You’ve stood in line at Magnolia. You know you have, at least once. You’ve either had or crafted your own cake made of cupcakes and you’ve undoubtedly watched reality competition shows like Cupcake Wars and DC Cupcakes. You’ve probably even had cupcakes in flavors never imagined before the millennium. The gourmet cupcake craze has bloomed and boomed over the last decade and in 2011 it hit the summit when New York based Crumbs Bake Shop went big time, opening 48 stores nationwide and hitting the boards at NASDAQ.
But Crumbs is crumbling, closing all of its shops.
Is the party over for the cupcake?
Some point a sticky icing-clad finger at cupcake phenomenon burnout, while others cite the gluten-free craze as a contributing factor. If you’re trying to eat gluten free, cupcakes are a big no-no, right?
Unless you’re talking about Alecia Bakery NYC, where gluten free is a delicious way of life.
So let’s examine this cupcake burnout thing. Do you mean to tell me that if someone handed you a piña colada cupcake topped with toasted coconut that you’d turn that bad boy away? I think not. Sure, we do overkill pretty well here in America. When we stumble on a food craze, we rock it hard. And maybe the moment the cupcake hit the ‘burbs as the main attraction at birthday parties, we could see all the signs of cupcake implosion. But few can deny that handing 25 kids a cupcake each while plying their other adorable, yet grubby little party paw with a goodie bag was a heck of a lot easier than running the cake cutting/portioning gauntlet as the natives grew ever restless.
Nay, the cupcake still reigns supreme in my book. There are still flavors I have yet to experience, and who hasn’t had a heck of a lot of fun trying to unlock the DaVinci code that is the pastry bag? And sprinkles? Forget it. There are like a zillion different kinds to top your cake of cup with. I can’t think of a kid who would scoff at that.
Still, the numbers and the economics don’t lie. Crumbs is closing it’s doors. Magnolia is not packing in the tourists as it once did when Carrie Bradshaw and her pal Miranda Hobbes took a snack break on a sidewalk bench outside its storefront.
Four dollars for a cupcake? Four dollars for a cup of coffee. Donuts, cronuts, cupcakes, oh my! Too much frosting? Too big? Too much gluten? Too much of a good thing? Who knows what will trend next.
I don’t know…if you ask me, cupcakes will never fall out of fashion. Whoopie!! Hmm…I think that might be the next big thing: whoopie pies! Have you tried the Alecia whoopie pies?
What’s a cupcake?