Who doesn’t love cupcakes? They’re soft, sweet, often pretty, and topped with icing sometimes thicker than the cake itself. So it should come as no surprise that the cupcake’s recent surge in popularity is showing no signs of waning.
The Washington Post noted that with 669 million cupcakes sold between October 2010 and October 2011 (how do they count them?!), the cupcake is “not a fad,” but “an enduring love affair.” We know we’re in love with them and, since October is National Bake and Decorate Month, we thought we’d take a look at a few cupcake trends that are fueling that affair.
- MINI CUPCAKES – From burgers to beer, small sample-sized foods are all the rage. It’s a trend that crossed over into grocery stores with the advent of 100-calorie snack-sized packages, but it’s also being seen in cupcakes. And what these downsized morsels (about the circumference of a quarter) lack in stature, they make up for in flavor. Baked by Melissa, a wildly popular miniature-dessert shop in New York City, offers the tiny treats in varieties like chocolate chip pancake, peanut butter and jelly, and s’mores.
- CUPCAKES ON TV – It started with cake shows – TLC’s Cake Boss and The Food Network’s Ace of Cakes among them – and it soon spread to cupcakes. The programming roster includes The Cupcake Girls (WE), DC Cupcakes (TLC), and Cupcake Wars (Food Network). How popular are the shows? If Cupcake Wars’ success is any indication – nearly 100 episodes spanning seven seasons and three years – viewers’ appetite for cupcakes is stronger than ever.
- THE RISE OF THE CUPCAKE BOUTIQUE – Almost every town has a bakery, but an increasing number of bakers are taking their passion to much more refined heights by opening cupcake boutiques that specialize solely in creating beautiful works of delicious baked art. When entire articles are devoted to identifying the top 10 cupcake shops in towns like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, or New York City, you know the demand is high.
- FLAVORS THAT THINK OUTSIDE THE WRAPPER – Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing (or vice versa) are great, but today’s consumer demands a little more creativity. That’s where oddly flavored creations like the maple French toast and bacon cupcake, gin & tonic cupcake, or the buffalo chicken cupcake come in. The latter isn’t really a cupcake in the traditional “cake and frosting” sense, but it still sounds yummy.