Via The Grand Bakery on Twitter, I found this amazing defense of the cupcake by my new hero, Matt Lewis of Red Hook, Brooklyn/Charleston, South Carolina bakery Baked. He was already a favorite of ours, as is Baked, but now he's in our (or at least, my) "Cupcake Lovers Hall of Fame."
Over at Eat Me Daily, Matt throws down the gauntlet to cupcake haters/food trend writers and declares: There is never going to be a hot new bakery item that is "the next cupcake.
Matt, we adore you! Here's an excerpt:
They're easy to make.
Pretty much anyone can make a cupcake. I'm not saying that anyone can make a good one (there are plenty of atrocious cupcakes out there, though that’s another story entirely), but unlike, say the French macaron, you do not really need a delicate touch or a pastry background to avoid total failure. Whether it is baked by a five-star pastry chef or by the crazy lady down the street, if it's small and frosting-topped, it'll sell. If you tried to hire the crazy lady down the street to make baguettes or pain au chocolate or Opera cake, chances are the product would not even closely resemble a reasonable facsimile of the original. But broadly speaking, cupcake makers do not need knife skills, tempering skills, decorating skills (can you throw sprinkles?), or an obsession with oven temperature and relative kitchen humidity...
They're creative outlets.
Cupcakes are also fairly malleable to any taste/flavor combination. You can make the basic chocolate/vanilla cupcakes or seek out the truly strange (bacon/absinthe/peanut butter and jelly). You can also go hog wild with cupcake décor -whole books are devoted to this trend. I'm put off by Fendi Purse Cakes and their like (too much cardboard, fondant, chicken wire and gum paste), but I do find myself mesmerized with what people can do to the little cupcakes with just a few shades of regular buttercream. Have you ever seen a corn-on-the-cob whoopie pie? Yeah. It doesn’t quite work the same.