Fancy Cuppicakes?

They seem to be all the rage these days, cupcakes. I see them at parties, weddings, as cupcake cakes and business gifts. Slews of specialty cupcake shops have opened up (at least here in Toronto!) to cater to this new trend.

Generally I am in favour of cupcakes. They’re the perfect combination of cake, candy and frosting for a person, and in a convenient size, too. They’re pretty and fairly easy to make, and even easier to eat!

Plus, they make great gifts!

Case in point: I recently received some cupcakes as a gift from a vendor. They came from one of those fancy-pants cupcake shops and I’ve got to say I was highly impressed by the packaging! I’ve always struggled to find a good way to transport cupcakes without smushing them in the process.
Take a look:

Inside were two perfectly lovely cupcakes–with no smushing! Man, this bakery wasn’t messing around. They had the cakes sitting in a molded plastic holder made specifically for cupcakes which was then nestled on a non-slip liner. This was all tucked very snugly into the perfectly sized box. This combination protected my cuppi’s all the way home through the public transit system at rush hour, through the hectic grocery store and on the walk home!

This ain’t yo mamma’s bakery box!

They were pretty awesome-looking cupcakes; well-executed. I was fooling around with my camera and managed to get an artzy phartzy macro shot. Here ya go:

So they looked great, but weren’t anything to write home about in the taste department. I find that with these fancy cupcakes, too much attention is spent on the decoration and not enough on the taste.

I found them to taste fairly stale and boring, really just void of flavour. They were dry and crumbly in the wrong way, and had a funny aftertaste. The icing was pretty gross, too. Extra points for not overloading the cupcakes with icing, but points deducted for lack of deliciousness. I understand that you have to increase the amount of preservatives or shelf-stable ingredients (such as shortening instead of real butter) in order to keep the cupcakes in good shape for longer-but I think there is still room for flavour.

I was kind of grossed-out after eating one of these, especially since I had had a really great cupcake from somewhere else earlier in the day to compare it to.

Overall I think that the concept of fancy cupcakes is a great one, but many of the cupcake shops just aren’t able to execute properly. If you’re supposed to specialize in something, then it should be fantastic. These were just disappointing, as were most other fancy cupcakes I have had.

For this reason I don’t think a lot of the exclusively cupcake shops will be around for much longer. In my eyes this is a fad that will soon fade away.

Cupcakes will always be around though–at least in my kitchen! Personally I don’t think that anything storebought will ever be better than my homemade from scratch baked goods! Take that, cupcake industry!

Have you tried any fancy cupcakes? How do you think they compare to your own? And what’s your fave recipe???


7 thoughts on “Fancy Cuppicakes?”

  1. There's a FANTASTIC place in Hamilton that only makes cupcakes and they're absolutely perfect. Not only are they pretty, but they come in a WIDE variety of delicious flavours that usually beat your expectations. They're moist, not too sweet, and have a hidden surprise inside (like a filling, not a toy). You can visit them here:

  2. I've been disappointed too by the fancy schmancy cupcake shoppes in town. Sure they look great, but the taste is soooo blase! Best cupcake shop ones I had was in London…otherwise, my own at home are just great! :)

  3. Oh..I am a big baker and love the cupcakes. There are some great cupcake bakeries in NYC that I love. However, we just had some fancy cupcakes from this hot bakery in Atlanta…boo on them. I didnt think they were good at all.

  4. Look for the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I'm not even vegan but these cupcakes are amazing, and really easy to make. I took them to a bday party and no one could believe they were vegan!

  5. Cupcake Shoppe is overrated for sure. I had baked some cupcakes for a friend for a birthday, and she also had two from the Cupcake Shoppe, so she shared those ones with me and then we ate my cupcakes – the ones from Cupcake Shoppe were dry, greasy, and not particularly flavourful, and we both decided mine tasted better, even if they weren't as beautiful to look at.

    And at $3 a cupcake, I'd want delicious tasting, not just pretty! Even a cake mix that you modify (use milk in lieu of water and add a thing of pudding for extra moistness) tastes better than those ones did!

  6. Mmmmmmmmmmmm cuppycakes.

    I agree though – it's like they spend all of the attention on the decorating but haphazardly throw together a stale, flavorless cake. Lame!

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