A recent headline on The New York Times dining page made me laugh. “Pie to Cupcake: Time’s Up,” it said. Where’d they get that idea? True, pie is a treat and an American cultural icon. And there’s abundant evidence that creative chefs are giving it the same kind of luscious, innovative updates that they’ve visited on just about every other dish. But time’s up for cupcakes? I don’t think so.
Apparently, though, others do. In recent months, similar theories have been floated in The Wall Street Journal, on National Public Radio, and elsewhere. All sorts of confections, from popsicles to Whoopie pies to doughnuts, have been touted as the next big sweet thang.
To which I say, “Objection, Your Honor! Stop the insanity!” When it comes to baked goods, do we really need the culinary equivalent of “The king is dead—long live the king?” Let the people vote with their taste buds. And judging from the sales of cookbooks devoted to cupcakes and the proliferation of cupcake shops all over the United States of America, I’d say that they already have. Their verdict is clear: Nothing will ever replace the cupcake.
I never dreamed I’d be baking cupcakes for a living—much less that my babies would become popular enough to be featured in the press and on ABC’s The View. So I’ve thought a lot about why cupcakes have risen to cult status. They’re beautiful to look at and they’re delicious. They bring adults back to their childhoods, and they bring kids—it sounds corny, there’s no other word for it—joy. Besides, they’re a guilt-free indulgence, both financially and calorically.
I won’t discount the fact that cupcakes have been trendy for the past decade or so. Heaven knows, my business has benefited from the cupcake renaissance. But I don’t put a lot of emphasis on trends. I always remember how, in high school, the kids who cared about the trends never knew who they really were or what really mattered. And that bit of wisdom has stayed with me.
So if you love cupcakes, who cares what the headlines say? With apologies to Will Shakespeare (who probably liked a scone now and then)—this above all: to thine own self, and thy cupcakes, be true.
Melissa Bushell is founder of Baked by Melissa; visit her online at Bakedbymelissa.com.