Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

The cult of the cupcake

hero.jpg
hero-2.jpg

They're the ubiquitous pick-me-up we turn to in times of celebration and gloom...

But is our frenzied love affair with the cupcake fading, or - like that timeless designer handbag that claims pride of place in our wardrobe - is it here to stay for good?

A recent report in the Washington Post says the cupcake craze shows no sign of abating in the US, with around 700 million sold in the past year alone.

New York’s Magnolia Bakery, which achieved iconic status after a cameo appearance in Sex and the City in 2000, credits its $20 million annual turnover with sales of the bite-sized delights.

The bakery's starring role may go some way to explain why we still retain a voracious appetite for cupcakes across the pond.

Amy Grier, Stylist's features writer and resident food guru, believes our affection for miniature cakes is not to be taken lightly - like any true love affair, it runs deep.

"Ever since Carrie and Marinda sat on a bench outside the Magnolia bakery in Sex and the City – women in particular have equated the cupcake with something that goes beyond cake," she said. "They might signal friendship, sharing (but in an individual sense) and even seduction – depending on how you eat your icing. Or it could just be that we like being able to scoff an entire cake in one go and not feel guilty about it. It’s miniature, after all. They remind us of our childhood, particularly for anyone who grew up (like me) making and eating dry fairy cakes."

It's this psychological pull that means cupcakes will always retain a special place on the British foodie landscape - however over-exposed we become to them.

"A few things have tried to usurp the cupcakes crown: brownies, macaroons, doughnuts and the unmitigated disaster that was the ‘whoopie pie’ but nothing has really come close," Amy said. "I’m not saying we’re not fed up with them - I think we probably are. But it’s a bit like being fed up with your favourite takeaway or bored of your best little black dress: you might complain and sigh but ultimately, you know you’ll end up eating them. The cupcakes of course, not your dress."

It may even be that our love for cupcakes is now so entrenched, it's more of a culture than a passing trend.

Amy points to the indomitable rise of institutions such as Lola's, the Hummingbird Bakery, The Primrose Bakery and Sweet Couture - all of which have taken the British food scene by storm with their boutique interpretation of sweet treats, notably cupcakes.

Then there's the new, cooler establishments like Cox, Cookies & Cakes and Lily Vanilli’s achingly chic Sunday sessions that continue to evolve the cupcake movement.

"It used to be that bringing cupcakes to a party would prove you were ‘in’ with the latest food fad – now you have to have bought them from the right place," Amy said.

Natalie Griggs, a bakery buyer for Fortnum & Mason who recently joined us for a lunchtime masterclass, agrees that the cupcake craze is far from over.

"Cupcakes have been the 'next big thing' for years now and show non signs of dying out," she said during the chat. "They seem indestructable! Nothing touches them, whoopie pies were no match."

What do you think? Is the cupcakes trend here to stay or merely a passing storm? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Related

caramel-hot-chocolate.jpg

Salted caramel hot chocolate

creativecakes.jpg

45 amazingly creative cakes

Fish pie.jpg

Amazing pies to try

Comments

More

Everything you need to know about growing your own vegetables

(Even if you don't have loads of space)

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Calling all vino fans: are you ready for red wine ice cream?

Ice cream and red wine, together at last…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

Letters penned 100 years apart show unchanging attitude to abortion

"I'm in the family way again, and I'm nearly crazy..."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Woman opens up about having her grandmother as her bridesmaid

“She’s my best friend”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

Artist captures how mental illness feels with sketches of houses

“It belongs to our lives and we must not stigmatise it”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Feb 2017

Pair cheese and wine like a pro with this incredible interactive map

Winchester Aged Gouda with a glass of Amarone della Valpolicella, anyone?

by Moya Crockett
21 Feb 2017

Elderly woman finds £5 note worth £50k, donates it to “young people”

She’s the hero we need right now, if not the one we deserve.

by Moya Crockett
21 Feb 2017

Watch Emma Watson sing ‘Belle’ in new Beauty and the Beast clip

“There goes the baker with his tray, like always…”

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Feb 2017

The worst date I’ve ever witnessed: waiters share their stories

From the toe-curlingly awkward to the jaw-on-floor shocking.

by Moya Crockett
20 Feb 2017

Men open up about “the one that got away” in thought-provoking video

But not all is as it seems…

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Feb 2017