to eat the whole cake at one time. But I'm sure that isn't why they're trendy!

                                            After noticing that my sons and their friends always dove face-first into the frosting on cupcakes, and then stopped eating once the icing was gone, leaving the cake behind, I decided to make mini-cupcakes for my son's bday party. The cake was from a mix, but the icing was homemade ganache, piped up nice and high (about a 1:1 ratio of cake to frosting), with pretty nonpareils on top. They were a huge it with kids and parents alike. My conclusion: for some people, it's about the frosting. Plus, they're cute, and "all yours."

                                            1. I don't know why they are but I do know where the trend started and how it swept the world. Take a look at the clip on this page http://searchinsights.wordpress.com/2... which shows people searching the internet for cupcakes since 2004 across the world